Today we turn our attention to a very classy pair of headphones that would surely raise the pulse of any true audiophile. Mobile Geeks look at he Parrot Zik, tested on the streets of New York city.
Sound Quality and Features
Of course the most important thing for anyone buying a pair of headphones is the actually quality of the sound the device outputs, so before we get in to the much more sophisticated and technical features of the Zik, let me tell you that the sound quality is excellent. Low and high frequencies are great with very realistic reproduction; with Classical music for example you are going to feel an incredible dynamic range. There is a small gripe involving noise cancellation during playback, but more on that later.
The Zik is the first set of headphones that I have used that integrates a touchpad. It may seem like a superfluous feature for many users who are looking for a more old school product, but over time I have become fond of the feature. In the first few weeks I only used the touchpad very sporadically and only for adjusting volume. After a while I was using it more frequently, also for pausing and skipping tracks. There were some minor issues however as the touchpad works well with iTunes but it does not work fully for my primary music service Spotify, lacking track pausing and skipping which is a disappointment.
Once you have the Parrot app installed on your iOS or Android device (2.0 and above) you have a choice of many options that enhance the listening experience, but one of the most fundamental functions its serves is telling you how much power the headphones have left. The headset itself offers no indication of power levels. The app also gives you a broad range of equalization options (Lou Reed’s personal settings included), noise cancellation settings and the concert hall feature which transforms any track into a live performance.
One really feature that I find to be really quite ingenious is when the music automatically turns off as you remove the headset. This became very intuitive very quickly. In an office environment where you tend to sit with colleagues nearby who may from time to time ask a question, it really is cool to just be able to slip off the headphones, reply and then resume without missing a beat.
The Zik is definitely design for comfort. In the past the Sennheiser Momentum headphones I previously used would become uncomfortable on the ears after a prolonged session. The Zik is designed to go over the ears which negates the issue substantially. I will be opting for over the ear designs from now on. Even when wearing glasses, as I do, there are no issues with pressure points. And of course being bluetooth connected, there are no issues with cablage.
During testing I took the Zik downtown on the streets of Brooklyn, and actually sat next to Indian gentleman using the exact same Parrot Zik headphones as I was. After a quick chat, he confirmed what I had suspected, that noise cancellation is a weakness of the Zik. In an office environment you can still hear to some degree, the conversations going on around you, and in a very noisy street environment you may certainly wish that noise cancellation could just be that bit stronger.
When it comes to headphones, there will always be a degree of fashion involved, being a wearable device that is very much in public view. New York is known to many as Mac City, such is the prevalence of Apple products on the streets and in the cafes and workspaces – this is very fashion conscious place. Dr Dre’s Beats audio is a particularly popular choice when it comes to headphones, and I would suggest that their popularity is driven by fashion and marketing, as much as audio quality. I couldn’t give a hoot however as I am very much in favor of my black Parrot Zik. There are also gold options, but I would argue that my gadgets are in no need of such glamor. Black and chrome look good to me and do not look out of place here in the Big Apple.
I have tested the Zik Parrot for a few weeks now, mostly on the streets of New York. Except for slightly under powered noise cancellation, I can say that am very much satisfied with the product. I use them when making Skype and Hangout calls as well listening to music, and they perform very well, thoroughly deserving thumbs up. If they could fix the touchpad in Spotify, I would be even happier.
Written by Marcus Sekula, translated and edited by Stewart Haston