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Alienware AW2524H 500Hz review: 24 inches of visual fury
4:00 pm | March 21, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz: Two-minute review

The Alienware AW2524H 500Hz does what it sets out to do and does it well. It provides up to a 500Hz refresh rate – faster than any of the best gaming monitors out there – and a response time of 0.5ms as well as some solid HDR and surprisingly good color accuracy, at least in the sRGB space, for a visual experience that’s more than a gimmick.

The real question then is whether or not the Alienware AW2524H 500Hz is worth the upgrade. After all, not everyone can take advantage or even reach its highest levels of performance. Your gaming skill level, the kinds of games you play (open-world aficionados should look at the best 4K monitors instead), and whether your GPU can even keep up are all factors on whether this will benefit you. 

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz on a standing desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

While the price is not outrageous compared to most other high-performing monitors, it’s enough to make the average gamer swoon. Really, it might be better to say that it’s great for a small subsection of competitive gamers.

For those people, its small footprint is actually a benefit. The Alienware AW2524H 500Hz is not an immersion machine to gallop around in Red Dead Redemption 2. Instead, it’s the perfect 24.5-inch size and form factor for competitive gaming where you’re focused on details like small, quick movements with all the action right in front of you. 

That small form factor is also helpful in the fact that its base doesn’t take up too much desk space. And, if you have a somewhat cramped desk, you can tilt, swivel and raise/lower the panel quite a bit, though you won’t be able to turn it to portrait mode.

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz on a standing desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Cable management built into the stand keeps things nice and tidy in the back, especially if you plan on taking advantage of all the ports that are on hand. While there’s no USB-C, an unfortunate omission for us multitaskers, it does come with DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.1 inputs, the latter being capped at a 240Hz refresh rate, along with a USB hub that includes four downstream USB 3.2 ports and one upstream USB 3.2 port. 

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz on a standing desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Though the USB hub is a nice addition for charging devices, I wasn’t able to transmit data. I could plug a keyboard or mouse into a port for charging but not to use with the PC that the USB hub is connected to. However, the headphone jack (there’s also a line out) will transmit audio from whichever source you’re currently using.

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz on a standing desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

The RGB lighting often seems like an unnecessary addition to a monitor, but its inclusion here is a nice touch. While you won’t be able to look directly at it during use, it’s bright enough to give off an ambient glow similar to what you would get from a Govee or Nanoleaf product, provided you have the gaming monitor set near a wall to bounce the RGB off.

In terms of performance, the Alienware AW2524H 500Hz is far from a paper tiger. You can really achieve 500fps. However, that comes with some caveats. To start, you need hardware capable of keeping up with this monitor. After all, its 500Hz refresh rate and its 0.5ms GTG response time – both of which are actually the overclocked settings from 480Hz and 1ms respectively –  take up a lot of graphical resources.

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz on a standing desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

I tested this monitor with two different PCs, one sporting an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 and one with an RTX 4090. With the RTX 2080, I could only get 500 fps with CS:GO. Rocket League would mostly stay in the 300 fps range. More graphically demanding games such as Far Cry 6 would barely make 100 fps.

The RTX 4090, however, ran CS:GO and Rocket League at a solid 500fps. Fortnite bounced between 480 to 490. Games like Far Cry 6 (170ish on low settings), Cyberpunk 2077 (250 on low), and Battlefield 2042 (280 on low) all gave results that were much better than the RTX 2080.

To that point, a lot of games are just not going to give you close to 500fps right now. Luckily, most competitive games aren’t graphical juggernauts and are meant to be enjoyed on everything from kitted-out gaming PCs to consoles. So, if you’re considering this monitor for one of those, you’ll certainly make the most out of that incredibly high refresh rate.

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz on a standing desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

In general, though, the Alienware AW2524H 500Hz responded beautifully. Even the games that didn’t hit 500fps still resulted in an experience that was without any latency, screen tearing, or ghosting. They felt more immersive because they were more stable. Honestly, I would almost consider this over a 4K monitor at 60Hz. Of course, its 99% sRGB color coverage and Vesa Certified HDR400 help.

While the included HDR is not the best out there, it does make a difference. I find that not only do colors pop more thanks to the contrast but that I can use the screen with lower brightness settings and still see everything clearly since lower light areas still retain their detail.

If my experience was so solid even when I was getting fps in the 200-300 range on many games, then why not just get something with a 240Hz refresh rate? You can certainly find one that’s much cheaper than this display.

To get a handle on that, I actually tested the Alienware AW2524H at 240, 360, and 500Hz. For games like Cyberpunk 2077, the various refresh rates made little difference. But, for CS:GO and Rocket League, I experienced something interesting that I think makes this monitor worth consideration for any competitive gamer.

While I couldn’t see much of a difference (the difference between 240Hz to 360Hz, for instance, is an almost imperceptible 1.4ms), I could feel it. Everything felt more stable and more concrete like I was actually moving around in that environment instead of moving pixels around while a computer recreated an image every couple of milliseconds. 

Is it worth the cost? For the right competitive gamer looking for a new monitor, possibly. 

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost?   $829.99 / about £680.44 / about AU$1236.12 
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it?  Available in the US, other territories not yet announced 

Fast refresh rate monitors almost always come at a premium, and the Alienware AW2524H 500Hz is no exception. At $829.99, it’s out of range for all but the most committed gamers. That’s more than some budget gaming PC builds. Since it takes some serious hardware to really push, you’re also going to need a solid GPU. Gamers still using a 1000 or 2000 series Nvidia GPU – and there are many – will have to shell out to upgrade their systems to take advantage of this display.

While many 240Hz monitors, like the AOC Agon Pro AG274QG, sit in a similar price range or are just a few hundred dollars cheaper such as the Samsung Odyssey G7, you won’t need quite as robust of a PC to get the most out of them. Plus, both run at a higher 1440p resolution. For those wanting to get fast refresh rates without spending that kind of money, the AOC CU34G2X achieves a respectable 144Hz along with a QHD resolution in a 34-inch panel for half the price of this Alienware model.

If you are considering buying the Alienware AW2524H 500Hz, then be aware that it’s currently only available in the US and China at the time of writing.

  •  Price: 3.5 / 5 

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz: Specs

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz on a standing desk

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Should you buy the Alienware AW2524H 500Hz?

Buy it if...

You want the latest and greatest
The Alienware AW2524H 500Hz is expensive but not unreasonable for the first 500Hz gaming monitor on the market. If you want that next-level performance that no one else has, this is for you.

You want silky smooth performance
That unrivaled 500Hz refresh rate and 0.5 g2g response time provide a performance that feels so smooth, even if it’s hard to see much of a difference.

Don't buy it if...

You’re on a budget
At over $800, this display is not cheap. Plus, you’re going to need a powerful GPU to run most games at those high refresh rates.

You have a monitor with a very high refresh rate
Going from 240 to 500Hz is not a night and day difference. You may not even perceive one. If you already have a monitor with a high refresh rate, save your money.

Alienware AW2524H 500Hz: Also consider

How I tested the Alienware AW2524H 500Hz

  • Tested over a week
  • Tested with different and different kinds of games
  • Used a colorimeter to test color accuracy

To test the Alienware AW2524H 500Hz Gaming Monitor, I spent a week with it, playing all sorts of games from popular esports titles like CS:GO and Rocket League, more controversial ones like Battefield 2042, and more graphically intense single player titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Far Cry 6.

While testing, I kept a refresh rate counter on and then ran each game on low and high graphical settings as well as at 240, 360, and 500Hz. I turned the HDR on and off, tested the ports, and did general checks like adjusting its ergonomics. I also tested the monitor with a computer sporting an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 and one with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090.

Having spent the last few years reviewing tech gear for gaming and otherwise, I’ve gotten a feel for what to look for and how to put a piece of kit through its paces to see whether it’s worth the recommendation. And, I’ve spent even longer playing computer games so I have an understanding of what gamers look for to get the most out of their titles.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2023

Rode X XDM-100 review – The definitive USB microphone
4:00 pm | March 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

The Rode X XDM-100 is the latest leading dynamic microphone from the Australian audio brand, redefining what was previously thought possible from USB microphones. With its included preamp and processing, combined with its ease of use, this is the benchmark by which to judge all future premium options. 

The Rode X XDM-100 is one of the best USB microphones around and even gives similarly priced XLR options a run for their money with just how versatile and accurate the sound quality is here. If you’re in the market for an encompassing broadcast solution, the first in Rode’s gaming and streaming series is hard to beat.  

Price and availability

The Rode X XDM-100 is available in regions such as the US, the UK, and Australia for $249 / £249 / $AU359. It was launched in October 2022 and is the flagship of the Australian microphone brand’s new Rode X gaming and streaming brand. You can also buy directly from Rode in all three countries.  

Design and Features

Rode XDM-100 on the PSA1+ stand

(Image credit: Future)

The Rode X XDM-100 is similar in design to the company’s premium XLR models, such as the Procaster and the NT1-A. It’s a cylindrical dynamic microphone that comes in all-black with red accents and features a dedicated pop filter and shock mount for stabilization. You can screw the microphone into any number of stands and boom arms, such as the excellent PSA1+, which I used in my testing. You’ll need to invest in one of these separately, though.

As expected for a USB microphone, you’ve got a headphone monitoring jack through 3.5mm and a gain / volume wheel that lets you control how loud or quiet the Rode X XDM-100 is during recording and monitoring. There’s a decent amount of weight to this microphone, weighing in at 700g / 1.5lbs, and that certainly adds to the premium feel and construction. The pop filter shield that slides over the steel is also a great touch and subtly dampens sound without occupying any additional space. 

The Rode X XDM-100 connects via USB-C to USB-C, which means you’re getting a much faster and more powerful connection of 100w / 20v, as opposed to the 2.5w and 5v of USB-A, which is normally seen on a USB microphone. That extra power is needed for the internal digital signal processor with Aphex voice processing and Revolution preamp, something that’s usually reserved for the company’s XLR offering range. It’s plug-and-play without losing the sophistication of upper-pedigree options similar to the all-star Shure MV7

As with the other Rode X gaming and streaming line-up products, such as the compact but punchy Rode X XCM50, the Rode X XDM-100 is built with the brand’s Unify software in mind. This program essentially acts as a series of virtual devices for different channels, such as the gameplay you’re streaming, the chat, and the microphone itself, which gives you greater control over your audio balancing on the fly. It’s basic in its services, but it gets the job done well, and I found the interaction between this microphone and what I could do easy to understand. 


Back of the Rode X XDM-100 showing the port

(Image credit: Future)

The Rode X XDM-100 is the best USB microphone I’ve ever used. As someone incredibly familiar with the brand’s existing line-up, having used the PodMic and the Procaster for over a year, I’m blown away with the step-up in sound, even going from XLR to USB. It’s a clear sign that USB-C as a platform for audio, owing to that significantly more powerful output, really is a viable alternative to a proper audio interface and chunky XLR cables running through your setup. 

With that said, as a musician who owns a lot of high-end audio interfaces and recording gear, such as the Rodecaster Pro II, the ease of use with the Rode X XDM-100 continues to win me over. The convenience of being able to boot my gaming laptop up and know that my microphone will just work straight out of the box and sound this good is a novelty that I don’t think will wear off anytime soon. 

The included pop filter sleeve does an excellent job of filtering out unwanted popping and clicking noises. I also found that the Revolution preamp combined with the Aphex processing combined for a balanced, warm, and natural account of my speaking voice and various singing voices. I’m impressed by the reproduction's accuracy as someone with a less conventional voice. I also found that the level wheel was just sensitive enough to where I could filter out all background noise, be it from the button presses of my Victrix Pro BFG controller to the fans of the gaming PC in the background for noise reduction, I’ve not seen at this level. 

The zero-latency microphone monitoring is ideal if you’ve got a pair of high-quality studio headphones. In my case, I own the Rode NTH-100M, which sound excellent and pair with the Rode XDM-100 well. With a quick click of the level button, I can hear how loud I am talking while playing Red Dead Redemption 2 and Hotline Miami. Ultimately there’s very little I can fault this microphone on. It excels across the board by making high-end audio more accessible and easy to use with the build quality that ensures longevity. If you’re after a step up from the vintage USB options available, this is a sure-fire hit if you’ve got the cash.  

Rode X XDM-100 controls

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Rode X XDM-100 microphone?

Buy it if... 

You want a microphone that will last

The Rode X XDM-100 is built with all-metal construction and features a good amount of weight with its dedicated shock mount and pop filter. 

You want a plug and play microphone 

Despite appearances, there’s nothing complicated about using the Rode X XDM-100. All you need to do is plug it into a USB-C port, and it’s ready to go. 

Don't buy it if... 

You don’t have any USB-C ports

The Rode X XDM-100 connects only through USB-C, so if you’ve only got USB-A ports, you won’t be able to power it up and use it properly.  

Rode NTH-100M review – An excellent gaming headset with limited use
1:00 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

The Rode NTH-100M is the microphone manufacturer’s first ever gaming headset. The new release takes the existing NTH-100 studio monitoring headphones and adds a compact 3.5mm microphone with the goal of high-end broadcast-quality gaming and streaming. Despite not being branded under the RodeX gaming and streaming line, that’s clearly the intention with this repackaged model. 

The Rode NTH-100 are some of the best headphones available, as we gave them a five-star review. I’ve been equally impressed by them in my year of using them. The NTH-100M can’t be considered one of the best headsets for consoles because the 3.5mm jack splitter makes it difficult to use. It can still go down as one of the best wired headsets, however. 

Price and Availability

The Rode NTH-100M was released in February 2023 and is available in countries the US and the UK and the brand’s native Australia. You can pick up the company’s debut gaming headset for $189 / £195 / AU$279 at big-box retailers or from Rode directly. You’re paying roughly $40 / £45 / $AU35 over the price of the NTH-100 headphones. Alternatively, if you own the Rode NTH-100 headphones, you can pick up the NTH-Mic headset attachment separately for $59 / £63 / AU$99.  

Design and Features

Side view of the Rode NTH-100M

(Image credit: Future)

Little separates the Rode NTH-100M from their headphone equivalents, except for the included NTH-Mic and the splitter cable. As a headset, the actual cups and construction are incredibly high quality and feature a plush band described by the brand as “CoolGel” foam for comfort over time. These were originally monitoring headphones, so they’re built to be worn over long periods with a lightweight frame to prevent discomfort. 

The microphone is made from a molded plastic that’s rigid. There’s no flexibility in the 3.5mm NTH-Mic, as you may typically find from other companies' bendable nature of headset microphones. The small mic has a premium feel, though, as there’s no warping or bending when applying resistance. The mic screws into either the left or right aux port on the cups, and you can freely rotate it toward your mouth when needed. 

The included two-way splitter is less impressive than the NTH-Mic, which takes the standard 3.5mm jack and gives you both a headphone and microphone slot. There’s no getting around the fact that it’s quite an outdated audio out, and it severely limits using the headphones and microphone simultaneously, as you need to free up both ports. I wish the company had opted for the more standardized USB-A or USB-C so that more devices could use the microphone, like the PS5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox Series X, instead of limiting the headphones through the aux port. 


Close up on the Rode NTH-100M mic

(Image credit: Future)

The Rode NTH-100M performs well as a gaming headset, with the Rode-NTH mic sounding a cut above your everyday headset microphone. Given its small size and aux input, the overall sound quality is impressive, and I found myself sounding clear during audio playback and talking to friends. That said, there’s a noticeable difference to some of the best USB microphones made by the brand, including my Rode NT-USB model. 

Compared to the microphone on the similarly expensive SteelSeries Arctis 7P+ and the Razer Kraken Kitty V2 Pro, the Rode NTH-100M’s microphone does sound better. However, it’s not that much of a jump to justify those wireless and wired models' more limited connectivity. That all changes when you factor in how good audio playback comes through with this gaming headset. 

The Rode NTH-100M supplies some of the best-sounding audio I’ve ever experienced when gaming, due to the flatter, softer sound profile, which carries across more muted than the dialed-up audio drivers generally seen in gaming headsets. That’s because the 40mm drivers here were built for musicians and broadcasters for maximum clarity, and that certainly comes across when enjoying high-octane gaming. 

The headphone and microphone splitter for the Rode NTH-100M

(Image credit: Future)

I enjoyed many hours of roaming around the frontier of Red Dead Redemption 2, taking in the nighttime ambiance of late-night horseback riding and the various predators that stalk their prey through the brush. The quiet was expertly juxtaposed with the thunderous roar of a sawed-off shotgun or repeater rifle finding its target in one of many hectic gunfights. 

How Hotline Miami’s Darksynth soundtrack pulses through the violent haze is equally strong. It’s some of the most natural sounding balancing I have experienced in my years with headphones and headsets as both a musician and a gaming content creator.

Ultimately, the Rode NTH-100M represents missed potential for what a Rode gaming headset could be. Now that the company has launched its RodeX line aimed at gamers and streamers, I am hopeful that the next attempt is made from the ground up for a wider audience instead of being an extension of an existing product. It’s hard to completely right this gaming headset off because the foundations are so strong, but I can’t help but feel a lot more could have been done to make the first foray into headsets so much stronger.

Should I buy the Rode NTH-100M gaming headset?

Buy it if... 

You want excellent audio quality 

The Rode NTH-100M produces some of the highest-quality audio I’ve ever experienced from a gaming headset.

You want a high-end headset microphone 

The included NTH-Mic is a cut above what’s normally seen from gaming headsets at this price point.  

Don't buy it if... 

You play on consoles

While you can get the full audio experience on Xbox Series X and PS5 through the controller, the outdated output from the mic means that you can’t get the best use out of the NTH-Mic. 

You already own the NTH-100

If you’re thinking of turning your headphones into a headset, then you’re better off buying the standalone NTH-Mic separately instead of replacing it outright. 

Astro A30 review: stellar if not completely out of this world
7:25 pm | February 4, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Astro A30: One-minute review

Astro always aims for the stars, and its latest offering, the Astro A30, is no different. While the brand doesn’t always get there – specifically with its more budget-friendly offerings – the tactic at least gets it to the moon, and that's especially true here. 

The Astro A30 looks great and inherits some of the A40’s customizability. And, it’s a quality purchase as well, delivering in audio performance, comfort, and versatility – even if you do have to pay a slightly hefty price to get it. However, it’s not devoid of shortcomings, although some of those can be remedied by mere EQing, and despite having all the right elements, it doesn’t do enough to really stand out.

Astro A30 on a lavender desk mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Still, it's great where it matters. It's also among the latest models to join this new breed of gaming headsets that tries to do it all, which I'm absolutely here for, especially since it also means that it could potentially save users money (and perhaps even lower their carbon footprint).

Is the Astro A30 going to win the race to the stars? Probably not, but it’s still a stellar choice and one of the best wireless gaming headsets right now.

Astro A30: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $229.99 / £229.99 / $429.95
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia
Astro A30: SPECS

Interface: 2.4GHz transmitter, Bluetooth, 3.5 mm aux cable
Platforms: PS5, PC/Mac, Xbox Series X|S
Mic: Removable boom mic, Built-in mic
Surround sound: 3D audio
Weight: 326g

I wish the Astro A30 wasn’t so steeply-priced. At $229.99 / £229.99 / $429.95, it is a hefty purchase for most people, particularly because we’re in the middle of high inflation. That isn’t to say it isn’t worth it because you are getting a versatile pair here that can be used for PC and console gaming, and can moonlight as headphones. 

But, there are other gaming headsets with very similar features and capabilities at a more affordable asking price. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless is a terrific example. For just $179 / £174 (about AU$310), it also delivers slightly better sound quality and promises a longer battery life.

If you have cash to spare, however, and are a fan of Astro headsets, like the legendary Astro A50, you might prefer the Astro A30. It’s also a good one to add to your collection if you’ve got one going.

  • Value: 3.5 / 5

Astro A30 on a lavender desk mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Astro A30: Design

  • Comfortable and customizable but some clamping force
  • Plastic yoke is easily scratched
  • Mobile app support

Personally, I adore the Astro A30’s look and design. I appreciate the uniqueness of its rounded square ear cups since many of the newer releases from Astro’s rivals have gone with an oval design. Plus both its speaker tags and ear cups are magnetically attached so you can swap yours out to match whatever aesthetic you’re currently into.

Astro A30 on a lavender desk mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There are things that I wish were better, however. The plastic yoke that attaches the ear cup to the band is easily scratched – so much so, I’ve had to gently remove shaved bits of it whenever I accidentally scrape it against something. And, I tend to be a little OCD about my gear so I’m usually very careful and take good care of them.

On top of that, the Astro A30 has a bit more clamping force than most of the gaming headsets I’ve tested in recent months. Coming from someone with a regular-sized head, that’s saying something. To offset that, I put the headset over my cats’ food bin and kept it there for 24 hours. That seemed to fix the issue.

Astro A30 on a lavender desk mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

I don’t think either of those things is a massive deal-breaker. Besides, the Astro A30 has a slew of excellent design features that more than make up for those. The memory foam ear cups, for one, are plush, comfortable, and soft to the touch. The physical controls are intuitive and easy to remember. And, the overall fit is great, so as long as you break it in a little, it should stay comfortable for hours.

Astro A30 on a lavender desk mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Another fantastic feature worth highlighting is the mobile app support. The Astro A30, as I’ve mentioned, isn’t just for PC and console gaming. It moonlights as a great pair of headphones as well, one you can use with your phone, wearables, and tablets to consume other forms of entertainment via Bluetooth. With your phone, you can download the Logitech G mobile app and manage your audio mix, check on battery life, and most importantly, personalize the audio with its five-band EQ.

  • Design: 5 / 5

Astro A30 on a lavender desk mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Astro A30: Performance

  • EQ and dual-audio mixing
  • Good sub-bass and balanced high end
  • Clear microphones

One cool thing about the Logitech G mobile app is that its five-band EQ, which is available for the Astro A30, is actually pretty powerful. It lets you cut or boost a frequency by 12db, which has allowed me to fix the minor complaints I have about its default audio performance. I could offset the sibilance a little, for example, that’s present at default due to the high end being a little too pronounced. 

Another cool feature here is the dual-audio mixing. Not only does the Astro A30 offer multi-connectivity and multi-platform compatibility, but also lets you hear audio from two different sources at the same time. It does a good job of balancing them as well. I personally don’t have a lot of use for such a feature, but very few gaming headsets offer it so it gives the A30 a bit of an edge.

Astro A30 on a lavender desk mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Not that it needs extra frills to be great. The Astro A30’s audio performance hardly needs assistance, delivering good sub-bass extension, good mids, and a fairly balanced high end. Listening to tunes like Kendrick Lamar's DNA, Naseebo Lal & Abida Parveen's Tu Jhoom, and Rihanna's Lift Me Up has been enjoyable, though perhaps not perfect.

When listening to music, I’m definitely not getting a lot of rumble here, even with bass-heavy tunes and even when I’m EQing – that rumble is at around the 60Hz frequency, and the mobile app’s EQ band stops at 125Hz. Meanwhile, the high end tends to be a little pronounced so some sibilance appears when listening to things with a bit of sizzle. Finally, there tends to be strong low-mids, so depending on what you’re listening to, things might sound a little muddy.

As far as soundstage goes, the Astro A30 is not the most intimate headset as it feels like there's some distance between the listener and the music. It’s not bad, but it also feels like you're watching musicians from the audience instead of standing on stage or in a small room with them.

You’ll get a slightly different experience when you’re playing your favorite PC games. I’ve found when playing Control, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Rocket League that the lifted high end allows games to sound more detailed and the boosted low-mids make everything sound a little fuller. As for the soundstage, that little bit of distance actually helps immerse you in the game.

Astro A30 on a lavender desk mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Adding to its versatility – and ability to moonlight as a pair of headphones – is its dual-mic design. The removable boom mic tackles your communications during gaming, while the built-in mic allows you to keep things compact when you’re at the airport or train station. They’re a great pair of microphones too. The boom mic comes through clearly and has decent background noise isolation, despite the frequency range not being very wide and having a little less high end. Meanwhile, the built-in mic has a little more high end, though you will sound farther away and the background noise will come through a little louder.

There’s certainly decent battery life here, giving you about 27 hours of playtime, but honestly, for a pair of headphones that doesn’t have RGB lighting, I expected more. Its longevity seems to extend a bit when on Bluetooth, however.

  • Performance: 4.5 / 5

Should I buy the Astro A30?

Astro A30 on a lavender desk mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If our Astro A30 review has you considering other options, here are two more gaming headsets to consider...  

Astro A30: Report card

  • First reviewed February 2023

How I tested the Astro A30

When testing PC gaming headsets, I pay very close attention to audio quality, testing its frequencies, volume, soundstage, and sound imaging. Because a lot of gamers prefer a lot of rumble to really get into the most intense moments of their game, I also feel for any rumble a gaming headset can offer. If there's EQ-ing offered via software or app, I play around with that as well, especially if a headset's default sound performance isn't quite on par.

I also don't just test with games; because most gamers use the same headset for watching movies and listening to music, I see how well one fares play other media as well. I also test it with different inputs, especially if it has multi-platform compatibility.

Of course, equally important are a gaming headset's comfort, versatility, build, and mic performance, especially for gamers who stream or play a lot of multiplayer games. If it's a wireless headset like the Astro A30, I test its wireless performance and range.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test