The Parrot Zikmu Solo designed by Phillippe Starck is a stand alone bluetooth, wifi and iPod speaker that will give you a stylish home speaker system and the ability to connect to most devices.
It’s a substantial beast, coming in a box that shows that Parrot are taking this product seriously. It comes in iPod white with a small control panel on top alongside a 30-pin iPod connector.
There is no lightning connector for more modern iPods and iPhones, but they are bringing an updated one out soon. The control panel contains a power button, a mute button and volume controls.
The front speaker grille is attached by magnets. Taking this off shows two of the speakers along with the bluetooth and wifi connection buttons.
A simple press of the bluetooth button makes it discoverable and it can then be easily connected to most bluetooth equipped devices.
You can also download an accompanying app from your favourite app store (iOS and Android), which gives you a volume control and equaliser. Using the equaliser didn’t seem to make much difference and the max volume was good enough, not loud loud, but there was no distortion. I did compare it to a BOSE all-in-one which definitely sounded more substantial.
The speaker does offer a rich sound, not sacrificing much to the bluetooth connection. It’s obviously better connecting the iPhone directly and it also charges it. I’m not sure what the charging amperage is, but it doesn’t seem to charge that quickly.
All in all it’s a good speaker, being quite large and glossy white, it does need placing in an appropriate place or you’ll need furnishings that match the Zikmu’s style.
The addition of just a 30-pin connector does confuse me somewhat. It’d be good to see a universal connector with adaptor plugs / plates that suit multiple devices. I also found that using the control panel was hit and miss, sometimes requiring multiple presses to get a button to work.
The lighting for the control panel was also all or nothing. Pressing on a volume button made all the lights on the panel react, rather than just that button. I couldn’t fathom why this was done, but I’ll take the Gallic approach and shrug.
• Stylish with a good sound
• Connectivity with most devices
• Separate app to control the finer details.
• Only has a 30-pin connector for charging
• Available in white
• Design means lack of stereo definition
The Parrot Zikmu by Phillippe Starck is a nice speaker system that I’d be happy to have in my own house, it does have that certain French mix of flair and idiosyncratic features.
I’d like to see interchangeable top panels to provide for a number of different devices which can then be upgradeable.
With the industry’s move away from glossy plastic and a return to natural materials such as wood, a version like this could be really beautiful and find a place in many many homes.
Maybe a Tony Stark designed version next? ;)
Score: 3.5 / 5