Parrot CK3300 Hands Free car kit and GPS Reviewed

Hands Free Car Kit

Jun. 01, 2006 By Mike Lyon
Parrot CK3300


      Parrot, founded in 1994 and based in Paris, makes a wide range of electronic products. What makes Parrot's products different is the use of a wireless technology called BlueTooth. Parrot's most popular products are their hands free cell phone car kits. We had the opportunity to try out one of their systems, the Parrot CK3300 GPS Car Kit. We installed it in a Chevrolet crew cab truck and used a Motorola Razr cell phone. 

      The Parrot CK3300 is a system installed in your vehicle that allows you to talk on your cell phone through the vehicles audio system. It "syncs up" to your cell phone and allows you to use the Parrot system to view your phone book list and dial directly from the Parrot system by either the dial on the LCD screen or through voice recognition.

      BlueTooth technology is a way for devices to connect to each other without wires. It works the same way as when devices are connected via a USB cable except there's no cable! There are many uses for BlueTooth such as transferring data or files from one device to another. The most popular device is the common wireless cell phone headsets.

      The Parrot CK3300 system is both a hands free car kit along with a GPS receiver. Your cell phone must have BlueTooth technology built in for it to communicate with the Parrot CK3300. The first step is getting your phone ready, on your cell phone you need to enable BlueTooth and have it 'find' nearby devices. Once each device connects, your system is ready to use. We have our cell phone set to automatically connect each time we get in the truck. 

      The Parrot CK3300 includes the LCD display unit, a control box (mounted in a hidden area of your vehicle), a microphone, a GPS antenna, and all cables. It is recommended to have it professionally installed which we had done by San Diego Car Stereo. We bought an extra wiring harness that made the system almost plug and play. Due to the fact that our truck has the Bose stereo system and OnStar (which had been disabled) the extra harness was not quite plug and play, that?s why we took it to the Pro's! The extra harness was from and they offer many harnesses for the Parrot system with most being plug and play.

      Once installed the system was easy to use. We set-up a few voice commands to the people we call most. This allows you to dial that person by saying their name as well as when they call you their name is heard through the audio system in the truck. To dial with the control knob on the LCD display unit just rotate the knob. It will automatically mute the vehicles radio and scroll through the letters in the alphabet. When you are scrolling through the letters the Parrot system says the letter you?re on through the audio system. This allows you to scroll though the letters without taking your eyes off the road. Once you're at the desired letter you press the knob in to select that letter, then you can scroll through the names in your phone book that begin with the selected letter. Let's say you?re calling your friend John, you scroll through the alphabet until you hear the letter ?J?, press the knob in and scroll until you hear 'John'. This is assuming you set-up voice names for each person in your phone book. Even if you haven't it?s easy to see the person?s name on the LCD screen. Another way to dial is to use your cell phone. You can either, enter in the number on the cell phone key pad or select a person from your phone book list, press send and set your phone down. The call is dialed and heard through the vehicle audio system. Voice dialing is the easiest way to call someone, simply press the Green call button and say the person?s name. 

      Some standard features on the Parrot system are very similar to cell phones such as caller ID, received and missed calls, echo cancellation and noise reduction, private conversation mode, and auto answer. We had our microphone mounted in the upper left corner of the truck near the roof. Even with someone in the back seat, on the opposite side of the truck, the microphone reception was amazing, tons better than the OnStar microphone.

      The Parrot CK3300 also has a built in GPS receiver. You can connect via BlueTooth, a smart phone, a PDA or even a laptop to the GPS receiver. This allows hands free navigation. We connected a laptop, which has built in BlueTooth, and used Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006 software. While a laptop is rather large to be mounted in a vehicle, we already had it and didn?t want to buy a new PDA. We used a Ram-Mount laptop vehicle mounting system (See Ram-mount article) to securely mount the laptop in the truck. It allows you to swivel the laptop so the driver can view the directions or allows a passenger to use the laptop for navigation as well as other applications while on the road. Microsoft Streets & Trips also has voice navigation. It tells you where and when to turn! 

      The Parrot CK3300 is a great addition to any vehicle. It allows hands free use of your cell phone and is easy to use. This is a much safer way to talk on your cell phone while driving.

      Parrot offers other hands free systems such as easy plug and play, hands free devices (plugs into your 12 volt cigarette and has a stand alone speaker and microphone) to use with their color LCD car kit that displays a picture of the person calling. Parrot also offers wireless speakers for your home stereo and even a picture frame that can randomly display up to 100 different pictures. Newsletter
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