Astro Gaming’s prominence in the gaming peripheral industry traces its roots back to the Astro A40 Gaming Headset, which gained a cult following among professional gamers. Astro has since released a variety of headsets and mixamps for PC and consoles, including the current A50 Wireless Gaming Headset, which was released in 2012.The updated A50 Wireless Gaming Headset implements features based on feedback from the original A50 and the A40 TR.
We visited Astro’s booth during E3 to get a first look at the new A50, which comes in two flavors (Xbox One and PS4 versions). Both support PC and Mac. It is constructed with premium components that are designed to be comfortable for long gaming sessions and durable enough to last through typical wear and tear, plus the occasional “gamer rage” episode. The A50 boasts a totally wireless design; no cables are required to plug into a chat adapter. Wireless signals are sent over a 5 GHz band. Finally, the A50 features Dolby Headphone 7.1 Surround Sound.
The new Astro A50 Wireless Gaming Headset includes a Base Station Transmitter that offers a variety of features, including automatic pairing with the headphones. The A50 headset charges by docking to the base station magnetically; it’s as simple as dropping the headset into the base station. The base station’s front display indicators illustrate the A50’s battery life, charging status, and whether Dolby Surround is on or off.
The headphones themselves have a 15-hour battery life. They also use an accelerometer to determine when a user is wearing them; if the headphones remain idle for 15 seconds, they power down into standby mode to preserve battery. The A50’s sound is produced with premium drivers that are tuned for gaming and movies. As for the microphone, Astro claimed that it improved the quality of the voice chat and low-noise performance. Flipping the microphone up mutes it automatically. Users may customize the A50 with mod kits. One such kit includes noise-cancelling ear cushions and a padded headband.
Finally, the A50 can be personalized using Astro’s Command Center software. The Command Center includes three EQ presets, but users can create, customize and share their EQs with others. The software will install automatic firmware updates for the base station.
The updated Astro A50 Wireless Gaming Headset and Base Station Transmitter will be available this August for $300.
Alexander Quejado is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware and Tom’s IT Pro. Follow Alexander Quejado on Twitter.