Parrot Minikit Smart review
This Bluetooth hands-free kit isn't cheap but it's seriously well built and has a wealth of features. The adjustable arm clamps your phone in place and the windscreen mount can rotate to portrait if you want to use a satnav app in this orientation.
It connects to your car's 12V socket to charge the built-in battery and also has a USB port (and bundled cables) for charging an iPhone, plus any mini and micro USB devices. A pull-out microphone extends around 50cm and can be clipped onto a sun visor. Voice recognition lets you make hands-free calls as well as receive them, and a locally stored version of your phone's contact list means names can be read aloud by the device. This part isn't strictly hands-free since you have to press the central button to access this phonebook, then turn it to skip through the alphabet until you reach the desired letter.
The voice recognition is impressive, and it allows you to access different phone numbers for the same contact by appending the location. For example, you could say, "Call David Ludlow, work" or "Call David Ludlow, mobile". If there's no address book entry for a certain type, the Minikit Smart will suggest alternative numbers based on the contact name you've asked for.
If a certain name is consistently not recognised, or the synthesised pronunciation is incorrect, you can record your own voice saying the name.
However, despite claims of address book synchronisation, this didn't work properly with our iPhone 4. After we added extra contacts to our iPhone following the initial pairing with the Minikit, the changes weren't updated in the Minikit's memory. We even tried resetting it, but it still refused to store the new details.
Another problem was call quality: despite noise reduction, it wasn't great. Also, even at maximum volume we struggled to hear the other person when travelling at motorway speeds. We'd expect better for this price, and these flaws mean we can't recommend the Minikit Smart.