Last month at E3 we were able to get ears-on with the updated A50 Wireless Headset from Astro. The new headsets are dropping next month for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Astro told us that they don’t like adding new numbers and names to their headphone lineups. So, if you’re hunting for these new headsets, make sure to tag them with 2016 as they are the latest version of their popular A50 brand. The original Astro A50s were released in 2012.
The updated headsets come with a ton of new features and design choices.
To start the headsets are made from light aluminum now and can be twisted giving them a sense of durability that plastic sometimes doesn’t have.
The big change though is the new Base Station. The 2012s came out with a regular stand that could be a bit flimsy, especially if you have kids. The new station handles charging, transmitting and pairing.
Audio is getting a big upgrade as well with the A50s now carrying Dolby 7.1 and three EQ presets that can be customized. We got a brief look at the proprietry Astro software that’s supposed to let players customize everything from the EQ and levels to mic monitoring. The attached mic has it’s own channel and features mix switching.
The boom mic has enhanced noise-canceling technology and auto mutes when it’s flipped up.
During the brief time we had with the headsets, they were very light and didn’t seem to get hot around ears like some over-the-ear headsets can. That said, this wasn’t an intense several hour gaming session either. Still, the headsets were very comfortable.
One feature we liked is the removable earcups and headbands, similar to the Astro A40 TR. We saw a couple of different options from soft, plush cloth cups to nicer leather ones.
Astro reps told us to expect up to 15-hours of battery life. One feature we liked was the built-in accelerometer that tells the headset when the device is laid down flat. After a set time, five seconds or so, it tells the headphones to go into standby mode to save battery life.
Look for Astro’s upgraded A50 in August for $299 for both the PS4 and Xbox One.