Parrot Zik headphones, designed by Philippe Starck
Technology always amazes us more when it actually works, regardless of the big name on the box. But when that big name also turns in a very creditable performance, you get something rather special.
French tech company Parrot is best known for its hands-free devices, not a market segment that gets that much attention. For its first foray into wireless headphones, it turned to fellow compatriot Philippe Starck to inject a little panache into the proceedings.
The result is the Parrot Zik, a chunky piece of industrial design that eschews Starck's familiar neo-baroque in favour of something rather more technical and functional.
Pair up the headphones with your iPhone or Android device and the result is instant music, controlled by an invisible touch panel on the right headset (for volume) and the left (for skipping through tracks).
Take the Parrot Zik headphones off and the music pauses. Throw in Parrot's patented noise reduction system - which clicks in and literally blocks out all external noise while isolating speech - and you have a straightforward, simple and fine-sounding piece of kit.