The Good The Parrot CK3100 is a cost-effective Bluetooth hands-free calling system with some surprisingly advanced calling features including a decent voice-command interface and a useful phonebook-syncing feature.
The Bad Programming in voice tags for contacts can be time consuming, and there is no option for dialing individual numbers by voice.
The Bottom Line The Parrot CK3100 combines a simple, easy to use control interface with a good voice-recognition system to provide drivers with easy hands-free calling on the road.
With legislation on the horizon banning the use of cell phones while driving, we decided to take a look at the options for those drivers with too much self respect to wear Bluetooth headsets. With an increasing number of hands-free speakerphones on the market, Parrot's CK3100 still manages to hold its own when it comes to features and usability.
The CK3100 is a characteristically simply-designed device from Parrot. Like the more basic CK3000 Evolution, it features the usual call, answer, and hang-up buttons as well as a push button rotary dial for navigating menus. The big difference between the CK3100 and its baby brother is the former's three-line monochromatic LCD display, which adds another layer of functionality to what is already a very easy to use hands-free calling system. With a cell phone connected to the CK3100, the display shows a range of useful information, including signal strength, battery life, and current call volume. In our experience, installation of the CK3100 is best left to Parrot-approved dealers as the connectors needed are car-specific ISO harnesses, which are difficult to find in the aftermarket. With the device installed its two visible components (the screen module and the external microphone) take up very little room and can be easily mounted almost anywhere within sight of the driver.
Features and performance
As with the CK3000, the CK3100's simple design disguises an impressive number of features. With the hard work of installation done by someone else, connecting a cell phone to the CK3100 is a breeze: Simply search for the device using your cell phone and enter a passcode. The first time that a phone is connected to the CK3100, the entire phonebook as well as all call records (missed calls, outgoing calls, etc.) are transferred to the Parrot device giving drivers all the relevant information they need to use the device as a proxy for their phone. Those who so wish can still dial out using the phone handset, after which the call is routed through the Parrot device and the car's speakers.