Astro Gaming’s new A50 wireless gaming headset follows its predecessors as one of the most impressive, and pricey, headsets on the market. It rings in at a hefty
The new A50 headset takes most of its design cues from the Astro A40. The large, rounded rectangular earcups are mounted on larger black plastic shells that let them pivot up and down, and the shells themselves are mounted on shiny, pipe-like aluminum supports (blue for the PC/PS4 version pictured here, green for the PC/Xbox One version) like the ones on the A40. They connect to a wide plastic headband consisting of two plastic supports and a trapezoidal padded section in the middle.
While the new design looks a bit more overbuilt than the previous A50, that isn’t really the case. The flexible plastic-and-aluminum frame is very light, and the felt-covered earpads and padded headband combine for a comfortable, unobtrusive fit. You can make the over-ear headset feel a bit
The right earcup holds all of the A50’s controls. A power switch, Dolby button, three-way EQ slider, and volume dial sit along the back edge, while the back panel of the earcup can be clicked left or right to adjust game/voice balance. A
Cradle and Connections
You can charge the headset through the micro USB port, but it’s much easier to just drop it in the included charging cradle/receiver. It’s an 8.4-by-4.3-inch (WD) black plastic tray with two indentations the headset can rest vertically in, aligning the charging contacts with the base through magnets. The front of the cradle holds a set of indicator lights showing how much battery the headset has while it’s charging or connected wirelessly, plus separate lights for power and Dolby sound.
In addition to charging the headset, the cradle keeps the A50 connected to your PC or game system. The back holds a micro USB port for connecting the base to your gaming device for both power and sound, plus an optical audio input and output and a 3.5mm aux input. The right side holds a USB port for charging the headset with a cable (generally not needed) and a mode switch for setting it to work with a PC or the game system it’s intended to function with. The console connectivity is dependent on the charging cradle, so if you want to use the A50 with your PS4 and Xbox One, you need to either buy two A50 sets or purchase an additional cradle for $129.99 when it becomes available later this year.
Because it’s completely wireless through the cradle, the A50 has no wired connection options besides running a USB cable to the cradle to keep it charged while you use it. This means you can’t use it with your mobile device or
The A50 features three EQ settings accessible through the sliding switch on the back of the right earcup. Media Mode boosts bass, Core Mode balances the sound, and Pro Mode boosts high frequencies. You can make your own custom EQ settings if the A50 is connected to a computer, with the free Astro Command Center software. We tested the headset using the presets, adjusting them based on the content being played (Pro Mode is best for games, Core Mode is best for music, and Media Mode can perk up movies).
Game audio is excellent, with powerful bass and strong highs to give different sound effects, ambient noise, and voice chat enough distinction that no one sound overtakes the others. I could hear my teammates in Titanfall 2 clearly regardless of how frantic the action got, and the gunfire and explosions coming from the mechs were deep and intimidating without completely overwhelming everything else I had to hear.
Overwatch showed the same results, with the action clearly discernible across the audio spectrum, even in the middle of brawls involving multiple players and weapons. It’s a well-balanced, clean sound with plenty of power you can crank up if you want head-rattling explosions.
The A50 handles bass extremely well. It offers appreciable force and deep low end when playing our bass test track, The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” and doesn’t distort even at maximum and borderline unsafe volume.
Yes’ “Roundabout” sounds impressive as well, with the acoustic guitar plucking getting plenty of high-frequency texture. The electric slap bass has
Astro Gaming’s A50 is the best wireless gaming headset you can buy. It’s comfortable, sounds excellent, and its charging cradle is incredibly convenient. It’s expensive, but well worth the price if it’s in your budget, making it our Editors’ Choice. If $300 is a bit too much for you, the Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum is another great wireless option that can work with nearly anything for two-thirds the price, but the design isn’t quite as plush and the audio isn’t quite as strong. If you want to get into esports, you should look at a wired headset with an external mixer instead, like the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament Headset with Tactical Audio Commander, or the Astro A40 TR + MixAmp TR bundle. And if you’re just getting into gaming with voice chat, you can always ease into it with an inexpensive wired headset like the Logitech G231 Prodigy.