Nowadays, car stereos aren’t what they used to be. The typical car stereo used to be just about the music, the wattage, and amount of bass in the trunk. In today’s trend, the idea of just these three components has exponentially been surpassed. With the introduction of CD/MP3, GPS Navigation, In-Dash DVD players, satellite radio receivers, and IPOD connectable features we’ve skyrocketed to new heights.
This time around, the new buzzword is Bluetooth. The Parrot Corporation has knock down the walls, yet again, with the latest in Bluetooth technology, the Parrot Rhythm n’ Blue Hands Free car stereo.
Usually, the Bluetooth device is an after market product that is wired to your stereo, or just bolted in. In the case with Parrot’s Rhythm n’ Blue, the Bluetooth technology is built in directly to the receiver. What does this mean? No bulky, clumsy, bolted on gizmos, with arms sticking out, and inconveniencing your dash and space. It’s a device easily installed in your dash which replaces your old car stereo. One quick step of connecting to the Bluetooth function on the Rhythm n’ Blue ensures literal hands free conversations in your car while driving down the coast.
On the plus side of the equation, the Rhythm n’ Blue is loaded with features including 180 watt (4x45W) power output capacity, CD-R/CD-RW ready, CD/MP3 capable, 4 channel audio selections (ROCK, Pop, Jazz, Flat) display, color screen display options, RDS functions.
On a more “end-user” point of view, some additional plusses also include the funky/sleek styling of the Rythm n’ Blue, Clear LCD display panel showcasing the station name and song title. We also like the excellent sound quality, and different color display settings. If you have that lazy feeling while driving, you can use the cool remote control for your convenience. Another big feature is the navigational layout the Rythm n’ Blue possesses. It’s fairly easy to navigate. However, we recommend that you are parked or at the stop light while going through the menu options.
The Bluetooth functions is where the Rythm n’ Blue shines the most. We were impressed with the level of performance the Rythm n’ Blue showed while using the Bluetooth function. While testing the Rythm n’ Blue, we drove in different areas of the tri-state area, and reception was phenomenal. In receiving calls, and sending calls, voice response was clear and sharp. We particularly like the added feature of the dial keypad on the Rythm n’ Blue to actually make a phone call through the radio, without having to use voice activation or your cell phone. This is an extra added bonus, especially if you have a number not in your phone book. You don’t have to look for a cell phone to dial a number, just dial it on the face plate. The LCD display clearly shows the caller ID of the caller, and phone number.
Though we really like the Parrot Rhythm n’ Blue, there were some concerns we had, and some suggestions that we would possibly like to see in future versions. Among them is the lack of clock on the display. This is maybe one of our biggest pet peeves. In lives such as ours, and like many others who live a hectic life, time is always of the essence. In that, we were a little disappointed in not knowing what the time was while we were driving. Yeah, we could have looked at a watch, or a phone, or the bobble head clock LCD. But, we rather see it in the face of the Rhythm n’ Blue.
While were we adjusting the volume controls on the Rythm n’ Blue, we had a problem with adjusting the volume on the speaker phone. For some reason, simply turning the knob wasn’t enough. We had to snap either left to lower, or right to increase. That we thought was a bit annoying.
For a list price, approximately $250-$300, we feel the Parrot Rhythm n Blue Hands Free Bluetooth receiver is a perfect buy for those who can’t live without a cell phone, and on a budget. And compared to other brands in the market, such as the Pioneer DEH-P9800BT (retail about $550), you’ll see there is almost as much for lower the price.
TOV rates this product 4 out of 5!