The Parrot Zik 2.0 bills itself as the world’s most advanced pair of wireless headphones. And it is pretty intense when it comes to technological aspects of this headphone. Sound quality is decent, even when used without a supplied cable (despite running on older Bluetooth 3.0 technology. However, battery performance leaves a lot of room for improvement.
I’m not a fan of most wireless headphones. But I know I’ve also been spoiled over the years by near-constant access to studio monitoring headphones, countless open-back designs, and even some high-impedance monsters that deliver fantastic quality when paired with an amp.
I’ve also seen my fair share of consumer headphones, from cheap plasticky inexpensive models to the more expensive ones aimed at more affluent consumers.
So where does the Parrot Zik 2.0 stack up?
When you see the Zik 2.0 sitting on a store shelf, or when you first open the box it was shipped in, you may be impressed by an air of quality. The packaging is a little sophisticated, and inside the box, you’ll find a leatherette pouch, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a micro usb cable, and a 3.5mm audio cable (sans mic or remote).
Getting started with these headphones isn’t difficult. Simply put the battery into the headphone, and then use the micro USB cable to plug the headphones into a computer. A light will blink red on the headphones while they charge. When the light blinks white, you’re good to go. You will have to fully charge the battery before you use the headphones for the first time, and Parrot recommends using a computer to do this.
Parrot also offers a free app for your phone to control some aspects of the headphones, and this is an okay feature. Honestly, it may boil down to choice. Some may prefer the extra tweaks while others may disdain yet another app burdening their phone. Noise cancellation, equalizing, and a “concert hall” effect can all be toggled on or off at the push of a button on the app, and you can also download different tuning presets for a more variable listening experience.
The build of the Parrot Zik 2.0, too, conveys a sense of quality. There are no ostentatious logos and no rare or precious metal involved. They do come in a wealth of colors, though, so if you’ve been looking for that perfect pair of wireless headphones to match your plum-colored skinny jeans, read on.
The headphones have a rubberized plastic finish to them, and the headband is a sturdy aluminum bar wrapped up in pleather. The cups are pleather too, with two inconspicuous sensors embedded in the right earcup – allowing the headphone to pause when these sensors detect changes in pressure. You can tap the center of the right ear cup to pause or play music, swipe forward to skip to the next track, or swipe back to skip backwards. Swiping your finger up or down will raise or lower volume, respectively.
Now, at this point you’re probably wondering how it sounds. Given all the extra doohickeys and kajiggers, how could it possibly sound good?
Sound quality is surpisingly decent. Bullshit features and marketing gimmicks aside, the headphones come off sounding a little skimpy on detail, but they offer a lot of customization via the tunings and equalizer settings. With the latter feature, some casual listeners may be converted to beginner audiophiles – just by virtue of seeing how many different ways they can alter the same song playing from their phone.
Of course, the Parrot Zik 2.0 still has its share of problems. The stupid sensor on the right ear cup has a tendency to pause playback when it detects subtle shifts in your cheek when you talk or move too much. But the bigger problem would have to be the low-quality battery which, if not Dead On Arrival, usually only holds a charge for five hours – or less, if you’re unlucky. Pair this with poor reviews regarding customer service and it may seem like a dud. The fact is, despite a couple of issues, the Zik 2.0 is still a tremendously tech-savvy headphone that looks stylish and even sounds decent. If you want to avoid the bad-quality-control BS, simply buy from an authorized retailer.
The Parrot isn’t for everyone. You could get a better sound for around $260 by picking up the AKG K553 Pro and a half decent DAC…and that headphone might be even more comfortable, but also more prone to tangled cables. If wireless headphones are your game, rest assured that there are many other options out there, too, that won’t cost you as much time or money. So why get the Parrot? If you really want the BEST wireless headphone you can get, seriously, buy this headphone.
Just buy it from an authorized dealer.