Parrot Zik2, Zik3

Since I got myself such a pair of headphones in June 2015 and since Bluetooth is some kind of passion to me, from time to time I spent some hours playing around with it, the features and mess around with the Bluetooth protocol. I hate undocumented proprietary stuff like the protocol used and needed to control this nice headset. What if Parrot e.g. would decide to stop support for the Android application and it would stop working in some time in the future? Render the device useless? No way. So let’s hack it!

A note to Parrot, in case someone from Parrot stumbles across my pages…
The Zik2 is a pretty nice piece of hardware. The firmware seems to be halfway nice but even the 2.05 firmware still has several bugs – sometimes the device just mutes completely as long as the noise cancellation is not enabled!? Also the DSP and decoder quality could be enhanced, low volume passages often have a hissing noise and sometimes one can hear decoder artefacts. Also the USB audio feature that the new Zik3 now has would be nice to have on the Zik2 too. These things can surely be improved by software updates.

And this is my major critique towards Parrot, as soon as a new product comes out they drop support for the old one. I am pretty sure that the Zik2 will never again receive a firmware update now that the Zik3 is out. This is not the first time that this happened to me with Parrot. I also own one of the first Asteroid car stereo units driven by Android – how cool is that, Android/Linux in your car stereo! As soon as the newer models were out there were no firmware updates for the Asteroid anymore, but it is still full of bugs 🙁 Little time later I bought the Parrot AR.Drone2.0. Nice thing! But as soon as the new Beebop and the other toys came out updates to the older AR.Drone2.0 and its Android application stopped. Pretty annoying.

So Parrot, please consider:

  • Either keep updating also your older stuff, at least fix the most serious issues
    or, if you really want to get rid of the support burden:
  • Open up the products so that enthusiast developers can continue.

My major concern with the Zik2 is, that some not so far point the future the device could become effectively useless when the then unmaintained Zik Android application does not work anymore on newer Android versions. And then? This pair of headphones was way too expensive (regular price 399€ !) to become useless. So I will continue on freeing ar least the protocol so that we can develop our own tools.

@Parrot: Please consider releasing the information. You can not prevent it being released anyway, as you can see on my pages and many more. You could simply save a lot of double effort by releasing a simple PDF protocol documentation. Thanks!

Update: My Zik2 broke about a year ago. The cushioning of one of the ear cups popped open revealing the foam, pretty ugly. For an only lightly used almost 300EUR headphone a pretty bad sign for its build quality. Luckily I still had some weeks warranty so I sent it in for repair. After more than four week I got notified that the device would be beyond repair (What!? A simple ear pad cushion can’t be replaced!?) and that I would get back my money. Oh, I thought, let#s take the money and buy a Zik3 for about the same price! And this was a very good choice! The Zik3’s sound quality is way better, so that was a pretty good deal.