When you get your brand new Xbox Series X | S and/or PS5, you may find yourself wanting to upgrade other things as well, like your gaming headset. With so many headset options on the market to choose from, it can be a daunting task deciding on the one that’s best suited for all of your needs (and consoles).
The new Astro A20 Wireless Headset (Generation 2) is one of the headsets available for purchase right now that’s designed with next gen in mind both in function and convenience. The base price point sits at $119.99 and you’re given two options to choose from to better tailor your headset experience to your console of choice.
One option is optimized for Xbox consoles, while the other is optimized for PlayStation consoles. Both headsets are compatible with PC and Mac as well. If you’re in a position where you want to use the headset with both PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Astro has a cross-console USB transmitter available for purchase separately at $19.99 that’ll let you bridge the gap.
The cross-console USB transmitter works between PS4 and Xbox One, and Xbox Series X | S and PS5. Included with the headset is a cross-platform USB (not to be confused with the cross-console USB that’s sold separately) that makes pairing your headset with your console or PC a breeze.
All you have to do is plug the USB transmitter into your console or computer, turn it on, and turn your headset on. If being able to use the headset quickly appeals to you, you’ll find that the headset takes a little over 3 hours for the headset to fully charge. It charges fast, but it can be hard to gauge just how charged your headset actually is.
Fortunately you’re able to continue using the headset while it’s charging with the USB 2.0 to USB-C cable you’re provided coming in at 1.5m or around 5ft in length. If needed, you can purchase a longer USB to USB-C cable separately (Amazon has a number 10ft and 15ft options available), or you can use a different outlet to charge the headset.
The Astro A20 (Gen 2) headset also doesn’t include a 3.5mm option where you can directly connect it to your controller which is something we saw as a bit of a downside. On the upside, the headset gives you roughly 15 hours of playtime when it’s fully charged before you need to charge them again.
To help you conserve battery time, the headset will automatically turn itself off after 10 minutes if you’re not actively using it. We really appreciated this feature in particular because we’re forgetful and tend to set the headset down after using it without remembering to actually turn them off.
It also doesn’t help that we game into the early hours of the morning. If you aren’t the type to charge the headset every time you’re done using them, the headset will let you know the battery is low in a manner similar to other bluetooth headsets, like the ones you use with your phone.
You won’t have to worry about the headset turning off mid-game as you’re given ample warning that the battery is low ahead of time. And again, you can continue to use the headset while it’s charging so you can game for well over 15 hours straight if you really wanted to.
Speaking of gaming nonstop for lengthy periods of time, comfort is extremely important with a gaming headset. One of the best features about the Astro A20 (Gen 2) headset is how comfortable it is. The headset is relatively lightweight, coming in at 318 g according to Astro’s website.
It’s not the lightest headset on the market when compared to some of its competitors, but when you have it on your head, it’s hard to notice a slight difference between a headset that’s 298 g and the Astro A20 (Gen 2) at 318 g for example.
The headset doesn’t squeeze your head in a vice grip either, which is always nice. We wear glasses with large side bands and found the headset didn’t impact our glasses in terms of pushing them into an uncomfortable position or offsetting them in any way.
Our ears felt comfortable with the headset on and the headset has a breathable sort of feel to its ear cups. You won’t have to worry about getting overly sweaty while wearing the headset. Across the board, the Astro A20 (Gen 2) headset was one of the most comfortable gaming headsets we’ve ever worn.
Some have said the Astro A20 (Gen 2) headsets are visually unappealing and… yeah, they kind of are. The PlayStation version is undoubtedly better looking than the Xbox version with its crisp blue accents over the Xbox version’s loud lime green. However, both versions look a little odd when they’re on your head due to the white accent bands.
Other gaming headsets come in all-black versions or have other options that are more uniform when it comes to the color scheme in general. The black top band, black sides, and blue or lime color accents on the Astro A20 (Gen 2) headset don’t work together as cohesively as they should.
Style isn’t as big of a deal as comfort, but it’s worth mentioning. With that out of the way, let’s dig into the real meat of the headset in regards to sound quality and mic performance.
For sound quality, the Astro A20 (Gen 2) headset is great thanks to its 40 mm Neodymium drivers. We tested the headset out with games like Tetris Effect: Connected, Dirt 5, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and couldn’t find anything to nitpick in terms of sound.
The headset performed well across the board with the music sounding clear and pristine in Tetris Effect, the rev of the car engines coming through strong and powerful in Dirt 5, and the subtle background noise and nuances of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla being easy to pick up and hear.
Photo Credit: Astro Gaming on Twitter
We also tested the headset out on PC with movies, music, and even ASMR. Yes, we know a lot of people find ASMR weird but if you’re going to test out the ability to hear soft, quiet noises with a headset, ASMR is great.
If you need to listen to ASMR in order to keep your sanity intact while working at home on PC, the Astro A20 (Gen 2) headset has you covered. As great as the sound quality was, we do have one small complaint which is the headset doesn’t cancel out background noise very well.
We could still hear things like our cats pitter pattering through the house even with the volume on the headset turned almost all the way up. It wasn’t just loud noises as you’d expect, it was everything going on in the backdrop of our home.
If you’re a parent and need to be able to keep an ear out, or you’re caring for someone who’s ill and need to be able to hear them call out for you, you’ll appreciate being able to hear background noise.
If background noise interferes with your ability to focus, you may dislike this aspect of the headset. It all depends on your own personal preference. For mic quality when speaking with others, it was perfectly fine.
Photo Credit: Astro Gaming on Twitter
If you’re using the headset to talk to friends and other gamers online, the Astro A20 (Gen 2) headset is more than serviceable. If you’re using it while streaming online, you’ll be more cognizant of the output which is more so-so in this instance.
You can hear a bit of static and almost like a snake hiss through the mic, in addition to some background noise like your cat screaming at its toy for some godforsaken reason. With friends, they probably won’t care all that much. When streaming or recording video, it becomes more of an issue.
If you’re someone who likes to mute themselves when not talking, or you don’t want your teammates to know you’re cramming food into your mouth while you’re waiting to respawn, the Astro A20 (Gen 2) headset has something that you’ll find extremely convenient.
To mute yourself, all you have to do is flip the mic up to its upward position and you’re golden. To resume talking, flip the mic back down and you’re back in business. We had a lot of fun with this and as an added bonus, it helps keep the mic safe and out of the way when you aren’t using the headset.
Photo Credit: Astro Gaming on Twitter
The headset also has three EQ presets on it along with a volume dial to further adjust anything that might need adjusting, although it comes ready to go out of the box for the most part.
If you’re someone looking for a wireless headset because you tend to get up and move around a lot, keep in mind that the headset utilizes a wireless frequency of 2.4 GHz and can be used within a range of around 49 ft or 15 m.
As long as you stay within (or preferably under) that range, you’re golden. We haven’t had our Astro A20 (Gen 2) headset for too long so we can’t speak on how long it lasts. Owners of other Astro headsets like the A10 and A40 have noted they’re durable, sturdy, and reliable.
The main complaint people have circles back around to how much these headsets cost. The Astro A20 (Gen 2) is fair at $119 but could stand to be a little cheaper at $89 or $99 and we’d agree with this argument.
With everything you get from comfort, sound quality, to the convenience of the USB transmitters, we still feel the $119 is worth it if Astro headsets are your jam. At the very least, they’re worth a closer look because they really are comfortable to wear and they’re designed to be easy to use with previous and next gen consoles alike.
- Sound quality is superb whether you’re using the headset for gaming, or with your PC to listen to other forms of media.
- They’re one of the most comfortable headsets we’ve ever worn.
- Charge lasts around 15 hours, you can also continue to use the headset while charging it.
- The cross-platform USB included with the headset makes connecting to console and PC quick and easy.
- Price is a little high, they could stand to be $20 or $30 cheaper.
- No 3.5mm option.
- Can hear a lot of background noise in your home even with the volume turned up high.
An Astro A20 Wireless Headset (Gen 2) for Xbox was provided by the company for review.