Last autumn I started the journey of fatherhood. If you have kids yourself, you know what this means. If you don’t though, the best way I describe it is your entire world gets turned upside-down in the best way possible.
This means any free time I once had is now occupied with bottles, diapers, and the dad life in general. It’s an incredible experience that’s also difficult, tiring, and even frustrating at times. But would I trade it for anything in the world? Absolutely not.
However, I still need some downtime occasionally. Since I’m still a gamer, the obvious place to look is in games themselves. But, with time at a premium, tackling a 200-hour RPG just isn’t in the cards.
Thankfully, sim racing games don’t need hundreds of hours. Instead, you can easily set up a short race or even just turn hot laps with no real goal in mind. It’s the perfect way to sneak in an hour or so of gaming.
As you can imagine, since my time is short I often want to get the most out of my gaming sessions. When it comes to sim racing, this typically means a racing wheel to round out the experience.
There’s just one problem though. I’m not a fan of wheels since I don’t like the way they feel. But I’m also a bit archaic when it sim racing controls. When playing GT Sport, I use X and Square for the accelerator and brake. Steering comes via the D-pad and if I want to shift it’s the L1 and R1 buttons.
Thrustmaster thinks it can change my perception of racing wheels though. To do this, it sent me a T150 to try out on both my PS4 and PC. So did it work? Read on below to find out.
Quality & Finish —
In the past, when I’ve checked out racing wheels they almost always felt cheap. Flimsy plastic, squeaky pedals, and force feedback gears that sound like they were going to explode. So I feared with T150, it’d be more of the same.
Does the T150 smash this preconceived notion? Absolutely.
Taking it out of the box the first thing I notice is the weight. It’s hefty, but not in a bad way. It feels very much like a quality product and there’s nothing flimsy about the wheel. All the buttons give a satisfying click and the metal flappy paddle feel great as well.
The pedals are not on the same level as the wheel though. They’re by no means bad — they just feel a bit lighter and not as robust. But considering they’re entry level pedals and not something like Thrustmaster T3PA Pros, they do the job just fine.
One complaint I do have about the pedals though is their grip on the floor. Unfortunately, since I’m just starting off with a wheel I do not have a wheel stand. This means when I’m in front of the TV with my PS4, the wheel is on a TV tray and the pedals are on my faux hardwood floor.
Despite having a floor that’s non-slip, the pedals move around a bit. I know this wouldn’t be a problem with a proper wheel stand, but right out of the box, they pose a bit of an issue. Thankfully, this really only happens when I’m doing a tap dance between the accelerator and the brakes.
After my initial oohs and ahhs over the T150, I’m ready to plug it in and try it out. This is where some more preconceived notions creep back up. I remember playing around with past wheels many moons ago and how the force feedback felt rather uninspiring.
Does the T150 get another win here? Once again the wheel proves my past experiences wrong.
The force feedback feels great. While it’s different than a real steering wheel, it provides a fun experience. The feedback comes in smooth and provides plenty of resistance without giving way, even as I saw the wheel back and forth.
The thing that most impressed me here though was the sound. There’s no whirring or grinding to speak off. For the most part, it’s silent, which is perfect as my little dude naps next to me while I sneak in some laps.
Overall, I’m left feeling impressed with the overall quality of the T150. Clearly, wheel technology has made some leaps and bounds since I last tried it. But I think Thrustmaster’s attention to detail helps make it stand out.
I’ll start off this by saying I’m primarily a PC gamer. I rarely go onto my consoles since I often find PC gaming more exciting and I have significantly more games in my Steam library.
To kick things off I booted up the original Assetto Corsa on my PC, which I never really liked due to its complexity. Not wanting to jump into the deep end, I opt for some hot laps in a Mazda Miata around Silverstone.
I launch the session, ready to go and then… nothing. I pressed the pedals, turn the wheel, and just try to make the car move to no avail.
Ok, now I’m confused. Then it dawns on me, maybe the T150 is not just plug-and-play on the PC. A quick look at the instruction booklet and apparently the hunch is correct. So I venture over to the Thrustmaster website to download some drivers.
Once I download them and get everything installed, I’m ready to try AC again. Game relaunched, I queue up the same Miata and Silverstone combo, and launch the session. I then stomp on the accelerator and success! The digital car lets out a chirp of the tires and proceeds to lose control.
Clearly, I need some practice.
But with the T150 now working with the game, I can set to work on attempting to get the car around the track. It takes some time, but after a few laps, I’m sailing right along. All the buttons work as I expect them too and I’m shifting with the flappy paddles without issue.
With a new-found appreciation for Assetto Corsa, I figure I should probably try some other games out too. Next up is F1 2018 and thankfully someone put a setup file on the Steam Workshop for the T150. This makes setup a breeze and I’m able to jump right into the game and behind the wheel of an F1 car.
After determining that I’m useless at F1, I figure I should try out a game that’s one of my favs. I boot up Euro Truck Simulator 2 and after fiddling around with the settings, I think I have it perfected. The wheel works great as I jump into a long haul across Scandinavia in my Volvo FH16.
After spending some time on the PC, I figure it’s worth trying out the T150 on the PS4 as well. This is way simpler than trying to get it to work on the PC. This is simply plug-and-play and it works pretty much without any fuss.
To try it out I select the only racing game I have for the PS4, Gran Turismo Sport. As expected, it worked flawlessly and made the game significantly better to boot.
The T150 is fairly barebones when it comes to features. However, it does exactly what it says on the tin. You get a quality wheel setup that delivers a no-frills sim racing experience.
While this could turn off some more experienced sim racers, for a novice like me, it’s perfect. If you gave me a bunch of toggles, switches, and knobs like the Thrustmaster T-GT, I probably would be a bit lost. But since the T150 is straight forward and relatively simple in its design, it’s ideal for even the newest of noob.
Still, the few features that do come with the wheel work great. The steering is adjustable from 270-degrees all the way to 1080-degrees depending on the game. You also get adjustable force feedback too so you can dial in the T150 exactly how you want it.
The T150 also works on three different platforms: the PS3, PS4, and PC. This is probably one of my favorite features of the T150 since I’m short on room to store the wheel. By giving me the option to use the wheel on both the PS4 and PC, it eliminates the needs for a second wheel sitting around.
Finally, the T150 is compatible with several products in the Thrustmaster ecosystem. This means as I get better with the wheel, I can potentially add on to make it an even better setup. According to the Thrustmaster website, some of the add-ons that work with the T150 are the T3PA pedals and TH8A shifter.
Now we reach the ultimate question. Is the T150 worth the $199 asking price? Well, I’m not sure if a veteran sim racer would be happy with the wheel. But, for someone just getting into the hobby, it’s well worth the price.
Also, if you’re on a budget, this wheel is ideal too. You get some serious bang for the buck and the wheel feels like it could command a higher price tag. Even better, if you catch the T150 on sale, you can easily drop the price to $159 or less. At that price, it’s virtually a steal and is easily worth picking up.
As you can see, I’m pretty keen on the T150. But there’s more to it than just its reasonable price, excellent build quality, and adequate features. The real value with the T150 is that it took me from being totally anti-wheel to absolutely loving it.
The T150 also reduced my lap times significantly after only a few hours spent with it. In Gran Turismo Sport alone, I found upwards of seven seconds on some courses thanks to the wheel. I had a similar result with Assetto Corsa as well.
Thanks to this, I find myself thinking sim racing is fun again. I’m no longer lagging behind at the back of the pack. Instead, I’m up fighting for a top spot and smiling while doing it.
For me, this makes the wheel invaluable, especially considering my time is rather short.
At this point, you might ask yourself if I’d be this happy with any wheel. I considered this while hot lapping with the T150 and I don’t think so. Anything more advanced would probably have frustrated me with the setup and been overwhelming.
Should you buy the T150? The short answer is yes, but only if you meet certain criteria. As I mentioned, it’s probably not the right wheel for sim racing vets or long time wheel users. Also if you’re looking to customize your sim racing setup, it’s probably worth spending a few extra dollars on a higher-tier Thrustmaster wheel.
But if you’re a novice looking to take your hobby to the next level, for a reasonable price, then it’s the perfect setup. Even more so if you’re a new dad and you’re looking to maximize your enjoyment from gaming with a limited amount of time on your hands.
I would recommend picking up a wheel stand though, or at the very least trying to build a simple one. While it works on a TV tray or a computer desk, it’s not the most ideal place to mount the T150. Also, I’d try to figure out a way to add some additional grip to the bottom of the pedal set too.
Overall though, these are fairly minor complaints. The positives of the T150 system far outweigh the few qualms I had about it.
Oh, and as for the little guy and how he feels about the T150? I tried to get him to turn a few laps in GT Sport, but he was more interested in trying to chew on the wheel. Maybe in a few years, he’ll be ready to try again. In the meantime, I’ll keep practicing so I can properly introduce him to sim racing. With any luck, he’ll grow up and join the elite group of FIA GT Championship winners.
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