Astro A50 Gen 4 Headset Review: Best PS4/Xbox One/PC Wireless Gaming Headset

For the last 15 years the name Astro has been synonymous with premium gaming headsets and for good reason. Astro headsets not only offer incredible sound but are also extremely comfortable for long gaming sessions. Today we will be reviewing Astro’s flagship model, the A50 Gen 4 wireless headset. Since its debut in 2012, the A50 headset has not changed much when it comes to styling, but it has evolved when it comes to sound quality and features.

astro a50 review

With its latest Gen 4 update in 2019, the A50s received a new base station, retuned drivers, improved battery life and a 2.4 GHz wireless connection. But at $299, is it worth the price?

Unboxing

The packaging for the Astro A50s is almost as impressive as the headset itself!

The front of the box is mostly glossy black with a large image of the A50 headset. You will also find the model of the headset, supported console, and Astro and Dolby branding.

astro a50 box

The back of the box features a breakdown of the A50 headset and its base station.

astro a50 box back

Upon opening the initial box, we are greeted by an additional black box.

astro a50 packaging
astro a50 unboxing

This box contains the A50s and base station neatly organized.

astro a50 accessories

Design

This time around Astro opted to go with a stealthier style. The multicolored design from the last generation was replaced with an all-black design that is easier on the eyes. The headset is still quite bulky like most other premium gaming headsets. Overall, the Astro A50 Gen 4 is great looking, especially for a gaming headset!

astro a50 wireless headset

On the left side of the headset, you’ll find the microphone. Unlike the microphone in the Astro A40s, the A50 microphone is not removable but it can be rotated upwards which also mutes the microphone.

astro a50 microphone

The MixAmp is built-in to the headset on the A50s. On the right side of the headset, you’ll find multiple buttons and dials. On the outside of the ear cup, there are two buttons labeled “game” and “voice”. These buttons allow you to adjust the volume ratio between voice chat and game sound. This feature has been present in Astro headsets for a long time, and it works flawlessly!

astro a50 controls

On the back side of the right ear cup is the power switch, Dolby surround sound button, EQ modes, and a volume dial. Lastly on the bottom side a micro USB port is present so you can use the headset while charging via a USB cable connected to the base station. Keep in mind, this is not a full wired mode, the port simply provides the ability to charge the A50s; the sound still runs off the wireless connection to the base station. You will however need to supply your own charging cable. When not in use, simply place the A50s on the base station to charge them.

astro a50 buttons

Like the A40s, the Gen 4 A50s come with extremely comfortable ear pads that are magnetically attached to the headset. The A50s are also mod kit compatible meaning that you can purchase synthetic leather ear pads (and headband) and easily pop them in.

astro a50 ear pads

Astro A50 Base Station Features

The A50 base station is simply amazing for this generation! It’s much smaller than previous generations and adds new features. The base station will wirelessly charge the headset and includes a small OLED screen that displays information such as battery level, Dolby surround status, the selected EQ preset, and whether the headset is set to console or PC mode.

astro a50 headset review

The base station also includes a multitude of ports which include: a USB Type-A Play and Charge Port (which cannot be used while the headset is charging in the dock), an Optical In port, an Optical Out Port, an AUX In/Mic Out port, and a USB power/audio port which uses a micro USB to USB Type-A wire. Additionally, it has a PC/PS4 switch or PC/XBOX switch depending on your model.

astro a50 base ports

How To Connect A50s to PS4/Xbox One/PC

A typical setup includes connecting the Optical In port to the Optical out port on your gaming console or PC and connecting the Micro USB to USB Type-A wire from the Base Station to a USB Type-A port on your console or PC. The USB Type-A port on the Base Station (first port seen above) would be used to charge the A50s while in use and not on the Base Station.

Comfort

Like its predecessors, the Gen 4 A50s are extremely comfortable! The ear cups are specious and deep; they accommodate a multitude of ear sizes.

astro a50 ear pad

The padding feels soft to the touch and the clamping force of the headset feels perfect, not too hard, and not too loose. The headset is somewhat heavy at 0.8 pounds but since the headband is also padded, you should not really feel the full weight of the headset. Overall, long gaming sessions of 8+ hours are not a problem comfort-wise.

Gaming Performance

When it comes to sound quality, the Gen 4 A50s are among the best we have tested! These A50s use what Astro calls “Astro Audio V2”, an improved audio spectrum that seeks to capture the most true-to-life and localized sound in game to provide gamers with the most competitive advantage. Crisp highs, controlled mids and distortion-free bass are what Astro claims is the result of their improved audio tuning.

astro a50 speaker tags

The bass performance if the Gen 4 A50s is great. Gunshots and explosions sound incredible without overshadowing the rest of the sounds. Finding a gaming headset that can balance between bass, mid, and treble well is somewhat hard now. Most gaming headsets on the market are very bass heavy, which in our opinion can ruin the sound experience in some games.

astro a50 charging

While playing Apex Legends, Destiny 2, and Call of Duty: Warzone, the sound quality was pristine! The gun sounds were extremely realistic and loud. Footsteps and other sound cues were also loud and easy to hear providing you with an advantage over other players, especially those who have not invested in a premium gaming headset.

The Dolby surround option is good given the limits of virtual surround. It provides a wide sound field, but it lacks in giving a sense of directionality when attempting to track where shots came from. This is often the case for virtual surround sound solutions in headsets. However, while playing Apex legends or Call of Duty: Warzone, the Dolby surround option definitely helps when tracking shots, but it’s best used to determine how far off said shots are being fired.

Music Performance

Since the Gen 4 A50s are marketed as a gaming headset, we were not expecting good music performance, but we were pleasantly surprised! The headset is more than capable of handling music! Although one shouldn’t compare the A50s to actual music focused headphones, they do a decent job.

Microphone Performance

The A50’s microphone performance is on par with other premium gaming headsets. Voice is clear and noise gates can be tinkered with in the Astro Command Center app.

Battery Life

This time around, the battery life is stellar! The Gen 4 A50s are rated for 15 hours of game time, and we are happy to report that it is absolutely true! Although the battery life is incredible, the charge time is not great, especially since consumers have gotten used to fast charging.

astro a50 base station

The initial charge after unboxing the A50s took roughly 5 hours and subsequent charging took around 3 hours from dead to full battery. It would be great to see Astro implement some type of fast charging to the next generation of A50 headsets. Again, you can use the A50s with a USB charging wire (not provided) connected to the base station in “wired charging” mode, so you won’t ever be without a headset when the battery dies.

Astro Command Center

The Astro command center is Astros’ software configuration tool for all their headsets including the A50s. 

astro a50 command center

The command center allows you to update firmware, configure, save and load presets, adjust microphone settings and control the volume for the various ports. Check out our Astro A40 review for more details.

astro a50 command center microphone settings

Astro A50s Compared to Other Wireless Gaming Headsets

Astro A50 vs. Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless

Both the A50s and the Arctis Pro Wireless are incredible headsets! When it comes to sound quality, we believe it is a hard draw. We find the A50s more comfortable for extended gaming sessions and we prefer the ear cup padding of the A50s. The Arctis Pro Wireless can be used in a fully wired mode, which is a feature we would like to see added to the A50s. Perhaps the greatest feature the Arctis Pro Wireless offers is that the Steelseries dock can charge an additional battery while the headset is being used. This allows the user to simply swap battery packs when one dies. Steelseries likely offers this feature since the battery life for the Arctis Pro Wireless is only 10 hours as opposed to the A50s 15-hour lifespan. We place the A50s in their dock each day after gaming, so battery life has never been an issue. In fact, it’s nice not to have to juggle between swapping out and charging separate batteries.

steelseries arctis pro wireless gaming headset

Astro A50 vs. Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless

The A50s is the superior offering here! They offer superior sound quality, microphone performance, and comfort.  The only features the Corsair Virtuoso have in their favor is that they provide better noise isolation.

corsair virtuoso rgb wireless gaming headset

Astro A50 vs. Razer Nari Ultimate

Once again, the A50s wipe the floor with the Razer Nari Ultimate. They offer superior sound quality, microphone performance, comfort, and battery life. However, the Razer Nari Ultimate does offer bass haptic feedback which is a neat feature. However, we cannot justify ever choosing the Razer Nari Ultimate over the A50s simply because of haptic feedback.

razer nari ultimate wireless gaming headset

Conclusion

The Astro A50 has been at the pinnacle when it comes to premium gaming headsets for quite some time; we are excited to say that new A50 Gen 4 remains at the top spot! The Astro A50s provide stellar sound, amazing battery life, and great customizability. The new base station is noticeably better than previous generations and when paired with the Astro Command Center app, provides robust customizability.

performance computer editors choice award

The best thing about the A50s is that they work so well. There’s no gimmicks or complex setup required. They look great, they feel great and performance from both an audio quality and a battery life perspective is exactly what you’d come to expect from Astro. Although $299 may seem like a lot to invest into a wireless gaming headset, we believe it a worthwhile investment in your gaming setup if you desire great sound and a competitive edge.

We highly recommend the Astro A50s and are proud to award them our Editor’s Choice Award!

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