IdeaUSA W205: The Gateway to a starter wireless multi-speaker system (review)

At $69.99, the IdeaUSA W205 is a versatile smart speaker that connects and streams music in a variety of ways, from Bluetooth to wi-fi. It’s portable, lightweight, with good sound quality. And it’s a nice starter piece for building a home wireless speaker system at an affordable price.

Many Options for Streaming Music

Like most wireless speakers in the under $100 price range, the W205 streams music using Bluetooth, micro SD card (TF), Airplay, or connects physically with an audio cable. It also connects to wi-fi with the help of the free IdeaHome app. The app has the ability to connect and control other IdeaUSA speakers, creating a multi-room audio system. The speakers can play independent of one another, playing different music in separate rooms, or in tandem. (Sometimes IdeaUSA offers a discount when two or more speakers are purchased at the same time.)

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I had no problems connecting the speaker using all of the previously mentioned methods with the exception of wi-fi. Even though my router meets the minimum required 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n, I was not able to connect after several attempts. I was too lazy to contact customer support, which seems responsive based on a few customer reviews that cited similar issues. Most people didn’t seem to have a problem connecting to wi-fi, though.

Solid Performance

I performed the usual music tests, listening to classical, country, rock, pop, R&B, jazz, and podcasts, playing the speaker for about eight hours without needing to recharge. I even blasted “Game of Thrones” when I was testing out the ability to connect to my tablet.

The W205 performed solidly considering its size; the two subwoofers do a good job helping to project the sound. No surprise that it doesn’t handle deep bass very well, either sounding muddled or non-existent. As noted in many of my reviews, speakers in this price range usually perform well in the mid-range.

Unobtrusive Design

Simply designed with a wraparound grill, the W205 is unobtrusive with a 5-inch squareish sized ovoid, dent resistant, hard plastic/metal body. Available in either red or dark silver, its rounded edges make it easy to hold and carry from room-to-room or to the outdoors.

Controls are located on top: power, wi-fi/Bluetooth, six programmable playlist buttons, volume, play, back/forward. There’s no mic, which is not a surprise since IdeaUSA markets this as a home speaker. There are indicator lights for wi-fi, Bluetooth, TF card (micro SD), aux, charging mode, and battery level.

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I’m not sure why IdeaUSA chose to use a combination of synthesized chimes and an affected British-Asian (?) accent male voice to alert users when a function has been turned on. I am not a fan of the booming voice announcing “Bluetooth mode has been on” (sic) every time I touch the button. It actually startled my dog a few times when I booted up the Bluetooth.

Summary

The W205 is a good affordable wireless speaker and especially worthy of consideration if you’re in the market for a reasonably priced multi-room system.

Check out the IdeaUSA W205 Wireless speaker at Amazon for $69.99.

Key Specs & Other Information

 Dimensions: 5” x 5.3” x 2”

 Weight: 1.1 lbs

 Speaker output: 2 x 3W

 Bluetooth: v. 2.1

 Wi-fi: 2.4G, 802.11 b/g/n

 Lithium ion battery, lasts 8-10 hours on one charge

 Speaker comes with USB cable and 2.5 mm aux-in cable

 Warranty: 1 year + 30 day money back guarantee