We’ve been doing more high end headphone reviews here on Techaeris lately, and this time around Parrot sent us their offering to consider. While we don’t call ourselves high end audiophile connoisseurs and would never make the claim of knowing all their is to know about sound, we do love music and we know what we like to hear. So we took the Zik 2.0’s for a spin to see how they would hold up to an everyday Joe’s use, so read on for the Parrot Zik 2.0 headphone review.
- Smart-touch panel
- Adaptive Noise Control
- Audio Presets
- Text-To-Speech for caller ID
- Noise Reduction System
- Street Mode
- Bluetooth 3.0 HD Voice
- Free Parrot Zik 2.0 app – iOS & Android
- Manage your phone calls
- Active Noise Canceling
- Battery 830mAh 18hr wired run-time, 7-8hr Bluetooth run-time and 192hr stand-by
Probably one of the top features of the Zik 2.0 headphones is their design. Parrot has chosen to toss aside the design language of Beats and their copycats and embrace elegance. The Zik 2.0 headphones are constructed of high quality metals, foams, plastics and faux leather. These things look classy – like a beautiful piece of jewelry, and not at all like the bulky and over-stated Beats headphone styles (don’t get me wrong, the Beats style headphones have their audience). They’re also pretty light weight and the foam cups and foam around the head rail is comfortable after long hours of wearing them. While some headphones fail at comfort, the Zik 2.0’s excel. Overall the design is a hit for looks, quality and comfort.
The Zik hardware is unique, as we said in the design section they’re unlike the mass production headphone designs out there. The rails are shaped around your ears and they each have a 40mm neodymium driver with a response range between 20Hz and 22kHz. The left side houses the removable 830mAh battery as well as the NFC coil for you Android users to pair with. The right side houses the hidden touchpad which you can use to control your music and calls with various swipes and gestures. The right side also contains two bone-conduction mics, the microUSB port for charging, the AUX port for wired use and the power button. The presence sensor is also in the right side which is a neat feature that senses when you take your headphones off and pauses the music for you.
Both sides house six noise canceling mics between them which lower the ambient noise by 30 dB, in non-tech talk that means you hear less of what’s around you and more of your music. The touchpad controls are fairly straight forward, slide back and forth horizontally skips songs forward and reverse. Sliding vertically adjusts your volume, just tapping the pad will play or pause the music, and you can even hold the pad down like a long-press to bring up Google Now or Siri. You can also take phone calls with the Zik 2.0: double tapping the pad rejects calls and that’s the most important gesture to know, because no one should disturb your tunes! Overall the hardware is nice and everything is on par with the quality of design.
While the Zik 2.0’s will work as plug and play headphones, to take full advantage of them and justify the $399 price tag, you should download the Android/iOS app that works with them. The app seems a little overwhelming at first and can intimidate those who aren’t audiophiles. But really, the app is very simple to use, you don’t have to know exactly what everything means or why it does what it does, you just have to play with it and let your ears decide what they like to hear. I don’t have to give any advice to the audiophile reader on what to do, for the rest of us, my advice is don’t shy away use the app, you won’t break anything.
You can choose a bunch of different presets based on style, artist, and more which is super easy and sometimes is enough for the layman audiophile. But where the software shines is when you start playing with making your own sounds. The first screen you’ll use is the equalizer, which is nothing like what you’re used to seeing. Parrot designed this as a circular equalizer with categories like Deep, Pop, Vocal, Punchy and more. It’s as simple as sliding your finger around the circle while your music is playing and landing on your sweet spot. Once you find that sweet spot, you swipe to the next screen where you can choose the room you want to be in. Silent Room, Living Room, Jazz Club, or all the way to Concert Hall. Each room will give you a different sound, just pick the one you like best and you’re done!
But it doesn’t stop there, if you really want to get granular you can use “Producer Mode” which gives you even more control. Swiping over another screen brings you to Featured Presets and Create Your Own Preset. Tap on create your own. You’re then presented with the equalizer line with several points. Just drag these up, down, left, right to find your best sound, tap Next. Here you’re presented with the rooms again, choose your room and then just save the preset. Simple as that, easy to do. The Zik 2.0 app is a great addition to the headphones and really brings out the best sound from them, highly recommended.
Parrot really gives you great sound straight out of the box plug and play. No need to push a button for pairing with your iPhone, just head to your Bluetooth settings and your iPhone will see the Zik’s once on. Android is a simple NFC tap to pair if you have an NFC-enabled device. Parrot made these headphones really easy to use. That said, sound quality out of the box is great, but once paired with the app and setting your own presets and sounds the quality is amplified ten fold. The noise canceling on these headphones is the best I have ever used, you can literally get lost in whatever you’re listening to. Even now, as I type this, I cannot hear my keyboard at all and the music sounds just perfect. Overall the sound quality is great as Parrot gives them to you, but it excels once you tweak the app, the bonus is the Zik’s will remember your presets and you won’t have to adjust it all the time.
With Bluetooth 3.0 and HD voice the phone calls on these headphones are very clear. When I’m using headphones I generally don’t want to be disturbed so I don’t answer my phone so the tapping to ignore the call is a very welcome feature.
The Parrot Zik 2.0 headphones are going to cost set you back, clocking in at $399.99 these are an investment. While the price tag is high, they’re so worth it if you’re an avid music listener. Comfortable, well designed, minimal, elegant, superior sound, awesome software and great hardware make every dime spent worth it. The intuitive touch pad on the right side is a great addition to control your music. Currently the Zik 2.0’s are my favorite and top recommended wireless headphones.