Best Astro Headsets Windows Central 2021
One of the biggest and best headset manufacturers out there is Astro. Making some of the best Xbox One headsets on the market. Astro consistently refreshes its lineup with improved versions of existing headsets, with an easy naming convention and dense product catalog that makes it simple to navigate. If you're a fan of the Astro brand, we've rounded up the current best Astro headsets on the market and the biggest differences between them into this handy guide.
Best Overall: Astro A50
The Astro A50 is a near-perfect headset that is ideal for those who want to dive in at the deep end.
The Astro A50 is practically unique on the market right now, owing to its magnetic charge dock that few competitors have been able to emulate well. The charging dock keeps the wireless headset itself topped off and fully charged, so you can ensure you'll always be good to go.
The headset sports Astro's unique high-end design, with metallic tubes on either side for adjustments. The cushioning is thick and generous but can be upgraded further with a leatherette option from Astro's website. This is one of the more comfortable headsets on the market, with a light-weight design that remains comfortable across even the lengthiest of sessions.
As a wireless headset, the Astro A50 bakes all the controls directly onto the headset itself, and all the buttons and dials have good action. Astro also has some of the best configuration software on the planet, giving you a wealth of control over EQ modes, sidetone volume, and firmware updates.
This headset is also unique in that it allows you to mix audio from two separate sources without Bluetooth. You can use the USB connection on a PC for Discord and use the SPDIF optical cable to your TV to mix Xbox gameplay audio in, for example. You can also just use it in USB mode on either Xbox or PC if your TV set doesn't support optical audio.
This is a headset that simply doesn't disappoint and is easily deserving of a spot on our best Xbox One Wireless headsets roundup.
- Big balanced sound
- Industry-leading software
- Convenient charge dock
- Superior comfort and design
- Beefy price point
Best Wired: Astro A40
The Astro A50 is a great wireless option, but if you prefer the comfort and reliability of good old 3.5mm audio, consider the legendary and versatile Astro A40 TR bundle.
This headset setup was my personal go-to for a very long time, owing to the Astro MixAmp. The A40 TR can be purchased separately for a significant saving, but the Astro MixAmp combo adds a wealth of functionality that is well worth considering. Much like the Astro A50 dock, the MixAmp feeds sidetone mic monitoring, EQ tuning, Dolby surround, and the ability to mix USB and SPDIF optical sound sources into a single stream. This is useful for those who want to use a single headset on their PC and video game console simultaneously, without being at the mercy of the awful Bluetooth protocol.
As a headset, the A40 is an excellent piece of kit, with a stunning black and red metallic design that is quite easily one of the best-looking finishes out there. The headset itself is well built, with metal and high-quality gloss plastics that look great and feel nice to wear. The fabric earcups can be a bit warm on the ears but can be swapped out for a leatherette option via Astro.
The biggest downside, like the A50, is the asking price. But there are few options out there that provide as much versatility for multi-platform gamers. For streamers and content creators on PC, this might be one of the best PC gaming headset options out there.
- Crisp, satisfying sound
- Excellent design and comfort
- MixAmp provides a wealth of versatility and power
- Big price for the full package
The Astro A40 bundle packs an impressive wired headset with a versatile and powerful MixAmp that lets you feed audio from two separate sources, alongside various other benefits. This is a great setup for streamers and multiplatform gamers or anyone who wants all their audio controls right at their fingertips.
Best Value: Astro A20
If you love Astro but don't want to drop the big bucks for the Astro A50 wireless, consider this cheaper alternative. The Astro A20 is Astro's more affordable wireless option, ditching the charging dock for a more modest overall package.
The Astro A20 2020 model isn't the most attractive out there, with a loud white design and green "gamer" accents, but unless you're broadcasting yourself live on Twitch, you're probably not too concerned with how it looks overall. The A20 hits its lower price by dropping the charging dock and some more "premium" materials from its more expensive cousins. There are no metallic parts here, which could hit its durability. The trade-off is that it's incredibly lightweight, with a well-balanced design that should remain comfortable even in long gameplay sessions.
As versatile as the Astro A40 and Astro A50 are, it's a bit odd then that the Astro A20 doesn't include any form of 3.5mm capability. It also doesn't support the Astro software as of writing, meaning there's no way to tweak the sidetone mic monitoring or the audio profile. Thankfully, there is three audio EQ presets on the headset itself you can play around with, alongside a flip-to-mute mic and good battery life for those who simply want to get their game on.
- Big sound with multiple EQ modes
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Works wirelessly across PC and Xbox
- There are similar headsets that are cheaper
- No 3.5mm capability
- No config software
Best Budget: Astro A10
The most affordable headset Astro currently offers is the Astro A10 wired 3.5mm headset, compatible with any device with a standard 3.5mm audio jack.
Astro made a fair range of compromises to shrink the asking price on this headset, shedding metal from the construction and many of the bells and whistles found on Astro's more expensive counterparts. One area Astro didn't compromise here, however, is audio quality. The A10 punches above its weight, with good highs and clear bass that will immerse you in your games.
The Astro A10 isn't the most comfortable, nor perhaps the most attractive headset out there. Indeed, there are arguably better headset options out there in this price range, many of which can be found on our best Xbox headsets under $100 article. If you simply fancy Astro as your personal brand, though, this headset is a fun option for those who don't want to blow up their wallet in the process.
- Decent construction
- Solid audio
- Arguably better options at this price point
Astro remains an industry-leader for a good reason: their products are great. I've been using Astro headsets on-and-off as my go-to headsets for years, especially for their ability to mix sound from different sources seamlessly and easily. Most of Astro's competitors fall back on Bluetooth to gain this capability, but as anyone who has ever used Bluetooth can attest: Bluetooth is garbage. Astro's A50 headset and the A40 MixAmp let you feed SPDIF optical audio as a secondary sound source and then combine that with USB audio from a PC, which has been ideal for me while streaming games from my console to my PC's capture card. Being able to grab Xbox audio wirelessly with the Astro A50 charging dock and mix that with comms from my PC is just awesome and something no other headset on the market offers right now. The A50 has been a staple on our best headset roundups, and takes a spot on our best Xbox Series X and Series S headsets list for its versatility.
While Astro audio is generally great, I'm not a huge fan of the Astro implementation of Dolby surround, as it injects some weird echoing quality into the sound mix. Thankfully, you can typically turn this off and use Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic as an alternative to get some surround experience with a more naturalistic soundscape.
Astro headsets generally come with a "brand tax" similar to Razer and some of the other big names. As a result, I often feel like you can get better audio and comfort for a bit less from some of Astro's competitors. For wireless headsets, I tend to prefer the LucidSound LS50X and LS35X, and for wired options, I feel like headsets like the HyperX CloudX offer more bang-for-buck both in terms of sound and construction. Where Astro typically beats the competition is multi-platform versatility and software. It all just works, and Astro doesn't ask you to fiddle around with half-baked installers or strange firmware updating rituals to update their products.
The Astro software for Windows is by far the best on the market right now, making firmware updates a simple and easy process, with plenty of configuration. When it comes to balancing ease of use with comfort and quality, Astro is probably top of the pile. And at the top of that pile sits the incredible Astro A50.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jez Corden is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing on Xbox, Surface, and Windows PC. He spends the vast majority of his time gaming or writing about gaming, with a mission to provide gamers in the Microsoft ecosystem the best and most up-to-date info possible.
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