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(Pocket-lint) - With the "driving with a mobile" ban in its second year and news that vigilantes are taking to the streets slashing tyres of drivers they see on the phone, it's probably about time that if you do want to use your mobile while driving you look at investing in a Bluetooth headset.

Parrot, makers of all things Bluetooth, believe it has the answer with its Parrot Driver Bluetooth Headset, a device that comes compete with car charger so the unit is not only in the car for whenever you need it, but so its always fully charged.

The system works by providing a docking station that the Bluetooth headset sits into. The unit takes its power from a cigarette lighter and its a great idea and one that works very effectively as long as you're not already using it for your GPS.

As for the headset, it is very light, if not a little too light and very simple - you won't find any styling here similar to either the Jabra or Plantronics headsets.

In addition to the lack of styling, in an attempt to show off the unit's Bluetooth credentials, the headset features a rather bright blue light which beams out for all to see.

While we can perhaps see that an over-zealous engineer thought this might be a good thing, it's far from it. Like a Toshiba DVD player we recently reviewed, the aforementioned light does nothing but light up the cabin when the sun goes down.

In our test vehicle - a LandRover Freelander - this meant that down by our gearbox was a bright blue distracting light.

It also meant that it looks even more appealing to would be thieves as the blue light shines out like a beacon inviting it to be stolen. Why oh why it's there is beyond us.

When it came to quality however the Parrot Driver Bluetooth Headset worked very well, with no one we called complaining about sound or noise quality. We too have no complaints and apart from the weight we've already mentioned (it meant that it kept falling out) the overall performance is as good as other units we've tested.


As a concept to have a fully charged Bluetooth headset in your car, the Parrot Driver Bluetooth Headset is top notch. While we've been using a Bluetooth headset for sometime in the car, one of our bug bears is that we have to remember every so often to bring it in the house and charge it up. This system obviously negates that need.

However, we would have liked it to have a bit more style and to have better build quality. The current design looks cheap and cheerful and while that might work for a Ford Fiesta driver (no offence, of course, if you happen to be one) it's unlikely to wash with those who are keen to look good in their motor.

A good idea, it just needs a little finesse.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 17 August 2006.