Overall, both of these gaming headsets are great, but they appeal to two different types of users. People who want maximum comfort or versatility will want to choose the Astro A50, while gamers that primarily use Xbox One for playing and want to save some money should choose the SteelSeries Arctis 9X.
Arctis vs. Astro: Versatility or value?
When it comes to overall design quality, the race is close. However, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X narrowly takes the cake. While it is true that the Astro A50's incredibly low weight (0.8 pounds) and excellent cushioning make it the king of comfort, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X headset sounds clearer and stronger overall thanks to its incredibly clear highs and mids that constitute most of the sounds you'll hear in games, though the Astro A50 has better lows due to its slightly lower minimum frequency response.
In addition, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X's thicker ear cups help to isolate the user from external noises better, which means that you'll be able to hear small in-game sounds like footsteps more clearly. It also has a retractable microphone for compactness' sake and a significantly larger battery life of 18-20 hours, which easily tops the Astro A50's 10-16 hour maximums.
|SteelSeries Arctis 9X||Astro A50|
|Frequency response||20Hz to 20kHz||10Hz to 20KHz|
|Connection||Wireless (Xbox One and Bluetooth)||Wireless (Base Station pairing)|
|Compatibility||Xbox One, PC (Requires adapter), Mobile||Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC|
|Battery||18-20 hours||10-16 hours|
Where the Astro A50 starts to look like a winner is in the versatility category. Since it uses a Base Station (connected through optical cable or USB) in order to pair to a device, it can work with an Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or PC without any issues. The SteelSeries Arctis 9X, in comparison, can only be used with an Xbox One and a mobile device (via Bluetooth) without needing to buy an accessory. If you want to use them on your PC, you'll need to pick up an Xbox Wireless Adapter. However, it is worth pointing out that if you only plan to use an Xbox One for your gaming sessions, the significantly higher price of the Astro A50's versatile compatibility options won't be worth it to you.
Arctis vs. Astro: Which should you buy?
The decision about which of these two headsets to buy ultimately comes down to personal needs, preferences, and budget. If you're looking for a headset with the best possible comfort, excellent versatility, and great sound, you should choose the Astro A50. However, if you're primarily an Xbox One player, want the best possible audio quality, and would like to save money, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is the perfect headset for you.
For most people, though, I think that the SteelSeries Arctis 9X will be the best choice simply because of the price difference. The Astro A50's cost a huge amount, and while it certainly earns its price in some respects, I think you're better off going with something that's easier on the wallet.
Best Xbox Pick
The SteelSeries 9X is not as comfortable or versatile as the Astro A50 headset, but it is better sounding, and it also has a retractable mic, a much better battery life, and a significantly lower price, making it the ideal choice if you want to save some money or only use an Xbox One.
It can do it all
The Astro A50 is an excellent gaming headset that sounds great on Xbox One and also PlayStation 4 and PC, and its light weight and cushioning make it extremely comfortable to wear. However, the price is very steep, and it may not be worth the price if you're dedicated to playing Xbox One only.
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