A Whole New World.
I remember carrying around my Walkman in middle school, listening to music with headphones I bought from the drugstore. Then when iPods and smartphones came out I moved onto earbuds. No matter how careful I was while listening to music with any of these devices or how many different brands of headphones I tried, one of the earpieces would always break and intermittently start cutting out or they would get lost entirely. When I think about how much money I've paid to replace headphones over the years the $230 price tag of the Astro A38 headsets seems miniscule.
The A38 headsets have become something I can't imagine living without. The ability to go wireless has completely freed me from having to worry about a cord hanging down from my ear that might get caught on something during my morning commute on public transit or fall out of my ear because it isn't secure. They are light and the material used on the earpads and headband make them the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn. The A38s are very snug and I have never encountered an instance where they might fall off my head, and there have been a few times when I forgot I even had them on. Along with their sleek design, they also provide a useful method for getting quality audio while gaming on the go.
The most notable portable gaming use for the A38s is the Playstation Vita. While tablets and smartphones are also compatible with the A38s, being able to use them to play a wider range of mainstream titles on the go may be more appealing to most gamers. I don't really think that the audio quality of Candy Crush and other A.D.D.-inducing apps can be much improved by a heavy duty set of headphones. However, with the emergence of more high-profile game ports to mobile, like BioShock Infinite, having a pair of badass headphones for your tablet or smartphone might not be such a taboo idea forever. I think the Astro A38s may be more appealing to an even wider market outside of gaming simply because of their wireless convenience.
In addition to having comfort and quality, there are many other advantages to using the A38s instead of wired headphones. One of those qualities is the ability to take phone calls via the built-in APTX low-latency Bluetooth and active noise-canceling microphone that filters out ambient noise. When paired with a smartphone, you can receive phone calls and then transition seamlessly back into listening to music or whatever other audio you were listening too prior to taking the call. You can also pair them with multiple devices at once thanks to the AAC high-fidelity Bluetooth playback. You can be playing a game on your Vita, take a phone call, and get right back to gaming as soon as the call is over, all by only tapping a button on the side of the A38 headset. I never experienced a dropped call and never had any issues with the person on the other end not being able to hear me. If you need to mute your end of the call quickly, the mute button is conveniently located at the bottom of the left speaker.
They also have a battery life of 15+ hours for hands-free communication and 20+ hours of battery life for music streaming. I have never had an issue with the A38s dying on me unexpectedly (yet), and if you have an iPhone or iPad, there is an additional battery life meter that will show up when you pair the headset. I’ve only ever heard the battery alert one time after not charging it for about a week of consistent use and even after that happened the headphones continued to work for twenty more minutes until I could make it home and charge them properly.
Many gamers may be put off by the fact that these headsets are not compatible with consoles, but the A38s are designed for the gamer on the go. If you travel a lot or have a long commute in the morning that involves public transportation or walking, you will really appreciate these. Most recently I played Metro Redux with the A38s while traveling for a friend's wedding on my ASUS ROG G750 gaming laptop. It may not have been 5.1 quality, but it was still better than listening to the audio on a bulky wired headset or flimsy earbuds.
The only issue I encountered was that if I paused the game, it would take about a half-second before the audio would play again. I consider that to be a very minor issue since it didn't hinder the experience for me at all. The only major issue I can think of concerns gamers who play primarily on their PC, since you cannot use the A38s with popular chat applications like Ventrilo when playing online. Although technically it registers as a microphone device, it is not qualified for those types of chat functions.
Fortunately, the pros far outweigh the cons for this wireless headset, especially when you compare it to bulkier and more expensive competitors. The A38s are available in white and dark grey and, like any other Astro headset, are fully compatible with all of the A30/A38 speaker tags on the official website. Anyone who purchases them in the US before November 30, 2014 will receive three free months of Spotify Premium Even though the A38s are designed for tech-savvy gamers, I strongly believe that they will become very popular with individuals who may just want a wireless hands-free headset they can travel with easily. Astro has delivered a product that lives up to its ongoing track record of audio excellence. The A38s are available for $230 on Astro’s website and select online retailers.