Astro A38 Headset Impressions

Astro’s A38 headset uses Bluetooth connectivity to facilitate gaming on the go.

Astro is a name that people have long associated with great gaming headsets. With the A38, they’re looking to expand into a more mobile market than they’ve previously inhabited. The A38 supports Bluetooth 4.0, and adds in near-field communication (NFC) support, if your device offers it. This means that it will connect to almost any smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

As soon as you put these sleek-looking headphones on, you’ll notice the new earcup material. Eschewing the padded cloth found on many of their other models, Astro’s gone with a leather-like material that feels a lot better than most of the on-ear headsets I’ve tried. It also works surprisingly well at keeping your sound in, and other sounds out. Add to this the headset’s active noise canceling, and you’ve got a headset that pretty effectively eliminates most ambient noise.

That’s a good thing, because you don’t want to miss out on the audio the A38 is offering up. The A38 offers up bass response that is clear, sharp and powerful – not muffled like many Bluetooth headsets. You can also expect to hear clean highs and plenty of mid-range response. Music sounds great, and conversations are clear and crisp. If you’ve used an Astro headset before, you know what to except from their audio, and the A38 doesn’t disappoint.

The lack of a visible microphone may make you think that you can’t talk to anyone using this headset, but you’d be wrong. Embedded in the body of the headset is a very responsive microphone that rivals some of the boom microphones I’ve used on other headsets. Even in most outdoor environments, I was able to carry on phone and Skype conversations with no complaints from the folks I was talking to.

The biggest roadblock for most wireless headsets is their battery life. Long gaming sessions, long flights, and any other extended use will drain most wireless headsets, leaving you without your music. That’s not a concern with the A38, as it offers up to 20 hours of use on a single charge. I haven’t personally rolled through a 20 hours session with it yet, but I have used it for multiple days without bothering to recharge it, and it’s still going strong. The only bad thing about the battery life on the A38 is that there’s no meter or indicator to how much charge you have left, so you’ll want to make sure it’s charged up. It’s a comfortable, lightweight headset, meaning that even in extended gaming sessions, it doesn’t hurt your head.

The A38 puts everything you love about Astro into a wireless package. Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or laptop, it produces quality sound. It’s almost exactly what you’ve come to expect from an Astro headset, just in a smaller, more portable package. The A38 will be available from retailers in either September or October for $229, and Astro is also trying out a beta program that let a limited number of users get their hands on the A38 for $119.

You can learn more about the A38 on Astro’s official website.

Ron Whitaker is managing editor at GameFront. Find more of his work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @ffronw and @gamefrontcom.

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