Astro A40 Review
The Astro A40 combines the most important attributes of PC gaming headsets: It blocks external noise for the microphone and headphones equally well, is comfortable and has precision sound, earning it our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award. Astro Gaming has been persistent in its pursuit of excellence, and it has paid off with the best gaming headset we reviewed. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better wired gaming headset than the A40 for less than $400.
The A40 comes with the option of a MixAmp that allows you to use the Xbox and PlayStation consoles, or any other platform. The MixAmp also works great for smartphones like the iPhone. Keep in mind that you'll need the proper adapter for Xbox One controllers in order to use the A40 with it.
You don't have to get the MixAmp with your A40. In fact, Astro sells the A40 headset by itself for considerably cheaper. However, we wouldn't recommend skipping the MixAmp. It gives you fine control over volume, including chat volume. It also provides the headset with digital 7.1 surround sound. The headset itself is only built to handle stereo output.
This gaming headset's earphones can pump out frequencies as low as 20Hz and as high as 21kHz. The commonly cited human hearing range is 20Hz to 20kHz, so the A40 can reproduce just about everything you can possibly hear. However, there's quite a bit of variation in hearing ability, especially among the higher frequencies. It's nice to see that Astro went a little beyond the average human perception. So, if you can hear really high frequencies, then the A40 sounds a bit better there.
The microphone's range is a bit more limited, at a minimum of 70Hz and maximum of 15kHz. The human voice is capable of frequencies as low as 85Hz and as high as 255Hz. So, imagine the deepest voice you've ever heard and you won't be far off from what this PC gaming headset's microphone can register.
Overall, the A40's audio quality is about par for the course in its price range. While that's commendable, it'd be nice for Astro to really push the limits of quality.
The Astro A40 is built to be comfortable, thanks to a combination of a well-designed headband and ear couplings. The headband puts under 2.6 newtons of pressure on you, which is not much. Imagine the weight of an average tablet on your head. Apply that pressure to the sides of your head, and that's about what you could expect.
To accomplish this, the headband has a thick pad and snug padded ear couplings, which help disperse pressure as well. The ear couplings are circumaural, which means they enclose your ears completely and put virtually no pressure on them. This is partially done for comfort, but mostly it is for reducing external noise.
Simply put, the A40 is the best-designed PC gaming headset out of everything we looked at in our gaming headset reviews. You can fold it up for easy storage, and you can put the microphone on either side. With interchangeable speaker plates, you can customize the A40's look exactly how you want.
The connection is the typical dual 3.5 mm analog type, one for the headphones and one for the microphone. The cable for this PC gaming headset is about 6 feet long, which is plenty if you keep your tower close by, but a couple extra feet would have been nice. The optical cable is longer, at about 9 feet.
The Astro A40, with the 3.5 mm dual-jack PC connector, is cross-compatible with any audio device that uses the same connection. You'll also get a splitter cable. The MixAmp comes with an optical cable, micro-USB cable for power and a daisy-chain cable. Overall, the included cables give you many connection options.
There is a volume and mute control built into the cable itself. This is a common and extremely convenient feature. Without it, you are forced to minimize your game and use the system volume controls. This is not a big deal if you aren't in the middle of actually playing, but it can be quite irritating otherwise.
The last feature that we want to mention here is the carrying case that comes with the Astro A40. The case makes it easy to travel with your headset, whether you are headed out of the country or to a local LAN party.
Help & Support
The Astro A40 has help and support options available to anyone who experiences problems. There are FAQs and a knowledgebase, or you can open a ticket and interact with the technical support team directly. There is a manual for the Astro A40 that you can download if you are unclear on how to use a particular aspect of it. During business hours, you can contact Astro Gaming by phone. Whatever your preference, you have options and a technical support team at your disposal to help with any issues that arise.
For the Astro A40, you get the usual single-year warranty to cover manufacturing defects. A year should be plenty in most cases, but we like to see manufacturers that give a second or even third year, because it shows confidence in their ability to put together a quality product.
The Astro A40's audio is similar to most other headsets in its price range, but it is extremely well designed. You can play for hours and barely notice it's there. Combine that with the many built-in features and you have the best gaming headset for under $400. This PC gaming headset provides all the necessary conveniences to assist in your gaming experience, and should something be wrong with it, you have a skilled tech team ready to get you back into the game. The Astro A40 brings immersive audio to your arsenal of gaming tools.