Contacts are accessed via rotary encoder or voice recognition dialing. The Minikit also features a redial function, accessed by holding the call button for two seconds.
After charging our Parrot Minikit Slim for the prescribed four hours using the mini USB 12-volt charger, we powered up the device, which instantly went into pairing mode. We located the device with our Bluetooth enabled phone and after a quick PIN entry, paired the two devices. The Minikit Slim immediately began downloading the complete phonebook from the connected phone.
Once the phonebook download was complete, we were able to access the entries by pressing the rotary encoder. By rotating the dial, we were able to select from phonebook, receive contacts, and select volume options spoken aloud by the device's text-to-speech function. Selecting phonebook, the device then spoke aloud the letter A. By rotating the dial, we were able to select the first letter of our contact's name, V. Finally, the device spoke aloud the names of the contacts beginning with the letter V as we rotated the dial. Settling on "Voice mail," we pressed the rotary encoder in and the device then completed the call. The whole process is remarkably fast and intuitive, and didn't require one glance at the phone past the pairing process, but the Minikit still had a trick up its sleeve.
By tapping the Call button, the Minikit Slim asked us, "Who would you like to call?" We simply said, "voice mail" and the call was completed. For some oddly spelled names, such as Frantz, the device had issues with recognizing our pronunciation, but the Minikit Slim recognized simple names, like Brandon, on the first try.
Call quality was clear on both ends of the conversation, thanks to noise reduction and echo cancellation. Audio quality of the flat panel speaker was a little tinny, but definitely good enough for speech with a fairly loud maximum volume. Because the device is full duplex, there was very little of the clipping that typically plagues speakerphones.
During our testing of the Parrot Minikit Slim, we couldn't help but compare it with the Editors' Choice Motorola Motorokr T505. The Minikit Slim doesn't offer the range of multimedia features offered by the T505, such as A2DP stereo audio streaming or FM transmitter integration. When it comes to core calling functions, however, the Parrot is slightly easier to use. Voice recognition and automatic downloading of a paired phone's address book are arguably more useful features that the T505 just doesn't have. Factor in the Parrot's lower price ($99 compared with the Motorola's $139) and the Parrot Minikit Slim is a worthwhile alternative to the Motorokr T505. However, the build quality of the Parrot unit, particularly the visor clip, cheapens this otherwise excellent hands-free solution; and it's this very issue that lowers the Parrot's score enough to keep it from earning an Editors' Choice.