Advertisement
Advertisement

Thrustmaster T300 RS racing wheel for PS4/PS3

Tom Morgan
30 Oct 2014
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
299
inc VAT

Only for the DriveClub faithful on PS4 right now, but backwards compatibility makes it a must-buy for PS3 racing fans

Advertisement

Specifications

Available formats: PS4, PS3, PC

If you're a racing fan and own a PS4, there's currently only one choice when it comes to driving games: DriveClub, which launched on Sony's new-gen console at the beginning of October. Many will see it as a stopgap a new Gran Turismo title gets the green light, but it's still a satisfying blend of arcade racing and more realistic simulation. It's made all the more visceral when playing with a racing wheel rather than a DualShock controller, and right now Thrustmaster's T300 RS is the only option.

The first wheel to be officially licensed by Sony to work with the PS4, the T300 RS isn't a quick cash in; Thrustmaster has pulled out all the stops, using high quality materials, a seriously powerful force feedback motor and a dual-belt drive mechanism for greater precision. Thrustmaster calls its system H.E.A.R.T, which apparently stands for HallEffect AccuRate Technology - we aren't convinced by the acronym, but there's no doubt the wheel is incredibly accurate, with tiny movements translating instantly to the screen.

The Force Feedback system does a fantastic job of letting you feel changes in road surfaces and finding the exact moment your car loses grip; it physically fights you when applying too much power or taking a corner too quickly, and can be rather viscious when you collide with another racer or part of the track. We were impressed with Forza 5's use of the rumble triggers on the Xbox One to mimic wheelspin and grip, but the T300 RS takes it to a whole other level.

The 11in diameter racing wheel has brushed metal central spokes and is finished with a reinforced rubber coating that creates plenty of grip. You can manually adjust the wheel's rotation angle from 270 degrees all the way up to 1080 degrees, based on your personal preference, although if you're playing DriveClub you may want to leave it at the default setting; the developer worked with Thrustmaster to create a 1:1 control mapping, and during our testing our real world movements were indeed matched on the in-car cockpit view.

As well as a pair of metal paddle gear shifters, Thrustmaster has also fitted a comprehensive set of PS4 controls, including D-pad, face buttons and L2/R2 buttons, as well as Share, Options and a PS button - meaning you won't have to plug in a regular controller to navigate the PS4 home screen. They are sensibly placed so you don't have to take your hands off the wheel or gear shifters to press the L or R buttons, which are assigned to DRS and KERS respectively in DriveClub, but the D-Pad and face buttons are a little more of a stretch. There's also L3 and R3 buttons on the main unit. 

The paddle shifters are firm and clicky, registering an input with a small amount of force and about 5mm of movement - enough to prevent accidental downshifts in a particularly challenging corner. They are bolted to the wheel, rather than the base, so they turn as you do and are always within reach, even if that isn't typical for actual road cars. 

There aren't any additional buttons or Manettino dials to confuse you mid-race, although this might be an issue for serious F1 enthusiasts. The T300 RS uses a standard USB cable and will play nicely with Windows PCs, meaning you could use it for more complex simulation racing, although you may run out of buttons sooner than with other wheels. It does double up as a PS3 racing wheel, though. A switch to the left of the wheel toggles between old-gen and new-gen consoles, meaning you can play a whole library of PS3 racing games while you wait for the PS4 catalogue to expand.

As you would expect, the T300 RS isn't just a wheel; it comes with a set of pedals in the box. Made from metal and fully adjustable, with six possible positions for each pedal, they provide plenty of resistance for an authentic racing feel. They were far enough apart out of the box for our size tens to use comfortably without adjustment. The accelerator has a small amount of resistance so it's easy enough to bury the throttle, or lightly feather it through long curves, while the brake uses progressive resistance and is much firmer, taking significantly more effort to slow down from top speed.

You only get two pedals, rather than three, as the wheel uses paddle shifters rather than a manual stick, but because it uses a standard Thrustmaster connection you could swap it out for a three pedal set at a later date. Naturally there's also a port on the base of the wheel for adding a manual gear shifter too.

Unfortunately we found the rubber carpet grips in the base of the pedals to be wholly ineffective, so we had to secure them in place or prop them against a solid surface to stop them moving during a race. 

The wheel itself can also be tricky to secure. It has a clamp mount system attached to the base out of the box, which will lock it down to a table, and although this will do the job if your desk is at the right height, it's less than ideal if you have a particularly high or low surface. This is normally not an issue for PC gamers, but for console gamers there's a very good chance you'll be playing on a sofa. Unless you're prepared to invest in a racing frame, you'll have to move your furniture every time you want to take something from your digital garage for a spin. The force feedback is so strong that trying to drive without locking the base down will wrench the wheel from your hands.

Racing wheels are a serious investment, and the T300 RS is no exception. It costs an eye-watering £300, which is only £50 less than the cost of a PS4, but if you take your racing games seriously it's worth the cash. Sony's console is almost certain to get at least one Gran Turismo game over the course of its lifespan, along with plenty of third party titles from EA, Codemasters and Ubisoft, and DriveClub is an excellent taster for what the PS4 is capable of. When you're after a more authentic experience than a DualShock controller can provide, a racing wheel is the logical step up.

If you're on a limited budget, Thrustmaster's £70 T80 wheel will be launching in the near future, but the Linear resistance bungee cord mechanism won't have anywhere near the same level of accuracy. The precise handling, arm-wrenching force feedback and premium built quality make the T300 RS one of the best console racing wheels around. 

SPECIFICATIONS
Available formatsPS4, PS3, PC
OS SupportWindows 7/8
Detailswww.thrustmaster.co.uk
Product codeB00NOJJPZU

Read more

Reviews