Astro Gaming A20 Review
Gaming on the PC and the console is booming – thanks to the pandemic – like never before. Astro Gaming, a fixture in the gaming sector, wants to convince price-conscious console and PC gamers with the A20 Wireless Gen 2. Too many compromises or a successful experiment?
Scope of Delivery
In addition to the well-protected headset itself, the packaging also contains:
- USB-C charging cable
- USB wireless transmitter for PS4 / PS5 / PC / Mac
- Quick start guide
- powerful design
- Great sound
- Comfortable fit
- Slight hissing when the microphone is lowered
- No in-headset surround processing
Design and quality
The design is reminiscent of the high-priced A-series models from Astro Gaming. However, when choosing the material, you quickly notice the differences: The Astro A20 is made almost entirely of plastic, which is also implemented in a high-gloss finish in some places. The “haptic experience” is somewhat clouded by this, even if there were no apparent defects in the test device. There was also no creaking or grinding sound in the test, which speaks for high-quality, robust plastic and unique quality.
The “white/black/blue” color scheme is reminiscent of Sony’s PlayStation 5 – probably not entirely by chance. Whether or not you like this color combination depends, of course, on your personal preferences – the Astro A20 is recognizable.
Astro A20 Wireless Gen 2 in operation
Operation / connection
Astro A20 can connect to the PC or the Sony Playstation 4/5 using the supplied USB dongle. It is also possible to purchase an additional USB transmitter for the Xbox from Microsoft – a pleasant exception in the jungle of console accessories. In the test, however, only the connection to PlayStation, PC, and Mac was tested. With these three platforms, the connection worked smoothly and without problems. However, if you plan to switch between the platforms often, you have to accept having to repeatedly press the connection button on the USB dongle when changing the device.
As lovely as this freedom of choice is, nothing works without the USB transmitter: no Bluetooth, no jack connection, and no operation via the USB-C cable, which is only used for charging.
There is also an equalizer button below the on / off switch, which allows three different configurations:
- ASTRO: Strong bass and balanced mids/highs – ideal for games.
- STUDIO: Neutral – best suited for movies and music.
- PRO: Focus on the mids and highs, intended for professional gaming and streaming.
In addition, two switches can be used to change the volume ratio between in-game sound and voice chat on the PC (and Xbox). This can be particularly useful if one of the two audio sources is too loud or quiet.
The range of the connection is specified with a maximum of 15 meters. In the test, a value of around 10 meters could be achieved without dropouts, and the room was also left. But, of course, the range always depends on structural conditions and other potential sources of interference.
Anyone who connects the Astro A20 to a PC or console for the first time will be pleased with the quick setup. This is real plug-and-play. No manual driver installation or software is necessary. However, it is also the case that there is no software (ACC) for the Ge n 2 version for the PC. This means: no individual EQ settings or firmware updates are (currently) possible. The misleading presentation on the official product and support pages of Astro Gaming is particularly annoying: the software is linked there several times. First, a comment from an Astro Gaming employee on Reddit creates clarity here: Since there is no new firmware for the Astro A20 Gen 2, there is no software support. Should this change in the future, at least software compatibility is promised?
The light construction (318g) and the weight distribution in combination with the soft ear pads ensure a comfortable fit – even after several hours. The Astro A20 is a good option for those who wear glasses. The headband adjustment is very well implemented and ensures that the headset is suitable for large and small heads.
The auricles themselves could use a little more vertical adjustment, however. The rubberized headband has padding but is not as soft and comfortable as the ear padding, but – due to the material – more resistant.
The Astro A20 has a very balanced sound profile (EQ 1 / ASTRO), regardless of whether it is operated on a PC, Mac, or console. Highs and lows are equally taken into account without completely covering the mids. Bass junkies might be a little disappointed, but that always depends on personal preference. The other two EQ presets (STUDIO and PRO) were also tried out, but these two sound profiles were a bit too flat and dull for the tester for games and music.
The operation of the microphone was very good in the test – both flip-to-mute and the flexibility of the arm were convincing. Only a notification (sound or LED) when the microphone is not on would be desirable. In terms of voice quality, a distinction must be made between console and PC. Connected to the PlayStation, the other person’s own language was often perceived with a particular echo. This effect was always noticeable, no matter what room you are in. However, this “effect” did not influence the basic comprehensibility. If you use the Astro A20 on the PC, no echo was heard, but the depths, in particular, are much less pronounced – everything sounds more nasal overall. Other wireless headsets have the edge here. But one should generally consider.
The Astro A20 Wireless lasted around 14 hours in the test – according to the manufacturer, it should be 15 hours. The headset was then fully charged again within just under three hours. Unfortunately, there is no way to read the current status of the charging capacity: The built-in LED informs you when the device has a low battery level (<30%) or when the headset is being charged. A little more information would have been helpful and is then missing in everyday operation. After all, the Astro A20 switches itself off automatically after 10 minutes of non-use.
The Astro A20 is a good headset connected to a PC, Mac, PlayStation, and Xbox (additional USB transmitter required). This variety and the long battery life are big pluses. In terms of sound quality, it doesn’t get above average. This also applies to the microphone. Here one could have expected a little more from Astro Gaming. The lack of software support naturally hits PC users the hardest, but console users could also use more information about EQ presets, state of charge, etc. Thus, the Astro A20 Wireless Gen 2 is exciting for those who want to use a headset on the PC and console. If you are looking for a headset primarily used on a device, you will also find enough alternatives in this price range.