Astro A50 Wireless Gaming Headset Battlefield 4 Edition Review
Alexandra Mangen / Nov 26th, 2013 No Comments
The ASTRO Gaming A50 Battlefield 4 Edition is the latest offering from the manufacturer of high-end audio equipment, squarely aimed at gamers that have a passion for excellent headsets and for DICE’s latest game, Battlefield 4. The A50 BF4 Edition offers Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, an embedded ASTRO MixAmp audio engine, a USB-rechargeable battery, a uni-directional mic with flip-up mute, and a wireless transmitter.
Though the sound settings are designed to complement the Xbox One, the ASTRO A50 Wireless Gaming Headset will also work with PC and PlayStation consoles as well. The Battlefield 4 edition varies little from its previously released A50 brethren, but do feature different Battlefield 4 graphics and three custom audio profiles that are not standard on the A50s.
At first glance, the ASTRO A50s look surprisingly simple. That is not to say that they look cheap or of poorer quality than their $299.95 price tag would merit. So many gaming headphones on the market feature a slew of buttons on both earcups that end up being confusing and frustrating while forcing users into an optometrist-like experience where they are constantly flicking between knobs to figure out what works best. Does this sound better when you flick it to knob one or knob two, knob two or knob three, knob three or knob one? Choices are great, but to the untrained eyes or ears, the minute differences that separate one audio profile from another or one bass level from another can be stressful and overwhelming. The A50s are great because it only takes ten to fifteen minutes to fully understand how they work and there’s no futzing around with knobs for an hour to find your perfect profile.
The BF4 A50 headphones have scaled back the number of controls, knobs, and dials needed to achieve a good audio profile. The left ear-cup contains ports for charging and connecting to an Xbox controller and is also where the mic is mounted. There is no mute button on the headset; instead, flipping the mic down turns it on and flipping it up mutes it. It’s simple, easy to remember and for those who like to chat while they game, far better than fumbling around for the mute button while trying not to get shot in the face.
The right ear-cup contains the controls for volume, power, voice/game balance and the EQ profiles. The power is controlled through an easy-to-use on/off button. Underneath the power button is the toggle for the three custom audio profiles. The volume knob is one of those affairs where the dial is slightly rubberized and you can feel the knob toggle through each volume setting. Achieving that perfect voice-to-game audio balance is also made simpler on the A50s. The outside of the right ear-cup houses a large button with one side to adjust the game balance and another side to adjust the voice balance. The button is simple, effective and easy to access even in the midst of digital warfare.
Even at lower volumes, the A50s cancel out a lot of ambient noise including whomever is yelling for someone to take the trash out. When playing multiplayer in BF4, the A50s do a great job of separating out footsteps, gunshots, and even a tank rumbling by. Each sound is clear and distinct with no discernible latency. Given that the wireless operates in a 5.8GHz frequency, it has better capabilities than Bluetooth since there are no possibilities of any interference with other Bluetooth devices.
The A50s feature a noise cancelling mic that works incredibly well and had only a tiny bit of feedback for a short period of time in five hours of play. They also have an amazing range. We were able to take the headphones more than sixty feet away from the MixAmp and they still worked with only minimal disruption to the sound. With 7.1 Dolby, the A50s are capable of quality surround sound and are an excellent solution for those who value high-grade audio without waking the baby or want to play an all-night marathon of Battlefield without waking their spouse.
The A50s are incredibly comfortable whether wearing them headset-style or resting them on your shoulders. The earcups themselves fold flat easily and the swivel mechanism seems pretty sturdy. The fabric earcups offer a lot in comparison with their pleather counterparts. When wearing them for multiple hours at a time, they don’t overheat the ears or cause them to sweat.
The headband has a rectangular design along with the earcups which are also rectangular and offer advantages over the standard round design. The A50s don’t feel claustrophobic after hours of wearing them. The rectangular design of the earcups fit easily but not snugly over the ears – gamers will not have issues with sore cartilage after long hours on Team Deathmatch. The underside of the headband is padded with a rectangular strip only where the headset comes into contact with the top of the head. The design of the headband and padding keeps the padded earcups comfortably over the ears while keeping the hard plastic components of the headset far away from any soft bits they would otherwise squish or chafe.
Are the A50s worth their $299.95 price tag? The quality of the materials used in the headset is obvious. The supports between the earcups and the headband are made of a lightweight metal while the mic, earcup buttons, headband, and earcup supports are all made of a high-grade plastic. The charging cord is short and the battery life was difficult to gauge. Due to the design of the USB port, the charging cord wiggles out easily if the headset is moved around too much so it was difficult to be sure when the headset was fully charged.
It should also be noted that the A50s were not originally designed to be compatible with the PlayStation 4 but after an update and a software patch found through ASTRO’s website, the headphones worked great on the next-gen console from Sony. On the Xbox One, the A50s will require an extra cord to be plugged directly from the controller to the headphones in order to enable chat.
Overall, the ASTRO A50 Wireless Gaming Headset is a great product and does exactly what they are designed for – provide amazing sound whether gaming or watching movies and television. The A50s are comfortable enough that users will forget that they are even wearing them after long periods of time. They are simple to configure, and the easy mic mute and noise canceling abilities of the mic make them fantastic for chatting with friends while gaming. ASTRO Gaming generally sells their MixAmp separately from their headphones and the package deal of both the headset and the amp, plus the easily customized surround sound capabilities, makes the A50 headset worth the buy.
tags: A50 , A50 battlefield 4 edition , astro gaming , hardware , review , wireless headset