iDeaUSA Bluetooth Active Noise Cancelling Headphones V203

Priced at just a shade under £90 these have to be one of the most inexpensive over-ear Bluetooth Active Noise Cancelling (ANR) headset I have yet tried but will they be any good?

The headset was supplied very attractively packaged in an upmarket and robust display box containing, the headset, carry bag, audio cable, a USB charging cable, a User Guide. The headset is quite large, sits over the ears and looks rather upmarket and sophisticated. The cables are both well made if rather lightweight and the multi language guide is well written but the small type and poor printing make it hard to read. .

The headset feels quite heavy and substantial, this is by no means a headset to go jogging in. It is well padded on both the cups and headband and is comfortable to wear even for extended periods. The build quality seems first rate and although for nearly £80 I did not expect a cheap feel nevertheless they exceed my mid range expectations. The cup supports which swivel but not fold are extendable and do so do so with a smooth and secure feel. The cups and frame are all of metal and have a quality feel about them. On one earcup is the micro-USB power-in port, ANR Off/On switch and ANR status LED, on the other are the audio in socket together with the status LED and microphone. The Multifunction button and combined volume and track controls are on the side of one of the earcups. The USB and audio cables are thinner and less robust than I expected but both feel well made The carry case is a soft leather like pouch and in providing this rather than a more robust case is a sign where corners have had to be cut.

Looking now at the most important feature of any headset, the audio quality, and bearing in mind that this is not a low end device nevertheless I was still impressed by the sound. The bass is full and detailed but not overpoweringly so. Mid tones are clear and detailed and the sound is very warm and comfortable. This is a distinctly above average headset for the price as regards sound quality leaving aside the ANR features.

What about the noise cancelling? Well as with every ANR headset the emphasis should be on the word reduction. No headset can fully cancel outside sounds but this one does a very good job and when I tried it in several situations it worked very well indeed. Like with all of them it coped better with low constant noise, the roar of a jet, car engines, traffic rather better than with sudden bangs or high pitched screeches. The heavy construction and over ear form factor means that this headset can also use passive noise reduction – akin to putting your fingers in your ears – as well as the active system that generates noise to cancel out outside sounds. Unlike with many rivals when switching on ANR there was no major reduction in music reproduction quality, there was a difference in the bass response but not enough to be annoying.

Not everything is good. Also given that this headset comes with an airline travel kit it is a pity that it only uses rechargeable batteries. Rechargeables are cheaper to use but for travel use I like the reassurance of having back up batteries in my pocket. Maybe that is just me as iDeaUSA claim up to 16 hours of use between charges which is good but less than that claimed by some rivals.

This is a excellent sounding headset, looks great too and with presentation to match the audio quality. The price coupled with the sound quality and presentation makes it a five star buy for me bearing in mind the issues listed above. A few corners have been cut to achieve this price but nothing that impinges on the key functions of the headset or in their build quality.

The Good
Great price
Attractive design
Good sound quality
Comfortable to wear
Fold flat design
Bluetooth 4
Airline kit
Good ANR function

The Bad
Lightweight cables
No spare battery option

More info and purchase