Bluetooth headphones are nothing new, but the new Parrot Zik wireless headphones are packing all sorts of extra tech to set them apart from the crowd. You want gesture controls? You’ve got gesture controls. You want touch panel controls? You’ve got touch panel controls.
In a headphone industry first, the Parrot Zik comes with integrated NFC (near field technology) communication. The key advantage here is that you can pair up the headphones with a compatible NFC and Bluetooth-touting device simply by tapping them together. You no longer have to deal with “discovering” new devices and entering passcodes. The NFC tag is in the left ear cup.
On the outside of the right ear cup is a capacitive touch panel. No, you don’t have to look for specific touch sensitive buttons. Instead, it’s gesture-based, so you swipe up and down to adjust the volume, left and right to change tracks. You can also tap it to answer a call or hold it to reject a call. What’s cool is that there are also head detection and bone conduction sensors. When you take the headphones off to drape around your neck, the music automatically pauses. Put them back on your head and the tunes resume. The bone conduction sensor is meant to improve the clarity of your voice when you’re on a call.
The Zik will utilize a free iOS app which can disable the noise cancellation, it can also give you access to a variety of DSP effects like concert, live and tweak the sound with an equalizer. The app is out for iPhone and iPod and should come very soon for iPad. Android is coming in a few weeks too.
But there’s even more technology in there. Parrot has also shoved in five microphones to aid in the active noise cancellation, which they say is effective in eliminating up to 25dB of ambient noise. As far as the 40mm neodynium drivers themselves, you get a rating of 32 ohms, a frequency range of 10Hz to 25kHz, and a sound pressure level of 110dB per volt at 1kHz. The 800mAh battery is good for 6 hours of full featured use and up to 24 hours in standby. Bluetooth is still 2.1, but Parrot says 2.1 is good enough, and engadget confirms the sound quality is exceptional.
Of course, all this technology isn’t going to come cheap. Expect to spend a hefty $399 when the Zik headphones ship toward late July and early August. Brits and Aussies can expect to spend even more: 349GBP and 499AUD, respectively.