Parrot describes its Zik 2.0 headphones as the world's most advanced, and it might just be right.
These high end headphones pair with your mobile devices via Bluetooth radio controlled by a smart touch panel on the right headphone. But instead of having large buttons on them Parrot is very, very subtle about these headphones. Unless you have read the little instruction book that come with the headphones, or visited the manufacturer's support page on its website, you wouldn't have a clue about their abilities or how the controls work.
Before you can get started you need to install the battery in the left earphone. Lifting the magnetic cover that makes up the side of the headphone allows you to install the battery which, not much bigger than a thumb drive, drops into the battery compartment.
Before first use the headphones need power and can be charged by connecting the headphones to your PC via the supplied high end USB cable. It has chrome ends and is coated in an anti-tangle woven material. The micro USB end fits into the right headphone and the standard USB end into the computer.
If you don't have a computer you can connect the cable to the power adapter that came with your digital music player.
Before they can be used the headphones must be switched on using the on/off switch on the right headphone. The on/off switch glows white when it is on.
Once paired, the normal way, through Bluetooth the headphones can be used to control the music that is being played back. You can change tracks by sliding your finger horizontally, set the volume by sliding vertically and stop the music by pressing the right headphone once.
The Bluetooth auto-connection function means the headphones will automatically connect to the last device they were connected to.
You can also control phone calls with a long press of one second to activate voice recognition on your iPhone, Android or Windows smart phone. Answer or reject a call with different touches, and adjust the volume.
You can get extra functionality by downloading the Zik 2.0 app to your device. It's available for Apple iOS devices and can also be installed on devices running Google's Android operating system and Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 for desktop and tablet computers. Presumably it also works on Windows 10 as well.
From the Home screen of the Zik app, version 2.05, you can see how much power is left in the headphones percentage wise. The same screen gives you access to noise control, equalizer and concert hall – the built in digital sound processor can be manipulated to give a concert hall effect - all of which can be turned on or off with a touch.
The headphones include six microphones that, as well as picking up your voice during phones calls, also capture surrounding sound for the adaptive noise control function. The outside noise is cancelled out by opposing sound waves.
Parrot's smart audio tuning system automatically selects the best preset and you can tweak it if you wish.
And when you finish the presence sensor, feeding information to the movement algorithm, will stop the music when you remove the headphones from your head and put the around your neck.
The Auto power off, accessed through the Zik app, can be set to 0, 5, 10, 15, 30 and 60 minutes.
There's a lot of really nice, high end, headphones on the market but these take some beating. But then at $529 they should.