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Astro A20 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Updated Apr 20, 2018 at 10:48 am
Astro A20 Wireless Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
6.2
Mixed Usage
7.4
Neutral Sound
5.5
Commute/Travel
6.2
Sports/Fitness
5.9
Office
7.4
Wireless Gaming
6.0
Wired Gaming
6.7
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Astro A20 Wireless are an above-average gaming headset with a good sound and build quality. They're easy-to-use and have a great battery life with a lot of power saving features. They're also decently comfortable but can be a bit tight on the head. Unfortunately, like most gaming headsets, they're a bit limited by their design and transmitter base. You won't be able to use them outdoors or with a different console but on the upside, they are compatible with most PCs, they have an efficient control scheme and a good, customizable sound. Note that we tested the Xbox One variant of this headset, but we expect similar results for the PS4 variant.

Our Verdict

6.2 Mixed Usage

The Astro A20 are above-average gaming headphones but won't be ideal for all use cases. They have a simple, well-built design with well-padded ear cups and a good base that offers an optical input. They're decently comfortable and have a fairly low latency for gaming and watching movies. However, they are limited by their transmitter, so you can't use them with a different console or outdoors and they're not designed for casual use.

7.4 Neutral Sound

Good for neutral listening. The Astro A20 Wireless have a good bass and a decently balanced treble reproduction although they can be a bit bright with some tracks. They won't have the most spacious soundstage since their closed-back headphones, but on the upside, they should sound good enough even for more neutral listeners.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
5.5 Commute/Travel

Poor for commuting. The Astro A20 are not made for traveling so they do not block a lot of noise, and they have a bulky design that doesn't fold. They're also limited by their USB transmitter so unless you use them with your laptop, on a long bus trip or flight, then they will not be suitable for travel.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
6.2 Sports/Fitness

Sub-par for sports. The Astro A20 Wireless are not made for running and jogging. They're big and bulky headphones limited by their transmitter base.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
5.9 Office

Average for office use. The Astro A20 Wireless don't block a lot of noise, so you will hear what's going on around you. They also leak quite a bit so they may distract your colleagues. On the upside, they're decently comfortable, they're compatible with PCs, and they have a long battery life so you can listen to your music continuously for hours.

See our Office recommendations
7.4 Wireless Gaming

Above-average for gaming. The Astro A20 have low enough latency to be suitable for gaming, a convenient wireless design, and they're decently comfortable. They won't be the best headphones if you have a particularly noisy gaming environment, like being at a competition. However, they deliver on most aspects that make a good gaming headphone. They have a clear and reliable microphone, a good battery life with power saving features, and a well-balanced sound that you can customize through the Astro Command Center. Unfortunately, they are a little tight on the head which may get a bit fatiguing during long gaming marathons.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
6.0 Wired Gaming
6.7 Phone Calls
  • 6.2 Mixed Usage
  • 7.4 Neutral Sound
  • 5.5 Commute/Travel
  • 6.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.9 Office
  • 7.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.0 Wired Gaming
  • 6.7 Phone Calls
Pros
  • Good sound quality.
  • Sturdy build quality.
Cons
  • Poor isolation.
  • Bulky design.
  1. Update 3/18/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Astro A20 look somewhat similar to the Astro A10 but with a different headband design. They feel like premium headphones, especially compared to other headsets in their price range. Also, despite being mostly made out of plastic they feel strudy and durable. They have square-ish ear cups that are well padded and coated with a microfiber fabric that further adds to their high-end aesthetic. Unfortunately, they have a non-detachable mic, and they're limited by their USB base so you won't be able to use them outdoors.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.8 lbs
Clamping Force
1.2 lbs

The A20, like the A10, are decently comfortable headphones but the ear cups do not swivel which makes them a bit tight on the head. The fit may loosen over time, after repeated use, but out-of-the-box they are a bit fatiguing during long gaming sessions. On the upside, they're well padded and covered in a microfiber coating that feels nice on the skin. They won't be the ideal headphones for all gamers due to their tight fit, but they should be comfortable enough for most.

6.2
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Xbox One
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Mute/Unmute
Channel Mixing
Yes
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

The Astro A20 have an efficient control scheme that's easy-to-use and well laid out. You get a great volume dial with good feedback. It doesn't have discrete notches but you do feel it click in place as you adjust which is much better than some of the other gaming headphones we've tested like the Turtle Beach Stealth 700. They have an equalizer button that cycles between 3 presets, (which you can customize through the Astro Command Center) and they also provide channel mixing buttons that are well hidden around the volume dial. Overall, their control scheme looks great, feels intuitive, and delivers good feedback.

6.8
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 4.6 C

These headphones are decently breathable thanks to their slightly porous pads. However, since they fully encapsulate the ear, they will make your ears a bit warm during long gaming sessions.

5.9
Design
Portability
L 6 "
W 6.9 "
H 2.8 "
Volume 116 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required Yes

The Astro A20 are slightly smaller than the A10s thanks to their new headband design. However, they are limited in portability since they can only connect wirelessly with their transmitter dongle. Also, like most gaming headphones, they're big, bulky and do not fold into a more compact format. They're a hassle to carry around if you don't have a bag or a backpack and do not come with a case or pouch which is slightly disappointing.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones do not come with a case.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Astro A20, like the A10, are decently well-built. They have a different headband design to the A10's that feels somewhat closer to the A50 but does not look as premium, since the frame is mostly made out of plastic. The ear cups feel dense and sturdy enough to withstand a couple of accidental drops, and the Boom mic is flexible and durable. However, the new headband design feels a bit more susceptible to wear and tear than that of the A10's since there are a lot more moving parts.

7.0
Design
Stability

The A20 like the A10 are not made for sports or running. They're tight on the head so they do not move much during casual listening sessions or while gaming. However, like most gaming headsets, they will quickly fall if used while exercising or doing more strenuous activities. On the upside, they're wireless so they won't get yanked off your head because the audio cable got hooked by something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Astro A20 Headphones
  • Base Transmitter
  • USB Power and Data cable
  • Optical audio cable
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.56 db
Treble Amount
0.38 db
7.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.57 dB

The frequency response of the A20 is decently consistent. In the bass range, the maximum deviation measured across our five human subjects is about 4dB at 20Hz, which is subtle but noticeable. However, the biggest drop in bass delivery was on the subject who wears glasses, and the response was more consistent on other test subjects. In the treble range, up to 10KHz, the maximum deviation measured across five re-seats was about 9dB, but mostly in a narrow range around 7KHz.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.45 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
23.78 Hz
Low-Bass
-0.34 dB
Mid-Bass
4.27 dB
High-Bass
4.36 dB

The bass of the A20 is great. The LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 25Hz, which is very good. Accordingly, low-bass is within 1dB of our neutral target. This means for the most of the sub-bass range, the Astro produces just the right amount of thump and rumble, which is common to bass-heavy music genres and video game effects. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of the bass guitars and punch of the kick drums is overemphasized by 2.5dB, bringing excess emphasis to this region, but some users may find it pleasing. However, the 2dB overemphasis in high-bass adds a bit of boominess to the sound.

8.7
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.79 dB
Low-Mid
0.24 dB
Mid-Mid
0.31 dB
High-Mid
-1.71 dB

The mid-range is very good. The response is relatively even and flat, but for most of the range, it is a bit recessed and under our neutral target. Low-mid and mid-mid are lacking by about 1.5dB and high-mid is underemphasized by about 3.5dB. This nudges vocals and lead instruments towards the back of the mix by thinning them out and giving more emphasis to the bass and treble ranges.

6.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.01 dB
Low-Treble
0.66 dB
Mid-Treble
7.4 dB
High-Treble
-3.84 dB

The Astro A20 has a good treble range performance. The overall response is relatively even, but shows a 15dB tilt towards 10Khz and is mostly overemphasized throughout the range. This brings a bit of extra brightness and emphasis to vocals, lead instruments and cymbals. It also means that these headphones could be a bit sibilant, that is, sharp and piercing on S and T sounds.

6.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.35 db
Dips
1.5 db
8.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.27
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.11
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
4.77

The imaging is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.27, which is within good limits. The GD graph also shows that the group delay response never crosses the audibility threshold, indicating a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test bench were well-matched, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, and video game effects) in the stereo image.

7.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.03 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
4.67 dB
PRTF Distance
13.28 dB
Openness
6.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
5.5

The Astro A20 has a decent soundstage. The PRTF graph shows a good amount of pinna activation with good accuracy. However, there's no 10KHz notch present really. This suggests that the soundstage will be perceived to be relatively large and natural, but located inside the listener's head, as opposed to in-front.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
8.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.176
WHD @ 100
0.087
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Wireless (Proprietary)
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom
Isolation
3.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-10.42 dB
Bass
0.27 dB
Mid
-4.06 dB
Treble
-27.58 dB

The Astro A20 has an inadequate isolation performance. In the bass range, occupied by the rumble of bus and airplane engines, they don't achieve any isolation. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieved about 4dB of reduction, which is sub-par and barely noticeable. In the treble range, where sharp sounds like S and Ts sit, they isolate by more than 27dB, which is above average.

5.2
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
48.78 dB

The leakage performance is sub-par. The significant portion of their leakage sits between 300Hz and 6KHz, which is a relatively broad range. This means their leakage will be fuller sounding compared to that of in-ears and earbuds. The overall level of the leakage is also moderately loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at around 49dB SPL and peaks at 62dB, which is a bit louder than the noise floor of most offices.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
Yes
Detachable Boom
No
7.1
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
91.1 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
1.96 dB
HFE
1974.03 Hz
Weighted THD
0.157
Gain
43.26 dB

The recording quality of the microphone is decent. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 91dB, suggests that speech recorded/transmitted with the mic will sound relatively warm and full-bodied. The HFE (high-frequency extension) is at 2KHz, but since the cut-off is not very sharp until 6KHz, speech may lack a bit of brightness and detail, but it won't sound muffled and it will be easy to understand.

7.9
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
27.21 dB

The microphone is very good at noise handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 27dB, meaning they can easily separate speech from ambient noise in most loud environments, even subway stations and gaming competitions. However, they may struggle a little bit in extremely loud and demanding situations.

Active Features
7.8
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
14 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
14 hrs
Charge Time
3 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Auto-Off Timer
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The Astro A20 have a fairly long-lasting battery life of 14 hours and have great power saving features. They will automatically power down when no music is playing and you can use them while they're charging for longer gaming sessions. They take a bit of time to charge but it's to be expected for a gaming headset, and they have no passive playback since you cannot use them wired.

7.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Astro Command Center
iOS No
Android No
macOS Yes
Windows Yes
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
No
Mic Control Adjustable Level
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
No

Update: 04/19/2019 We've slightly adjusted the score of the Astro Command Center to better reflect its features when compared to other gaming software and software updates.

The Astro Command Center is an easy-to-use and efficient support software. It provides a great graphic equalizer that you can assign to the EQ button on the A20s right ear cup, which lets you cycle through the different saved EQ presets. They also have a microphone tab that gives you control over the microphones sound profile and its noise gate. The Command Center is a bit more feature-packed when paired with the higher-end Astro A50 but it's good enough for most gaming use cases with the A20s.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

These headphones are not Bluetooth compatible. If you want a gaming headset with Bluetooth support, check out the LucidSound LS31.

The Astro A20 Wireless have low latency, making them a suitable option for gaming. They're slightly worse than some of the other gaming headsets we've tested at 62ms of latency, but you will rarely notice any sync issues between the audio and the images on the screen. This also makes them a good choice for home theater use.

7.7
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
105 ft
Non-BT Latency
62 ms
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

These headphones do not come with an audio cable that you can use without the base station. Unlike some other gaming headset like the SteelSeries Arctis 7, the A20s will not be compatible with mobile devices and will not work with the Xbox One or the PS4's controller.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
Audio Only
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
Audio + Microphone
4.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Wireless Dock
USB Input
Yes
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
Yes
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
USB

The Astro A20 come with a good base transmitter but do not have as many connection options as the A50s. They have an optical input and audio via the USB cable when plugged into your PC. Unfortunately, the base does not work across platforms so you won't be able to switch between your PS4 and Xbox One unless you purchase an additional base station, and they do not have a line-in, optical out or dock charging like the A50, which makes them less versatile.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The A20 are a decent gaming headset with a good sound and build quality. They come with a base that's limited to the console variant you purchased and doesn't have as many inputs as Astro A50 or the SteelSeries Arctis 7, but it offers a good wireless range and low enough latency for gaming. They have a decently comfortable design although they can be a bit tight on the head for some users. If you value a good sound quality for your gaming headset and you mostly game on one console or PC, then they're a good choice. However, they won't be as versatile as some of the competing models below. See our recommendations for the best Xbox One headsets, the best PS4 headsets, and the best wireless gaming headsets.

Astro A10
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Astro A20 Wireless are better gaming headphones than the Astro A10. Their wireless design gives you more freedom and more range to play from your couch. You also get channel mixing and a mic mute switch, which are features the A10 is lacking. On the other hand, the A10 will give you a gaming experience without any delay and their microphone is noticeably better than the wireless A20. However, the A20 have better sound quality and have a companion app that lets you EQ the sound to your liking. Unfortunately, you can’t use the headset wired, so you’ll need to keep it charged, which you won’t have to do with the wired A10.

Astro A50 Gen 3 Wireless 2017
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Astro A50 Gen 3 Wireless 2017 ​are noticeably better gaming headphones than the Astro A20 model. They are better made and are noticeably more comfortable, which is great for long gaming sessions. Their out-of-the-box sound quality is also slightly better and their microphone has a more natural recording quality. Their charging dock also has inputs, which is convenient. On the other hand, the A20 have slightly better battery life and take less time to charge. However, their latency is also higher than the A50.

Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Astro A20 is a better-sounding gaming headset than the Turtle Beach Stealth 700. Their default sound profile is more accurate, and you also have access to an EQ in the Astro Command Center app to customize them to your liking. However, if you need a microphone to play online with friends, the Stealth 700 has the edge in that category. Speech transmitted will be clearer and decently full-bodied. On the other hand, the Astros feel better-built and not as plasticky as the Stealth 700, but you won’t be able to stream music via Bluetooth while gaming, which you can do with the Turtle Beach headset.

LucidSound LS31 Wireless
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The LucidSound LS31 is a better gaming headset than the Astro A20. It has lower latency, is more comfortable, and has more control options thanks to the channel mixing dials. It also has a better microphone for online gaming, and its battery life lasts a bit longer than the Astros. On the other hand, the A20 have better sound quality and also have an app to EQ the headphones to your liking. Unfortunately, they can’t be used wired like the LS31 can, and their latency and wireless range are a bit worse.

Astro A20 Wireless Price

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