Remember those cool-looking Parrot Zik wireless headphones we saw back at CES? Well, now we have a date and a price for you Philippe Starck fans out there. Announced at the Hong Kong launch event earlier today, these NFC-enabled, active noise cancelling Bluetooth cans will be available globally in August, with the US getting a price tag of $399 before tax (and for those who care, you’ll be able to nab one in Hong Kong for HK$3,399 or US$440). During our brief ears-on, we certainly enjoyed the Zik’s great audio quality, noise isolation and the intuitiveness of its swipe gesture input. While the battery is swappable, note that this expensive package only comes with one cell (accessible under the magnetic cover on the left can) that typically lasts for around five hours, so road warriors will need to chip in about $30 for a spare one. Alternatively, product manager Theodore Sean (whom we had the pleasure to interview at CES) pointed out a unique and handy feature that sort of bypasses this problem: you can still use the Zik as a pair of passive headphones using the included 3.5mm audio cable, but without any battery juice left, you obviously won’t be able to enjoy the noise cancellation function (on a plane, for instance) or even make phone calls.
We were told that no app’s required for the Zik’s NFC-Bluetooth pairing, though we couldn’t get our Galaxy S III to hook up to an engineering unit at the event. Parrot blamed it on a out-of-date firmware, and we were assured that it’s collaborated with Samsung to ensure compatibility.