It's a rare day around here when we get excited about something as potentially mundane as a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Parrot has really gotten creative with Zik, though, and the headphones are packed with futuristic features that you'll likely end up using every single day.
The first thing you'll notice about Zik is the design, which is all Philippe Starck. Our first thought was that the slim headband might be uncomfortable, but our (admittedly brief) ears-on test begged to differ. The earcups are comfy too, and well-sealed, which helps out the active noise canceling.
Zik streams music over Bluetooth, which means you'll need to pair them with your phone. If you have a phone with NFC inside it, you can just tap the two together to pair them automatically. Once your music starts playing, you can take advantage of a totally cool feature to control your tunes: the outside of the right headphone works like a touchpad, where swiping up and down raises and lowers the volume, and swiping side to side skips tracks. There's no play/pause button, but instead the headphones use an accelerometer to pay attention to your movements, and if they sense that you've taken them off your head, they pause your music automatically. I absolutely love this feature, and it works wonderfully.
One thing that might take a bit of getting used to is that Zik projects sound sort of like it's coming from your front, instead of from your sides. Parrot calls this the "Concert Hall Effect," and while it's not bad persay, it is noticeable and a slightly different experience. Otherwise, Zik has all the other nice features you'd expect from high-end headphones, like multiple microphones for clear hands-free talking and its own iPhone app to let you adjust sounds presets and stuff. Parrot hasn't squawked about price yet, but Zik will be out for sure later this year.
Posted on location at CES 2012 in Las Vegas.