Parrot has introduced a compelling pair of noise-cancelling headphones that simply bristle with cutting-edge technologies.
The French company, which also dabbles in drones and in-car systems, unveiled its second generation of headphones, the Zik 2.0. Designer Philippe Starck was once again commissioned for the second generation headphones, which are said to be 17 per cent lighter than the originals.
Technologies previously uncommon to headphones can be found in the Zik 2.0. The Parrot headphones use an accelerometer to detect when the headphones are being worn or are dangling around your neck. Music playback is automatically paused when they’re dangling, and it is resumed without instruction when they’re worn.
Then there’s the way the headphones allow you to manipulate music playback. The entire right cup doubles as a tactile gesture pad. Swiping vertically changes volume, while swiping horizontally sifts through the track list.
The headphones double as a proficient hands-free device, too. Incoming calls can be accepted with a touch of the tactile pad, or rejected by holding it down for two seconds. Holding the panel down at any time will initiate either Apple's or Google’s personal assistant.
Housed in the Zik 2.0 is a remarkable eight microphones, of which only two are used for voice calls. The other six are part of the headphones' adaptive noise cancelling technologies.
The microphones are one part of a complex system designed to diminish outside noises for improved music playback. Up to 30 decibels of noise can be attenuated, though the headphones deliberately let a little noise seep in when in ‘Street Mode’.
Noise cancelling is also implemented for voice calls. The Zik 2.0 uses a bone conduction sensor to balance your voice levels. The noise cancelling technology is less sensitive during phone calls because not hearing your own voice would lead to screaming.
The headphones can be set to one of three power profiles from the dedicated smartphone application. ‘Flight’ mode is the most economical of these, offering 18 hours of audio playback, while the ‘Normal’ profile has a stated lifespan of six hours. The headphones feature a rechargeable battery and come bundled with a charger.
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Parrot’s Zik makes it easy to customise the music profile. The company’s application, which supports Android and Apple devices at launch, manages the headphones' audio settings. Tuning the audio profile is a matter of sliding one finger.
Parrot's second generation Zik headphones go on sale today for $499.95 at retailers including Apple stores and Myer.