Having fallen off the radar since CES 2012, Parrot has finally announced pricing and availability for its Zik headphones that pack NFC pairing, a touchpad on the right ear cup and an accelerometer. Our advice: prep that hammer because your piggy bank is in for a world of hurt.
Designed by legendary designer Philippe Starck, the Zik headphones will cost $400 on July 27.
Our very own Evan Ackerman had only kind words to say about the Zik during his brief ears-on at CES:
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.
He did note that the "Concert Hall Effect" — audio purposely tuned to sound as if it's coming from in front of you instead of from your sides might take a bit of getting used to, though.
If the NFC, touchpad and accelerometer haven't convinced you that the Ziks are worth the $400, the headphones also have four microphones (two internal and two external) as well as an "embedded jawbone sensor" that "captures the vibrations of the jawbone and merges it with the sound of your voice for reliable calls."
There's also a forthcoming app called Parrot Audio Suite that'll be available on iOS and Android that will let you control your music with a smartphone or tablet and adjust your equalizer settings.
Parrot rates the Zik's lithium-ion battery at 24 hours on standby mode, 18 hours with active noise cancellation on and six hours with all of the features switched on. If you prefer a wired experience, the Zik headphones also have a 3.5mm audio jack-in.
$400 is a huge investment, but if you're ready for something other than celebrity-endorsed headphones, the Zik might be the most interesting pair of headphones to test out. Pre-orders for the Zik can be had at Brookstone.