Parrot Zik wireless headphones (preview)

Parrot's Zik wireless headphones have been designed specifically for smartphone users

Wacky French tech company Parrot — the same folks who brought us the AR.Drone and AR.Drone 2.0 flying quadricopters — has now dipped its fingers into the headphone market. The Parrot Zik wireless headphones have been designed specifically for smartphone users and are packed full of some very cool technology.

An NFC (Near Field Communications) chip, swipe touch sensitive controls and a jawbone sensor. This doesn't sound like the specifications sheet of a set of headphones, but that's exactly what's built into the Parrot Zik. Along with active noise cancelling, a DSP effect called "Parrot Concert Hall" and a presence-sensor, the Parrot Zik headphones are certainly different.

The Parrot Zik is the first pair of headphones to feature an NFC chip. This enables you to tap an NFC compatible smartphone against the side of the headphones to immediately pair the two devices. However, the NFC feature is initially only compatible with two smartphones, the BlackBerry Curve and the Nokia N9.

Parrot has confirmed the Zik's software will be updated in the coming months to support various other NFC compatible smartphones like Samsung's Galaxy S III, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the HTC One X, but it has not provided a time frame as to when this will happen.

The Parrot Zik headphones come with an active noise cancelling system that insulates from surrounding noise. In addition to the noise cancellation, Parrot also includes a DSP algorithm called "Parrot Concert Hall" that aims to create the effect of being at a concert. Users can alter the acoustics and adjust an equaliser through the dedicated Parrot Zik app, which will be available on both the iOS app store and Google's Play Store.

The Parrot Zik headphones are packed full of technology, as the above image highlights.

The Parrot Zik headphones are controlled entirely using a touch panel on the surface of the right earpiece. Volume is controlled by swiping the panel vertically to set the volume and tracks can be skipped by swiping horizontally. Further, the Zik headphones will automatically pause your music when they are removed from your ears due to the inclusion of a presence-sensor on the inside of the ear cup.

The Parrot Zik headphones have four microphones built-in to handle voice calls over Bluetooth. There's also a jawbone sensor that Parrot says allows the unit to distinguish your voice from background noise and enable clearer phone calls.

Parrot says the battery of the Zik will last for up to five hours of music playback on a full charge and will charge in around an hour and a half. An included 3.5mm cable means you can use the Zik headphones as traditional wired headphones even when the battery runs out, but you'll obviously lose the active noise cancelling and Bluetooth features.

The Parrot Zik headphones will be available in Australia from August for $499. The headphones will be sold through Apple Stores, leading consumer stores, concept stores and Hi-Fi stores.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

3 Comments

Jake Crowley

1

In my opinion Beats by Dr. Dre are by far the best for quality on the go. You get your money worth for the sound quality and durability. I get all my Beats audio stuff from - http://www.tukoast.herobo.com. They have up to 30% on ALL products.

Dustyn

2

The Audio-Technical headphones are the best choice between price and quality, Beats and Zik are only fashion, only do most rich DR DRE, and also the Parrot company... compare and you will realize, these do not even give technical specifications.

Ken Briffa

3

I have been a keen audiophile for ever listening to all types of music: from medieval chant to the present day music, bar none.
The subject of headphones is a tricky one. So far the nothing quite beats a pair of German headphones for sound quality (transparency, faithfullness etc), example Sennheisen ... But these are so boring. I have all makes of headphones. Audio Technica (not Technical) is probably the worst sounding, unless you only listen to Katy Perry. Beats are fun headphones with a great sound ... Although not their best on classical music.

Logitech (Zik's parent Company) have rarely got a product wrong and I would give them a run. They seem to have thought of everything including sound in front not between the speakers. Still to be seen what the DSP algorithm is really like.

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