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E3 2019: ASTRO A50 Wireless Gaming Headset — Hands-On
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E3 2019: ASTRO A50 Wireless Gaming Headset — Hands-On

ASTRO unveils their fourth-generation flagship headset, and it’s still premium above everything else.

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With Astro you can usually expect them to introduce a new or updated variant on one of their gaming headsets, and they fulfilled that obligation again at E3 2019. They released a new A40 + MixAmp Pro TR and the modular C40 TR controller a few months ago, so the debut of an updated A50 Wireless Headset is probably right timing for the summer.

This is also the fourth-generation model of the flagship headset. Each iteration has been more-or-less well-received as being designed to bridge gaming intensity with audiophile-grade performance, with each iteration coming with subtle improvements. Getting a look at the A50 firsthand shows that the exterior changes are small but smart ones, now sporting an almost all-black look and cleaner body molding on the earcup and headband for a stealthier appearance.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox variants are still separate entities, but the console-specific color schemes are nixed for more mature gray (PS4) and bronze (Xbox) accents on the sides and logo of the charging base station.

Speaking of which, that base has been downsized from the previous generation, giving you back some needed desk space. Everything else about the base station remains intact with some additional niceties, specifically better Lithium-ion battery life of over 15 hours, quicker recharging time and compatibility for USB sound cards when playing on PC.

My time with the latest A50 felt comfortably familiar, as the weight of the headset was noticeable but aided by the thick fabric earpads and signature headband adjustments that incorporate measuring marks on the industrial-style tube flanks. By default, the stereo sound exhibited no unfavorable distortion and low-end depth was impeccably represented without being boosted. Enabling surround sound via Dolby Audio did enhance the experience and brought some spatial dimension, but it wasn’t a radical change. Perhaps it was the game I played (Trover Saves the Universe) which was good, but probably not the most theatrical example that could’ve been used.

It’s been a while since I reviewed a A50, but I’ll say that it’s definitely a few steps above the excellent 2nd-gen A50, which felt like a lifetime ago. If you already own the immediate predecessor then you’re already in good hands, for everybody else who wants to graduate into premium wireless gaming audio with $299 to burn, this is worth every penny.

About the Author: Herman Exum