Parrot Zik Wireless Bluetooth Headphone
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If you're looking for high-tech innovation in a headphone without sacrificing on sound quality, the Parrot Zik stand out in a class among themselves. These headphones offer a slew of desirable features, including active, switchable noise cancellation, superior headset features, bluetooth wireless operation, motion control sensors and an impressive software suite on the Apple/Android compatible app. The most unique and perhaps enjoyable feature of these headphones is the intuitive and well-implemented swipe control on the outside of the right earpiece, providing volume, track, and phone call operation. If you're looking for headphones based strictly on sound quality, there may be a few traditional wired headphones at this price that edge out the Parrot Zik, but that really isn't a fair comparison. These headphones offer an impressive array of bells & whistles, all well implemented, while still providing a highly satisfying listening experience.
- Instant pairing; simply touch iPhone to earpiece
- Touch control pause/play/forward tracks and easy up/down volume adjustment
- Motion detection auto-pauses music when headphone is removed
- Parrot Audio Suite App provides noise cancellation, concert hall, & EQ effects
- Multiple microphones ensure crystal clear conversations
- Gorgeous construction meets quality engineering in a top-notch bluetooth noise cancelling headphone!
What's In The Box:
- Parrot Zik Headphones
- 1 Micro USB Cable for charging and updating
- 1 3.5mm line in cable
- 1 Li-On battery, 800 mAh
- 1 Protective pouch
- 1 Quick Start Guide
The Parrot Zik, designed by Starck, bills itself as the "most advanced headphone". After spending some time with this unit, we can see why. There are a few other noise cancelling bluetooth headsets out there, but none with the added touch controls and motion detection found in the Parrot headphones. Swipe the outside of the right earpiece up and down to turn volume up and down on your music, swipe forward and back to advance/rewind tracks, and tap the middle to pause/play your music as well as answer a call. We were a bit skeptical of how well this functionality would really work, but it's very well implemented and rather fun to operate. When the headphones are removed from your head, your music or media is automatically paused. The Parrot Zik also comes with an included app; simply swipe your iPhone/Android to the earcup and you'll be prompted to automatically pair the device. We highly recommend using this app to tweak the sound to your liking. Parrot claims up to 25 dB of noise cancellation using 4 active microphones. Although, perhaps not too surprisingly we did find sound quality to improve quite a bit when turning off the "noise cancellation". The Parrot Concert Hall allows you to position your room size and speaker placement; and while these are fun DSP features to play with we ultimately prefer this turned off most of the time while listening to music. There is also an EQ with some automatic settings, or set the levels yourself to your liking. The app also has a battery level indicator, various bluetooth settings, and firmware updates.
We were quite pleased with the sound quality of the Parrot Zik Headphones, particularly once we turned off the noise cancelling setting. We were also surprised to find that once the headphones are plugged in with a cable, the sound is actually not as good. Having the ability to plug the headphones in is very handy in case your battery dies on a long flight, but in general these headphones are designed to be used in bluetooth mode.
And not to be overlooked is that the Parrot Zik is also a headset to use with your smartphone. Parrot has spent some time trying to achieve very clear call quality with the implmentation of two directional microphones and even a jawbone sensor to merge jaw bone vibrations with the sound of your voice. The Parrot Zik allows for hands free calling, and even a "Switch Dual Call" function; by swiping the earcup forward/backward one can switch between two calls.
The build quality of these headphones is certainly unique and of a high-quality construction. While they are a bit heavier than some other models, nearly all the HeadRoom Staffers found them to be comfortable to wear while creating a nice seal to passively block outside noise. Overall, nearly any tech afficianado would likely be quite pleased to have a set of these on their head, and will serve a wide variety of media genres and activities very well. Even old school audiophiles have to give the designers at Starck a nod for creating this jack-of-many-trades headphone without throwing sound quality out the window.
- Acoustic Seal: Closed
- Driver Type: Dynamic
- Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size
- Coupler Size: Medium
- Cord Type: Cordless
- Cord Length: 1 mtr.
- Detachable Cable: Yes
- Impedance @ 1kHz: 32 Ohms
- Weight: 325 grams
- Connector Type: 1/8
- Headphone Type: Full Size
- Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
- Noise Cancelling: Yes
- Microphone: Yes
- Wireless: Yes
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Manufacturer's Website
Posted by db65N on 2013-10-17
Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: noise cancel, integration w/ iPhone, touch control, equalizer, concert hall
Cons: top heavy, proprietary battery
(1) Audiophiles typically find fault with any sort of "addition" or processing of signals, even compression and tone controls. These headphones in contrast have digital signal processing at their core. Digital signal compression over Bluetooth, active noise cancellation, equalizer and "concert hall" effects are built in (the latter three can be switched off). Listening with the headphones' DSP off is disappointing. They are not designed to - and do not - reproduce accurately without the DSP (that is, as passive headphones).
Noise cancellation does a good job on droning air handlers and motors, but also colors music subtly. It has to of course because ANC lowers the noise floor better at lower frequencies thus changing the apparent relative loudness of the source at different frequencies. In an otherwise quiet environment you might prefer to switch it off - or use a more purist audiophile headset. I find the equalizer and concert hall effects intriguing and use them on many but not all recordings, but purists are bound to find the effects introduce artifacts. These headphones are well designed for listening in non-ideal listening environments (office, commuting, airplane, busy household) but perhaps not for critical audiophile listening in a quiet environment.
(2) The headphones have a sophisticated digital controller: the Parrot Zik app on your iPhone. Do not think of the app as an optional add-on, but rather a key component in listening with these headphones. The three components for listening are audio source (wired or bluetooth connected), headphone with internal DSP, and controller (iPhone app). Listening to a source other than the iPhone via cable the app still controls the noise cancellation, concert hall effects, and equalizer (so long as still Bluetooth paired with the iPhone).
You might get the impression from some reviews that the headphones only work well if using iPhone as the audio source, but that is incorrect. Using the standard audio cable with 3.5mm plugs, you can listen through any source with an audio jack, still controlling the Ziks via the iPhone app. But you also do not need to leave the iPhone app - or the iPhone itself - running while listening; the Ziks retain the settings from the iPhone app even when you shut down the iPhone (on airplane for example) and bluetooth, and listen via the cable, still using the DSP with previously established settings. This is the appropriate airplane mode (DSP on, but cord rather than bluetooth for audio) and the batteries last much longer.
These appear well made, but come with a simple cloth bag instead of a case. I recommend the firm-sided case now available. For all-day travel without re-charing, you will also want a second battery.
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