Parrot ZIK Wireless Headphones Review

July 1, 2013
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We have recently spent some time playing with a set of Parrot headphones. Specifically, the Parrot ZIK headphones, which come as a result of a partnership with Philippe Stark. These headphones feature goodies such as active noise cancellation, a touch control panel, Bluetooth, NFC and a motion detector. Parrot also has an Android app available called the Parrot Audio Suite.

Hardware

The Parrot ZIK headphones aren't the smallest around, but at the same time, they feel don't feel overly bulky when being worn. The folks at Parrot have said they weigh in at 325 grams, which should be a good weight for most users. These headphones support Bluetooth 2.1 and can be easily paired using NFC.

The Parrot ZIK headphones feature neodymium drivers and have a sound pressure level of 110 dB per volt to 1kHz with an impedance of 32 Ohms. The frequency response is 10Hz to 20kHz. While that may sound like gibberish to some, we can also say they feature an 800 mAh battery that should be able to provide up to 6 hours of listening time with all features activated.

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Alternatively, these can also go up to 18 hours with only select features enabled and can handle up to 24 hours in standby mode. Since we know users love features we ran these full-on and were happy to see we could get the promised 6 hours. Speaking of testing the limits, we can also say they were rather comfortable to wear even for extended periods.

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One of the features that likely helps the battery life is the motion detector. This has the headphones pausing when you remove them from your ears. Alternatively, they will begin playing once you bring them back up to your ears. The ZIK headphones also offer touch controls. With these a swipe on the right ear cup can adjust the volume and also skip tracks. The touch controls also work for voice calls. In this case you can tap on the right side to take, end or refuse a call and also switch between calls by sliding your finger horizontally.

While the ZIK headphones sounded really good with a variety of audio sources, they also use a bone conduction sensor with a double microphone which helps for voice calls. Finally, for times when you do drain the battery -- you can also run these using the included 3.5mm headphone jack. Also included in the package is a microUSB cable for charing and a soft protective pouch for taking the ZIK headphones on the go.

Android App

Aside from the ZIK headphones themselves, there is also a Parrot Audio Suite app available for Android users. This app will allow you to configure the headphone settings. Some of the highlights of the app include being able to use the Parrot Concert Hall Effect which is said to alter the acoustics and sound-space. Basically, the Concert Hall effect should be able to provide a more life-life listening experience, though in truth we liked the app best for a smaller feature.

Some of the other features of the app include customizing the equalizer settings or using some of the predefined settings, being able to activate (or deactivate) the Active Noise Cancellation, updating the software and perhaps key given these are battery powered -- checking the battery level. Honestly speaking, if you are going to pick up a set of ZIK headphones, the app should be a must download if for no other reason than to keep better track of where you stand in terms of battery life.

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Wrap-Up

Bottom line here, we have to say we were impressed with the everything from the way these look to the way they sound. And thankfully they were also comfortable to wear. We would love to say they would be good for just about everyone but there is one factor that will be limiting -- the price. Parrot has the ZIK headphones priced at $399.99. In the meantime, make sure to head in to the gallery below for a few additional hands-on images.


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  • Tore Julø

    My only real gripe with these is that I’m unable to use the as a headset for Skype on a Mac (which was part of the intended purpose when I bought them, but I failed to do proper research in advance).
    Also, when worn for long periods at a time, the very light padding on the inside of the head band, combined with the weight of the headset, makes it a little uncomfortable.
    I use mine every day to listen to audiobooks or podcasts on my way to and from work, and while the active noise cancellation may not be as good as Bose, it still plenty to filter out noisy idiots on the train.

  • Tim Kirkpatrick

    Huh. interesting. I’m always on the lookout for good bluetooth headphones. My current favorite going strong for over 2 years now are the LG Tone HBS-700.

    While the features of the Parrot look interesting to me, the price and size scare me away.