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  1. #1
    r0n
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    Hello there...

    I'm trying to find out if the parrot ck3100 bluetooth car kit is worth purchasing?

    Any known problems? Any phone feed back etc. Pro's and Cons. I did a searched google for reviews on the ck3100 and could not find any.

    If you any experience with this car kit, please give me your review / feedback on it.

    Thank You.
    -R


    See More: Parrot 3100 Reviews needed




  2. #2
    eustonr
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    Hi,

    I bought one of these yesterday and installed it this morning, and have been testing all day

    Pros :
    Easy to install
    - The ISO connectors make connecting to a car stereo rather easy. There's lots of cables, but it made sense. I had mine up and running in half an hour. The hardest part is working out where to put the head unit...

    Noise and voice cancellation
    - this is really - really - good. I have a celica GT4, and it is rather noisy at high speed. The directional mike, if well placed, reduces the noise extremely well. With my last handsfree kit, the echo was really bad - so it was a pleasure to finally get a unit that WORKS - with no echo at all

    Auto syncing with mobile phonebook
    - once the mobile and handsfree is paired, the 2 work very well together. My phone is a Z1010, which is a bit flaky itself but the connection just worked.

    Usability
    - Good screen, well lit. The unit's Voice Recognition is very very good - spot on, and it's quick. One nice thing - it has call waiting - if you get another call while on the phone, the line will not only beep, but the handsfree headunit will flash up who is trying to phone you.... very smart

    Cons:
    There are a few niggles, mostly to do with fireware bugs

    Mute only works with standard stereo headunits.
    - My car stereo has a Phoenix gold external amp and sub. The unit is NOT designed to work with this srt of audio equipment. The MUTE works by disconnecting the stereo from the speakers, and powering the speakers itself - my speakers are attached to the amp, so this does not work. However, since there is an option of using LINE IN to the stereo, this isn't too much of a problem, however the mute does not work for me. for this reason . If I AM LISTENING TO THE RADIO AND I get a call, I have to manually switch the stereo over to the line-in input before I answer.

    Firmware bug #1
    - I'm using the latest firmware - 4.10 - but there's a few issues. The unit defaults to using the phone's voice recognition, even though the manual says (rightly so) that the handsfree VR is much more advanced, and works better in noisy environment. You can select the handsfree VR, but it reverts to the phone's every time the unit is switched on (ie, everytime the car is started) This is a major pain (my main complaint actually), and I have put in a support call over it.

    Firmware bug #2
    - Calling Orange's Answerphone service does NOT work for some reason. calling 123 fails completely. Calling the full number works, but t doesn't detect your number so it asks for you to enter it.
    I tried to get around this by adding my number to the end on the full answer service number with a pause between - but this also fails, because the CK3100 does not understand pauses while dialing - the phonebook sync drops the "p" in the number. I've complained about this bug too.

    Firmware bug #3
    - you can select first name, lastname or lastname, firstname ordering, but the phonebook ignores this setting and always lists names lastname, firstname. The ordering setting seems to only affect caller ID display. This may sound like a little niggle, but its annoying, as I use firstname lastname in my phonebook

    Firmware bug # 4
    - Theres no voice command to answer (pickup) a call

    Poor documentation
    - The manufacturers are french, and they have not put a lot of time into the documentation. The installation requires a bit of guess work, as does working out how to use the thing once its working. The makers web site is not the best either.

    Usability
    - I find the single dial control to navigate the menus ok, but not great. I wouldn't want to have to use it while driving, so you really need to get the voice recognition sorted out. The american accent is rather irritating after a while too. Its annoying that using the mobile to dial instead of the ck3100 will kill the bluetooth connection, but i think thats my phone's fault . Also, when using Voice Recognition to make a call, there are no prompts onscreen or voice prompts. The unit just beeps - you need to KNOW to say the name, wait for a beep, then say which number (home, work, cellular, other, general, or preferred!)

    All in all, firmware bugs aside, it is a very good unit - best of its type in my opinion. What matters is the quality of the connection when calling - and that is outstanding. Being able to keep your phone in your pocket - just being able to get into a car and drive without worring about connecting your phone to a handsfreekit - is fantastic. I love it! The unit still needs some work, but as i said, its firmware issues that should get resolved as time goes on.

    Robert



  3. #3
    r0n
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    Hey there Robert,

    Thanks for the write up. Since my original post I've also purchased the ck3100 car kit. I installed mine a week and half ago. Your right this system is awesome. It's everything you said except the problems your having. I have some good news... the problems your having might be your phone and not the car kit. I have a motorola v505 and I'm not having the same problems. I'm also at the lastest firmware 4.10. My kit came at firmware 4.05.

    I'm very lucky that it was a plug and play system for me. The hardest part was getting the head unit out but it's known that my stock radio is difficult to remove. I have a 01 Audi A4 with a non bose Symphony radio which has phone inputs. Because it was a non bose system made it plug n play. Also my stock radio has phone inputs which I didn't use because when I tested it came out only from the drivers side speaker. Going through speaker ISO connections made it much louder. It also has mute inputs, when I get a call it mutes the radio or pauses the CD. I'm not sure if I like the mute feature because when I'm having a long conversation, I want some music on the back ground.


    I started reading your post and right when I read the part about the system doesn't know the pauses, I immediately went to the car and tested it out. My voice mail is setup to pause so it would wait a second or two before inputting the password. It worked for me.

    "Firmware bug #1
    - I'm using the latest firmware - 4.10 - but there's a few issues. The unit defaults to using the phone's voice recognition, even though the manual says (rightly so) that the handsfree VR is much more advanced, and works better in noisy environment. You can select the handsfree VR, but it reverts to the phone's every time the unit is switched on (ie, everytime the car is started) This is a major pain (my main complaint actually), and I have put in a support call over it."

    - I have not tested this part.

    "Firmware bug #2
    - Calling Orange's Answerphone service does NOT work for some reason. calling 123 fails completely. Calling the full number works, but t doesn't detect your number so it asks for you to enter it.
    I tried to get around this by adding my number to the end on the full answer service number with a pause between - but this also fails, because the CK3100 does not understand pauses while dialing - the phonebook sync drops the "p" in the number. I've complained about this bug too."

    - I mention this above, not having the same problem.

    "Firmware bug #3
    - you can select first name, lastname or lastname, firstname ordering, but the phonebook ignores this setting and always lists names lastname, firstname. The ordering setting seems to only affect caller ID display. This may sound like a little niggle, but its annoying, as I use firstname lastname in my phonebook"

    - Not having this problem my list by first name. I also use first name to search the phonebook.

    "Firmware bug # 4
    Theres no voice command to answer (pickup) a call"

    - I haven't check to see if that's missing. I turned this option off because the radio (well not really the radio, when I'm sort of singing the song ) or taking on the phone would trigger one of the voice commands. I had "bye" set to hang up the phone, when I was having a conversation the phone would keep on hanging up. I couldn't figure it out because I wasn't saying bye and it was hanging up. I think I might have said words that sounded close to bye. I deactivited the hang up voice command and problem went away.


    "Poor documentation
    - The manufacturers are french, and they have not put a lot of time into the documentation. The installation requires a bit of guess work, as does working out how to use the thing once its working. The makers web site is not the best either."

    I agree, good thing this kit was straight forward.

    "Its annoying that using the mobile to dial instead of the ck3100 will kill the bluetooth connection, but i think thats my phone's fault."

    - not having this problem.

    Are going to try another phone?


    -Ron



  4. #4
    eustonr
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    Hi,

    Regarding "pauses", I don't think you understand what I mean. How do you dial your voicemail? Do you use the handset to make the call (pressing and holding the "1" key), or do you have a phonebook entry ? Use the parrot to make the call from a phonebook entry to test the problem - it will work if you use the handset, because you are using the handset phonebook. The issue involves the parrot's phonebook not understanding "p" as a pause.

    Just to make things clear .... If you use your handset to dial a number try dialing a number (123 for arguments sake) - then HOLD DOWN the * key - after a second the * will turn into a "p" That "p" tells the phone to "pause" for a second before dialing the rest of the number (whatever you type in after)

    This is useful for storing an access number , and encoding the responses it expects - for example, I use the "just Dial" service to dial internationally. You call 08707940870 to connect to them, then type in the number you want to call (in my case, relatives in Australia) This is very cheap - in most cases it doesn't cost anything, as it is charged against your inclusive minutes

    So I have this encoded into certain contacts in my phone - they look like : 08707940870p0061712345677
    Which works if dialed using the handset.

    However, with the Parrot ck3100 - it doesn't understand the "p" so it stores the number 087079408700061712345677 (ie, without the "p") in the phonebook - so dialing these numbers using the ck3100 fails, Definately a firmware bug.

    I have a sony T610 - my old phone - which I am currently selling on Ebay. I still have the (working) Vodafone sim too. I was able to try this with the ck3100 this morning.

    It has exactly the same issues. Specifically, it does not retain the Voice Recognition setting. I found 2 other settings it turns off too - it deactivates the "phone" and "hang up" key words - even though it retains the voice recordings of them. I'm sure now that this is another bug.

    I found a way around the "dial voicemail" issue - if I make the call from the handset, it works. Yesterday when i was testing, everytime i tried this, the handset would disconnect from the ck3100. It worked this morning.

    On the manufacturers web site, the sony phones (both my Z1010 and my T610) are the best supported. (funny that)

    Don't get me wrong - I'm very happy... if only I can get the VR to keep its settings.....

    Robert



  5. #5
    eustonr
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    in Addendum...

    I have a number of my problems fixed .

    1. Muting.
    I got this to work today with a little surgery on the car's audio system.
    I have a 4 channel amp and a bridged 2 channel amp for my sub - I worked out to get the mute to work, I would have to route the speakers through the stereo headunit... or the relay that comes with the parrot.
    I opted for the former. I switched the front speakers from the amp to using the JVC head unit's internal amp (it's a mosfett amp anyway, and quite a good one). I removed the smaller two channel amp, and switched the sub to the now vacant (bridged) front half of the main amp. Then I switched on muting in the head unit... and voila, it all works.
    The only problem is that my fronts (high end Phoenix Gold coax speakers) are not being driven properly by the parrot. Oh well.

    I also hooked up the speaker from my old handsfree onto the left rear channel, hoping to get better sound from it- it appears that the parrot does not drive the rears at all. bummer

    2. lost settings
    Apparently the ignition and battery cables are shipped the wrong way around. THATS why I lose all my settings - the give away is that the unit is supposed to stay on for 5 seconds after the engine is turned off. If it doesn't, then the wires are reversed. Once I fixed this, it works perfectly - all my settings are kept.
    This was a tough one - the voice recordings are kept in non-volatile ram, so were not lost when the unit was disconnected from the power - , but the other settings are in ordinary ram. Very strange.

    3. Dialing Orange Answer phone
    This still fails, but the work around is to dial it from the handset only

    The "p" pause command does get synced into the parrots phone book (remember I use it all in my Australian numbers in my phonebook), but it still doesn't actually do anything. So this is still an issue I have to chase with the manufacturers.

    insidently, holding down the green key on the parrot calls the answering service - but due to this problem, it doesn't actually work.....

    4. name ordering.

    This I think is a quirk of my phone. Select "firstname lastname" in the parrot, and you get "lastname firstname". Select "lastname firstname" and you get "frstname lastname"!! So thats the fix. Select the reverse of what you want!! The damn thing must be female!

    5. Missing voice commands.
    Well, we all have to go without something...

    One more bug - it doesn't display my network name, altho the docs says it does. The T610 does - but with the Z1010, it doesn't.

    So - most problems fixed - result!

    robert



  6. #6
    r0n
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    Glad to hear a lot problems been resolved. I finally did the test with dialing from the parrot phonebook. Here's how I set it up. On the phone I enter 1925457345p*p1234# then save the entry as Test. I push on the dial button to get the ABC etc. I go to the T section and no test in the phonebook list. I notice the sync symbol on the parrot display and waited a couple of minutes for it to go away. I check in the T section and Test was now on the list. I select Test and hit the dial button. It connected to my voice mail properly. No problems with this function. I have to hit the * button to have the voice mail prompt for a password. The pauses has to be there or it will dial the numbers too fast.

    I'm not having the same problem when I hold the green / dial button, it dials the last number I dialed.

    My name order is the same as the phone book. First Last name.

    My network name shows on parrot display. I see it toggal from Cingular to ATT Wireless (something like that).

    I think it's the phone. Try a motorolla bluetooth phone as a test?

    -R



  7. #7
    eustonr
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    After I wrote last, I had to do some more surgery on the car's audio system. As I wrote earlier, the Parrot was not pwoerful enough to drive my PG speakers. So I've installed a 5th speaker especially for the Parrot - works great. I wanted to put the line output through the amp, but this wasn't practical, as I would have either needed anotehr channel, or some clever rewiring of the Parrots relay circiutry.

    The only real problem I have now is dropped connections. This appears to be a bluetooth fault. My calls drop after about 5 mins of talking some days are worse than others. I understand that this is a common complaint, and not just with my phone - but i believe my Z1010 is worse than most.

    So, it is almost useless. I'm waiting for a firmware upgrade (both the Z1010 and the parrot) to see if my problems will then finally go away....

    Robert



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