We're forever rounding up our picks for the best Xbox One headset and best Xbox Series X, Series S headsets, meticulously testing each newcomer as they come. And today, we're looking at the refreshed Astro A20 wireless headset, designed for Xbox Series X, Series S, Xbox One, and PC.
Is this $120 headset worth the asking price, especially when there are so many comparable headsets for just a little cheaper? However, if you plan on using it across both Xbox and PC, you won't find a better option right now. Let's take a look (and listen).
Bottom line: While it won't blow you away, the Astro A20 ticks all the right boxes and is a solid wireless headset option for those who are fans of the Astro lineup.
- Great sound with three EQ modes
- Decent microphone with flip-to-mute function
- Good weight distribution and comfort
- Bundled dongle with compatibility for both Xbox and PC
- There are cheaper options with a similar feature set
- No 3.5mm capability
- Sidetone is quiet with no configurability
Astro A20 2020 review: What I loved
The Astro A20 is a long-running headset series that is designed to offer a more affordable alternative to the beefy Astro A50, which is quite arguably one of the best Xbox headsets ever made. If you don't have $300 to splash on a headset, you're likely in the Astro A20's demographic.
|Speakers||40 mm Neodymium, over-ear|
|Battery||15-hours, 3.5 hour charge time|
|Frequency||20 Hz to 20 kHz|
|Mic||Uni-directional, non-detachable with flip-to-mute feature|
|Compatibility||Wireless USB dongle for Xbox consoles and PC|
I use Astro headsets more than any other brand, with the Astro A50 as my main go-to. The headsets are reliable over time, with good build quality, balanced audio, and solid features. The Astro A20 is no exception.
This wireless headset sports 15-hour continuous battery life, with fairly rapid USB-C charging. The wireless signal is strong and flawless (providing you're using the latest Xbox updates), and the range is around 15 meters, making it adequate for even the largest entertainment rooms.
Astro's sound profile isn't flashy, but it focuses on balance above all else. Clear mids, strong and distortion-free bass, and good highs continue to impress. There are cleaner-sounding headsets out there, with a broader soundstage, but you'll probably be paying extra for the privilege.
The headset also comes with three EQ modes to play with, along with a volume dial and chat mix balance buttons. Speaking of chat, the microphone is also pretty great for communicating over Xbox Live or PC apps, with a handy flip-to-mute function.
Another thing Astro generally excels at is making headsets with a comfortable light-weight design. The A20 continues to deliver on that front, with a broad headband that should accommodate practically anyone, with well-cushioned earcups that remain comfy even across all-day gaming sessions.
Overall, at this price tier, there are few headsets that can compete on pure sound quality with Astro, and that fact remains true with the A20.
Astro A20 2020 review: What I disliked
Although I tend to use Astro headsets more than any other brand, due to the A50's charge base and SPDIF optical audio option, one thing I've never really been a fan of is Astro's "gamer" designs. At least the A50 2020 version went a little more subtle this time around. The A20 sports a more "toy-like" design, with aggressive angles and neon green accents. Design impressions are always subjective, and hey, you might like them, but it always feels to me like you're providing free advertising to someone else's brand when the design is this loud.
One of Astro's strong points is the Astro Command software, which typically gives you a wide range of customizable features to tweak, alongside a firmware updater. Unfortunately, the A20 doesn't yet seem to be compatible with this app, meaning that there's no way to adjust the sidetone mic monitoring, which is far too quiet out of the box.
Finally, it's hard to overlook the price. For a little bit less, you could grab a SteelSeries Arctis 1 or a Turtle Beach Stealth 600, both of which are directly comparable while also being cheaper. I think it's arguable that the Astro A20 audio is marginally better than those other options, but is it $20 dollars better? I'm not so sure. The Astro A20 does include a USB dongle which allows for seamless connectivity across both Xbox and PC without any cables, though. So if you factor the multi-platform aspects in, the $20 is worth it — but if you were only going to use this with Xbox, though, there are cheaper options.
Astro A20 2020 review: Should you buy it?
The Astro A20 sports a great sound experience with good tactical qualities, isolating audio cues like footsteps and reloads well without deprioritizing more immersive channels like those bassy explosions. I'm generally a fan of the Astro sound, but there are headsets with a broader soundstage and more impressive audio, like the recent Corsair HS75 XB, which you can get by paying just a little more.
However, what the A20 does that many other recent Xbox headsets don't is multi-platform compatibility across Xbox and PC, without relying on the awfulness of Bluetooth or the proprietary Xbox Wireless signal. If you're looking for a great headset that can run across both platforms without buying an extra Xbox Wireless dongle for PC, the Astro A20 is an awesome pick.
A great Xbox and PC headset
Bottom line: The Astro A20 is a solid headset with great audio, high-grade comfort, and a decent price point. The bundled USB dongle also has toggles for both Xbox and PC compatibility, making this great for multiplatform gamers.
Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!