As I mentioned in our review of the Astro A20 headset, I enjoy messing around with different headsets. So when the press release for the Astro A03 In-Ear Monitors came through, I was very intrigued. Here was a pair of earbuds promising to be more than just another set of wired headphones, and given the asking price is fifty dollars one would hope so. I mean, you can go to Walmart and spend ten bucks or less to get a serviceable pair. But you do get what you pay for, and Astro has certainly shown that to me with the A03s.
The box everything comes in is extremely small, so much so I was a bit concerned if I had gotten the right thing. But size isn’t everything, and what is indicated on the packaging is what you get. The usual works are here with the earbuds and three sizes of ear-tips, but Astro has also thrown in a carrying case. I know some of this is probably to justify the premium pricing, but the two additional items really contribute to the first-rate experience they are selling. The initial ear-tips fit me just fine, but the option to change them around ensures everyone will get an optimal fit. The carrying case isn’t necessary, but given how much you spent on these earbuds, it’s appreciated as a way of both cable management and keeping your earbuds damage free.
While extras are nice, we didn’t shop for them, we came for the A03s. These have an extremely premium feel to them, with the earbuds made of an aluminum housing and a lay flat cable that ensures you won’t be constantly untangling them. They just feel nice and high quality, and they’re comfortable to wear even being in-ear monitors.
Now for the sound, the A03s sound absolutely incredible. I’ve used every cheap set of earbuds under the sun, and none are even comparable to how good these are. Not only is music fantastic coming through the drivers, but in-game sound is nearly on the level of mid-tier gaming headsets. I usually use Call Of Duty as a barometer when critiquing a headset, and the fact that I can hear what direction footsteps are coming from with the A03s is a testament to their quality. Could I use a more expensive headset and get better quality? Sure, but I also can’t keep that headset in my back pocket.
Speaking of the drivers, I think it’s the design choices that make the A03s so good. Dedicated dual drivers for highs/mids and bass influence your audio to be the absolute best it can, and that is easy to hear. They are so good I could leave my phone’s music app at mid-volume to get great sound, and the A03s are nearly noise-cancelling as I couldn’t hear my wife talking next to me. An area I highly suggest using these in? Virtual Reality. I used them with my Oculus Quest 2 playing Beat Saber and it was a wonderful experience. It’ll be interesting trying them with different games, but the properties of the A03s will definitely lend themselves to the immersion factor of VR.
While the drivers and sound are absolute high points for the A03s, the mic has to be the low point. I would not suggest using these to communicate with your team while playing a game. It comes across really muffled according to the group I was playing with, and if you’re trying to coordinate while playing something competitive you need something much clearer than this seemingly standard earbud microphone.
Astro A03 In-Ear Monitors
The Astro A03 In-Ear Monitors may be looked at as another pair of earbuds, but they more than earn the in-ear monitor title. You can truly use these for about anything, from music to gaming. While I don’t suggest them for hardcore competitive gamers due to the less than desirable mic, the versatility of the A03s is what you’ll be buying them for.