A few months back, we got the change to review Astro's base model, A30, that retailed for $200. Now, we were given the opportunity to review Astro's A50 model, that retails for $300. So the question that one must be thinking is "What makes the A50's cost $100 more than the A30's?" Read on to find the answer.
There are many advantages or upgrades that are noticed from switching from the A30s to the A50s. One of the most apparent upgrades, other than being wireless, is in regards to the Mix amp unit. In the A30s, the unit is separate. However, to the casual observer, it would seem that the A50s threw out the Mixamp Pro unit. Unknown to the observer, the unit itself has been incorporated into the headset.
On one side of the headphones, you are able to control both game and voice balance. This allows you to change the balance between the two on the fly without really distracting you from gameplay. I really like it this way because I found I was getting quite distracted using the A30's separate Mixamp unit. The other side of the headphones has the microphone, which you can mute by putting it in the mic down position or you can turn it on in the down position. This side also includes the USB charge port, Xbox live cable, power button, EQ mode select, and the master volume control wheel.
On the flipside, there are some downsides to the A50s. One of which is the overall size of the headphones. Do not get me wrong. They are a good fit over my ears. However, they appear quite bulky, though they don’t put any real pressure on you head. I find that the power button is quite tiny compared to the overall size of the headphones. I am not a big guy but my finger is twice the width of the power button, which makes it a bit hard to turn on and off.
Additionally, I don’t like that I still need to use a charge cable to charge them. I mean, that the focus on the A50s being wireless is the exclusion of cables. However, having to use a cable just feels wrong. Instead, I think it wise to have a charging port on it so that I simply place the headphones in the base, instead of taking out the charge cable.
Another, less serious but understandable disadvantage is that is has no speaker tags. I like being able to separate myself from the crowd with the unique speaker tags. It is just a very small issue and minimal complaint. Apparently, I got the Battlefield 4 edition of the A50s. However, I found no real indication that these showed Battlefield 4 colors. I find that odd, considering other themed headphones in the market actually show their themes on the headphones.
The sound of these headphones is nearly identical to the A30s. As such, I will repeat what I wrote about A30’s sound.
I must first start off with saying that I generally do not game with headphones. However, after using the A30's for a few hours, I need to reconsider. Man, oh man, how many sounds have I missed while not using these headphones? I have been playing Black Ops 2 for a few months now. As such, before I used the headphones, I had felt that I heard all the various sounds this game had to offer.
Boy, was I wrong about that. After using the A30's, I truly felt I was playing Black ops 2 for the very first time. I am not a sound guy, but man, the sounds I heard through the A30's are very crisp. The gunfire and bombs exploding felt so real. Compare that with the sounds from my tv, I thought my tv had great sound speakers up to this point, but the sound difference is literally night and day.