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.

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Astro Gaming A50 Build and Features

The A50 comes out of the box feeling solid in the hand. Everything that rotates or swivels, does so as it should and does not creak or squeak. The A50 feels very well built. The spec on the box says 380 grams, but ours weighed in at 371 grams. I have to wonder if the battery is smaller than it is specified at so we will pay close attention to how much usage we get out of these between charges.

Unlike other headsets we have used recently, all the controls are on the right earcup. We actually prefer this during usage, but that is personal preference.

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The power switch is a slider so accidentally turning it off is not likely. Quite frankly, we did not find that we much needed a power switch, but more on that later.

Below that is the Dolby 7.1 surround button. It is well placed and works well.

Below that is another slider switch, this one controls the EQ presets and works well.

At the bottom edge (and this can be seen better in some of the following pictures) is the volume wheel. It does have detents so it has a "click" as you turn it. It never stops turning, and does not have a audio queue letting you know that you are at full volume. We personally prefer to turn the headset to full volume and use our windows keyboard controls for audio volume while gaming.

The cover on the same ear cup is actually a control. Click the edge towards the front to give your voice comms less volume, click towards the back of the ear cup to give the game less volume. This control works well and has ten "clicks" in between the two extremes. We did not use this much, but it does work. If you are skipping around playing games with lots of randoms, this will undoubtedly come in handy while dealing with different folks' mic volumes.

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The headband slider size adjustments are unique on the A50. Basically you have two aluminum tubes that slide up and down inside the plastic A50 headband housing. There are no detents and there is a scale on the tubes, but these are not numbered.

You have to pay attention to get these even, and these are tight enough that it is a bit difficult to adjust these while on your head. Once you get the size dialed in, we have not had these move and need further adjustment.

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If you have a tiny head, which we do not have an issue with, the A50 takes on a bit of a "Martian" appearance with its antenna-ish appearance.

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The mic boom is easily flexible and has a rubber feel to it. It does bend and stay to the position you bend it to. To mute the mic you will have to move the boom all the up. Oddly there is not an audible or LED queue to tell you if the mic has been muted or is still turned on. There is a detent at the top of the mic boom throw so when you move the boom up to mute, you do get a physical queue as to the mic being muted. You do have to move it fully to the 12 o'clock position for it to be muted. We did find a few times that we had not moved the boom up far enough to mute it when we thought it had been turned off.

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The headband is a microfiber cushion and it "floats" in between two rigid plastic pieces that make up the headband and give it its clamping force. The cushion can be easily removed by unsnapping it from both sides in case you want to wash it. The cushions on the ear cups are made from the same microfiber material.

In the second picture below you can also see the three contact points that are used for charging the A50 while it sits in its base station. Also it has a USB port as well that you can charge through. However, the A50 is not usable without its base station, so whether or not you would ever use the USB port is questionable.

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The ear cushions are easily detachable for cleaning as well. Simply grab the tab on top and pull gently and these pop right off. There are three magnets that hold the ear cushions in place and these do a great job of keeping the cushions in place.

Another reason that Astro Gaming made these so easily detachable and replaceable is that Astro markets its ASTRO Gaming A50 Noise-Isolating Mod Kit very heavily as an upsell. The "mod kit" is simply a replacement set of ear cushions and replacement head cushion. Instead of microfiber, these are "comfortable synthetic leather cushions that isolate passive background noise to help you stay focused." We are sure these do a better job than microfiber at sound isolation, and we are sure these get sweaty as well since these will hold more heat and will not wick any moisture away. Pleather for $40 is a bitter pill to swallow in our book however, you can get a set of replacement microfiber ear cushions for $20 from Astro.

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The ear cups tilt up and down a good ways and should not have much issue fitting just about any set of ears and your head.

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One great feature about the A50 is that the ear cups swivel a full 90 degrees so that when you want to hang these around your neck for a bit, it happens easily and comfortablely.

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The A50 base station is chock full of connections. However for the PC we only need to worry about the USB port on the back in order to fully connect our A50 system in PC mode. You do have a 3.5mm input as well as an optic input and output output, so it is feasible that you can use the A50 system for all sorts of your audio needs. There is a "PS4 / PC" switch on the side that will toggle between the different inputs. There of course is also a full size USB port to attach the base station for charging if you are using the optic or 3.5mm inputs.

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Much of the surface is finished in gloss piano black. This looks great, but picks up all kinds of fingerprints and dust quickly.

On the front of the A50 base station are some LEDs that show charge level, Dolby on, and lightning bolt queues will tell you if the headset is seated properly in the charger. The lightning bolt is a bit of a oddity. It is always turned on, even when the headset is not in the base. It is more akin to a simple LED that tells us that the base station is in fact powered. It does flash when you sit the headset in the charger, but of course the four bars that tell us the charging level light up too. The bars do stay lit up to tell you the A50 charge level while you are using it as well. There is an LED on the headset itself that is red when the A50 is turned on. When it is properly attached to the charging base, the LED turns orange to give us another quee that the headset is charging.

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