V203 featured
PRIME AUDIO 2017

iDeaUSA V203 Wireless aptX Bluetooth Headphone

Our Score

A while back I reviewed the V200 Bluetooth, wireless headphone from the Southern California based company iDeaUSA. Although I wasn’t blown away by the sound quality I was very impressed overall, in particular with it’s stellar build quality in relation to the price. So when the company asked me if I would be interested in reviewing their latest model I agreed without hesitation as I was curious to see if they could maintain such high standards at a budget entry level. And so here we are today, taking a look at the V203. This model doesn’t have ANC like the V200 but it is another aptX Bluetooth, wireless headphone with an even better stated battery life (40 hours) than the previous models. Let’s take a look and see what it has to offer.

Manufacturer’s website

This product was provided for the purpose of an honest review. I’m not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions here are my own.

Pros
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Solid build quality
  • Strong Bluetooth connection
  • Price
Cons
  • Nothing really considering the price

Packaging and accessories

The V203 comes in a small, green and black box (mine got a little beaten up in transit), with a nice image of the headphone on the front. Opening it up we find the headphones seated in a moulded plastic tray. Underneath the tray are the rest of the goodies but let’s break it all down into a list, so here’s what you get in the box:

  • V203 wireless headphone
  • USB charging cable
  • 3.5 mm cable
  • soft carrying pouch
  • User manual
  • Warranty card

Okay, that’s everything you need to get going out of the box. The 3.5 mm cable is a little on the thin side but is good quality and similar to the one found on the much more expensive B&W P5 wireless.

The carrying pouch is a really nice, soft protein leather with the AtomiX logo embossed into the front, supple in the hands and feels great. It’s quite small but the headphones fit easily as the earcups rotate and fold in, making them very portable.

Build, comfort and isolation

Just like their previous models, iDeaUSA has another extremely well built wireless headphone with the V203. Weighing in at 225g they’re not only light but they look great too.

Starting with the headband, it’s nicely padded and covered with protein leather. There’s an adjustable metal slider covered by hard plastic with enough leverage for all manner of head sizes. The plastic feels strong and durable and should have good longevity.

The earcups are made from a lightweight aluminium and are plain on the outer side apart from the subtle, embossed AtomicX logo. On the underside of the left earcup are the micro USB plug and a pinhole CVC 6.0 microphone.

cVc is a suite of algorithms that work on the transmission and receiving path of voice calls to deliver optimum voice quality

On the right earcup are the volume and multi-function buttons.

Earpads on the V203 wireless headphone are filled with memory foam and hug the ear nicely, making them very comfortable and at the same time providing a good seal. The insides look a bit small but there’s actually a space underneath the pads that the ears go into. Even my large, Dumbo-ish ears fit comfortably inside. Clamping force is firm but not uncomfortable at all and the headphones sit securely on my smallish sized head.

The padded headband rounds out the experience and overall this is a really comfortable headphone, more so than the V200. On the inside of the earcups, there’s a large L and R denoting left and right sides, similar to Bose headphones.

Being a closed back, wireless headphone these do a pretty good job of isolating outside noise. I can’t hear myself typing on my mechanical keyboard right now. In fact, I can’t hear much of anything except for my music (being played at low volume) and the occasional word from the nearby television. It’s about average for a closed back headphone, perhaps a little better than some because the memory foam in the pads does form a consistent seal around the ears.

Bluetooth

The V203 wireless headphone comes with Bluetooth 4.1 and covers A2DP/AVR CP/HSP/HFP /APT-X, enabling high-quality wireless audio. With a range of 10m, you have plenty of room to move. In fact, these headphones have some of, if not the very best Bluetooth connectivity I’ve ever experienced in a headphone. When leaving my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 on my desktop in the living room I can walk through the kitchen and all the way to my back door without a single cutout or hiccup. That’s really impressive, especially considering there’s a thick wall standing in between. Pairing is simple, fast and painless and is accompanied by audible voice cues.

Battery life

Rated at 40 hours of playback the V203 wireless headphones has a well above average battery life and during my testing I found the numbers to be accurate. With a 3.5 hour charge time, these headphones have an astonishing 1200 hour standby time. The 500mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides the kind of experience I can really appreciate in a wireless headphone and makes it seriously worth “cutting the cables”. For good or bad, this one is going to be my benchmark going into the future as far as battery life is concerned.

Sound

Gear used for testing

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 5
  • Acoustic Research AR-M20
  • Audio Engine H3 Wireless (built-in headphone amplifier)

What you get when it comes to sound is a mainstream oriented V-shaped signature, similar to the V200 but this time around there are significant improvements in all areas. These have the popular, fun tuning that you would expect for something in their price range but they do it better than many others that I’ve tested.

When using the audio cable these cans are easy to drive from any source without any significant loss in quality. They sound equally as good from a smartphone and a quality DAP. I didn’t notice much difference when moving up to higher quality headphone amplifiers.

Bass

Like the V200 the V203 has boosted bass but this newer model is less boomy and better controlled. It has a real authoritative punch and is quite prominent in the sound. Sub-bass is well taken care of too, having pretty good extension and a well-disciplined rumble that behaves itself quite nicely. Bass can on occasion be a little too eager to please such as in “Leech” by Katatonia where the kick drum has a bit too much impact.

Mids

Midrange is recessed and sits behind the bass and lower treble but it does maintain good clarity and only suffers minimal bass bleed. Tonality is quite good, doesn’t sound overly coloured and manages a natural sound. Female vocals stand out a bit better due to a boost in the upper mids while male vocals sound somewhat thin in comparison. There’s quite a peak around 2-3kHz that gets a little shouty and can cause some discomfort but overall it’s not bad.

Treble

Treble is boosted again, hence the V-shaped signature but it’s pretty good, with a peak between 8-9kHz but above that, things are pretty smooth. In The Pineapple Thief’s “No Man’s Land” the crescendo of electric guitars and crash cymbals towards the end often has me scrambling for the volume down button but with the V203 I had no problem with it whatsoever. Dr Dre’s Compton album has quite a bit of inherent sibilance throughout the recordings but again the V203 manages to keep it in check.

Soundstage

Soundstage is pretty good for a closed back headphone, especially one with such a strong bass. It has more width than depth of course but the imaging is impressive making this a good one for gaming though it obviously has a positive effect on music too.

Conclusion

iDeaUSA continues to release great value products and with the V203 wireless headphone, they’ve really raised the bar. The battery life alone almost makes these worth considering. You get a full 40 hours of aptX high-quality wireless audio which is an outstanding figure and negates one of the biggest drawbacks (in my opinion) of using a Bluetooth product. With that kind of longevity between charges it actually does make using a cable the less desirable option.

The next thing this has going for it is the exemplary build quality, which by the way comes with a one-year warranty. This is a really well-built product that can take a beating and come out unscarred. And being foldable it’s compact enough to easily throw into a bag without consuming much space.

All this comes in an attractive and comfortable form factor which at this point is just icing on the cake. These are great looking wireless headphones with an understated style that doesn’t try to impress with gaudy or flashy appendages but simply looks good. Will it satisfy the discerning audiophile? Maybe not but then again it’s not really aiming at that demographic.

This is for people who want a decent sounding wireless headphone with good battery life for watching videos, gaming or listening to music. Priced at just $59.99 the iDeaUSA easily gets a recommendation for its feature set and outstanding value.

Reader Score
[Votes: 0 Average: 0]
Founder of Prime Audio
  1. Would be nice in explaining how you did the battery test in what volume on headphones and phone were. It would help me determine how my headphones are going to get close to this 40 hours or not. They say volume 60% to achieve the 40 hours but which is 60%? The headphones volume with phone adjusted to whatever or both at 60%? I contacted the site owner about this and did not see the review here until now. I have the headphones at 100% and phone at 67%. I hope that is not going to cut the playback to far. I love that volume it is at, and any lower is just too low for me. Especially, the same volume with bluetooth sounds the same with aux in cable at 47% on phone. This is with using Poweramp v793 beta with DVC and default audio output, not hi res.

    1. I generally set the phone to 90%-100%, then adjust your listening volume with the headphones. So for me 60% it means: 100% on the phone and 60% on the headphones.

      1. Okay, on my second fully charge but first fully charge after you suggested of that I tried 90% on phone and default on headphones and from what I tried to gather the usage. I got some where around average of 32 hours of playback with using a few times with cable. I do not see how the cable could use the battery and plus I turned off power of the headphones before using the cable too.

        Now on second charge and on my third day so far but earlier today and yesterday, had it set 100% on phone and what I considered where I wanted on headphones volume but tad too loud for me today when starting my walk. So I readjusted to 94% on phone and same on headphones. Cause I only touched button once down, and once back to where it was. There is a 7 db change on volume between button taps to notice quite bit of volume difference on taps.

        Now to see if I need to use the headphones more to get the battery to get more accurate or these headphones just do not get the full 40 hours as they claimed. First charge was around 32 hours. We will see if they get longer or not. Stick good but would love closer to the 40 hours.

        I can’t afford new headphones. So I will have stick with them. I am not the kind that listens to music real loud but not the kind that likes them low too, to the point of barely hearing the music either. I just wish companies would go by the volume of normal listening to how long the battery lasts, not just 60% volume that IdeaUSA says because that is obviously not normal volume for listening to most. 75% is the more accurate most listen to music. Since I probably am more around the 75%, then that would explain the 32 hours of playback, if these or most headphones go by volume.

        I had one more pair of bluetooth headphones and they were skullcandy jibs wireless, claimed to be up to 6 hours but no matter how I adjusted anything they always got 3 hours and 45 minutes top. That is why I search for my budget and got these but looks as if the 40 hours for my volume liking is not going to be what I prefer. Thanks anyways, and I like your review.

        Oh, and I was wondering one thing. Are these cups able to be replaced? I mean the leather, if they are worn.

        1. Yes, the battery life you see on brand pages are usually “best case scenario” numbers so what you actually get is often lower.

          Regarding replacing the ear pads, it looks as though you should be able to as long as you can find the right size. I wasn’t able to find any iDeaUSA pads but there are many generic pads available on AliExpress: https://goo.gl/cibBVQ.

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