Parrot 3200 LS Color review:

Parrot 3200 LS Color

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.

To activate the 3200 LS Color's voice command functions, users must record a series of voice tags.
To activate the 3200 LS Color's voice command functions, users must record a series of voice tags.

On the subject of tagging, the 3200 LS Color goes one better than the CK3100, as it enables users to assign a photograph to each of the contacts in the phonebook. To do this, users have to select the "associate photo" option in the Contacts Management menu. The Bluetooth connection is then suspended temporarily as you search for the desired image on the phone and then send the file via Bluetooth to the Parrot device. After about 15 seconds, the file transfer complete and the Bluetooth connection is resumes. The next time you either call that contact from the phonebook or receive a call from them, the relevant photo shows up on the color display--a very cool feature in our opinion. Also very cool is the capability of the 3200 LS Color to accept software updates via Bluetooth. To do this, users must download the relevant upgrades from Parrot's Web site and then transfer them to the device using either a computer with built-in Bluetooth or via an external Bluetooth dongle.

For incoming calls, the 3200 LS Color automatically mutes the car's stereo with a choice of four ringtones, and can also be set to autoanswer. In our test of the device, we found incoming call quality via our test car speakers to be clear, although at higher volumes the audio can become distorted. On the other end of the line, call quality via the single microphone was equally clear thanks in part, presumably, to the mic's built-in echo cancellation technology and background noise reduction. We expect the outgoing audio to be even better on the top-of-the-range Parrot 3200 LS Color Plus, which makes use of two integrated microphones (with one dedicated to monitoring background noise) as well as Parrot's proprietary digital signal processing to reduce echo and background interference.

In sum
With a price tag somewhere between $150 and $200, the Parrot 3200 LS Color is a good-value Bluetooth hands-free calling system. It manages to combine a basic, easy to use control interface with great voice-recognition functionality and nice-to-have features such as phototagging.

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