Gaming headsets and consoles go together like, well, two things that go well together. Ever since the Xbox 360 era, headsets have been an integral part of console gaming setups. They help players immerse themselves in their favorite games, connect with their friends, and talk smack with random people online. Today, gaming headsets have evolved from their more utilitarian roots into flashy, sleek-looking peripherals and the Astro A20 is a prime example of this evolution, at least on paper.
Clocking in at $169.99 CAD, the Astro A20 Wireless features most of the bells and whistles that we have come to expect from modern headsets. It has a solid, 15-hour battery life that should see you through even the longest gaming sessions, a flip-to-mute mic, cushiony ear flaps, and a visually striking design. While these features are exciting on paper, they almost all have their own strange shortcomings as well.
Starting with the battery, I was able to get around 14-hours of game time per charge, which is pretty solid. One of the features of the A20 wireless features is an automatic power-down function that shuts the headset down if it is not in use for a few minutes, therefore extending your overall battery life. Unfortunately, in practice, this is less of a feature and more of an annoyance. Having your headset shut down on you when you pause your music for a few minutes, or stop playing a video gets old quickly, and I found that simply turning the headset on again didn’t always reconnect the A20 Wireless.
Another feature turned annoyance is the battery indicator, which lets you know when the battery gets low. Many modern headsets have this feature, but the A20 Wireless is by far the most shrill and annoying that I’ve encountered. The issue is that the volume of the beep is set to whatever your current volume is, and it repeats the beep within a minute, which is especially frustrating when you’re in the middle of a round.
“It boasts fantastic mid-range audio that is punchy and expressive.”
Thankfully, the actual sound performance of the A20 Wireless fares much better. It boasts fantastic mid-range audio that is punchy and expressive. I tested it with several games including Apex Legends, and I was able to easily identify enemy footsteps, distant firefights, and various other sound cues. It has surprising bass capabilities, especially given its lack of noise cancellation, and it squares up nicely against its price range competitors. Listening to music on it is solid, with an even distribution, but it is certainly not going to become your go-to music peripheral.
Comfort-wise, the A20 Wireless is a light headset that doesn’t weigh too heavily on your head, even in long gaming sessions. That being said, the cushions on the ear flaps are a bit too firm to feel truly comfortable. That is not to say that they get less comfortable the longer you wear them, but instead that they are merely adequate to begin with and stay that way throughout. The flip-to-mute mic works smoothly and is easily adjustable to suit your vocal preferences. I found that I had to position it farther than expected from my mouth to avoid clipping, but it picked up my voice well and it is more than adequate for chatting while gaming.
“It would be nice if the Astro A20 Wireless Headset had the option to connect via an audio cable…”
Visually, the A20 Wireless performs well, thanks to its striking blue, white and black colour scheme. It looks good in use and while its colours give it personality, it is a more subdued headset, that has a surprising aura of class to it. It’s worth noting that the A20 Wireless works with consoles and PC but doesn’t work on mobile, as the only way to connect it is through a USB transmitter. It would be nice if the Astro A20 Wireless Headsethad the option to connect via an audio cable, just to give it a bit more utility. As for range, the A20 Wireless features a 15M limit that is appropriately in line with most wireless headsets.
Overall, the Astro A20 Wireless is a good headset that falls just short of being great. Its sound performance and relatively affordable price point make it a tantalizing option, but it’s held back from being a standout option by its mediocre comfort, annoying battery ‘features’, and lack of utility.