I’ve seen many other reviews of the $59 Astro A10 headset since its launch earlier this year. The thing looked kind of cheap and light, whether in pictures or video.
My visual impression of cheapness was so wrong. The headset is a tank in the best possible way. It comes with a detachable cable inside the box, something that headsets this cheap almost never manage.
Short version? Turns out this is the new quality bar for budget gaming headsets. You should start your search here. It’s available in Red, Blue, and Green versions that have specific primary platforms listed…but all three will work with any device that has a 3.5mm jack, and they’re identical except for the color.
Astro has made a really fun headset here, with a sound signature that falls right in line with their more expensive A40.
It’s not a perfectly balanced, flat, neutral studio sound. Nowhere close, in fact.
Instead, you get a fun, aggressive-in-the-right-places, punchy and wide sound that leans towards the warmer side.
Bass extends deep and has a bit of a rumbling warm thump to it without totally destroying the midrange.
The mids have just a touch of hollowness to them, but nowhere near the level I was honestly expecting. Vocals still sound natural and my ears adjusted to the character of the mids after just a few songs.
Highs are bright and clean and a touch strident, and emphasized in a good range for detecting footsteps. This slight emphasis also gives these a wider feel than I was expecting.
I really like the sound of these.
They’re accurate enough to not horribly offend audiophiles, but they’re very clearly tuned to be fun to listen to. I think that was absolutely the right call to make, honestly. Games are more fun to play with a slightly aggressive, amped up sound. Not every headset needs to do double duty for studio production work or “hearing every little detail” in an old favorite music track. You can listen to any type of audio on these and be happy, and know that it wasn’t mangled to death by over-sculpting of the sound.
At first glance, these don’t look like they’d be comfy at all. The pad on the top of the headband is kind of tiny. The ear cups have that classic boxy Astro style…but they don’t have as much room inside them as the A40 cups do. They also don’t swivel around quite as much as the A40 cups.
Fortunately, this headset is very comfy.
It fits just fine on my stupidly big head, with plenty of room to spare. My ears do warm up a bit in the first few minutes of use, but fortunately they don’t keep going until they explode. Clamping force is slightly higher than average, but the headband is metal-reinforced so you could probably bend it out a bit if you want. The memory foam padding is pleasantly soft.
Now, if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like things touching your ears, you might not love these. The pads very gently hug the edges of my ear, and because the cups aren’t super deep or angled inside, my ears touch in there a little bit too.
Fortunately, the fabric used is really soft, teddy-bear-like stuff, and so this doesn’t bother me at all. But if you’re a “Nothing touching my ears” person, be warned!
That tiny little headband pad shockingly does the job, and I have no idea how. It’s little, and a bit stiff…but somehow it manages to balance the impressive girth of the headset just right on my head. Magic I guess? It defies the laws of physics.
Isolation is slightly above-average, though not as good as other headsets using leatherette pads. But I used them in a loud coffee shop without going crazy, so you should do just fine in most scenarios.
I wouldn’t blame you for thinking these looked like they’d be light. I mean, they’re a mostly plastic thing made for a budget category. How could they possibly have a premium feel?
Turns out the materials used are really great.
The headband is covered in a nice-feeling rubberized material, and the core of it is metal. The ear cups are made of a very solid plastic. The size adjustments don’t click, but they’re amazingly smooth and well-damped, and I have fun just kind of sliding them up and down.
What. Don’t look at me like that. The adjustments feel good to slide, okay? And they hold their position once adjusted!
How do these sliders achieve such a feel on a budget-priced headphone? Turns out the mechanisms are made entirely of metal.
The design is very much inspired by the look of other Astro products, and I think it’s a great look. That’s not all that surprising, considering Astro is also a well-regarded industrial design company. They designed the original Xbox 360! How cool is that?
The cable is removable, and it’s quite similar to the cable that comes with the A40s, but a bit more springy. Instead of a mute button, the cable features a smooth volume wheel. I’ve come to expect removable cables once you hit the $99 price point…so having one here at $59 is really cool.
The mic isn’t removable, but it’s pretty foldable and bendy so you can kind of tuck it right next to the headset. When you flip it up, the mic mutes. The feeling of the mute switch is a little soft, as opposed to the clicky-ness of other flipping mics.
I don’t love that, but it’s a small complaint!
Okay. Wow. Wow is what I have to say.
The microphone is very good on this headset. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me since that’s what other reviewers have said and shown, but it still did. The mic sounds better than any other mic in this price range that I’ve used, and it sounds better than most of the mics in higher price ranges.
You could use this mic for just about any audio need. It’s perfect for chat, streaming, or general recording. Great stuff!
The Astro A10 offers fun sound, good comfort (if you don’t mind your ears being touched a bit), great build and design, an exceptional mic, and a removable cable for $59.
It ticks absolutely every box one might want ticked.
I guess if I were trying to improve this…I’d make the mic mute switch more obviously clicky?
And that’s really it.
If you wanted to get the Astro A40 bundle for the surround sound, but you want a closed headset without having to buy a $60 mod kit…I wouldn’t blame you at all for buying this headset and a standalone A40 Mixamp instead. That’d only set you back about $190 compared to the $249 that the full A40 bundle costs.
This headset is stupidly good.
I have to compare everything else to this now. Sure, it touches my ears and the mic isn’t detachable. But everything else kind of breaks the curve, value-wise. And it sounds better and has a better mic than the $49 Cloud Stinger, so buy this one instead.
Any time someone asks me about headsets, I’m going to point right at this one now as a good starting place.
And yes, a wireless variant with a bigger headband pad, the A20, is coming later this year.
I’m very excited.