Fanatec CSR Elite Review: A League of its Own

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by amar212, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. amar212

    Premium
    Croatia Croatia

    GTSurgeons.com for GTPlanet.net proudly presents

    Fanatec Forza Motorsport CSR Elite Wheel Review

    [​IMG]

    manufacturer: Fanatec, Endor A.G
    country of origin: Germany
    product family: Fanatec CSR

    countries of assemble: Germany / PRC
    release date: December 2011
    price: 499 € / 499 $ / (wheel only)
    total price with pedals: model-dependable (from 529 to 699 €/$/£)
    official web: www.fanatec.de

    product description: specialized gaming/steering controller
    platform compatibility: Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox 360, PC
    usage compatibility: driving/racing games and other genres (through controller mode)
    hardware compatibility: various Fanatec accessories, various third-party accessories
    game compatibility: all major driving/racing titles on all platforms

    >> OVERVIEW
    main driving features: 900-degree mode, force feedback effect, 30 cm wheel diameter (interchangeable)
    main technology features: point-sensor on the main driving axle, belt-driven system (belts made by Optibelt, Germany), FFB/dampening mechanism, unique mechanics with central FFB threshold-shaft, two separate Mabuchi 550 FFB motors and 2 vibration motors
    other features: real-time on-wheel setting adjusting, satin-iron sequential-shifters, 10 function buttons, directional stick with click-to-confirm function (instead of classic D-pad)
    special features:upcoming interchangeable wheel-rims
    included in the package: power unit, power cable (very long), USB connection cable, UTP/ PS/2 adapters (for connection of Fanatec and third-party PS/2 accessories), headset-adapter

    *user-manual for the CSR Elite soon will be dowloadable from the Support section of the official web

    Main competitors in the worldwide market / non-compatibility and platform related
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    Other competitors / compatibility and platform related
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    *all prices in this overview are current MSRP and does not reflect the possible special-deals available in various online retailers or country-based specific discounts or promotions

    CSR Elite official accessories (main):
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    *for full breakdown of accessories visit the official web: www.fanatec.de

    Other accessories (third-party):
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    Upcoming official accessories:
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    *these pictures of ClubSport Shifter and interchangeable rims are taken out of the YouTube videos and edited for better visibility. However they are all work-in-progress and not resembling looks or final design of the finished products


    Comparison of CSRE with features of other Fanatec wheels is available on the official Fanatec web.


    >> INTRODUCTION.

    Fanatec CSR Elite is the latest and to this date most advance steering controller in the history of the Fanatec brand. Engineered and built with the obvious goal to set the standards in it's price range - and even to compete with high-end PC wheels of the highest price-category - CSR Elite is fascinating and versatile product that will satisfy the expectations of every driving-games players willing to upgrade their hardware with high-end solution.

    Through the following overview I did detailed and throughout testing of the CSRE on many fields, comparing it with other wheels I have on my disposal or have tested through time. I was using CSRE in all major franchises on both console platforms, with separate notes made for both in-game performance overview for two major franchises, Gran Turismo 5 and Forza Motorsport 4.

    [​IMG]
    //CSRE looks are very distinctive thanx to unique design and color combination.


    >> HARDWARE OVERVIEW.

    Weighing almost 12 kilograms and separately packed into nice protective cloth-bag with Fanatec logo, fascination with CSR Elite begins from the very first moment you get it out of the box.

    The list of CSRE unique and positive features is really long. First - and one of the most important for many players outhere - would be compatibility with all 3 major platforms, PlayStation, Xbox360 and PC - and almost every driving game ever released for them. That comes without constraints of CSRE being the official wheel of Forza Motorsport 4 on X360. Please notice how this overview will cover only console platforms, while I have no doubt how other overviews will successfully tackle great versatility and possible customizations of features that CSRE will deliver to players on PC.

    Second is already well-known ability of previous wheels of Fanatec family to allow for on-the-fly adjustments of different settings of the wheel. Player can adjust and store up to 5 different setups of various wheel-related settings. You can change steering-degree value (from the game-default OFF to 900), force feedback strength, vibration strength, motors dampening resistance, all the way to strength of the central-spring or moment when vibration effect of the Fanatec pedals will create an sensation of non-ABS braking.

    Latest firmware (715) will allow for enhanced control of both Spring/Damper settings and introduce a new Auto-clutch functionality. Some games - like Forza 4 - allows mapping of the clutch to buttons and this gives an advantage for controller users. If you turn ACL on then you can use the mode "manual with clutch". The timing will be improved, and to avoid the complaint how this functionality is cheating, clutch axis isn't mapped to the shifter paddles so it only works with games which support button clutching.

    [​IMG]
    //Position of buttons is good and overall ergonomy of the rim is enhanced by the touring-shape. Alcantara parts will provide better grip while turning the rim. Sequential shifters switches feels great


    MECHANICAL CONSTRUCTION
    Third feature - most important from actual driving-sensation perspective - is the mechanical construction of CSRE, where already established belt-drive system was drastically improved over existing Fanatec models with inclusion of camshaft-resistance system that allows for perfectly smooth steering, adds weight to the steering and evens-out rapid steering movements through rotation limiter. Mechanics are paired with 2 separate motors that are delivering unprecedented counter-steer power to the central-shaft during driving, allowing for great sensation of force feedback on both platforms and main driving-franchises tested. Another result of strong motors is actual speed of the wheel. Stronger motors allowed Fanatec to change the gear-ratio of the belt-drive system which resulted with more force being applied on the belts and overall greater speed of the wheel.

    Another important construction-related improvement is repositioning of the point-sensor for the steering-axis. Instead of being attached to the rear of the FFB motor (as on previous Fanatec models and majority of other wheels on market), point-sensor in CSRE is attached directly to the central-axle of the steering column. CSR Elite comes with ultra-high electric-resolution sensor that takes full advantage of the mechanical construction which is most meritous for providing the sensor with very smooth mechanical resolution. Fanatec officially calls it "Direct Sensor Technology". It results with beautiful precision in steering and pitch-perfect sensation of knowing what the car will do movement-wise.

    What are the benefits of all this hi-tech points above? Well, it is very safe to say that CSRE delivers the best force feedback sensation and most detailed FFB effects of all wheels I've tested before, including whole range of the Fanatec wheels-family (on both PS3/X360), Thrustmaster T500RS or Logitech wheels (on PS3).

    Fourth important feature of CSR Elite is actual build-quality and quality of materials-used. Body of the wheel is made of CNC-carved aluminum painted in red, with top covered with translucent polycarbonate that allows for beautiful view to mechanics inside. Actual wheel have distinct touring-style shape, achieved with interconnected matte polycarbonate tubes. Alcantara parts were used on rim-sides and thumb-rest areas for maximum comfort and grip. Central console is made out of carbon-fibre piece over aluminum plate and hosts all function buttons, directional stick and function LED-display with beautiful blue light. Following evolution from previous models and standards introduced by competitors, CSR Elite comes with long paddle-shifters made of satin-finished iron that resembles matte aluminum which are not fixed to the wheel-body - as on T500RS for example - but instead made movable on the steering column (as on all other wheels).

    Fifth feature is great compatibility with almost all existing Fanatec accessories and some third-party accessories that have PS/2 standard enabled for connection. CSR Elite is out-of-the-box compatible with all Fanatec pedal-sets and shifters, despite the most significant change in hardware-inputs: the PS/2 ports of previous Fanatec models have been replaced with UTP-ports for both pedals/shifter connection on CSRE. Adapter-cables included in package solves the compatibility fast and easy. All inputs (power/pedals/shifters/USB out/audio) are now hidden in the back of the wheel-body which will allow for sleek cable-management. Testing was done with Fanatec ClubSport Pedals (CSP) and Frex Shifter+ sequential-shifter - accessories combo I used on my Fanatec GT2 wheel - and everything was working flawlessly.

    [​IMG]
    //Frex Shifter+ is handcrafted in Japan and it is the dream-come-true accessory for all drivers who love sequential-shifting. Build-quality is unbelievable and it is a perfect fit to CSRE/CSP looks and design. Robustness of Shifter+ can't be matched by any other shifter - you can molest it as you're driving a real touring car with full-strength.


    Worth noticing is how CSR Elite comes with the screws on the wheel-column that will allow for detach and change of the actual wheel-rim in the future. Overall, the great versatility of available accessories - as well as ability to use every Fanatec accessory you already have for from your previous wheels - is more than welcomed. Of course, same as its predecessors, CSRE is also compatible with pedals of Logitech G25/27 wheels, making it more attractive as possible upgrade for all LogGee-series owners.

    I have mounted CSRE on the existing GT2 setup of my Rinoseat GTR cockpit. Paired with such superior cockpit-solution as Rinoseat GTR undoubtedly is - it is the best cockpit I have ever driven in - I can only say how my personal driving have become absolute joy, not even to mention the impression and looks.

    [​IMG]
    // When you assemble everything and if you are lucky enough to own Fanatec CSP pedals, you can be sure that you will host one of the most beautiful driving setups available. Notice how the CSRE comes with an adapter unit which makes it 100% compatible to the mounts of the Porsche wheel series.


    >> PERFORMANCE PART ONE > PERSONAL OVERVIEW.

    For steering wheels everything comes down to one single thing at the end: in-game performance. From the earliest days of consumer force-feedback wheels - Microsoft SideWinder Precision Racing Wheel being first do deliver Immersion force feedback technology as we know it in 1999 - all up to latest Thrustmaster T500RS model, only thing that really mattered was actual performance and delivery of force feedback sensation to the wheel and driver. First great revolution in field of FFB came in early 2001, when Logitech launched their budget-series of Driving Force wheels, which corresponded with worldwide release of Gran Turismo 3 game. Wheel-peripherals, that was until that moment pretty much tied to niche PC-market, finally went into full mainstream. In 2003 Logitech introduced their breakthrough Driving Force Pro model - developed in collaboration with Polyphony Digital and Immersion company - and sold hundreds of thousands of DFP wheels, in the same time carving the foundation of the saturated and rich force feedback wheel market we have today.

    Fanatec CSR Elite definitely is the very top of the current offer in the worldwide market. Its performance lays in layers of its actual mechanical-components, precise engineering, great software that drives it and fantastic compatibility with all games I tried it on. In my lifetime I really had almost all commercial wheels ever made, with respectable exclusion of esoteric Frex SimWHEEL and ECCI 6000 series. More than a decade ago I started playing with then superior Thrustmaster Ferrari models, than went to Logitech Dual Force as soon it was introduced in 2001, jumped on Logitech DFP at the very first moment in 2003 and was among the first to have G25 once it was out. I had G27 for a short period of time, but I sold it since it didn't have sequential-shifter, which is very important component to my personal driving style. I even had a Microsoft Force Feedback X360 wheel and Logitech FX, because they were the only solution for X360 in the early days.

    I had a chance to try Fanatec PWTS as soon it was released, but first Fanatec I actually owned was GT3 model. At the very moment multiplatform GT2 was released I purchased it, and later had a Thrustmaster T500RS for a 2-week comparison and testing in GT5 (it is after all a GT5 official wheel). Because of the fixed-shifters and than unconfirmed side-shifter for T500RS, I didn't bought it at launch. The CSRE was announced at the same time of T500's launch and I decided to wait to see what will CSRE deliver before I decide my mind.

    Today I am amazed.

    I am amazed by one single thing: sensation and delivery of the force feedback effect (FFB) on the wheel in total. CSRE is so direct, insanely smooth, detailed in FFB, strong and stiffed all the time, fast in actions and it allows for the best low-speed steering and low-speed force feedback sensation I ever tried. Also, I can't describe the actual strength of the motors and feeling while driving by any other word except - perfection. I really didn't expect how CSRE will be such superior product.

    In my personal opinion, as far as actual sensation of the driving and feeling of FFB you get from the wheel is concerned CSRE is the best FFB wheel I know of. Usually, I am extremely critical about every wheel - wheels are expensive hardware that often cost a damn lot of money and there is always a critical-spot or place for improvement. During last year I was very fond in experimenting with Fanatec GT2 model and it took me a while until I reached a desired level of performance through settings and firmware - but CSRE is really just another league. CSRE is the league of its own.


    >> PERFORMANCE PART TWO > DRIVING OVERVIEW.

    Paired with the perfection of the Fanatec ClubSport pedals that I already own, CSR Elite delivers overwhelming driving experience.

    Main performance attributes of CSRE are: insane smoothness, incredible force feedback sensation, great strength of FFB motors and really astonishing portray of low-speed countersteer / weight-transfer force feedback which I never experienced on other wheels in the same titles I was using other FFB wheels (Fanatec GT2, Thrustmaster T500RS and Logitech G25) before testing the CSRE.

    In HID mode (on PS3) CSRE is great as expected, because HID FFB (please Google this if you are interested in deeper explanation of HID FFB) transfers all details of FFB effects on the wheel without any problem. But the main challenge for the CSRE in my testing was X360 performance, especially in Forza Motosrport 4. Why? Because X360 does not use the same HID FFB "protocols" as PC/PS3 platforms, but instead uses XID FFB which was the most responsible for somewhat weaker performance of the FFB effects in X360 driving games when compared to their PC/PS3 counterparts. Until now.

    Few people maybe remember issues I disclosed backthan in 2009, prior to the actual launch of Fanatec PWTS series. It was the same moment when Turn10 announced how Forza 3 will deliver 900-degree-steering (as the first and last driving-series to nominally implement that on the Xbox) and when Fanatec announced their first 900 FFB wheel from X360. I was concerned how X360 hardware/BIOS restrictions regarding implementation/execution of the HID-force feedback technology will not allow for a proper FFB on X360, no matter what Fanatec do on their side. Unfortunately, I was pretty much right backthen. But 30 months later, everything changed in the most positive way.

    For those interested in story from 2009, they can find it here, on NeoGaf forums.

    I took my time with CSRE and went into testing almost all of my PS3/X360 driving games with wheel support I have in my collection. Naturally, main focus went into Gran Turismo 5 and Forza Motorsport 4.



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    Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)

    CSRE in GT5 just brings another dimension into transferring complex and extremely detailed FFB-inputs and GT5's unique force feedback sub-engine to the wheel. My absolute favorite is the sensation of the low-speed physics. No other wheel I have ever tried achieves such strengthening and feel for control of the tire-threshold in low speed maneuvering, where FFB becomes stronger while turning in low speeds and slowly releases while accelerating. That sensation is something I never felt on other wheels before and it creates unbelievable feel of connection of the car to the road.

    Another area is actual weight-transfer control, high-speed physics and delicate information CSRE provides all the time while riding curbs, loosing grip, regaining grip and control of the car in precise movement. Combination of 2 FFB motors and two separate rumble-motors are match made in heaven for GT5, especially when paired with precision and smoothness that allows for delicate control of everything. In my opinion CSRE even outperforms T500RS because of the low-speed FFB implementation. I didn't expect it to happen - I really did not - but it just happened. CSRE is really another universe. The feel of driving GT5 on CSRE is perfect.

    During past 6 weeks I spent hours and hours driving both online and offline and on all tire-compounds imaginable. Worth noticing is how Spec 2.0 physics altered overall impression of both physics and FFB-effects in GT5, and CSRE took great advantage over that fact. It excelled in both "testing grounds" I have in GT5: Expert Challenge Lotus Elise race on Tsukuba and Supercar Nostalgia race on Nurburgring Nordschelife (both in Seasonal Events lineup), where I used stock-cars in pitch-perfect runs needed to win those races.

    New Spec 2.0 physics also delivered new tire-compound characteristics, where CS tires (Comfort Soft) become my personal favorite for all sport cars, including beasts such as McLaren MP412, F40 or Mercedes SLR.

    With CSRE everything that GT5 provides related to the FFB support is combined into extremely immersive experience, that no other wheel I have tried can really match.

    If T500RS owners have doubts or second thoughts about their initial purchase, they should really find a way to try CSRE. T500RS is a great wheel, probably as good as CSRE and have many features that makes it almost unique and special as CSRE. And I would be the happiest man if I could have enough space in my gaming room to host both of them and have the best from the both universes combined for the ultimate driving pleasure of Gran Turismo 5.

    CSRE allows for sleek and flawless usage of all in-game functions of GT5 and provides the greatest imaginable sensation of FFB effects from GT5 well-known superior wheels-support. In my personal opinion, CSRE is really my ultimate choice for GT5 - at least until Fanatec ClubSport Wheel (CSW) finally arrives and I get a chance to compare it with the CSRE if possible.


    [​IMG]
    Forza Motorsport 4 (X360)

    It has to be noted how CSRE is the official wheel of the Forza Motorsport 4, together with it's baby-brother, Fanatec CSR. However, wheels are very different inside, both electronic and mechanical-wise and CSRE is probably a whole class above the CSR. Having the official Forza Motorsport 4 license, CSRE was co-developed by Fanatec and guys at Turn 10 and especially optimized for performance in FM4.

    Prior to CSRE I was owner of the Fanatec GT2 model, also fully compatible with X360 and Forza titles. But I was just blown-off with CSRE experience in FM4.

    CSRE brings totally another dimension in Forza Motorsport 4, especially after the latest patch and with new 715 CSRE firmware. No other X360 wheel I had - from MS FF Wheel to Fanatec GT2 - can't be even remotely compared to sensation that CSRE is delivering.

    It feels like a whole different game with whole different physics compared to Fanatec GT2. It is a really great difference. All snaps, grinds and imperfections I fought with while driving FM4 with GT2 are gone. As much as I am amazed with the performance of CSRE in GT5, I am equally amazed with the feel in FM4. Yes, it is different way of delivering FFB (XID vs. HID), yes there is still a "hole" in FFB that opens when tires loose grip, but actual sensation of FFB and physics is just whole generation ahead of one I that GT2 delivers.

    Notice how current state of the latest FM4 patch gives two great choices for the serious drivers: infamous stability-assist was equally removed for both "Normal" and "Simulation" mode, with difference between the two being actual point of tire grip-snap. At first I was disappointed with the patch, because there was no way to retain control of the grip during high-speed cornering in Simulation mode and my initial impression was how linearity was again made wrong. However, two days ago I finally got the latest 715 firmware - one that all CSRE production models are coming with - and everything changed drastically. Linearity problems were gone, steering and oversteer become an issue only when I made a mistake and from that point on Forza Motorsport 4 got a new dimension.

    While "usual" driving of online modes (Rivals and online multiplayer) needs to be done in "Normal" setting - it is literally impossible to combat grip of other modes on Simulation setting - in single-player career (or in Custom Lobbies) players can opt for the Simulation setting and take a full experience onto new level. From what I found out during testing, current state of difference between Simulation and Normal mode is how they are the same with exception of Simulation mode delivering a full-simulation of the tire grip-threshold. Result is immediate loss of grip in the very second when tires reach a grip-peak, either on longitudinal or lateral axis. I find it very challenging and extremely convincing, but in order to enjoy the Simulation mode in any competitive modes, you need to either find a group of people ready to be challenged under the same conditions or reserve Simulation mode for joy in Career.

    CSRE really excels in both Normal and Simulation mode, but it really shines in Simulation. However, only the most demanding players will opt for such combo, because even the slightest mistake during braking or turning-in results with loose of grip and control. I personally have to congratulate to T10 in their effort of making physics of FM4 fully transparent as never before. What is the best part of everything: Forza 4 can finally be driven on full-default values. I used CSRE with this settings in both Simulation and Normal mode:

    SEN 900 | FF 80 | SHO 70 | DRI 000 | ABS 50 | LIN 0 | DEA 0 | SPR 0 | DPR 0 |

    And it is nothing else than perfect.

    CSRE just delivers amazing level of smoothness, precision and sensation of car-movement in FM4 and it feels like a different game compared to before. Also, actual strength of FFB is beautiful and impressive and completely comparable to one provided in GT5 for example. Something that I really did not expect to happen because of the earlier experience with X360 XID FFB.

    In short - CSRE makes FM4 a totally different game. Magic. I find this FM4 experience the best single part of my CSRE testing and I congratulate to both Fanatec and Turn 10 on allowing X360 players to experience the FM4 great physics engine in the way it should be experienced. With CSRE the gap between the HID and XID FFB is finally gone and I find it the greatest achievement of this fine product.

    OTHER TITLES
    I took time driving many other games with CSRE. Here is the brief rundown of my impressions for those titles, separated by platform:

    > PS3
    F1 2011 - almost perfect, game becomes much, much better than with GT2/G25 because of countersteer-power FFB (in-game settings had to be altered compared to GT2/G25 for maximum performance). Improvements in FFB sensation on F12011 are my personal favorite when GT5/FM4 are out of the equation
    GT5: Prologue - everything works flawlessly, driving and FFB are perfect
    F1 2010 - great, much better than GT2/G25 after change of the in-game settings
    Ferrari Challenge/Supercar Challenge - perfect, strength of FB motors finally takes advantage of their great FFB-coding
    Dirt 3 - very good, I had to drastically change in-game settings (compared to GT2/G25) but after that it was very good experience inside the boundaries of the driving model
    Formula One Championship Edition - good, everything works as expected
    Shift 2 - game itself have horrific driving model for wheels software-wise and not even CSRE could save horror which SlightlyMad was forced upon to deliver on EA's demands
    TDU2 - also horrific driving model for wheels software-wise, CSRE works in limits of the poor in-game model
    GRID - also horrific driving model for wheels software-wise, CSRE works in limits of the poor in-game model

    > Xbox360
    Forza Motorsport 3 - great, everything is much better because of the actual power of the FFB
    Forza Motorsport 2 - very good, FFB is lightly more pronounced but 270 steering-limitation can't be bypassed
    Project Gotham 4 - good, CSRE works in limits of in-game wheel-support software (weak FFB-output, 270 degrees lock on driving model)
    Project Gotham 3 - good, CSRE works in limits of in-game wheel-support software (weak FFB-output, 270 degrees lock on driving model)
    Race Pro - great, although RacePro is limited to 270 degrees support, strong FFB and ability to change sensation can change the game towards great simulation-model and besides Forza 4 it is my favorite X360 game enhanced with CSRE
    Test Drive Unlimited - good, CSRE works in limits of in-game wheel-support software (weak FFB-output, 270 degrees lock on driving model)

    I didn't really bother to test the first Shift, Burnout and all PS2 titles I have on disposal, but from what I presume, CSRE would work great even on PS2. In the following days I will try to find copies of both F355 Challenge and Enthusia Professional Racing just from the pure curiosity.


    >> AFTER EVERYTHING.

    As it is clearly obvious from my overview, Fanatec CSR Elite has amazed me on every level imaginable. Of course, nothing is really perfect in this world, so despite being the best wheel I have ever driven with, I have few personal and subjective issues with it.

    I did not like the fact how wheel-rim is made out of the interconnected pieces, because strong tension and pressure on the rim during long sessions results with feel of small bending on connection-points. However, none of my friends who came to try the wheel had no problems with it, so it is maybe just my personal feeling.

    Since I am used to hold the wheel from "below" (Mika-style), actual GT-shape of the wheel is perfect for my style, but I didn't like the positioning of the alcantara-parts. Because of the points where I grab the rim during driving, alcantara parts were rubbing the skin of my right hand during counter-steering. Because of the both reasons, I will probably purchase some of the replacement rims as soon as they become available.

    Besides those two issues, everything else in past 6 weeks of my time with CSRE was nothing but great. My overall impression of CSRE as an piece of hardware is really superlative. It is heavy, durable, beautifully constructed, CNC-aluminium parts are stunning, transparent cover is great detail, carbon centre is dream, button/stick quality and feel of micro-switches and tactile-sensation of materials used are perfect.

    I love the button-positioning and usability, blue LED light is beautiful and everything is assembled great. But as all other good things in today's world, such joy comes with the hefty price.

    For 500€ without any pedals, CSRE is an expensive wheel. Does it justify its price? In my opinion, it does. It offers what no other wheel on the market does in one package: compatibility with all 3 major platforms, support for all FFB driving titles outthere, unmatched versatility in accessories, great build quality and impressive list of features important to all serious driving fans. It also allows somewhat less painful transition for all Logitech G25/27 owners thanks to G25/27 pedals compatibility, where lust for beautiful CSP pedal-set can be sustained for some time until wallet recovers from initial investment.

    With all upcoming accessories - mainly CS Shifter and GT-style rim, which will be my first CSRE upgrade as soon as it becomes available - CSRE is wheel I could only dream of few years ago. Fanatec succeeded in goal of making ultra-high-end product that delivers in every field and makes virtual driving more satisfying than ever before.

    And in my book, it is the only thing that really matters.


    >> FANATEC CSRE - MY FINAL CONCLUSION.

    I had my doubts before being able to test CSRE, from various reasons I've disclosed. But today I can only say how I am happy to live in the moment of time where we can have this kind of product and enjoy the virtual racing in the way literally unimaginable only a decade ago. Driving genre came a long way since the early 80's and driving-hardware came an equally long way since the mid 90's. I still remember driving a PSone Formula 1'97 with Thrustmaster Ferrari wheel without any real FFB and amazement I felt when Thrustmaster released its FFB wheel and i tried it for the first time on GTR and Supercars V8 on PC while being mounted on the ordinary table.

    More than a decade later the market of driving peripherals, cockpits and accessories is saturated like never before which is a great showcase of importance of the virtual driving for the modern entertainment in the developed world. You can have a great drive with basic models such as Logitech DFGT for a price of 100€ and enjoy the genre in the way it was unimaginable only 10 years ago. But you can also spend hundreds in cash for hardware that will provide crazy experience and immersion, allowing you to live your passion on the whole different level. And that is the area where CSRE jumps in and where it really takes a crown. I find it as an pinnacle of the hardware-market because it offers literally everything I could ever want from a wheel.

    CSRE is an unique wheel which have no real competition when versatility, features and performance are contextualized with the price-point. If you ever considered a hefty investment into your virtual driving experience - no matter are you single-platform or multiplatform driver - you may be certain how the Fanatec CSR Elite will be the choice you will never regret.


    [​IMG]
    // All belts of CSRE are made by German manufacturer Optibelt while beautiful details of exposed interior mechanics will always amaze


    I would especially like to thank Thomas from Fanatec for giving me this unique opportunity to test CSRE so early and without any constrains and with great help. Also, great thanks goes to Renato from Rinoseat, his latest Rinoseat GTR is the cockpit I would recommend to anyone who seek for the ultimate cockpit solution. Big thanks to Jordan here on GTPlanet and Evilore on NeoGaf forums for their support in presenting this story. Big thanks to all my friends on Croatian GTSurgeons community who helped me in testing this great product.

    > My driving hardware:

    Fanatec CSR Elite wheel
    Fanatec ClubSport Pedals
    Frex Shifter+ Sequential Shifter
    Rinoseats Rinoseat GTR cockpit

    I hope you will find this overview useful. For all interested I will soon made it available in PDF format for download at Issuu.

    All studio-photos are taken by me in my studio and are subject to copyright, but if anyone wishes to use them, please do it in the good will and under the Creative Common license. Product-photos of CSRE and other wheels/accessories are collected from Fanatec official site or other public domains.

    Regards and looking forward to your comments and questions.

    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  2. PzR Slim

    England Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
    PSN:GTP_Slim

    I look forward to it Amar. I know you will do a good job.
     
  3. HoiHman

    Netherlands The Netherlands
    PSN:HoiHman

    The title looks promising
     
  4. ilonioum

    Premium
    Cyprus Nicosia
    PSN:ilonioum1

    you had enough time to review it I guess, Thomas did the right thing sending a few pieces much earlier...

    Looking forward to your review and knowing your reputation I'm sure it is going to be very good ;)
     
  5. Mr Latte

    Premium

    Look forward to your comments Amar. It will be a pleasure reading it.
    Glad you decided to release yours on time mate.

    I've been bad with a cold ths week and just havnt had the time to do much on my own reports for the last two weeks with a busy work schedule.
     
  6. VWMasteR

    PSN:FuzZMcAwesomE

    I'm unbelievably eager to read everything that gets released today.
     
  7. shelbyz4u2nv

    PSN:shelbyz4u2nv

    The suspense is killing me, I have never been this excited for a review on a gaming product before!
     
  8. Timppaq

    Online Now!
    Premium
    Finland Helsinki
    PSN:GTP_Timppaq

    Great, looking forward to it :tup:
     
  9. amar212

    Premium
    Croatia Croatia

    Review is up, I hope you will like it.

    I will appreciate all comments and try to answer all questions. Regards :tup:
     
  10. amf7

    United Kingdom UK
    PSN:amf7F1

    Very nice.. just quickly read it. Will read again properly with more time :)
     
  11. 12thgear

    Premium
    United States Northern VA

    I enjoyed my initial read. Thanks for taking the time to post this.
     
  12. exciting stuff, what the counter steer speed like, obviously not as fast as the t500 but how much quicker is it compared to gt2 please?
     
  13. Simracer92

    Germany Nordenham
    PSN:SimRacer925

    nice review, thank you!
    The cockpit looks very nice.. what's the price of this?
     
  14. PzR Slim

    England Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
    PSN:GTP_Slim

    Fantastic review Amar. Well done.
     
  15. paskowitz

    United States New York
    PSN:thepatriots

    Great review. Will ask question later.
     
  16. stephenb

    England

    Great review - direct and to the point without glossing over anything (well maybe paddle shifters). Things aren't looking to good for my bank account right now, must hold off to see what the CSW brings to the table!
     
  17. Raitziger

    Finland Espoo
    PSN:GTP_Raitzi

    Bravo, maestro has done it again!
     
  18. HoiHman

    Netherlands The Netherlands
    PSN:HoiHman

    Great review Amar, seems like the CSR Elite is all we were hoping for.

    Even though the wheeels are in transit, it's gonna be a very long wait untill my pre oreder arrives.
     
  19. KashunatoR

    Romania Romania

    thanks for the review. it's a nice wheel but i strongly believe that the CSW will be even better for iracing, GT5 and the simbin's upcoming GTR3
     
  20. gslooney

    Scotland
    PSN:gslooney

    hmm .. i'm going to have to get one now:guilty: .... What's that your sold out :eek:
     
  21. Timppaq

    Online Now!
    Premium
    Finland Helsinki
    PSN:GTP_Timppaq

    Thanks for tue great review, can't wait to hear more of the CSW :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  22. VWMasteR

    PSN:FuzZMcAwesomE

    How is the frex shifter connected?
     
  23. FatnSlo

    United States Colorado
    PSN:FatnSlo

    Great review! Thanks for this.

    I was wondering if you could tell me just how much farther does the wheel stick out compared to the GT2/PWTS since the CSRE has a longer steering shaft? What I mean is, if you use the angled adaptor on your rig to mount the CRSE wheel, how much farther out (or closer to you where you sit in your rig) does the wheel stick out compared to the GT2? I am guessing about 2" (5.1cm)
     
  24. the_greeze

    Premium
    United Kingdom UK
    PSN:the_greeze

    Excellent review :) Thanks for sharing...
     
  25. Caz

    Caz
    Online Now!
    tewksbury mass
    PSN:caswellhouse

  26. DJ88

    Miami

    Nice review. I got really excited when I read how the wheel's FFB is stiff and strong at slow speeds and then loosens up when accelerating. That's something huge that's been missing from other wheels. I can't wait for the CSW!
     
  27. cap6760

    PSN:windracing

    very well done¡¡¡
    I miss a test with more rally games as WRC 2 or even Richard Burns Rally (if you have ps2 edition is possible to play on a retrocompatible 60 GB ps3 as i own) .RBR with my g25 on ps3 is quite good and i´m interested to know if with CSR E or CSW is possible to play with. With T500RS not and that dissapointed me . So is just sold and i will go for csr e o csw if is compatible.
     
  28. cap6760

    PSN:windracing

    Rally FFB is the worst part on GT5. Is improved with this wheel or not??. I mean should be interesting a comparison on few surfaces, snow, tarmar, dirt....
    Thanks in advance
     
  29. -kj-

    Maryland, USA

    Awesome Review! now I got to add this wheel to my collection. :)
     
  30. ilonioum

    Premium
    Cyprus Nicosia
    PSN:ilonioum1

    Well done mate, I enjoy the read and glad that I will get this will very soon. Keep up the always good work.

    One more thing though, it would be great to have a video review from you as it is easier to get the main points and also show the advantages in real life.

    Cheers!
     
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