In recent years, sim racing has become a highly popular form of entertainment, with racing enthusiasts from around the world diving into games like “Assetto Corsa” and “iRacing” to test their skills against others.
With “Forza Motorsport” set to release on October 10th and EA Sports WRC launching a month later, fans of racing games are eagerly awaiting these highly anticipated titles. For those with a more generous budget, the Thrustmaster T248X racing wheel and pedal set is a compelling option to consider.
- Connection: USB-A
- Compatibility: PC, Xbox
- Force Feedback: Hybrid Drive
- Price: $317 Dollar
- Features: Force Feedback, Magnetic Paddles, Magnetic Pedals, Dashboard Display, Three Force Feedback Settings
In terms of overall design, the Thrustmaster T248X is quite appealing, but there is still room for improvement.
The plastic base and desktop clamp of the wheel are easy to secure to a table, with no issues of loosening or displacement.
The wheel itself has a diameter of approximately 27 cm, slightly smaller than Logitech’s G920 and G923 wheels.
While Thrustmaster has covered the outer part of the wheel with leather, it’s hard to feel the difference during use, as the quality falls short of other high-end wheels. Apart from the paddles, most of the main wheel is made of plastic.
On the front of the T248X, Thrustmaster has added various function buttons, with the highlight being the dashboard display, making this wheel stand out among its competitors. Through it, players can view various vehicle information, including gear ratios, RPM, best lap times, and more. This is incredibly useful for gathering information in-game and for adjusting wheel settings without the need for tedious software adjustments.
Thrustmaster has added two magnetic paddles to the back of the wheel, which are well-made but produce a significant amount of noise during operation, potentially affecting the gaming experience.
The T248X package also includes Thrustmaster’s T3PM pedals, which offer excellent adjustability. They utilize magnetic pressure technology and feature Hall sensors, providing precise and responsive pedal feedback. Whether it’s the pedal’s feel, sensitivity, or lifespan, they perform exceptionally well. The brake pedal, in particular, uses an external spring design and supports four adjustable pressure modes, allowing players to fine-tune the braking force according to their preferences. While the pedal base is primarily made of plastic, all three pedals have a lightweight metal surface cover, providing excellent feel and durability. Additionally, the pedals use high-strength engineering plastic, making them robust and durable. They support various angle and height adjustments to accommodate different player preferences and offer multiple installation options for easy setup. Overall, the T248X’s T3PM pedals excel in terms of performance, quality, and value for money.
Despite the average quality of the leather covering on the T248X’s wheel and the noisy paddles, along with the fact that most of the wheel is made of plastic, it still boasts a reasonably good feel overall.
The base of the wheel also offers power, data cable, and external component interfaces, along with wire grooves on the base to help with cable management, keeping everything tidy.
The T248 force feedback wheel utilizes an adjustable hybrid drive system, a critical component of high-end racing wheels. While it may not be as high-end as a direct drive wheel, it outperforms the G920’s full gear drive system.
The hybrid drive system combines gears and belts to provide superior force feedback. It also offers three different force feedback levels, which can be easily adjusted via the wheel’s screen. This new hybrid drive system not only makes the T248’s base smaller and less desktop-space-consuming but also provides stronger force feedback, delivering about a 70% performance increase compared to the T150 force feedback wheel. Furthermore, it excels in noise and temperature control, offering a more linear and smooth feel, resulting in a superior driving experience for players.
Thrustmaster’s driver software is not overly complicated. Players can adjust and test various settings, including wheel rotation angle, button functions, and force feedback strength. The driver is divided into three main pages: Test Input, Test Force Feedback, and Gain Settings. In the “Test Input” page, players can test wheel angle, pedal pressure, and buttons. In the “Test Force Feedback” page, players can experience the force feedback effects under different scenarios using buttons. In the “Gain Settings” page, users can adjust force feedback strength and detail intensity, offering rich customization options. Additionally, players can use the software to update the wheel’s firmware for increased game compatibility and technical support.
Thrustmaster’s hybrid drive system, combining belts and gears, provides an authentic feeling while gaming. During turns, curves, and changes in direction, the wheel conveys the vehicle’s dynamic sensations excellently, offering a realistic overall simulation experience. Smooth control, quick responsiveness, and precise steering performance allow players to better master the game.
After several hours of use in games like “Assetto Corsa Competizione” and “Dirt Rally 2.0,” the wheel performed admirably. The T248 force feedback wheel offers three different preset force feedback options, which players can adjust in real-time using the wheel’s buttons. FFB1 to FFB3 correspond to force feedback modes of “proportional to game demands,” “better anti-skid control,” and “feeling all track effects,” respectively. Players can adjust these settings on the fly when playing different games or using different vehicles, making for a convenient user experience. Additionally, players can change settings for the platform used, FFB, rotation angle, pedal mode, and temperature using the software. Furthermore, the LCD screen can display real-time data such as vehicle speed, gear, RPM, and other information during gameplay.
The T3PM pedals are plug-and-play, with smooth brake performance that provides a realistic feel. In “Assetto Corsa Competizione,” the braking force gradually increases, resulting in a harder feel, closely mimicking real-life performance. When switched to the hardest setting, the pedals perform similarly to pressure pedals. You can also adjust the brake resistance by changing springs or removing damping plugs, with kits available featuring two different spring strengths. The only downside is that they don’t grip well on carpet or wood floors. However, their high-quality brake resistance and overall feel make them a top choice.
The T248X steering wheel not only meets the needs of most players in terms of performance but also excels in various usage scenarios and game types. Its outstanding hardware configuration offers a surprising experience, including dynamically adjustable force feedback, a racing dashboard display, and adjustable pedal resistance. These features give it a competitive edge in its price range. Additionally, the wheel has received official licenses for several popular racing simulation games, providing better dashboard displays and optimized force feedback, resulting in a more immersive gaming experience.