Review | Astro A20 Wireless Headset (Gen 2) – Astro is a major player within the gaming headset brands. We’ve had – and assessed – the A40 and A50 and what they have in common is a hefty price tag. Not everyone can or wants to spend a lot on a new headset, so Astro comes with a somewhat cheaper alternative. The Astro A20, which is a wireless headset with slightly less bells and whistles than the aforementioned models, which can be supported by a Mixamp. This time less cat and just easy to get started. But does the attractive price tag also ensure good quality?
Sleek design and great comfort
The Astro A20 has a slightly slimmer version than what you are used to from the A40 or A50. It still retains the industrial look, although it is more sleek in design. The headset is somewhat rectangular due to a fairly straight headband and has a rubber cushion for your head. This could be a bit thicker, because the tire doesn’t offer much suspension, making it feel a bit harder on the top of your head. With some getting used to, this will eventually not be a problem, at least for me, but I can imagine that it can disturb someone else. Fortunately, we have nothing to say about the fabric earcups, which are very comfortable, so you actually have a headset that fits comfortably on your head.
On the left earcup you have the microphone that you can mute when you flip it up. You will feel a slight click, so that you will also notice when you are really muted. On the right earcup you have some buttons with which you can operate the headset. Think of switching on and off, an equilizer button, which I will discuss in more detail, and a volume button. With the volume button you have buttons below and above that can mix the voice chat of your party with the game sound. Although we did not get it to work, it is intuitively placed on the headset. Maybe the functionality of this will be improved with an update, but for now we don’t get very far.
Very impressive for its price range
The A20 is a somewhat cheaper option within the Astro brand. For around € 120, – you can drop this product into your shopping cart and enjoy it. Remarkable because it offers quite a lot for that price. The sound is simply very good! You have a button on the headset that allows you to switch between three sound profiles, the aforementioned equilizer button. When you click, you will hear a number of beeps in succession, so that you know exactly on which profile you are, very handy. The first profile, which you may also see as the ‘normal’ of this headset, gives a nice full sound while it remains pure. The solid bass does not drown out the mids too much and the higher tones are also set in a good way. This offers a very nice all-round sound with a decent bass while the rest of the tones remain pure enough.
It becomes even more interesting with the other two profiles. The second profile brings the midtones more to the foreground in combination with more treble. So you actually use this profile if you want to play a competitive shooter or the like and you want to hear the footsteps better. This means you get less bass, which won’t get in the way of the other tones. The higher tones do not become shrill either, so the second profile is also comfortable and pleasant to use. The third profile is there to boost the bass, in short: your mid-tones are more shaded, but your sound is nice and full and bombastic. So if you are not competitive and you want to have an impactful experience in, for example, an action game, then it is a good profile to engage.
Other features and battery life
The three profiles are a hit and offer something for everyone. But the Astro A20 has other functions. For example, it is a wireless headset that should last about 20 hours. We can almost say that this is an economical estimate, so in terms of battery life it is very good. It is a pity that charging takes a few hours and you cannot use the headset wired. Since it is a wireless headset, the package includes a dongle that you can plug into both your PS4 and PS5 for immediate use. There is also a USB-C cable for charging the headset. So it is not fiddly with old micro connections, just simply insert the USB-C and load it. It is strange that despite the USB-C connection, charging can still take around 5 hours, while with such a connection you would expect it to be shorter.
The microphone has also set a light side toning, so if you yell too loud, you will see for yourself and notice whether this is disturbing for your gaming colleagues. That said, we’re not a fan of side toning on a headset and would like to turn this off. Also consider adjusting the three profiles. In theory this should go through the Astro Command Center, but unfortunately the software does not offer any options for that. The aforementioned Astro software, which you can use on a PC or Mac (book), is only useful for the Astro A20 to provide the headset with the latest firmware update. But…
A known issue
Support from the Astro Command Center (ACC) isn’t flawless. With the Astro A50, we also had problems setting up the headset via this software. This time, we experienced another problem with the software, albeit in a different way. The A20 is simply not recognized by the ACC, making it impossible to update the headset. This while the Astro software simply has to support the A20. Although we really like the current state of the headset, we have to say that the software could add more to the product. The lack of customization options is a missed opportunity for Astro and not being able to update the firmware now is an unnecessary complication. Of course, this problem can (and most likely will) be solved for an optimal experience.
Astro A20 Wireless Headset – Conclusion
Compared to other brands, Astro has a nice product. The price is actually what makes the headset stand out. The € 120, – that the headset costs is good value for money. The sound is above expectations and due to the three profiles, different types of gamers can also consider this as a valid option. In terms of comfort, the headband is a bit harder on your head, but due to the fine size of the earcups, the headset – all things considered – just fits well. The battery lasts quite a long time, the operation of the buttons is intuitive and the ease of use on the consoles is fine. It’s just such a shame that we can no longer pull out of the headset via the ACC, which unnecessarily restricts the headset. Nevertheless, what we now have in our hands is very solid for its price.
Pros of Astro A20 Wireless Headset
- Great design
- Battery life
- Three good sound profiles
Negatives of Astro A20 Wireless Headset
- Long charging time
- ACC offers no added value