The 3200 LS Color represents the latest stage in the evolution of Parrot's in-car Bluetooth calling kits. The device builds on the simple design and great usability of the CK3000 and the CK3100 car kits. It adds a few stylish visual cues as well as some advanced customization features, which makes it a compelling option for those looking for a standalone aftermarket in-car Bluetooth device.
The Parrot 3200 LS Color immediately announces its departure from the CK-series design with its square form factor, although it retains the basic control interface of the CK3000 and CK3100 with its two buttons and rotary dial. The square shape of the screen leads to increased functionality as it enables the device to display up to three lines of contacts at a time. The tactile rubberized dial on the 3200 LS Color is a useful means of accessing the device's menus, while the red and green buttons offer straightforward means of answering and hanging up calls. Compared with its predecessors, the 3200 LS Color is visually striking thanks to its 160x128-pixel TFT screen that can display up to 262,144 colors. The device makes the most of this display through its attractive menu icons, color schemes, and wallpapers as well as through its support for user-provided wallpaper and contact photos. As with the more basic Parrot car devices, the only other external component of the 3200 LS Color is its external microphone, which for our test we mounted behind our test car's rear view mirror.
Features and performance
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That seems to be Parrot's philosophy when it comes to the feature sets and functionality of its in-car Bluetooth kits. Accordingly, the 3200 LS Color stands on the shoulders of the CK3000 Evolution and the CK3100 in terms of its core features. As noted in our previous reviews, Parrot-approved dealers should install the system because of the requirement for car-specific ISO harnesses, which we found difficult to locate in the aftermarket. Pairing a phone to the 3200 LS Color is extremely straightforward: after setting the phone to search for the Parrot device, users navigate to the "Pair with phone" option in the 3200 LS Color's Settings menu to retrieve a dedicated four-digit code which must then be entered into the phone to complete the process. With a phone connected, all contacts in the phonebook are automatically transferred to the 3200 LS Color (providing the phone has the requisite Bluetooth profile), making them available to dial via the device itself. The 3200 LS Color can hold up to 150 contacts. The pairing process also transfers the cell phone's call records to the Parrot device, making information on missed, outgoing, and incoming calls available at a glance.
While the text on the 3200 LS Color's display is smaller than that on the CK3100, its increased screen resolution and crisper graphics makes menus and contact entries easier to read at a glance. The 3200 LS Color's square form factor also lets it display an intuitive numerical keypad for dialing out by number, which we much prefer to the linear keypad on the CK3100. As with the earlier Parrot car kit, the 3200 LS Color has a spoken menu function that can be set to read out the individual digits on the keypad as they are selected in order to enable drivers to enter a phone number without taking their eyes from the road. On the other hand, the 3200 LS Color curiously does not have the ability to accept phone numbers dialed by voice: we're not sure why Parrot does not build this option into their devices as they obviously have a sophisticated voice recognition system that would enable this functionality.
In addition to the physical dial options, the 3200 LS Color comes with the same impressive voice-dialing features that we have come to expect from Parrot. To activate voice command, users must first record a series of keywords including "phone" (used to activate the voice dial feature), and "cellular," "home," and "work" to differentiate between different numbers for the same contact. Interestingly, the voice tag to end calls that we saw on the previous Parrot devices ("hang up") has been dropped from the 3200 LS Color, meaning drivers are now required to hang up by pressing the red button on the device. As with the CK3100, contacts stored in the 3200 LS Color can be assigned specific voice tags to enable voice dialing and for identifying incoming calls. While the voice-tagging can be performed entirely using the device itself (the CK3000 requires users to send them from the phone one at a time), it is still a cumbersome process to record two tags for each entry in the phonebook, especially if you makes use of all 150 slots.