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E3: Astro A50 Hands On
As a DJ and music enthusiast, I yearn for the day when my gaming and music combine into a pleasurable experience. I was almost there with my early forays into Gaming headsets then gave up the dream and enjoyed my home surround sound. Most everyone in the gaming world has either heard of or used one of these headsets from the Big Three and I don’t mean the Miami Heat (2012 World Champs!).
Turtle Beach. Tritton. Astro. The argument is usually in that order. But Astro’s are always the last and final argument. The A40′s are still the de facto units used at MLG tournaments. So what could Astro do to make themselves stand out more?
Wireless. Plain and simple.
While tournament (read: Pro) gamers will never let go of wired cables whether on their controller or their headset, Astro realizes that not everyone has the luxury of playing inches from the screen so they’ve done the impossible and made the A40′s wireless.
Introducing the Astro A50. Finally a gaming headset made for me. Not the TSquared’s of the world, but me.
Astro makes it possible by taking its acclaimed A40 and cramming 5.8Ghz KleerNet tech inside the ear cups allowing for better sound resonance and deeper bass. They’ve also fixed the adjustable boom mic to the left ear cup and you can mute your in-game voice by simply moving the mic up parallel to the headset. A mini USB connection is available for charging either by USB adapter or console connection. Volume controls are housed on the right ear cup itself so gamers can quickly adjust on the fly. Want more volume, press forward. Dialing back is as simple as pressing on the back part.
The standout feature for me was the inclusion of a 3 way switch that allows me to flip between a flat, non-eq’d mode, Media mode for music & movies and Pro mode for gaming. This coupled with the closed ear design allows me to play games or watch movies with my family next to me and they won’t be able to hear the sound coming from the headset.
During my hands-on demo which included Call of Duty gameplay, I was amazed that I was clearly hearing the games rich sounds and veritably lag free. And this was while playing on a projection monitor. A quick stroll (nee roll) around the presentation area and I still zero perceptible lag.
While the $300 price tag may be a tad steep for the average gamer, understand that Astro is not aiming for the mid to entry level market. Their styling, heavy duty construction and eye for detail makes them a niche luxury item for those with the means.
Look for the Astro A50′s to hit stores, including Best Buy around mid-July.