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Travel

Top-notch headphones

Name: Parrot Zik by Starck

What they are: Touch-control stereo headphones with Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, noise cancellation and built-in microphones for hands-free calling. The right earphone has the power button and touch sensors for listeners to adjust volume and switch music tracks. Calls can be accepted and ended with a finger tap. For improved call clarity, there are two built-in directional microphones along with a jawbone-conduction sensor to capture the vibration of your jaw and merge it with the sound of your voice as you speak. A motion sensor pauses tunes when you remove the headphones and automatically resumes play when they are back on your head. Zik's sound settings are customized using the Parrot Audio Suite, a free app for Android and iOS devices with such features as active noise cancellation, system updates, a concert hall effect and a battery monitor. Zik comes with a carrying pouch, a 3.5-millimeter jack cable (so they can be used on a plane without Bluetooth) and a micro-USB cable for charging and updating the system via computer rather than app.

The good: These headphones are sexy and comfortable. The over-ear fit and concert hall quality make me feel enveloped in sound. Stroking the right earphone up or down adjusts the volume. Switching tracks is a light stroke left or right. And the noise cancellation works. I haven't tested it against a crying baby on a plane, but I didn't hear room service knock at my hotel room door.

The bad: I wish the Parrot Audio Suite app showed battery life on its landing page rather than having to tap the battery icon.

Cost: (take a breath) $399.95

Available from: amazon.com, apple.com, brookstone.com, parrotshopping.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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