When I first wrote this Astro A50 Gen 4 review, it was one of the hottest gaming peripherals on the market. Today, that stands as somewhat true, however, with plenty of new releases from rival competitors, can the Astro A50’s still live up to the original hype?
While not the best looking pair of headphones on the market, the Astro A50 Gen 4 delivers sound quality far beyond budget gaming headphones. Packed with a compatible application for comprehensive audio controls, a solid microphone and compatibility with both PC, Xbox & Playstation, there is a lot to love about the Astro A50 Gen 4’s.
And so there should be for the price!
Now a few years older, will the Astro A50 Gen 4 still be a top pick for both casual and professional gamers alike? Scroll on down as I delve deep into each component with this comprehensive Astro A50 Gen 4 review. From build quality to audio, microphone and compatibility, here’s everything you need to know before you buy.
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Look, the Astro A50 Gen 4 resembles your a-typical gaming headset. It’s primarily made of plastic and there is nothing ultra premium about the design so don’t go expecting luxury for your money. The headphones are big, the plastic band across the top is hollow and the microphone is attached securely; as you would expect. While there is a small aura of class with the black and grey finish, the Astro A50’s look just like any regular headset. However, it’s the audio that’s the biggest surprise of them all.
If you are not overly keen on the design, you can upgrade your headset with Astro’s compatible wireless Kit mod. Here, you will be able to replace the stand cushions and ear pads with a leatherette design that adds a little extra comfort and some sex appeal. We would definitely recommend this upgrade should you prioritise comfort; over budget.
As for build quality, the overall durability is fairly good. On first use, the Astro A50’s feel like they will never break on you. However, with heavy extended use, you might stumble across a few minor flaws with some creaking of certain components and just a sense that the A50’s are not as durable as they once were before. Again, this is fairly regular with gaming headsets of this build type.
Besides that, the rest of the headset design is very similar to that of previous Astro models. And, while we are okay with that, we would have hoped for a few more thrills given that this is supposed to be Astro’s latest model.
For comfortability, the Astro A50 Gen 4 headset performed fairly well over long gaming sessions. The design itself ergonomically sits snuggly on your noggin and the general feel of the headset seems to be on par with the majority of gaming headsets within this price bracket. The headset itself has multiple adjustment levels for comfort which are very easy to modify by holding the frame and adapting the size for the ultimate fitting.
While the original ear cushions and headband are soft and comfortable, we would still recommend upgrading to that Mod Kit for the ultimate experience. Not only is synthetic leather more appealing, your ears will definitely love you for the upgrade too.
The Astro A50 Gen 4 headset is powered with 40mm Neodymium drivers and tuned with custom Astro Audio V2 as a sweetener for creating well blended sound. With compatibility for Dolby Atmos (which is still used by movie theatres) you can expect nothing less than sheer brilliance with the Astro A50 Gen 4 wireless gaming headset.
One quality we couldn’t help but noticing when testing the product for our Astro A50 Gen 4 review was just how well the Astro A50’s produced crisp highs and a very well balanced sound. Through controlling mids to near perfection and providing distortion-free bass, across a wide variety of game genres the Astro A50’s live up to their reputation. From popular FPS games to calmer Japanese role playing games, there’s a balance of sound that just makes your ears fall in love quite quickly. It’s not often that we actually really enjoy the sound quality of gaming headsets, yet, the Astro A50’s were not a disappointment.
For music, however, the Astro A50 Gen 4 is best suited to electronic genres or those with high bass. It does not handle cymbals and vocals to the same perfection as it does bass and with any tracks that emphasise pianos, you might find the sound a little bit lost amongst the chaos. Personally, I don’t use the same gaming headset for music and would much preference a dedicated pair of music headphones. However, if you are on a budget, the Astro A50’s will do the job fairly well; unless you’re a complete muso of course.
As with most gaming headsets, the Astro A50 Gen 4’s come complete with a 6.0mm unidirectional mic that provides very good low latency support. For in-game chat, this is more than enough to keep your comms crystal clear. What’s more, with built-in MixAmp technology, there are solid levels of clarity to each recording.
The microphone also supports “Flip to Mute” which provides excellent reliability for those moments when you really don’t want your friends to hear what you are saying! Simply swing your attached microphone arm away from your mouth and you’ll instantly be put on mute. No buttons, no hand gestures, just a good old fashioned flipping.
For professional video recording or music, while nowhere near as good as a dedicated standalone gaming microphone such as the Razer Sieren, you will be moderately surprised at how good the Astro A50’s can output your voice. For anybody who doesn’t have a professional recording setup, but likes to create YouTube videos of recent clutches, the Astro A50 headset will deliver recording quality to a reasonably good standard.
Astro A50 Gen 4’s Base Station comes feature-packed with several purposes that you will use to ultimately control your gaming headset. First, the base station is used to charge the headset and has OPT-IN/OPT-OUT and AUX support controls.
In addition, the base station has a slider button labelled as PC and PS/Xbox where you can slide to choose your favourite gaming device. By doing so, the Astro A50’s are subsequently then compatible with the PC, PlayStation or Xbox respectively. However, you will need to use Optical from your TV as the Astro A50s lack HDMI 2.1 Support. This is a compromise and 120hz HDR + full audio (dolby) wont work properly this way.
On the front side of the Base station, LED indicators provide information about Battery Status as well as Dolby surround sound On/Off Status. The Base Station also indicates which platform the headsets are connected to (PS/Xbox) so you won’t ever have to go wondering why your headset is connected to a device you were using a few days ago.
Despite the base station seemingly being a little over the top, we actually enjoy the functionality alongside having a dedicated dock for charging the headset. There’s nothing worse than cables and with some wireless headsets still packing a nice long cord for you to plug into a USB point, the base station does help to keep your gaming setup looking sleek and minimal.
Connectivity & Compatibility
For connectivity, the Astro A50 Gen 4 wireless headset comes with near perfect wireless functionality with a range of up to 15m which is more than enough for most gaming environments. The battery life is also very decent and you won’t find that your wireless drops out when running low on batter like some of the other cheaper headsets on the market.
For connecting to Xbox + Playstation, the Base Station of the device is necessary as it acts as the intermediary to connect between different devices. The base station of the device needs to be powered up using the POWER slot present of the rear, and then the device needs to be plugged in with the Micro USB for PC connectivity and OPT port with Optical cable to connect to PS or Xbox.
In addition, you will need to use Optical from your TV as the Astro A50s lack HDMI 2.1 Support. This is a compromise and 120hz HDR + full audio (dolby) wont work properly this way. This is a hindrance considering other headsets are instantly compatible with a multitude of consoles, as well as PC, however, we don’t expect you to be switching over consoles any time soon.
For software, Astro comes with it’s own dedicated software called “Astro Command Center” which provides complete access for the user to control pretty much any setting you would want to tweak. From game audio to voice chat and sound balancing, there is plenty here for you to setup the perfect blend of bass, mids and trebles which we really enjoyed.
Starting at around $450AUD, the Astro A50 4th generation headset has it’s sights targeting at professional gamers and those with plenty of cash to spare. Now, whilst you might choke at seeing the price tag, considering that the Astro A50 Gen 4 headset is feature packed and compatible with both consoles and PC, there is good justification for this level of spend – if you are serious about audio quality.
Comparatively to Razer’s Blackshark V2 Pro dedicated eSports wireless headset which is also compatible with both Playstation, Xbox and PC, there is not much to decipher between the two. While the much heralded Razer Blackshark V2 Pro would slightly edge the Astro A50, to be anywhere near this level of quality means that there is a lot of value to be had with the A50’s.
For anybody who wants to spend even more on their headset, the A50’s also come with the option to upgrade your ear cushions with a mod kit that is valued at around $75AUD. Frankly, had this mod kit come free, the A50’s would quickly become the most bang for buck headset on the market. But, unfortunately, you’re going to need to cough up some more for this feature.
Whilst there is little to complain about the Astro A50’s (and rightly so for that price!), you will quickly identify that this headset is absolutely terrible with sound isolation. From bus noises to just general rumbling of city life, you are going to hear pretty much anything that delivers ambient bass or mid-range sounds.
In fact, we could even hear our air-conditioning unit when playing more casual games that don’t exude the piercing sounds of frag grenades!
In addition, for anybody looking to extract the most value out of your A50’s by travelling with them or taking them along with you as you commute to work, you’ll be pretty disappointed to hear that the A50’s are not foldable. What we mean by this is that you’ll need to make room in your backpack for the A50’s at their biggest form factor. While they do swivel flat to reduce their footprint, there are no promises made by Astro that the A50’s will become your best travel mate – and for good reason!
Further to this, there are also limitations with the platform connectivity as the headsets support either Xbox or PlayStation. As there are headsets capable of supporting Xbox and PlayStation at once without a base station, it might put Astro A50 Gen 4 at a disadvantage.
Despite the lacking noise isolation and portability, for well isolated environments, the Astro A50 Gen 4 gaming headset delivers incredible audio quality and features all round. For that, we have graded our Astro A50 Gen 4 review a highly respectable 88%.
Gaming with the Astro 50’s is comfortable through long sessions. From it’s impeccable recording microphone to incredible sound across lows, mids and highs, there is not much else on the market that would rival a headset like the Astro A50 Gen 4. However, you’re going to have to fork out a sizeable sum to get your hands on a pair of these! With that in mind, you might be better off purchasing Razer’s Blackshark V2 Pro which immediately removes some of the bumps in the product.
Irrespective of limitations, the Astro A50 Gen 4 is extremely reliable and comes well supported with bulletproof wireless integration. As a market leading headset, for anybody who does not live within a noisy environment, you will have absolutely zero qualms when using the Astro A50 gaming headset.
Just be sure to only buy the A50’s when you don’t plan on travelling!
Astro A50 Gen 4 Gaming Headset
With bulletproof wireless connectivity and diverse compatibility, the Astro A50 Gen 4 headset delivers not only on functionality but also performance. Whilst flawed with noise isolation, the overall sound quality (including the microphone) is absolutely best of breed. A great pick for serious gamers with a sizeable budget.
Content Disclaimer: This Astro A50 Gen 4 Review is independently written. We have not been commissioned by Kingston, nor have we received any royalties for this article. This includes financial reimbursement, free advertising or the Astro A50 Gen 4 Gaming Headset by way of gift.
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