Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Astro Gaming A50 Wireless Headset & Base Station Review

As wireless gaming headsets go, the Astro Gaming A50 comes in at the very high end when it comes to price. These will cost you $300, which is a pretty penny when it comes to upping your gaming experience. We wanted to give the Astro A50 a go and see if it is in any way worth the asking price. We were pleasantly surprised, and let down.

Astro Gaming A50 Wireless Headset + Base Station

Astro Gaming has a long history a being a leader in the industry when it comes to console gaming headsets. Logitech recognized Atro's prowess in that field and purchased Astro Gaming about a year ago. Logitech's explanation of this was to give it reach into the console headset market, which makes perfect sense to us.

"ASTRO is the leading player for premium console headsets and is the preferred headset for console esports athletes," said Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech G. "It's a perfect complement to Logitech G's focus on PC gaming and we couldn't be more excited; we love the team, the brand and the products.

Most, if not all of Astro Gaming's headsets, work just fine with PC. We happen to be reviewing the "PS4" version of the Astro A50 today, however the "XBOX" version of the A50 will work identically on the PC as well. We purchased it at Best Buy for $300, however you can purchase both the PS4 version and the Xbox One version at Amazon for $300 as well.

Below is our A50 unboxing video that will show you exactly how everything comes out of the box and how it all fits together with the base.

The box is big, and everything inside is well packed to keep from getting damaged.

Our drivers are 40mm and use neodymium magnets. The microphone specs state that it is a 6mm unidirectional noise canceling build. The headset also mentions that its transducer principle is "open air." Frequency response on the website is listed as 10Hz to 20,000Hz (10Hz to 24,000Hz listed on the box) and character SPL is listed at 111dB at 1kHz. Nominal impedance is 48 ohms.

The marketed features start with heralding that the wireless technology used is 5GHz frequency. All other headsets we have reviewed recently are of the 2.4GHz variety. In a nutshell, 2.4GHz provides a longer range than 5GHz, but transmits data slower than 5GHz. Higher wireless frequencies have more issue penetrating objects such as walls and floors, and we will address that later on. Also it is likely that many other devices in your home use the 2.4GHz spectrum such as microwaves and garage door openers, but we never experienced any issues with that. Aside from that we see a 15 hour battery life. The A50 is "Dolby Headphone" certified and has its Astro MixAmp built into the A50 base station. Astro does sell its MixAmp headphone amplifier for $130. Of course all of this acts as a USB sound card.

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The box opens in a clamshell fashion after you have taken off the protective sleeve. You are presented with the headset and an optic Toslink audio cable. Since we are using a PC for our review, this Toslink cable will not be used. Under the cable you will find a USB cable and of course our A50 base station.

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Right out of the box, we have one feature that we love about the A50, and that is being able to place it on our desk surface standing up. The base is about 8.5" x 4.5" (21.5cm x 11.5cm). It is not tiny, but has about as small of a footprint as possible.

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The A50 headset sits securely into the base and makes for an overall attractively looking unit in our opinion. To get it seated properly you for charging, many times we found we had to wiggle it a bit. There are magnets in the base that help pull the A50 into proper position as well.

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Below is one of Astro Gaming's promotional videos released in July of 2016. Worth adding here is that our sample we are working with today is Astro's "Gen III" version of the A50. It has not undergone any hardware updates to our understanding. Checking back through the A50 firmware update history, we do not find any previous versions of the firmware. It tells us to check the Astro software for dates and release notes. Our Astro Command Center identifies our headset and base station firmware as v24327.42 but a date is not shown. Also, I have not figured out how to access any release notes either.