The timing has hectic but I finished my second day of E3 in the meeting suite of Astro Gaming, casually overlooking the panoramic mess that was the West Hall. It was a fitting moment in contrast to a chaotic trade show I estranged myself from years ago. The setting was calm and low-key like a get-together, with everybody taking relief in a chill vibe that made the crowded masses seem like miles away. Which made sense as the range of headsets on display are so good that they keep everything nice and isolated from the outside world.
Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself, but their offering of gaming headsets did feel like I was taken to another place, starting with the A50 Wireless Headset, the current on-ear cream of the crop their lineup has to offer. The A50 has been thoroughly updated and comes with construction quality that showcases Astro’s engineering origins with a combination of durable plastic and metal accents, with a heavy weight when worn but super soft earpads to compensate.
These are wireless with KleerNet 5.8GHz but can be connected through cables and equipped with 7.1 Surround through Dolby Digital/Pro Logic IIx. You’ll also benefit knowing that a lot of time and care was crafted into the A50 thanks to consistent feedback from pro gamers and audio designers during development; we expect such attention to detail, sure, but then again that type of testing applies to their lineup as a whole.
I had a few demos and a video introduction of the brand which was an effective way to get a listening impression firsthand, and got a history lesson of how the company came to be by Brandon Smith. However, I wanted to ask about the revised Xbox One controller design, and fortunately Astro came up with an answer I thanks to the AG1 Cable for the A50 and MixAmp M80 for the A30 or A40.
I was there to check out the flagship and unintentionally discuss the home theater possibilities of Dolby Atmos, However, I found myself drawn to the Halo Edition of the wireless A50 headset. This comes with the same internal features, specs, and included display stand, but is draped in livery that mimics the Master Chief theme with a dark olive green tint, ‘117’ insignia, and a relatively discreet Halo logo on the top headband and amp.
My usually-suppressed craving for “limited editions” got the better of me as I inquired about review units – my dreams were quickly shot down, unfortunately, as these special trims are for non-editorial consumption only…damn.
Dashed hopes for anything Halo-related aside, it was worth a shot and we’re really hoping that Astro gets back to us about reviewing their updated A50 Wireless Headset sooner rather than later. In the meantime you can pick one up for $300, or slightly less if you’re after any discount to help soften the blow.