• Comfortable to wear on the long run
• Multiple design options
• Easy to setup and use
• Works on everything (given you have all the wires)
• The price! 300$ is quite a steep budget.
• No interchangeable tags such as on Astro A30 & A40
For some years now, San Francisco based Astro Gaming has managed to position itself as a leader in the audio-market dedicated for gamers, mainly through it’s astounding designs and sound performance. The Astro A40 already got high praise from the tech media with it’s incredible 7.1 virtual Dolby Surround system, and is still one of the most recommended headsets, but now I move my attentions to its big brother, the Astro Gaming A50 Wireless Headset.
The main update to this new model is the integration of the wireless system, while keeping the very good audio performance especially for gaming, as well as support to the new generations of consoles (Xbox One and PlayStation 4). The Astro Gaming A50 Wireless Headset costs around 50$ more than the old model, and at this steep price, we clearly expect a particularly high performance. To really know if this gaming headset lives up to the expectations, I bowed to long hours of play – poor me – to describe you best the pros and cons of it.
The headset unit I received is the ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Halo Edition for Xbox One, which comes in a large double flapped box, with a particularly meticulously design reminiscent of Master Chief’s numerous adventure. Opening the pack, and you find numerous accessories including the 5.8GHZ wireless transmitter called MixAmp Tx, which also powers the 7.1 virtual Dolby Surround engine, a rigid plastic pedestal to support your headset, one TOSlink Optical Cable, a 1 meter Xbox One Chat Cable, two mini-USB to USB cables (one for connecting the MixAmp to your console, and a second to power your helmet on the MixAmp), and of course the user manual.
The ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Halo Edition looks like something straight out of the UNSC Infinity
With its matte green tones, the ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Halo Edition looks like something straight out of the UNSC Infinity. Very solid, with plastic materials derived from the automotive industry and thus allow extreme twisting of the ears without risk of breaking. Sure it will break if you happen to misfortunately walk on the headset lying on the ground, but fortunately the Astro Gaming A50 resist common torture. The comfort of the helmet is provided by cloth pad, covering your ears firmly, and ensure a long time of play without any pain. It is also possible to wear the headset in a neckband mode, by twisting the cups in a flat mode to rest peacefully on your upper chest.
For a deep isolation, the fabric may not be the very best, but on the other hand, real and fake leather tends to heat in contact with skin. To take advantage of these materials, Astro Gaming has created a double layer envelope. The layer of tissue in contact with your skin ensures comfort and reverse layer synthetic leather improves sound insulation. A great touch that can be found on all of the other versions of the company headsets.
On the left side, the headphones have an adjustable microphone (which mutes automatically by flipping it up), a port for Xbox chat, and a Mini-USB plug for charging the headset (lasting around 10-12 hours in one hit). Note that it is impossible to remove the microphone or switch it to the other side like we could do with the customizeable Astro A40 tags, which is something I quite believed should be included especially considering the price. Finally, on the right side, there is a power button, a wheel to handle the volume, and a switch to handle different equalizers depending on use (games, music, movies), and the tag is a clickeable area to change the game volume to chat level balance. That latter can be quite useful especially during long competitive matches with friends, as you can alter all this on the go.
Now let’s get right to the main point: The sound quality. The Astro A50 headset sends heavy sound level. The 7.1 is terribly over well, and the sound seems really real. The desired immersion printing Astro is successful, and we discover a new fun playing. By concept, the setup to hook it up to your console is simple, but i’ll let you watch the video below to have an idea.
Our first tests were carried out on the latest Bungie’s Destiny. Although it’s the Halo edition of the helmet, I didn’t want to try it with Halo: The Master Chief Collection given the numerous technical flaws since the launch, but that’s a different story. After turning on the helmet, we were directly immersed in the game environment. Obviously, the music is blasting straight through your ears, but the helmet performance coupled with the sonic realism of Destiny’s sound effects allows you to determinate the exact position of each bullet flying through. Given the many sci-fi movies I’ve watched in real Dolby Surround theater, I immediately fell in love.
Overall, the A50 takes you all kinds of sounds from everywhere in the game. From the huge thunder of war to the subtle sounds of our steps in Mars’ sand, the audio is clear and perfectly transcribed. Voices are not left out, and the script is accurate and warm, well integrated into the rest of the surrounding sounds.
The San Francisco based company perfected perfection
In my other tests, I launched two other titles: Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4 and The Crew (which I’m currently reviewing). In both, I was particularly impressed by the sound fidelity, it was possible to clearly hear the the birds above me in Far Cry 4, and the screeching of my wheels in The Crew’s many drifts across the United States. In the end, there’s no point to dwell into dozens of additional titles to describe the sound performance of the Astro A5: the San Francisco based company perfected perfection.
The Astro Gaming A50 Wireless Headset was reviewed using a review unit provided by Astro Gaming. The headset is available in three different colors, and compatible with PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and numerous audio systems. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.