Review: Astro A50s

OnTheOutside Astro
The A50s are presented in a large box that has a black cardboard outer shell. Taking the box out of this shell reveals a beautiful graffitied design. You will also find an extremely helpful and well designed brochure that explains how to set up the device for each system. I was extremely surprised with the amount of great quality connections that were included in the box. These included a beautiful plastic stand, an optical cable, a 2.5mm cable for Xbox voice chat, A mix amp and two mini-USB to USB cables. Everything included is of extremely high quality and well thought out in design.

The first thing you will notice about the Astro A50s is that they are quite bulky. Despite this they are extremely lightweight and really comfortable. The headphones were clearly manufactured with design and comfort as a huge factor. Every piece of the headset is covered in a soft foam. I noticed that i’d forget that I was even wearing headphones after a few hours of wearing them.

Astro Screen 1
I found the A50s to be a bit loose-fitting on my head but I really appreciated this as it made them extremely comfortable with my glasses. The headphones feature an all black matte design which makes them incredibly stylish and instantly make them feel like a premium product. The red, exposed cables that run up the headphones are a great design element that gives the headphones a much-loved pop of colour.

The setup on my PS3 was incredibly simple. One of the Micro-USBs are required to power the mixer and optical out to the PS3. The difference with the 360 is that the chat cable has to be linked to the controller in order to process chat. Updating the headphones and mixer was extremely simple. You can do this by getting the application that is compatible with either OSX or Windows and the provided Mini USB-USB. The A50s are also compatible with the PC.

Battery life on the Astro A50s is absolutely incredible. A 3-4 hour charge gets you more than 10 hours of gaming. Unfortunately the headphones aren’t compatible with the Wii U. Game Audio on the Astro A50’s are fully compatible with the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One consoles. For voice communication on the Xbox One, you will need the voice-chat adapter being developed by Microsoft. As for the PS4, Sony has not yet detailed the specifics of how devices will connect for voice communication, although it is currently assumed to function the same as the PS3. Should this be the case, Astro Audio Systems will be fully compatible with the PS4 without any add-ons.

The Astro A50s can only be praised for their amazing sound quality. It is extremely clear at all times and provide a tremendous amount of detail and depth. The headphones can be switched between 3 sound presets. These include a media mode, a native EQ mode and pro mode that is aimed towards allowing you to get the leg up on your enemies. These can be switched on the fly by a three-way switch that is located on the base of the ear cup.

We mainly tested the A50s with Battlefield 3 and GTA V. Whilst playing Battlefield 3 I was extremely pleased with the bass that was provided as I fired round after round. I found that hearing footsteps of my enemies was a huge advantage that I would’ve not had without these headphones. The A50s Dolby 7.1 simulated surround sound does an extremely great job of giving you a great sense of what directions sounds are coming from.

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I wore these headphones for the whole time that I played GTA. I tried to have a play session without them and immediately felt less immersed in the world. The A50s provide sounds coming fem the distance and really enhance that experience of being in an open world that feels very alive.

The loose-fitting nature of the A50s also  means that a bit of the sound will escape at higher volumes. This means that people near you may be able to hear what you’re listening to. This never hampered my experience and my partner, when asleep never complained about my late gaming sessions despite this.

The microphone is easily bendable to your comfort and pointing it straight up automatically mutes it. This makes the A50s extremely adaptable to those who want to use it in a competitive sense and also those who don’t really need the microphone. The control pad on the side easily allows you control how much chat and game sound you want coming through.

The Astro A50s are among the best wireless headphones that I have used with my PS3. They are an absolute must for hardcore online FPS players. The sound quality, design and huge amount of connectivity options included in the box make them hard to go past. They are high in price but it is really justified for the great build quality and excellent sound.