Release Date: 10/16/2016
The last time I had a steering wheel was when I was 15. I had a Logitech racing wheel branded for Gran Turismo 4 at the time and it was cheap, but worked decently enough my late father even welded together a steering wheel cockpit that everything attached to as I didn’t know that you had to mount them to a table to use them. There were lap wedges you could buy, but we couldn’t really afford that, so he used scrap metal from his work to make the stand. It was a short-lived experience as, sadly, I didn’t really get many games back then and the following year I got an Xbox 360 so the wheel just collected dust. I was just learning to drive a real car at the time so there was a disconnect between myself and the wheel. It felt more like something on an arcade machine than truly appreciating not having to use a controller.
Fast forward 14 years and things have really changed, and surprisingly, wheels really haven’t. Logitech doesn’t really make the best wheels on the planet anymore and Thrustmaster has stepped into the niche peripheral market with fantastic wheels, flight sticks, and other weird controllers. When unboxing the T300 wheel I really noticed the build quality right off the bat. The servo unit is nice and heavy and you can feel the weight of the metal parts inside the clamp it comes with is really sturdy and does its job keeping the wheel locked onto a table. The pedals feel great, and while the base has weight to it, it’s still not enough to keep from sliding around a bit during furious gaming. The pedals themselves are metal and you can swap them out physically and even swap them in the software with a mode button on the wheel. It’s rather customizable with a brake stop mod, being able to raise and lower the pedal pads and even flip the wedges to make the pedals more flush or have them angled.
Connecting the wheel and setting up the drivers was a little easier than I thought. Once you start the driver installation it tells you to connect the wheel to the PC via USB and everything is pretty much done. The calibration software lets you change various settings, and lets you test all the buttons. I was also surprised that all the recent racing games recognize this wheel and how well it just works. Playing with a wheel and a controller is like night and day and I can never really go back unless it’s an arcade racer. I tried this wheel out with Forza Motorsport 7, DiRT Rally 2.0, Project Cars, and Forza Horizon 3. Each game felt great playing with the wheel and I noticed my lap time improving and being able to play just felt more natural.
The wheel’s force feedback capabilities are fantastic as I felt every bump in the road and when I hit grass or spun out or hit another car the wheel would act accordingly. The 1080 degrees of turning make the cars feel even more realistic when turning and every slight move was registered in-game 1:1. The pedals felt nice and with the brake mod installed it felt more like a real brake pedal and less like an arcade set. Sadly, this wheel does not come with a shifter and it must be purchased separately, however, there are paddle shifters on the wheel which makes up for it a little. The buttons all click well and despite being made for the PS4 and PS3 they seem to be mapped like the Xbox One controller on PC for most games.
The fans inside the servo unit keep it from getting hot and it’s not all that loud. The servo itself is really quiet while gaming and the only time it was loud was when the wheel would spin back around really fast on its own, but that was only after a crash usually. The rubber grips feel great and it almost feels like a full-size steering wheel, it’s just incredible how well made this wheel is and how much it made driving the cars feel real.
Overall, due to the price point, this is not an entry-level wheel being almost $400. This is a mid-high range wheel for serious enthusiasts and the quality really shows compared to a $100 wheel. I just wish it came with a shifter, but you can’t knock the build quality at all and the overall feeling of this wheel.