If you've gotten a new-generation gaming console, you probably want to get a new headset to go with it.
After checking out the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 for my PlayStation 5, I wanted to get a decent headset for my Xbox Series X and opted for the Astro A50 Gen 3.
Having used it with Microsoft's latest console across a range of games, I can comfortably say that this is a brilliant headset - but is it worth the hefty price tag?
I've been using the A50 Gen 3 for the past few weeks and here are my thoughts.
The most important thing with any set of headphones is the audio quality and the A50 Gen 3 delivers spectacularly.
You can expect a great deal of clarity across bass, mids and treble, without the over-emphasis on boomy bass that cheaper headphones do to mask their low quality.
Playing Forza Horizon 4 and Dirt 5 certainly meant I could appreciate the roar of the car engine, but it was never distorted or too overpowering so I couldn't appreciate the subtler environmental sounds.
I also found I didn't need to cycle through settings for different games or even watching movies with these. Perhaps I would want to play with EQ settings if listening to music through them, but otherwise just the standard flat mode was ideal for everything, including enjoying the beats while chilling out in Tetris Effect: Connected.
If you do want to go through the presets, the Command Center app allows a lot of fine-tuning and there's an EQ button on the headset too to cycle through them.
- Drivers: 40mm Neodymium Magnet
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20,000Hz
- Characteristic SPL: 118dB @1kHz
The 7.1 Dolby surround sound is brilliant, especially in shooters. It really helped in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, which has great sound design with enemies louder than teammates anyway - but the A50 makes it way easier to pinpoint where they're coming from.
Despite all the bugs and glitches in Cyberpunk 2077, the surround sound of these headphones made exploring Night City more fun and immersive, too.
As for the mic, playing online with buddies they said I always sounded crystal clear with it. As is the standard with plenty of gaming headsets, flipping the mic up automatically mutes it, which is nice and handy.
But my favourite feature of the A50 is the way it separates volume control with audio mix control - the former is a knob, the latter, a pair of push buttons on the side of the earcup.
This is such a masterstroke as it means I never get the two mixed up, as I normally do with two knobs, two sets of push buttons or two of anything that is just too similar to differentiate during frantic gameplay.
In a few matches of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, some squadmates were louder than others due to their headsets or just how loud they chat. This can be fixed through the party settings of the Series X itself, then it's super easy to slide all voice volume up or down depending on what part of the match you're in.
The way the two volume levels are physically controlled differently is a game-changer for me and superior to almost any headset I've ever used.
Other than that, this is a very comfortable headset with a premium build. Battery-wise, it apparently has about 15 hours worth in its single-cell lithium polymer (LiPo) battery. I don't know because mine are always near fully charged due to always sitting on the base station when not in use.
With a current RRP of $649.90 in New Zealand, this unit is on the higher end of the price spectrum for a gaming headset - especially as it doesn't feature active noise-cancelling (ANC).
The sound fidelity is super high and it's priced where it needs to be in terms of overall quality, but if you want to game in a noisy environment you may need to look at a different model that does offer ANC.
If you're the sort of person who doesn't like a base station, obviously this isn't the right headset for you either. It's convenient for charging but does make it harder to hide these in a drawer or cupboard if you want to be more discreet than having it on display all the time.
But really there's not much to complain about with these. They're definitely not cheap, but if you're comfortable spending this sort of money for a gaming headset I don't think you'll be disappointed.
If you want a premium gaming headset to go with your new-generation gaming console, the Astro A50 Gen 3 is a great option - especially if you value sound quality over everything else.
It's a pricey unit and you don't get ANC, but it makes for a great companion to the Xbox Series X that will enhance anything you play, watch or listen to with it.
Newshub was supplied an Astro A50 Gen 3 headset for this review.