Review: Astro A20 headset provides crisp audio for next-gen consoles

Whether you’re using it for online gaming or immersing yourself in a game, a good headset is essential. Sound is such a crucial sense for gamers and the Astro A20 headset provides some of the clearest sound I’ve ever heard.

All of the gunshots, screeching of car tires, and other audible goodness is incredibly crisp. While you won’t have some of the deep bass and other more premium features of some of the higher-end Astro headsets, the A20 still provides an audio experience few other headsets can.

One of the most notable moments I had with the Astro A20 headset wasn’t with a game. I was watching Spider-Man 2, a movie I’ve seen literally hundreds of time. I watch it at least every other month, so I know this movie’s smallest details like the back of my own hand… or so I thought. During the iconic operating room scene where Doc Ock’s tentacles murder a bunch of doctors, the A20s revealed a chilling little detail that enhanced the scene.

When hell breaks loose, a doctor tries to run away but a tentacle grabs her leg. Every other time I’ve watched this scene, it looks like it just takes her off balance. Turns out the tentacle squeezes her leg and breaks it, providing a hardy crunch. This enhances not just the scene but the movie, showing the real danger of Doc Ock. His tentacles are so strong that they can apply the slightest pressure and break a bone hard enough for you to hear. It was disgusting but it made me realize the level of clarity the A20s can offer.

On top of clarity, the A20s are designed for convenience. They’re wireless with a 15 meter range away from its transmitter, meaning you can walk into another room and still stay connected. I was able to do some laundry in another room while still talking to my friends with no issue at all. If you need to mute yourself, you can also flip the microphone upwards to mute it. No button presses, just a simple push up and it’s muted.

The headset also holds a charge for up to 15 hours and takes roughly 3 hours to get a full charge, making it easy to plug in when you are done and easily have it ready next time you play.

Astro A20
Astro A20 in action

The Astro A20 headset is also incredibly light and comfortable. They don’t feel weight-y on my head, they don’t slide off if I lay down with them on, I forgot I had them on once or twice even. If you do choose to lay down, you may find the volume notch adjusting itself after rubbing against things like pillows. I had my audio go to max volume just by laying against the arm of my couch and thankfully, the headset doesn’t get ear-piercingly loud so it didn’t hurt me but it was a bit uncomfortable.

The volume notch probably could’ve been placed in a better position or replaced to an actual button to prevent inconveniences like this but it’s a minor complaint.

One of my only substantial criticisms of the Astro A20 headset isn’t really the headset itself. If you have both an Xbox Series X and a PS5, you may want to buy the extra transmitter. This allows you to use your headset on two different consoles without having to buy a new one. The problem, while relatively minor in the grand scheme of things yet again, is that you have to resync the headset every time you swap consoles with it.

It’s a matter of holding down two buttons for about 10 seconds but can grow to be a hassle every single time you use it. Granted, this will likely only affect a small percentage of people but it’s still worth noting.

The Verdict

The Astro A20s packs clean, crisp audio into a comfortable and largely convenient headset. If you’re looking for a new headset for PS5 or Xbox Series X, the A20s allow for a premium yet relatively affordable audio experience.

I’ve been pretty spoiled with my A40s this year, which is a better headset but much more expensive. The A20s feel much more reasonably priced at $120, even if they’re less tricked out in features like Dolby. It gets you exactly what you need for the standard gaming experience and offers some otherwise unrivaled sound quality.