Playing the likes of Project CARS or Forza 6 on your Xbox One with your trusty controller is great for that casual spin around the track, but even the mighty Elite controller can’t deliver the same racing experience you get with the best Xbox One steering wheel / pedal setup.
It’s all about the feedback and when you can feel the changes in the road surface, the increasing resistance as you dive into a tough corner or the instant your wheels start to lose grip and you’ve got a split second to correct, you become utterly immersed in the gameworld.
It’s that feeling which will keep you compulsively going for another lap because you know you can slice another couple hundredths of a second off your best laptime.
The humble controller simply cannot compare. But which Xbox One steering wheel is right for you?
There are really only two key players in the battle for your petrol head and racing heart; Logitech and Thrustmaster. Those are the two manufacturers who make the biggest range of affordable steering wheels - we’ll come to the ultra high-end Fanatec guys later on…
But when it comes to the Xbox One Logitech has got the goods with the excellent G920 setup. Logitech’s been rocking the racing wheel world since it’s brilliant G25 wheel, and the subsequent G27 has been a mainstay of affordable sim setups for years. But this is the first time it has created a bespoke option specifically for Microsoft’s flagship console.
The hand-stitched, leather-clad wheel feels luxurious, and comes with a fantastic level of force feedback response. A slight concern are the pedals, which come in a threesome if you want to go ultra-realistic with a clutch and stick-shift, but can be a little stiff on the brake to start with. Thankfully the pedals are well built with a sturdy floor grip for when you really have to slam on the anchors.
The new Thrustmaster TMX doesn’t have the luxury feel of the Logitech, but then it is a good deal cheaper than the pricey G920. And it still has the 900º rotation of the wheel and Thrustmaster’s force feedback too. The plasticky pedals though are a little lightweight for my tastes, especially compared to the robust Logitech design.
Something’s got to give when you opt for the budget option of a serious peripheral and with Thrustmaster’s Ferrari 458 Spider wheel that sadly is the level of rotation that it can offer. Hitting full opposite lock in DIRT Rally isn’t an option and there isn’t the same tactile feedback that you’d get from a serious sim racing wheel.
But the Ferrari 458 Spider does still give you a greater level of control over your virtual vehicle than a standard controller by virtue of its wheel/pedals combo. It’s a great intermediate step and gives a decent sensation of racing for the budget price.
It’s not just a clever name: you really would have to be an Xbox One racing fanatic to even consider laying out this much cash for a console peripheral. This is hardcore simulation engineering at its best and as soon as you pull the Clubsport setup from its ten separate boxes (yes, TEN) you can feel the stunning build quality.
But then you could buy at least four Xbox Ones for the same price as the Forza Motorsport Wheel bundle and you have to go direct to Fanatec itself.
Still, it’s not just the build quality which is amazing, the Fanatec’s force feedback is the best I’ve ever tried - I genuinely feel I could razz a Renault Clio around Donnington in real life having spent an age getting my times down in Project CARS...the amount of tactile information the wheel and pedals deliver is incredible.
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