Parrot’s Zik wireless headphones with touch panel
Named the Zik headphones, they feature Bluetooth connectivity, a touch panel on the right earpiece, head detection sensor, bone conduction sensor, five microphones, integrated near field communication technology (NFC – a first in headphones technology) and active noise cancellation technology.
The fabled French designer Philippe Starck has penned down these exquisite headphones, just like he did the Zikmu wireless speaker system we’ve shown you at the end of last year. The right ear cup is actually a full-size capacitive touch panel which allows the wearer to swipe a finger horizontally to skip forward and back between the tracks he’s listening to, or simply swipe down or up to change the volume.
If the wearer taps the touch panel, he/she can answer a phone call, for example, while touching the panel for two seconds uninterruptedly will reject a call. In addition, the head detection sensor will pause the music playback if the wearer slides the headphones down his neck, putting them into stand by.
Four of the five total microphones the set comprises detect and analyze ambient noises, two on the exterior of the headphones and two inside each headset – this happens while listening to music or talking on the phone. The headphones, thus, may produce opposite acoustic waves to counter the noises.
This translates into a reported 25 dB of ambient noise reduction. Plus, these changes allow the person on the other end of the line to hear the wearer of the headphones better, through the bone conduction sensor featured by the cushion on the left earpiece, which detects the wearer’s jaw movements and matches the respective movements to his/her speech, separating them from the surrounding noise.
Measuring 150 mm (5.9 inches) in width by 198 mm (7.8 inches) in depth by 80 mm (3.1 inches) and weighing an impressive 325 grams (11.5 oz), the Zik headphones are the first set to come on market incorporating NFC technology – the left headset allows Bluetooth pairing with NFC compatible gadgets, simply by touching them to the left ear cup.
In addition, the 40 mm Neodynium drivers the headphones include are rated at 32 Ohms, releasing a frequency range of 10 Hz up to 20 kHz with a sound pressure level of 110 dB per each volt at 1 kHz. The Parrot Concert Hall is another feature Zik sport, a DSP algorithm that reportedly recreates the listening experience of a concert hall, placing the musical center in front of the listener.
This equalization effect is easily customizable via a free app for iOS and Android named Parrot Audi Suite. The app also turns the CAN off and on, checks the level of battery remained and modifies the equalizer.
There’s a catch to all this technology though – the Zik headphones boast with an 800 mAh Li-Ion battery, rechargeable via microUSB, which provides a mere 6 hours of listening experience with all features active. If only the ANC is activated, the run time increases to 18 hours, while in standby mode they last up to 24 hours continuously.
There is also an upside, as the battery can be changed, Parrot selling $30 spares. Furthermore, if the batteries are dead, the headphones can still function if connected via a 3.5 mm jack cable to the output source.
The Zik Headphones are going to be available starting late July or beginning of August in the United States, for $399 per unit, in the UK for £349 and in Australia for AUD$499. They represent a huge temptation, even for us.