Gadget review: Nokia & Parrot Bluetooth
Having previewed our two Bluetooth handsfree kits, as provided and installed by Yellow Hat, we used the Nokia and Parrot systems over the course of a month.
The Nokia CK-15W is the fancier setup compared to the Parrot CK3100, but each one has its quirks.
Our Jeep-mounted Nokia CK-15W cost Dhs 990 (including the Dhs 195 installation charge), and comes with a little full colour screen and a separately-mounted controller. For the price, also included is an external speaker and a microphone.
The display is great, with animated menus, customisable colours and what not, and the built-in mounting base has a swivelling joint to change the direction of the screen. It can sometimes get hard to see in direct sunlight, and the weak double-sided mounting tape meant the screen fell off the dash in a day, so we just used better tape to fix that ourselves. We chose to mount the rotary controller far away from the screen, and the installers obliged, as it was easy to route wiring through the Jeep’s loose-fitting soft-touch dash.
The Nokia system can be figured out, if fiddled with long enough. It boots up as soon as the car is started, and tries to connect with any nearby paired phone automatically. While it connects fine with standard phones such as our Sony Ericsson K800i, even downloading its contacts automatically for use through the CK-15W, we had problems with our Sony Ericsson P910 smartphone, with which the CK-15W can answer calls, but cannot download contacts. Also, while working without fault with our standard phone, the CK-15W refused to detect our smartphone a few times, and did so only after a second try, working fine after that.
We also had problems where sometimes the person on the other end could not hear us clearly, but that seemed to depend on their brand of phone. However, after we repositioned the microphone using the adjustable velcro mounting, the voice quality, as heard from the other end, improved. We had no issues listening to calls through the under-dash speaker.
The CK-15W supports voice-dialling as recorded originally in the phone itself for each contact, but you are out of luck if, as in the case of our smartphone, the contacts cannot be downloaded and therefore you have to access your each of your contacts through the phone manually.
Our BMW-mounted Parrot CK3100 cost a bit less than Dhs 800, inclusive of installation. It comes with a black-and-white dot-matrix display with integrated rotary dial. Also included is a directional microphone and two different stands, but no extra speaker. The kit was simply hooked up to use the stereo speakers, which is also an option with the Nokia one.
The display is fine for most cases, sort of like a late-90s mobile phone, but it can be hard to view in bright sunlight, especially since ours was installed with the fixed stand option instead of the clumsy swivelling stand. The one-piece design was useful in the cramped roadster, although we still had trouble choosing a mounting location and eventually simply got it stuck onto the dash with double-sided tape. The routed wiring left some panel gaps in our otherwise tightly-built BMW cabin, which we plan to rectify later.
Navigating through it proved surprisingly easy, and again, it detected the standard K800i phone and downloaded contacts automatically. It also detected our P910 smartphone automatically, but did not download contacts. After a quick read of the manual, it was suggested to manually initialise the transfer of contacts through the phone itself, and that worked. The same technique did not work with the Nokia kit.
The CK3100 supports voice-dialling, but each voiceprint had to be recorded manually for each contact, which could take ages if you tried to do it for all your 500 contacts. The few we entered worked fine. Even cooler was that even functions such as “dial” and hang up” can be assigned voiceprints, so to make a call, one theoretically has to touch the unit only once to start the call process. The colourful Nokia does not have this feature either.
We actually had less trouble being heard with the Parrot than with the Nokia. However, the microphone was mounted closer to us in the tiny BMW than the big Jeep, so that could be the reason. The little Parrot mic has its own swivel-stand so it is easy to adjust. We could hear callers more loudly though, since the sound is routed through the car speakers. This can be done with the Nokia as well. While the Parrot never dropped our Bluetooth connection, the only real issue we had was that, on one engine start-up, the display was blank, although the unit was functioning. This one-time problem was fixed by restarting the car.
So, to sum it up, each unit has its strengths and weaknesses in terms of features. We’d say in terms of actual call quality, they are both equally above-average in use, but we don’t think there is anything better out there than these two. Both are also a bit hard to hear, and to be heard with, when driving above 120 kph, but this is an issue even with our existing Bluetooth earpieces, due to wind and road noise at those speeds.
The Nokia has the fancier screen, the high-quality rotary dial and the nicer interface. However, it does not have its own voice-dialling feature and depends on the phone, while it also has trouble with non-Nokia smartphones.
The Parrot is a one-piece design and easy to use, with a cool voice-dialling and voice-control function, and supported our Sony Ericsson smartphone better. Drawbacks include no separate speaker, requiring connections to the stereo, while the screen interface looks outdated.
Both units were supplied by Yellow Hat and carries a one-year warranty. A second year of warranty is added if the units are installed by Yellow Hat technicians.
ok whole lot of pictures man…that makes me learn how to fix the bluetooth
i have a mitsubishi pajero 3.8
i want to install a bluetooth with rear view camera and a navigation system.
where can i find these extra gadgets and which brand is good ?
Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury
Yellow Hat has all that.
can i get my honda autostarter installed from yellow hat.
Is this web site sponsored by Yellow hat ????
Guys just to let you all know for the best cleaners and waxes Ace Hardware is the only place in U.A.E , They gave got lubricants you’ve never seen and also other amazing products…. I love to shop at ace….specially at Dubai Festival city Automotive section.
Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury
Nope. We just get some free stuff from them.