Parrot Zik 2.0 Headphones Review: A Portable Studio For Your Ears

Parrot's Zik 2.0 are available now for £288 from Amazon.

Key Features:

  • 6 microphone noise cancellation
  • 6 hour battery life
  • App-based equaliser and customisable sound
  • Touch-panel control
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • HD Voice Compatible

The Verdict:

Parrot is back for a second stab at wireless headphones after 2013's touch-enabled 'Zik' headset.

And while this time the shock factor might have dulled, and the name ('Zik 2.0') might not be thrilling, in terms of raw tech it's arguable these are getting faintly... well, ridiculous.

Think of a feature that you'd like some wireless headphones to have. Got one? Zik 2.0 has it. And not only are they smaller, lighter and more refined in their design than the previous gen, but they're smarter too. Much smarter.

The overall aesthetic of the Zik has remained. But here Parrot has worked tirelessly on making the headphones far more portable than their bulky predecessor. Thinner cups mean that there's less overall bulk which in turn means you look less like you're wearing a leather sofa on your head. The build quality really is exceptional as well. Leather coated cups are matched with aircraft-grade aluminium, there's not a spot of plastic in sight and they look all the better for it.

It's not what other people think however that makes the difference, it's how they make you feel when you're wearing them.

And that's the Zik 2.0's key selling point. These headphones are designed to be completely adjustable in terms of sound, and to become the nerve centre for your own personal musical nirvana.

In practice this means they come with an app that lets you adjust the EQ, change the level of noise cancelling and even determine the virtual direction from which the sound is coming.

At first it can seem a little overwhelming but the more you tinker the more you'll realise that the Zik 2.0s give you the chance to take your music back to the studio.

Listening to classical music? Change the equaliser to 'Punchy', set the Concert Hall to 'Concert Hall' and sit back and enjoy. If something more electronic is your thing then switch the equaliser to 'Deep' and move your Concert Hall setting to 'Living Room' or 'Jazz Club'.

Your music will sound different, and it'll sound different in any way that you choose, whether that's ruining it or improving it.

Smart tech aboard the Zik also means that you'll never have the embarrassment of sharing your music with anyone else: take your headphones off and the music instantly pauses, it'll resume when you put them back on again.

The problem with having the world's smartest pair of headphones, though, is that all of this comes at a cost -- and not just the 288-odd quid you'll pay to get them. It also comes at the cost of battery life.

Parrot says that officially there's 6 hours of battery life here and to be honest we'd have to agree, with it dropping further if you're a regular tweaker of the audio settings.

Is that enough? Well, it's not the end of the world if you're just using it for commuting, but much like a smartphone we'd probably recommend making sure you have a charger available at work.

It should be important to note at this stage that the Zik's battery is replaceable which means -- in theory -- you can buy an extra battery, charge it up and you'll have effectively doubled your listening time.

It's not an easy process as there's no dedicated charger other than the headphones themselves, so unless you're a true audiophile or going on a long-haul flight this won't be a viable option.

Parrot's Zik 2.0 are an improvement over the old pair in every way and considering the restrictions that batteries are placing on all modern tech it's hard to give them too much stick. We'd be curious to know why they chose Bluetooth 3.0 over the latest more efficient version too -- but that's perhaps a niggling point.

If you want a pair of stylish, incredibly advanced and futureproof headphones then once again Parrot's Zik 2.0 should be top of your list.