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Gaming Accessories

The new Astro A50 adds customisation to an already great headset

Astro adds some customisation options to its top-of-the-line wireless gaming headset.

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The popular Astro A50 gaming headset, first released in 2012, is getting an upgrade, with the company bringing the customisation from the A40 to the flagship headphones.

The originals were extremely comfortable but at the time I called out the slightly flimsy stand, and the revamped version does away with it entirely, replacing it with a base station that handles charging, transmitting and pairing. It's got Dolby 7.1 and three EQ presets that can be personally customised via the Astro proprietary software. And of course they're still light, and in the short time I played with them they felt very comfortable. The A50s use the 5GHz spectrum and have a range of 30 feet.

The other big difference is the removable earcups and headband, similar to the Astro A40 TR. This lets you customise the headset for comfort and colour. Unlike the A40's however, the speaker backs can't be swapped -- Astro says it's because of the wireless technology not playing well with the magnets used to snap the customisable bits in play.

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Nic Healey/CNET

Other key features:

Battery life: The A50s promise a 15-hour battery life and have a standby mode for additional lifespan. An accelerometer can tell when the headset is lying flat and will hit standby mode to save battery life. There's also a Micro-USB charging option allowing you to charge and play if you need.

Console and PC: There are two main models of A50, one for PS4 and one for Xbox One. Both play well with PC, but the Xbox One version does specify "for Xbox and Windows 10" on the box.

New mic technology: The boom mic has enhanced noise-canceling tech and an auto mute when you flip it up. It can't be removed or replaced, however.

It's all arriving in late August for $299 or AU$479, with UK pricing yet to be announced.

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