Astro A38 Wireless Headset Review
In 2012, Astro Gaming released the wireless A50 headset for PC and consoles, and now the company is bringing a new wireless headset to the mobile market. The Astro A38 Wireless Headset (available now for an MSRP of $230) is geared towards users of tablets, laptops and smartphones. It features active noise cancelling, an internal rechargeable battery, integrated playback and volume/ mute controls, as well as a built-in microphone.
The Astro A38 headset is definitely stylish and visually-appealing, as well as highly portable. Weighing less than half a pound, the headset comes with a hard shell case so you can throw it right into your travel bag with no worries – this is a really nice touch. The A38s easily connect to any Bluetooth device by either entering pairing mode or using the NFC (near-field communication) functionality with supported devices. The active noise cancellation works wonderfully, as it can easily drown out background noise and even people talking right next to you – it would probably be a great feature to have on a plane. For those who crave more customization, Astro offers custom speaker tags for for all of their headsets.
The Astro A38 (which come in either grey and blue or white and yellow) headset has fantastic sound. There’s plenty of bass, and yet everything sounds clear and punchy – the fine-tuned audio drivers offer a well-balanced mix. The A38 looks pretty similar to the A30 headset, but the padding on the ears of the A38 feels much better. It’s a totally different, leather-esque material that is incredibly comfortable when resting against your ears. Even after multiple hours of gaming or listening to music, I had very little ear fatigue – much less than when using the A50 headset.
The wireless portability and strong signal range of the Astro A38 make it great for everything: listening to music while exercising, watching movies streamed to your TV, listening to podcasts while walking around town, and of course intense mobile gaming sessions. I tested the Astro A38 on a PlayStation Vita, iPad Mini, and my PC, and it sounded fantastic on all three. The sound quality is just as strong with the retail A38 as it was in the beta version, and the switch to micro USB as opposed to the mini USB used in the beta is a welcome change. The build quality of the Astro A38 is pretty solid, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving them outside their case for long. I wish that the arms of the frame extended a bit more, but that’s one of the very few flaws that I could find with this awesome headset, aside from the lack of a battery indicator on the frame. The A38 headset has a very long battery life, though – about 20 hours – so it’s not a huge deal-breaker. It also would have been great to include a 3.5mm jack for those whose PCs don’t have Bluetooth capability.
The volume levels on the Astro A38 seemed good to me – apparently this is one of the aspects that was improved upon for the retail release, but the headset seemed plenty loud even in its beta incarnation. The mic clarity and wireless range have been noticeably improved. I could walk about 40 or so feet before the signal started breaking up, and talking with friends and family with the headset revealed no issues with the microphone (which has noise-canceling ability).
The right ear cup of the Astro A38 houses the micro-USB port for charging, as well as volume controls. The left cup has the power/ pairing button, as well as a button for answering calls and skipping, pausing and repeating tracks. The bottom of the left ear cup offers a mute button. Astro claims that the headset can get up to 20+ hours of use (audio playback, 15 hours for chat) off of a single charge, and mine hasn’t run out of juice on me yet.
Overall, I’m quite impressed with Astro’s A38 Wireless Headset. It’s sleek, portable, and convenient, with stellar audio quality for its price range – not to mention noise-cancelling technology. Astro Gaming has managed to improve the wireless range and switched to the more widely-utilized Micro USB for charging, and the battery life is just as impressive as it was in the beta version. If you don’t feel like dropping close to $400 for Beats headphones, you should seriously consider checking out the Astro A38.
- + Fantastic sound
- + Strong wireless range
- + Long battery life