The Parrot Minikit Chic

For those who hate headsets, a new bluetooth device makes calls hands-free.

Dec. 3, 2008— -- We've gotten so used to speakerphones in the office and our homes, it may not come as a surprise to see them making the move to the car.

For those of you who tire of walking around with a headset dangling from your ear, the Parrot MINIKIT CHIC answers the call. It's a portable Bluetooth hands-free kit you can take from car to car, or even to your office or home.

Once paired with your Bluetooth-enabled phone, it automatically uploads all your cell phone contacts and announces who's calling when the phone rings. The text-to-speech function also allows you to call from your contact list by simply stating the person's name -- no need to train the phone. The MINIKIT can pair with and recognize up to five cell phones, so the whole family can use it.

As car kits go, this one doesn't just phone it in. It's a stylish design, thin and sleek with silver flowers etched onto a black curvy base, which attaches neatly to your car's sun visor. You're talking in style here.

One thing I don't much like about speakerphones in cars is that I can usually hear myself talking, in echo. Parrot uses noise cancellation and echo reduction technology to cut down on the echo factor, and does a pretty good job of it on the MINIKIT.

The MINIKIT comes with a USB car charger and a USB cable that lets you upload any firmware updates, but no AC adapter.