If you want to stand out in the overcrowded iPhone/iPod speaker market you can promise high quality, tempt with distinctive design, throw in features or simply slash the price right down. Parrot’s Zikmu iPod speakers certainly don’t fall into that last category, but the French company claims the eye-catching Phillipe Starck designed totems slot neatly into the others.
The Zikmu design has been around for a while now – – but the most recent update added a choice of colors and made their software smarter. In addition, streaming, bluetooth and mobile audio compatibility has increased big time.
Each speaker stands almost 30-inches high and weighs 17lbs; in addition to the original black there’s now pearl grey, white and the optically searing lime sorbet of our review units. A matching remote control offers the basics – power, volume, play/pause, and track skipping and source selection – and uses RF not infrared for non-line-of-sight operation.
The left and right speakers are connected wirelessly, so there’s no cable joining the two (each gets its own power supply), and you can pair your iPod touch, iPhone, or any other Bluetooth smartphone and stream audio through the speakers.
Alternatively, using the free PC and Mac software, you can stream audio via WiFi (or, indeed, via Bluetooth) to the Zikmu. With that software you can also manage the audio profile, with a multi-band equalizer, various presets, room compensation and dynamic loudness, which adjusts settings according to whatever audio, is currently playing. You can also flip the left and right channels around, should you move the Zikmu.
Parrot has used a combination of NXT flat panel speakers, a down-facing woofer and a bass-reflex system in each Zikmu unit, which they claim adds up to 360-degree sound. In fact, they recommend you place them near the middle of the room rather than banish them to the corners. There’s certainly a broader sound-stage than you get with regular speakers, and they can crank up to loud levels.
- Color options: Sorbet lime / arctic white / pearl grey / classic black / dragon red
- Total power output: 100W RMS, 50W per channel
- 3-channel (Class D) digital amplifier
- Frequency range: 50 Hz – 20 kHz
- Compatible audio formats: MP3, LPCM
- Wi-Fi b/g with SES/WPS
- Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
So not only can you just plug this in and press play, but the media library you have in iTunes, on your computer, your phone, laptop, or any bluetooth device can wirelessly stream it to these speakers. Addtionally, it comes in any color and would go with any decor as a result.