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Parrot ZIK Review

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If you love music – if you really love music the way it's meant to be experienced – chances are you're more than a little fed up with compromises that are forced upon aural excellence by the quest to be convenient. Still, we do love the ability to take our music anywhere and listen anytime with no more than an MP3 player or the ever-present cell phone. If this describes you, then the Parrot Zik wireless headphones may be just the extravagance you're looking for. If you, or the audiophile you're shopping for, also happen to be a gadget geek, then these are an excellent Christmas gift.

Wireless headphones and earbuds with a vast array of advanced features are common enough that it can be a chore to decide which features are best for your personal needs. Parrot has solved this by incorporating essentially every current functionality into the Zik headphones. First and foremost, they are wireless employing Bluetooth technology so they are compatible with just about any cell phone, MP3 player and many computers. But that's just the beginning of the high-tech gadgetry.

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Highly effective noise cancelling is accomplished using a sophisticated system that includes four microphones – two external and two within the earpieces – and some impressive programming. Parrot claims that it will reduce ambient noise by up to 25dB. We can confirm that the effect is a virtual sanctuary for enjoying great music.

The Zik system includes the same sort of digital sound processing that makes virtual surround sound possible from soundbars and basic home theater systems. Known as the Parrot Concert Hall Effect, this sophisticated programming tricks the ears into thinking that they're hearing sound on a lifelike soundstage. This feature, coupled with a seven-band graphic equalizer, allows you to tailor the sound to your personal preferences.

The controls for these deluxe features are included in a free app called the Parrot Audio Suite, and it's compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The easy-to-use app allows you to select the venue simulation that most appeals to you for the music you're listening to. It includes concert hall, jazz club, living room and silent room. You can also select the degree of separation to emulate speaker placement. With the equalizer, you're able to select from several presets like flat, pop, club, punchy, deep and crystal. A seventh option, called user, records your personally determined settings.

Other functions, such as activating or deactivating noise cancelling, are also controlled by the app. It includes a simple Bluetooth pairing function.

For some gee-whiz fun, you can adjust volume by simply swiping your finger up or down on the outside of the touch sensitive earpieces. Similarly, you can skip to the next track by swiping forward or repeat the previous song by swiping to the rear. Taking, ending and refusing phone calls can be accomplished by taps to the right earpiece and, if your phone includes Near Field Communication capability, you can pair the Bluetooth by simply touching it to the left earpiece. You can even pause the music by removing the headphones from your head and restart it by putting them back on.

If you’re buying a gift for someone who’s both a dedicated audiophile and a tech geek, the Parrot Zik wireless headphones are an ideal combination. They'll enjoy music at a level of quality that few portable devices can match. Beyond that, the advanced gadgetry is second-to-none and exceptionally easy to use.

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