What is it?
French wireless products company Parrot's association with product designer Phillipe Starck (remember the Zikmu speakers?) just got a whole lot better: Now presenting … the Parrot Zik wireless headphone.
What's special about it?
Besides the illustrious association with Starck, whose Zikmu speakers are now legendary in the design world, the Zik is one striking piece of a headphone. With everyone from Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga now developing their own, the headphone market has recently become a hot segment. But standing out in the crowd shouldn't be an issue with the Zik: Its retro-ish look blends luxurious-looking synthetic leather pads with some high-tech stuff such as the touch-sensitive controls on the exterior muffs. You can, for instance, slide your finger up and down for volume controls and forward to change tracks.
There's also a neat accelerometer included. This means the headphone understands when you take it off and pauses the music. It resumes once you put it on again. NFC (near field communication) has also been included. This means that if you tap your supporting device gently on the headphones, it will pair immediately.
All these nice features are fine. What about the sound?
Well, we will be able to give you better feedback once we get our hands on the Zik, but initial reviews have been glowing in terms of the sound quality. Remember this headphone was showcased at the CES earlier this year. Parrot says it has used its own patented noise cancelling technology which eliminates up to 25 decibels. Early reviewers have said even people right next to you are muted when you have the headphones on.
The Zik is not just a glorified headphone, it is also a headset, so you can answer calls wirelessly. There is also a 3.5mm jack for a cable if you'd rather go wired. Charging is via a mini-USB.
So when is it available and for how much?
The Parrot Zik will be available in the UAE from July. Although the company has not announced a price, early reviewers have suggested approximately Dh1,500.
Sony this week launched the Android-powered Xperia U from its NXT series in the UAE. While the U comes with all the regulars you'd expect in a smartphone today, we really like the addition of the transparent strip, which Sony says illuminates to match the colour of photos you're viewing in the gallery or the album art of the music tracks you're playing. Available in black and white at all leading electronics retailers. Priced at Dh1,199.
Put it on the tab
Although they recently got UAE geeks all hot and bothered after showcasing their much-hyped Galaxy S3, South Korean giant Samsung is also still in the game for tablets, unveiling its Galaxy Tab 2. Powered by the Android 4.0 Ice-Cream Sandwich, the device is now available in 3G and Wi-Fi options and with 7-inch (Dh1,699) or 10.1-inch (Dh2,099) screens.
BlackBerry for all
Another day, another BlackBerry phone. Research in Motion last week announced its most affordable BlackBerry 7 smartphone yet in the UAE — the Curve 9220. The device supports all BlackBerry services and comes with a promised seven hours of talk time on a single charge. Priced at Dh739 approximately. Prices may vary depending on retailer.