Finding a pair of headphones for the Nintendo Switch is a real pain, mainly because of Nintendo’s decision to run voice chat through a mobile app. So far, we’ve found only one all-around solution to the problem. But it appears that headphone manufacturer Astro has heard our plea. Today it announced a new partnership with Nintendo, and said it’s working on a new, competitive audio solution that will debut later this year.
When we refreshed our round-up of the best gaming headphones in November, Astro fared particularly well. Their top-of-the-line A50 wireless headphone was our choice as the best solution on the PlayStation 4, and came in a close second for the Xbox One. But when we originally published that story, the only viable solution for the Nintendo Switch was the chintzy $30 Hori Splat & Chat dongle.
Another option is to pick up the Hori Splat and Chat headphone, which is a mediocre set of headphones with a microphone that includes a special adaptor that splits the audio signal between your phone and the Nintendo Switch. It’s an awkward and unnecessarily complicated piece of “technology” that allows you to mix the audio and voice levels in real time. ... While the included headphones are hot garbage, they’re also removable. So you can keep the adaptor and use whatever headphones with a microphone you’d like.
Later, SteelSeries unveiled its Arctis 3 Bluetooth device. It allows you to hook up to the Switch with a traditional 3.5 mm headphone jack and pair with a smartphone at the same time. But at $129.99, that might not be the best option for everyone.
Hopefully, Astro’s upcoming product will be at least as good as the one from SteelSeries and, if we’re very lucky, they’ll come up with multiple offerings at different price points.
For owners of the A40 series from Astro, know that this new partnership with Nintendo means you’ll have access to officially licensed “speaker tags,” little vanity plates that snap onto the outside of the headphones. We’ve included the new designs in the gallery below, which will be on display for the first time at PAX East in Boston this week.
Astro was acquired by Logitech in 2017. The purchase came on the heels of Logitech’s acquisition of British joystick manufacturer Saitek in 2016.