With the introduction of the Astro A30 wireless gaming headset, Astro and Logitech G are now working closer than ever since the latter brand took over the former in 2017. The Astro A30 may have signature Astro styling, but it’s powered by Logitech G’s Lightspeed wireless technology. Handy as that tech may be for a cable-free connection, what sets this headset apart from the crowd is that it can support not one, not two, but three simultaneous connections to audio sources—one 2.4GHz wireless connection with the Lightspeed wireless dongle, one Bluetooth, and one 3.5mm wired. Of course, you have to pay $229 for the privilege, putting these cans right into the upper echelons of gaming headsets when it comes to price.
Despite the high price, the Astro A30 headset is plasticky. The only metal in sight on the design is a set of four screws in each ear cup that helps swappable faceplates snap on magnetically. I’ve got to give Astro some style points here, though. The faceplates are a semi-transparent plastic covering another plastic layer that’s painted like hot chrome, with all its gold and purple shining through at different angles when light hits it. RGB lights never looked so sultry, and this design doesn’t use any of the wireless headsets’ precious battery life.
Some of the Astro aesthetics have been simplified here. The cans still feature the same boxy, tall, rectangular ear cups held in place by a similarly rectangular set of yolks. But where past premium Astro headsets had long metal tubes extending from the yolks to allow for swivel and size adjustments, the Astro A30 just has a short tube to connect to the headband, which handles the size-adjustment sliders (Astro even put ‘L’ and ‘R’ in Braille on the slider slots).The change doesn’t leave any shortage of fit customization—there’s room for heads big and small.
Comfort is fairly on point, with plush ear cushions that balance the headset’s modest clamping force—enough to hold it in place for a bit of light headbanging. The headband comes up short on cushioning, feeling like more of an empty rubber tube, but that rubber is taut enough to make for a soft touch on the crown of my head. For headphones that might be worn in long stretches, the 27-hour battery life also proves up to the task.
The left ear cup has a mic mute switch and ports for the detachable boom mic and 3.5mm analog cable. The right ear cup has a power button and Bluetooth button, a USB-C charging port, and a small joystick style control.
As is common for gaming products, the Astro A30 is split into three different versions. One for Mac/PC, one for PlayStation, and one for Xbox. However, all three versions have the same two color options: white with purple accents or navy with red accents.
Ultimately, all three models of the headset are compatible with just about any device you want to connect them to because of their three different connectivity methods. What changes between each version is what platform the wireless dongle will support. All models support PC, using their Lightspeed dongle. Though the dongles don’t appear to be interoperable across consoles, Astro will sell extra dongles to enable connections to different platforms using the same headset— flexibility that’s great to see from a premium product.
Astro hasn’t listed the prices for these additional dongles yet, but it sells extra transmitters for the Astro A20’s for $20, so they will conceivably be in that ballpark.
When you’re spending upwards of $200 on a pair of headphones, you might expect some serious audio chops, but a lot of that budget seems to be going to other features in the case of this headset. The 40mm speaker drivers pump out perfectly serviceable audio that does about as much for gaming as it does for movies and music. Highs and mids are well balanced with bass, providing reasonable clarity in any situation.
No notes stick out when listening to the sonically rich Of Montreal album False Priest, and the whole world of sound coming through in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’s beta issn’t completely washed over by the boom of every explosion and gunshot.
The sound stage is rather tight, making it somewhat hard to pick out directionality in the chaos of a big team fight in Overwatch, so it’s no surprise when I get punched right in the back by a rogue Doomfist whose charging fist I could only slightly hear over the furor.
Matters improve when sound is more sparse, as in the barren landscapes of Death Stranding, where the game sounds and music have more room to breathe.
The audio from these headphones doesn’t really try to go beyond the basics, either. EQ customizations are the extent of customizability, with no active noise cancellation or included surround sound features. The only feature the Astro A30 really goes big is volume. It’s all too easy to make the Astro A30 headset pump out sound that’s painfully loud. Anything above 33% volume started to hurt.
Being able to pump up the sound could be helpful in some situations, though. In a noisy cafe or loud train, it’ll be easy to overwhelm the outside sounds, even if it’s not healthy to do so. Unfortunately, it may be necessary, as the earcups don’t have very impressive noise isolation despite their leatherette cushion material.
Logitech and Astro have taken a page out of SteelSeries’ book with a feature dubbed “Dual Audio Mixing,” which allows the simultaneous playback of two wireless audio sources (one Bluetooth and one from the 2.4GHz wireless dongle). Believe it or not, the headset will even allow a third, wired audio source to play alongside those two wireless sources. To what end? I’m honestly not sure. I suppose you could have game audio in one source, a phone call in another, and music in your third source, but that seems like something could achieve just as well with only two.
The ability to combine audio from multiple sources is one I’ve come to love after years of testing it on SteelSeries’ devices, and Astro gets it mostly right. On PC (and presumably Xbox), the headset will show up as two separate output sources, allowing me to tell games to play through “Astro A30” and tell a chat app like Discord to play through “Astro A30 Voice”. When properly set up, I can adjust the balance between the two audio sources with sideways flicks of the joystick control on the right earcup.
If my teammates are being too loud for me to hear enemy footsteps, I can quickly dial them down. If the sound of explosions is drowning out my teammates’ callouts, I can dial it the other way. The joystick isn’t as quick to make adjustments as the ChatMix dials on SteelSeries’ headsets, but it works. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to make the same audio mix adjustments for sound coming from my PC and sound coming from a Bluetooth connection to my phone. The Bluetooth audio seems to be ever-present in the mix.
As handy as the features are, I’ve found it’s important to actually make sure they’re set up properly even if you don’t intend to use them (although, just don’t get these headphones if you don’t want the features). Before I’d set up the two audio channels on my computer, I noticed that sometimes connecting the headset to Bluetooth would seemingly alter that audio channel on the computer to Voice, which for whatever reason came through at a much higher volume level. This was not only painful every time it happened, but it came with a severe downgrade in audio quality that almost had me thinking these headphones were worse than they are. There appears to (sensibly) be a lot less bandwidth provided to that voice channel, so it has all the dynamic range of $10 boombox from 1990.
One little extra hidden feature of the headset is that it doesn’t turn off with a simple timer. Instead, it uses a timer in combination with an accelerometer inside. If the headset isn’t moving for a set amount of time, then it’ll turn off. This prevents the headset from turning off if there just hasn’t been any audio playing for a while. It’s an extra little bit of smarts, though I had gotten used to headphones turning off while I’m wearing them serving as a reminder to turn on some music.
A headset like the Astro A30 that’s made to run on console and PC naturally has a way to manage it that only runs on phones—totally logical. Also sensible, the app is “Logitech G”, not “Astro” anything. Getting over that confusion, Logitech presents a fairly straightforward if lacking-in-detail app for controlling the headset.
The app allows for custom equalizers, adjustable balance between game and voice audio sources (only on PC and Xbox), and mic controls for noise gate and sidetone. All three of these settings can be saved into special profiles, allowing for quick switching in the app.
The app is also where you can update the headset’s firmware or adjust the delay before the headset automatically shuts off.
The headset runs a pair of mics, providing the option of a unidirectional boom mic or a built-in omnidirectional mic like you’d find on a typical Bluetooth headset. This effectively provides a quality mic option when at home while still keeping a mic handy when on-the-go.
Both mics are a bit on the quiet side, with each recording at almost hard-to-hear levels compared to recordings I made on SteelSeries’ latest Arctis Nova headsets playing back at the same system volume. Clarity on the boom mic is good, but its lack of any filter makes for some loud pop noises and extra breathing sound if it’s positioned close to the mouth in an attempt to remedy its low volume.
The internal mics are unexceptional verging on bad, particularly when used over Bluetooth. They sound about like most webcam mics. The noise gate can help cut down on background noise getting picked up, but it also cuts down the voice clarity and can make it sound like I’m sputtering without actually saying any full words.
The sidetone controls work for either microphone, making it easy to avoid screaming into the mic, and the headset automatically switches between mics if the boom mic is attached or removed. The mute switch on the headset can be hard to find in a hurry given how small it is, but the headset makes a fairly clear indicator sound when switching it on or off.
Even though from a design, feature, and price standpoint, the Astro A30 should be an Astro A50 killer, providing almost everything the latter headset does and more, this headset doesn’t set itself apart from the external competition. While it’s nice to see the versatility here, I’d sooner recommend buying a $100 gaming headset and $100 everyday headphones that bring more to the table in their respective domains.
Meanwhile, for less money, the $200 (and nearly two-year-old) Arctis 9 Wireless can match the Astro A30 for features and audio quality, but implements it all better, not to mention its USB dongle has two extra 3.5mm AUX ports, one to accept inputs and one to send audio out to a pair of speakers as a backup whenever the headphones power down. And for those more focused on gaming who don’t need the versatility, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless puts on a strong showing with absurdly long battery life.