Not too long ago I tested a couple of Bluetooth headphones from iDeaUSA, the V200, and V203. The V200 has aptX Bluetooth and an impressive battery life while the V203 has Bluetooth 4.1 and active noise cancelling. You can see those reviews here: V200, V203. Today I've got another one from the same company, the V201 ANC, Bluetooth headphone. Let's see how it stands up against the previous models.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. I'm not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions are my own, based on my experience with the product. You can get the iDeaUSA V201 Bluetooth headphone for $69.99 from Amazon: iDeaUSA V201 Bluetooth headphone.
Package and accessories
Just like the previous models tested, the V201 comes is a dark grey box with the white and green atomicX logo, along with an image of the headphones on the front. Over on the back are some more images of the headphones and some of the key features.
The first thing you see inside the box is the included semi-hard, zippered carry case with a carbon fibre style pattern. This adds a good bit of value to the package as it's practical and of good quality. On the right side is the headphones, held in a contoured recess and on the right, in a little pocket are the rest of the accessories which include:
- user manual and warranty card
- airplane adapter
- USB charging cable
- auxiliary audio cable
Build, comfort and design
Due to my previous experience with iDeaUSA products, it came as no surprise to see that the V201 ANC, Bluetooth headphone has a solid, durable build.
Starting at the top is the padded headband with carbon fibre patterned protein leather top and plain underside with the atomicX logo underneath. This is attached to the metal adjustment sliders secured into the lower arms. This bottom section has a matte black finish on the outside and glossy finish on the inside.
The yoke is attached to a swivel that rotates over 90°. This serves two purposes: to allow the earcups to self-adjust and sit comfortably on your ears and secondly so that you can lay the headphones flat on a desk, when around your neck or when they're in the carry case for a reduced footprint. The swivels have just the right amount of resistance so that they adjust automatically on your ears without being either too firm or too loose.
Matte black yokes connect to the earcups via a matte black plastic, matching the headband. There are additional swivels here as well for up and down movement to make sure you get a good fit. On the outside of the earcups is the carbon fibre pattern again, complimenting the overall design. Soft, protein leather earpads complete the fit and similar to the other models I tested they're large enough to fit comfortably around my big ears. It's worth noting too that the pads are detachable so you could easily change them out to a third party option if you prefer or if the original ones start showing signs of wear.
On the inside of the earcups are Left and Right markers, similar to the Bose headphones. I like this a lot as it makes it so easy to know which side is which.
Playback controls are on the right earcup and include the Power/Play/Pause/Answer call/Hang up button, along with the Volume up/forward and Volume down/back buttons. Finally, there's the 3.5 mm jack for plugging in the audio cable and power/pairing LED indicator.
The left earcup has a Micro USB port for charging and the ANC Off/On switch with a LED indicator.
Rated at 25 hours with ANC on, I found that number to be on the money. That's a pretty decent amount of listening time from a full charge and can last for several days or even weeks depending on how much you use the headphones.
4.1 aptX is what you'll find on the V201 ANC, Bluetooth headphone. Connecting is super easy and the range is good. I was able to walk outside and leave my phone on the desk and the signal didn't drop or break up. It worked better with my smartphone than with the AR-M20 which has a kinda dodgy signal at times. With aptX on board, the audio quality is good and hard to distinguish from when using the headphones wired.
Gear used for testing
Bass is more balanced with the mids and highs compared to the other models I've tried from iDeaUSA. It's a bit loose and lacks texture but doesn't overreach and interfere with the midrange. It won't shake you about as the levels are fairly tame but the extension is quite good and there's enough impact to push hip-hop and electronic music along.
The midrange is a lot more forward than the V200 and V203 models which is great for vocals and instrumentals. It's not the cleanest or clearest sound but is musical and enjoyable. Vocals are a bit spread out with ANC off (more on this later) but overall it's very listenable. Thundercat's "Show You the Way" is nice with the various male vocalists sounding rich and full-bodied. Even a bit of the Emerson String Quartet is worth a listen, with the V201 producing the strings with vibrancy and body.
When we get to the treble it's fairly polite and can be found sitting behind the midrange. There's no stridency in it but there's no sparkle either. It rolls off a little early and lacks extension but there's enough of it there to keep things from sounding too dark. That might sound negative but it's actually quite good - just not spectacular. I'd say it's better than that of the V200 as its a little more energetic yet doesn't border on edginess like the V203 tends to do.
With ANC On
When you turn the active noise cancelling on the change is fairly dramatic. First of all the soundstage tightens up and the sound loses some of that airiness. That's not to say it gets too intimate or closed-in but rather just pulls everything together. The bass gains more impact, instrument separation becomes more defined and imaging improves as well. It's kind of a case of "same but different" but I like it both ways. (No....not in that way. Get your mind out of the gutter!)
iDeaUSA V203 Bluetooth headphone ($59 USD)
The V201 has a wider soundstage and is less V-shaped. It also has a tamer bass that doesn't have as much impact as the V203 but that can be a good thing as the V203 slams pretty hard.
The V203, on the other hand, has a more recessed midrange, more detail and better separation. Vocals are more forward on the V201 but the wider, airy presentation lacks the imaging and positional cues of the V203. Overall the V203 sounds more natural but its recessed midrange plus boosted bass and treble are a bit in your face.
Physically the V203 feels a bit more closed in and gets hotter on the ears. The V201 is more comfortable for me, with its elongated earpads but in fact, they are both quite good in this regard.
iDeaUSA V200 Bluetooth headphone with ANC ($79.99 USD)
Here, the V200 has a more impactful bass. It's more similar to the V203 in this aspect. Both have a large soundstage and similar imaging. The V200 has a somewhat darker sound, with that impactful bass carrying over more into the midrange. The V200 is a bit more intimate sounding, while the V203 sounds lighter with more airiness.
There's no doubt that the V201 is well built but the V200 takes it to another level, utilizing metal yokes and earcups. That makes it heavier though and slightly less comfortable during long sessions. There's no clear winner here as there are many factors that will determine which one each individual prefers but the V201 does cost $10 less.
Well, it seems as though iDeaUSA has again found a great balance between value and quality. The V201 ANC, Bluetooth headphone provides a competent sound signature and the usual high level of manufacturing that I've come to expect from these guys.
If you're coming from higher end gear you likely won't be blown away by the audio quality. BUT for an entry-level product, this does set the bar high when it comes to Bluetooth headphones. Because pricing and perceived value rate highly in my overall scoring, the V201 ANC, Bluetooth headphone ranks well. Keep that in mind when you look at the numbers.
Wrapping it up, anyone looking for an affordable Bluetooth headphone with active noise cancelling should definitely take a look at iDeaUSA's wireless range. For the price, they're hard to beat.
*This review was originally posted on my blog at Prime Audio. Hop on over to see more like this.