The in-ear monitors use a metal bullet-like form factor, so they’re sturdy and sleek, but also not very secure in your ear canal. I wore them while washing dishes only to have one fall completely out, so these won’t be very good for any kind of physical activity like jogging or even just a brisk walk. Let’s hope you aren’t prone to moving about wildly when you’re in the middle of a match.
As a pair of earbuds dedicated to gaming, Astro built the A03 slightly differently, packing two drivers into each ear: one for bass, and the other for mids and highs. In games like Fall Guys and Persona 5 the music was perfectly balanced, with the bass present but not overwhelming. However, the tangle-free cord generates a lot of noise when it brushes against something, which carries to your ears. All wired headphones have this to some degree, but it seemed louder than usual with the A03. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s still something to be aware of if, again, you’re moving around a lot.
The cord is, of course, packed with a built-in mic and in-line controls. The three-button control panel is made of plastic and feels a bit cheap not only in contrast to the aluminum ear pieces, but also in comparison to some of the plastic headsets I have on hand. It’s still perfectly serviceable, but it doesn’t feel as premium as it could.
And how it feels will matter, given that wired earbuds are becoming increasingly passé when true wireless sets are getting better and cheaper. Even Razer sells a pair for $100 that it claims has low latency for gaming. But still, Astro’s A03 IEM is a good first try for the company, offering high-quality game audio in a pocketable package. It’s available today in red or purple color schemes for $50.
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