Logitech has introduced the Astro A50 X gaming headset that does more (and costs more) than most rival products we've ever seen. It not only offers audiophile sound features, but comes with a dock that can switch your entire setup, including sound and video, between PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and PC at the touch of a button.
The headphones themselves come with 40mm graphene audio drivers (the same we saw in the Logitech G Pro X 2), a 16-bit 48 kHz "broadcast quality" microphone, Dolby Atmos support and Logitech's Lightspeed wireless system. You can tune the EQ and levels through the Logitech G Hub, so it's the company's first Astro headset to support that function. Bluetooth is on tap for mixing in phone audio or connecting a Nintendo Switch, and it runs for up to 24 hours between charges. They can be wirelessly charged on the hub or via a USB-C port.
The hub adds a very nerdy element that will test your cable management skills. It offers what Logitech calls PlaySync tech that uses HDMI passthrough, allowing it to be used as a switch for your game and home AV setup. It comes with two HDMI 2.1 input ports that support 4K at 120Hz (for Xbox and PS), a USB-C DisplayPort for PC and one HDMI 2.1 output. With all that, it can switch between devices and pass through a single HDMI output to your TV or monitor, without interfering with variable refresh rate (VRR) or auto low latency mode (ALLM) gaming features.
To hook it up, you connect the HDMI output from your console(s) to the HDMI input on the Astro A50 X's hub. You also need to make a USB-C connection between each device. Your PC, meanwhile, will connect to the hub via a USB-C DisplayPort connection, rather than HDMI. Then, the hub connects to your TV or monitor via HDMI 2.1.
To use it, you don the headset and hit the PlaySync button to select the sources (PS5, Xbox or PC) to display on the screen. The corresponding sound is wirelessly sent from each source to the headset, of course. Once set up, you can be anywhere in the room with your headset and controller in hand, and quickly switch between devices. You can also output sound to external speakers by placing the headset in the dock, which stops audio to the headset but still allows switching via the PlaySync button.
Logitech didn't say so, but I can't see any reason why you couldn't connect, say, a Blu-ray player to one of the HDMI inputs if you only have one console (I've asked the company to confirm that). Also bear in mind the length limitations on HDMI 2.1 cables.
If all of that sounds insanely complicated, then you're probably not the target market for this product. Once set up, though, it looks like a way for serious gamers to quickly switch between devices from any location. Yes, $379 is high for a gaming headset, but if you consider that it's also a 3-in-1 HDMI 2.1 switcher with wireless audio output and Bluetooth input, it's a relatively good deal.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/logitechs-astro-a50-x-headset-can-switch-between-ps5-xbox-and-pc-with-a-button-press-123508695.html?src=rss