When you hear the brand name Parrot, your mind may flick to the A.R Drone, or most of you might not even know what Parrot is. Parrot is a French based company which specializes in Wireless/Bluetooth technologies.
The man behind the design of these headphones is the French designer, Philippe Starck. And as we all know, if you get the French working their design magic, you end up with something that drips with style. These headphones have a luxurious combination of black leather, chrome and black matte. The earcups themselves are made from smooth matte rubber, which is quite pleasing in terms of comfort. There is also a flash of orange which is a signature of Starck.
The black matte surface of the headphones feature touch controlled gestures on the right earcup (Bad news for lefties) to change your volume, current track or to answer or hang up a call on your mobile. Additionally the Zik can sense when you pull the headphones off and will pause your music as a result. There are two square shaped sensors on the right earcup which take responsibility for this role. The Ziks also include a mic for taking calls, and an additional microphone for noise cancellation. A standard 3.5mm audio jack cable is also included in the box for a wired connection.
The Zik runs at a shocking 9 hours with continuous music playback, although Parrot rates the battery life at roughly 6 hours when you are using all the features, 18 hours when you just use noise cancellation (it can be turned off in the app), and 24 hours in standby.
According to Starck himself: "The headphones are perfectly balanced and almost seem fused, looking like a mere extension of the human body and all its needs". This statement certainly highlights the designers goals, but with such a heavy price tag I would expect nothing less than the headphones ergonomically caressing my pate. Instead there is a slight looseness to their fit. The headphones feel fairly heavy in hand, but actually provide a comfortable weight when over the ears. We dont always want to have our headphones over our ears all the time and heaven forbid you should want to use them as a fashion accessory around your neck, but if you do, the leather headband makes it pretty comfortable to do so.
To accompany the Zik, Parrot have made a customised "Parrot Audio Suite" app. The app is available on the App Store and Google Play. I have tested it out on my Xperia Z and iPad 3. This app lets you tweak almost everything on the Ziks. From monitoring the battery life or controlling the noise cancellation, to adding effects like a Silent room, Living room, Jazz club, or Concert hall. You can also use the manual equalizer to mess around with its audio settings yourself.
Now lets discuss the main purpose of any headphones: Sound quality. The Zik's Neodymium drivers offer an amazing level of sound quality. They havent simply hit up the bass response, but have gone into the deepest frequencies to get it to near perfection. I expected the bluetooth mode to sound worse in comparison to its wired mode, or any other wired headset. But these guys side-stepped that expectation. The concert hall effect makes a big impact on the sound, it surprisingly spaces out the various sounds to make it extremely pleasant, allowing you to sense the change in the timbres of each instrument.
Bottom Line? Parrot and Philippe Starck have designed a unique set of headphones for this generation. Delivering regular firmware upgrades and improving performance for the Ziks, Parrot is doing it's job well. Starck has created a masterpiece in design with the Zik, from the chrome handles to the black matte earcups. They have made the Zik so irresistible that should you ever have a huge amount of money burning a hole in your pocket while holding these headphones in your hand, well...no audio loving, fashion aficionado would ever turn their backs on the Zik. Recommended Retail Price: $399.99