Cobra 4138 Thatcham Cat 1 Alarm Review

Cobra are the most prestige security brand in the world. With the most advanced vehicle security it is the best route to go with Cobra when choosing a car alarm. The Cobra 4138 is fully Thatcham approved and features very nice ultrasonic sensors which match the vehicles head liner perfectly unlike many other systems on the market which are normally black and out of place within the new style of vehicle interiors. The ultrasonics are also self adjusting when arming the alarm system this means within the first 40 seconds of pressing the lock button the alarm will know how sensitive it needs to make the ultrasonic sensors. This means this is the most reliable form of interior protection ever made for the car and van market.
The remote key fobs are made from a very strong ABS plastic and they are good for builders or people that are naturally heavy handed. Cobra also have many spares on the market if you ever need a replacement fob case or a new remote control if you loose any. The immobiliser unit is very strong and filled with epoxy when made so there is no bypass method for a thief to use if they wanted to steal your vehicle. The immobiliser is linked to the main Cobra ECU by a digital signal and this can't be tampered with or matched they are uniquely paired when the alarm is made in Italy. In terms of reliability these systems normally last for 10 years plus when fitted correctly.

Some helpful links when looking to buy a Cobra alarm.

ScorpionTrack Cat 5 Thatcham Approved Review

With the release of the Scorpiontrack Cat 5 tracking unit with ADR card and an immobiliser cut people are starting to wonder what this very large tracking company have to offer. The Thatcham Cat 5 units are very expensive due to them being fitted to vehicles worth over £90.000. They are special because they have to have a automatic driver recognition card (ADR). Scorpion have gone about this a very good way from an engineering point of view. The tiny micro plastic welded card can fit in your wallet or can be placed in your jacket pocket. This card needs to enter the vehicle with the driver otherwise the unit will send an alert to the Scorpion tracking head office. They will then make contact with the driver or family members to make sure the vehicle has not been stolen or hi jacked from the owner. The Cat 5 units also feature an immobiliser cut on the starter circuit which stops the vehicle being restarted if the traffic police give permission to the Scorpion head office to immobilise the vehicle from re starting.

If the vehicle is moved or towed and the vehicles owner is not in the vehicle it will trigger an alert within seconds and notify Scorpion there may be a theft in progress. With Scorpion making everything in the UK and only dealing with the very best engineers in the country you can be guaranteed to be given the very customer care at all times. If you would like one of these devices fitted it may be worth taking a look at or if you would like to find out more information on what this product has to offer over the other tracking brands you can look on The device also comes with a very long warranty period over many other tracking units on the market. It currently stands at a five year warranty to give you the best piece of mind when choosing a tracking product that is right for your car. Remember Scorpion have been around for many years manufacturing Toad and Sigma vehicle alarm systems which have been market proven to last many years out in the field.

IO Play 2 Review

So what do we like about the IO Play 2 well it's been made and designed in the UK by Armour Auto the kit itself was designed for around 3 years to provide the very best hands free system aimed at people who love music and great quality in car gadgets. The IO Play 2 is I would say the very best engineered Bluetooth hands free I have ever installed. All the main parts are very well molded and stress tested against the harsh in car environment the controller is wired which makes many people think twice about buying the Parrot MKI range of kits due to all them having a non light up controller. 

The IO was designed from the start as a music kit before handsfree and you could tell. The original IO handsfree released in 2007 got a bit of echo when talking but they really made the IO Play 2 perfect with its performance 180 watt class D amplifier you can be assured the quality is very good and it will sound very nice in your car. Most people agree it sounds better than the original factory radio fitted in most cases. The OLED display is very easy to read without any issues in sunny weather conditions and the kit can transfer around 9000 contacts to the phone book when it connects with your phone. The IO Play 2 also offers multi point pairing meaning you can have more than one device paired at any time this is perfect if you have a work phone and a different personal phone.

The screen is fully removable if you park in bad area's and the kit itself can even read out text messages which is a major advancement over the other hands free brands on the market. I think from experience this is the very best hands free you can buy on the market today, It also offers the customer the ability to update the Bluetooth hands free system when new phones are released and the software is out of date.

Like any other Bluetooth Hands free this kit should be installed by an IO Approved Engineer at all times as it is involved to fit and may require extra adapters to fit correctly in your vehicle.

How to connect iPhone5 to Parrot MKI Handsfree

So you have brought a Parrot MKI series music Bluetooth kit got the kit fully installed by disappointed you can't simply plug your iPhone 5 into the supplied 30pin Apple charging lead to allow you full charging and music playback? Well Apple have released a clip in lighting adapter which plugs on the end of the Parrot MKI 30pin lighting adapter to allow you a simple connection of your iPhone 5.

This not only supports charging but also full audio to allow music playback at very high quality. These little adapters are not cheap coming in at around £25 from the Apple store, but it's not worth getting a cheap one from the internet due to it only allowing charging as there is no official Apple microchip inside which allows full music playback and the cheap models are no way as good as the correct part.

With this official adapter you can be sure your Parrot MKI series 9000,9100,9200 will work perfectly and you can rest assured no damage will happen to your £500 phone.  

Parrot CK3100 Review

The most successful selling Bluetooth kit in the world the Parrot CK3100 has been the most popular hands free kit installed for Fleets and private customers all over the UK, many people enjoy using this kit because it offers everything you need in a simple format without having any issues. The screen is black and white with a very nice white back lighting the display used to light up blue many years ago but they changed it to white and I must say it is better to see in the dark. The kit in terms of reliability is very good there has only been a couple of software problems where Parrot have had to step in and fix the issue. You can pair up to five phones but you can only have one actively paired at anyone time due to no multi point pairing on this kit. The display is a nice black color and looks very sleek on most dashboards and with the display only being small it doesn't look out of place.

You should be looking to buy this kit if you don't need multi point pairing for your personal and work phone or you don't wish to Bluetooth stream your music to the vehicle speakers. If you are looking to do this I would suggest having a look at this kit This kit provides everything you need for pairing more than one phone and music requirements. When you link up your phone via Bluetooth the kit will check your phone for contacts and download whatever contacts you have stored on your phones memory which is very nice while driving as you can simply and legally browse through your contacts and dial which one you need. The Parrot CK3100 also features voice tags if you have some common numbers you always call you can set a voice tag on that contact and dial out with a simple press on the green button.

This kit is the very best on the market and should always been installed by a professional to give you the very best call quality and call experience and it should always be installed in a safe way that doesn't danger the owner of the vehicle. you will also require an audio harness for most vehicles due to the Parrot CK3100 only coming with a standard ISO harness that is universal and should be made to fit the vehicle by the correct SOT lead.

Parrot Asteroid Smart Review

The Parrot Asteroid has not got known yet due to it only being released around a year ago. It is a double din radio and Bluetooth/Sat Nav system and it offers very advanced features including internet browsing if you have a 3G or 4G dongle attached to the USB lead. It offers the fantastic call quality you would expect from Parrot and the screen is nice and wide to allow ease of use when driving. The price of this unit is a major factor due to it coming in at a very low price of around £450. Most Sat Nav units from other brands are around £600 upwards. which means you are getting a huge amount of bang for buck with this unit.

A few people have said it is a little slow booting up when you first turn it on, you do have to remember it has a large amount of features to load when first turning your ignition on this could be annoying if you are used to MAC based software where everything is loaded on the click of a button. When you turn the unit on it will boot on the main home screen and not the last thing you was using the device for the radio is a good example, you would need to click radio and reselect the station you was listening to. There might be an update from Parrot at a later time to correct this issue I have noticed.

The Asteroid Smart comes with pre-out's in case you wish to add a sub woofer or to amp the front and rear speakers to get the most from your audio upgrade. It also features a steering wheel port due to many factory cars coming with stalk or steering wheel controls now and if you wish to keep these an additional lead can be added to work alongside these.

The Satnav doesn't work as standard when you first set the unit up you need to register the device and your details on the Parrot Asteroid market place to allow you to sign in and set the device up. The device is very easy to navigate around and the sensitive touch screen makes using the device better than any add on Parrot hands free on the market. A reverse camera can be added to the screen to appear when the cars reverse gear is selected. The unit has an advanced amplifier inside to give you much better listening quality over the original car radio.

Late cars will normally need a fascia plate and a wiring adapter / Ariel adapter to allow the system to fit correctly in your dashboard. This type of work should be carried out by a Parrot certified installer to make sure the device works correctly and you get the very best experience from your product. By using a certified dealer you also know you are getting UK approved stock which is a must for the correct warranty in the UK.

Parrot MKI9200 Review

The Parrot MKI9200 has been around now for 5 years, At first it had a few glitches within the software but the biggest improvement over this kit is the easy updates via USB, this makes updating the kit hassle free and you don't need to visit a Parrot certified dealer. The MKI 9200 is now the most popular hands free being installed at this current time. Most people have I phones or apple devices and for the little extra cost they also want to play their music in the car and this Parrot Bluetooth hands free offers everything you need.

The only downside to this handsfree kit is the wireless controller most people would prefer a wired control so it has back lighting for low light levels like night time, It can be tricky to control the wireless controller at night if your not used to the button layout on the control. The battery inside the control normally lasts for around 2 years but Parrot did go though a stage of supplying cheap batteries and these lasted only months. The latest kits seem back to normal and last a fair amount of time. The battery is a CR2032 and you should always replace it with a branded battery like Duracell for example. Many people also say the controller is not made very strong and doesn't last very long, but you do have to remember the control is one of the main used parts of the kit.

The dual microphone is an improvement over the Parrot CK range and has a slightly better echo cancellation system to give you the best quality whilst at speed without having to raise your voice during a call. The built in amp seems to also gives better output over the regular CK range. The kit has been improved on the UK's best selling kit which is the CK3100. The MKI9200 has also been fully approved with Apple to state the made for Iphone and Ipod logo's.

The full color screen is very clear and easy to read while driving unlike other handsfree kits where the screen is dim and you strain your eyes trying to use basic features. The wallpaper can be changed like a PC so you can make the kit have a picture of your car manufacture to make the MKI look more original fit or a picture your choice. These pictures are easy to upload and you can transfer them over within seconds. The screen has an inbuilt SD card slot which means you can have pictures and music stored on this and you won't have to mess around connecting your phone to the lead.

The audio lead that comes with the Parrot MKI 9200 has a 3.5 mm aux in connect and USB along with the 30 pin apple connecter, If you are planning to use this kit with a very late apple product like an Iphone 5 for example. You will need to buy an Apple Lighting adapter which is available in the Apple shop for around £25. Once this has been clipped on the 30 pin connecter you simply plug your phone in.

Always make sure you use a Parrot certified installer and ask them about the extra year's warranty for the best piece of mind when buying a Parrot MKI system. In most cars you will need an additional audio harness to allow the Parrot system to be connected without cutting any wiring.

Smartrack Review | Stolen Vehicle Recovery UK

The Smartrack Protecter PRO has been around for many years it has been proven as being the most reliable and cost effective tracker in the car security industry. These units range from £195 - 349 fully installed you should always check to make sure your getting a neat and secure installation that is fitted within the Smartrack guidelines and within the vehicles manufacturers specifications at all times. Many new cars have less copper in the wiring and using a soldering iron can cause damage to the original car loom, in this case approved heat shrink crimps should be used.

The Smartrack Protecter PRO itself is very small around 6 inchs big and about 3 inch in width so it can be very hidden on most vehicles due to the fact of many other well known tracking units on the market are large in size meaning they can't be hidden as well. All the wiring is black coming out of the unit is a solid black color making it very hard to trace the wiring back to the tracking device. Most of the engineers who install these units match the original vehicle harness tape to hide everything as good as possible within your vehicle, There are two common types of tape used insulation tape and cloth tape these are always a good match to your vehicle when hiding the wiring.

The unit uses GPS for the location and GSM for communication over the mobile network via data this will give the Smartrack 24 hour call center all the information they need in terms of vehicle location. Ignition status and if the vehicle is being towed. Smartrack will also carry out a unit health check every month to make sure the internal battery is holding charge and to make sure it will still work via the backup battery if power to the main vehicle is cut.

Smartrack have put the unit through Thatcham Cat 6 approval meaning your insurance company will be happy to accept this form of insurance approved tracking unit. Smartrack have just released an app where you can track the vehicle yourself.