Arctic supply the headset within a sizable cardboard box that is decorated in a silver livery. The cardboard feels a little flimsy but, combined with the inner plastic carton, should provide ample protection for the headset. The most eagle-eyed of you might notice the damage sustained by the box in transit. Thankfully there wasn’t any damage to the headset inside proving, to some extent, the protection provided by the box.
The front is home to a large clear plastic window that allows us to see the headset inside. Turning the box around reveals a breakdown of the features and specifications of the headset inside in a few different languages. There are also some diagrams illustrating the versatility of the headsets hinges and microphone. Aside from the headset, all we find in the box is a driver CD and a brief leaflet detailing the installation procedure.
The P531 is finished in metallic gray and black plastic which isn’t going to win any design awards but is reasonably aesthetically appealing. The materials used in construction aren’t of the finest quality but we wouldn’t expect them to be considering the price. So it would seem Arctic have kept costs down by using good rather than excellent quality materials – something that doesn’t really affect the performance of the headset in any way.
The earpieces are quite large in size but this is a result of having four individual driver units in each one. The earpads are quite unique in design, consisting of a faux-leather shell with a fabric material covering the area which comes into contact with your ear. This means the ear-pads retain the noise-isolating properties of faux-leather with the comfort of fabric ones.
Arctic have designed the P531 with traveling gamers in mind as the special hinges allow the headset to fold up into a much smaller form as displayed in the photo above. This should make it a lot easier to transport it to LAN parties and other events.
Extending from the side of the left ear-piece we find the microphone. This has a flexible boom so it can be positioned exactly for the best performance. There is one slight drawback in the microphone design as it remains on the periphery of your field of vision when in use which can be a tad distracting when gaming. The quality of the sound produced is quite reasonable and the noise isolating feature really helps to eliminate background noise.
To ensure decent compatibility the P531 connects via USB. This means you don’t need a multi-channel sound card for the headset to support full surround sound – in fact, there is actually USB sound card built into the headphones. About a metre down the cable there is a volume controller which lets us adjust volume for each channel separately as well as a master volume switch and a microphone mute switch. The cable carries a thick rubber shielding that should prove reasonably hard-wearing; we cant really expect a braided cable at this price point. The only minor gripe with the cable is the length and the positioning of the control. We would like to see the control much closer to the headset so it remains within easy reach and we would prefer a much shorter cable with an extension cable if needed.