For a while, I’ve been saying that the Bluetooth audio age is truly upon us and 2018 really put this into perspective for me. With advanced streaming codecs and steadily improving battery technology Bluetooth audio just keeps getting better. A perfect example of this is the iDeaPLAY V402 Bluetooth headphones with Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) which I’ll be reviewing here today.
I have tested several Bluetooth headphones from iDeaUSA in the past and they have continued to impress me each time. They offer quality products that are very well-built, are affordable and sound great to boot. Imagine my surprise then when the V402 arrived and had a sound signature unlike any other of their previous models. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, let me tell you about it and then you can decide for yourself.
Battery: 3.7V / 500mAh (20h ANC playback, 30h music playback)
Package and Accessories
The iDeaPLAY V402 comes in a white box that has a clear, large image of the headphones on the front. On the back of the box are some more pictures and info about the key features. It’s a pretty straightforward delivery system that’s uncluttered and informative.
Inside the box is a black, semi-rigid zippered carrying case that holds the headphones and all the included accessories are found in here as well. So here’s what you get in total:
V402 ANC Bluetooth headphones
USB charging cable
3.5mm Aux cable
It’s a great little bundle that is well thought out and practical. The inclusion of an airline adapter makes sense as that is why a lot of people buy ANC headphones in the first place. Also, having an aux cable means you can still use the headphones if you run out of battery power or just want to squeeze out the maximum audio quality.
Build Quality and Design
My first impressions when I first saw and held the headphones were very positive. The V402 feels durable but lightweight and although they are made from plastic it feels strong and premium. There are no creaks or rattles anywhere
There is a generous amount of padding on the underside of the headband to reduce pressure on the top of your head. Strangely, the iDeaPLAY branding is embossed on the underside of the headband – while I find it quite unusual I actually really like this subtle approach as it fits in really well with the headphones’ overall low-key visual design.
The adjustment sliders are a mix of steel and plastic and have a very firm and clicky action. There is a wide range of sizes available and the headphones should fit just about every head size.
The yokes are made from the same strong, matte plastic we see above the adjustment sliders and swivel a full 90% so the headphones can be laid flat around your neck or on any surface. Interestingly, the yokes are also on a hinge that allows you to fold the headphones up to reduce the footprint even more for travel or storage.
The earcups are the same matte plastic found on the yoke and headband and are visually plain except for a rounded, triangular, perforated metal ring. Finally, the pleather earpads are plush, soft and feel very nice on my ears. On the inside, there’s a big L or R printed to denote left and right sides, a feature I love to see.
Overall, I think this is physically the best headphone from iDeaUSA yet; they just keep making little incremental improvements with each consecutive model and get a little better each time.
All the controls are found on the right earcup while the USB charging port is on the right side. The buttons consist of power, playback and volume control, as well as answering and ending calls. Next to the power button is an LED indicator that shows the headphones Bluetooth status (pairing or connected).
Next to the LED indicator is the jack for the Aux cable, followed by the built-in microphone. Lastly, there is a switch for turning the ANC On or Off.
Comfort and Noise Isolation/ANC
The V402 is very comfortable for the most part, although some might find the clamping force a little tight. Apart from that, the headband is great, the earpads are plush, they fit nicely and everything feels great on my head. I can wear this headphone for long sessions but after a couple of hours, I need a short break from the clamping pressure before I’m ready to continue.
With the Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) turned off the V402 does not isolate particularly well and that’s because the perforated metal band on the earcups really is vented, making this headphone semi-open.
Once the ANC is switched on any outside noise is attenuated pretty drastically, especially constant, low-frequency noises like lawn mowers, air conditioners plus vehicle and plane engines. It’s still not quite as effective as some of the Bose and Sony models but considering the difference in price, the iDeaPLAY V402 performs well in this area.
Bluetooth and Battery Life
Pairing the V402 with another device is simple and follows the regular Bluetooth protocols. Voice prompts are provided as well to guide you through each process. I found the range to be excellent and among the best I’ve seen for a Bluetooth headphone. I can leave my paired Android phone on my desk and walk through to my kitchen or bathroom (both of which are behind a solid wall) without a hiccup.
The V402 is rated for up to 20 hours with ANC on or 30 hours without ANC and these times turned out to be accurate for me during testing. I tend to listen to my music at a fairly low volume so your mileage may vary but regardless, you’re still getting some stellar battery life from these headphones.
Gear used for testing includes the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Shanling M0 and Sony NW-ZX300.
Here’s where the iDeaPLAY V402 differs the most from the brand’s other models. Up until now, all their full-sized Bluetooth headphones focused first on bass first and everything else came after. Now, however, the V402 takes a refreshingly balanced approach that I find to really hit the sweet spot.
For me, the bass is the most interesting aspect of the V402’s sound. Unlike most common consumer tuning the V402 bass is far more balanced in relation to the mids and treble than you might expect.
That doesn’t mean it is anemic or light – it still has punch and a solid response but it is much more conservative than we’re used to hearing from a wireless headphone in this price segment.
The sub-bass does carry more weight than the mid-bass and this is significant, as it lends a reassuring body and warmth to the overall tonality. It also makes for a surprise the first time you hear it! Still, even though the sub-bass is more accentuated it is still not overblown in any way. There is good control and reservedness shown by the 40 mm drivers.
The midrange sounds clean and uncluttered and while it’s not a mid-forward tuning it comes through clearly because of the well executed bass. There’s warmth without any muddiness and articulation without dryness.
Listening to “Sundown Highway” by Long Distance Calling, the midrange guitars come through clearly with good bite and clarity. Transients are a little bit slow which makes this a very forgiving headphone for those poorly mastered tracks but rather than feeling sluggish it simply comes across as being laid back like sitting back with a good drink at the end of a productive day.
I don’t mean to keep harping on about the bass but I feel that I need to mention it again here as well. Because of the way the bass is tuned, the treble doesn’t need to be forward to compete or counterbalance it and neither does a more relaxed presentation become faint and lethargic.
Instead, the V402 is able to have a fairly relaxed treble that is still airy and light but nowhere near strident or harsh. The treble notes aren’t the sharpest but they are non-fatiguing and perfect for that long flight or commute. It’s a great way to round up a very pleasing overall signature.
The stage is wider than it is deep with somewhat loose boundaries. Vocals are fairly intimate, as though you’re in the front row and close to the action.
You lose some of the soundstage size and airiness when ANC is turned on but are rewarded with more solidity and sharpness. It’s to the V402’s credit that this headphone can sound good with ANC off or on and is another reason why I like it so much.
The iDeaPLAY V402 is a fantastic Bluetooth headphone with solid ANC. It has excellent build quality, comfort, battery life and a very enjoyable tonality. Throw in a great hard case and some extra accessories and you’ve got a really good deal. I think this is their best headphone yet.
Simply put, if you are looking for a wireless ANC headphone but aren’t willing to pay the price premium for the big name brands then the iDeaPLAY V402 is the perfect alternative.