T150 Impressions

A user gets what they pay for.  This is a great case in point.  There is a reason why this costs as much as it does.  This is not to say that this is a bad product, but it does not compare well to products that cost $100 and more.  What I can say is that this is a very good entry level product for the budding racing enthusiast.

The manual should be read first.  It is actually quite detailed in certain aspects and explains some of the necessary steps to attach it to the PC.  For example, the PS3/PS4 switch should be set to PS3 when used with the PC.  It also goes over driver updates and firmware flashing.

The software and driver for this wheel is quite extensive and should be tweaked after some use.  The user can control the degrees rotation through the control panel and it seems to default to 900 degrees rather than the full 1080.  Happily, that is very easy to change.  There is a test screen with different FFB forces that a user can play through.  FFB forces can also be adjusted to increase or decrease the strength of effects.  There is an update button in software that will check for the latest versions.  This is a nice little feature as Thrustmaster’s site is not always easy to navigate.

Everything unpacked. It is not a huge or complex bundle, but it has everything a user needs to start racing.

The force feedback is fairly strong, but not nearly that of the higher end parts.  The hybrid pulley/geared system does a pretty good job of smoothing things out while allowing the user to turn the wheel quickly.  It does not do so as quickly as a full pulley belt system like the TX F458, but it is faster than the helical geared Logitech wheels.  I did not notice any dead spots in rotation when it comes to force feedback.  Products like the Logi G27 have very pronounced deadspots when the wheel is centered.

The paddle shifters and buttons all feel good and are easy to reach.  The material of the wheel is very pleasant to grasp, but a user certainly will notice when turning sharp corners and going hand-over-hand that the hard plastic does not feature the same grip as the blue rubberized material.  Force feedback is good, but not great.  One thing I noticed between the higher end TX wheel and this is that the self-centering of the wheel is not nearly as smooth or realistic when running DiRT Rally.  When coming out of a corner on the TX wheel I could let loose of the wheel and it would straighten itself out as a real car would.  The T150 could sorta do that, but nearly as well.  It caused me to change my input actions because of the different sensations and responses.

The wheel is 11"/28cm wide and fits nicely in the hands. The blue grips are comfortable and do not turn your hands into interesting colors after extended use.

If a user has never tried FFB before, then they are in for a treat.  It really is a much more immersive experience and leads to better times in races to be able to “feel” what the car is doing through the wheel.  Losing traction, hitting bumps, having the steering wheel jerked one way or the other will all help the driver react to the situation far better than using just visual cues.  While it may not have the same feel as the higher end wheels, it will provide good feedback to any race enthusiast.  The wheel is still very quick and easy to turn fast.

The pedals are not great.  They do the job, but they could be a lot better.  I do not mind that the pedals are entirely plastic this time, as it does not seem to have a positive or negative effect.  Where I have the most issues is with the geometry of the pedals.  The older F430 and the newer TX pedals are about an inch farther apart and the flat part of the brake pedal is much wider.  I found that my knees actually started to hurt a bit after longer sessions due to how much closer it all is as compared to the other Thrustmaster pedals.  The brake pedal does have some progressive resistance, but it is not all that strong.  Users might want to look up some resistance mods that are quite popular with racers using these pedals.  The accelerator has a good amount of travel and control and feels very natural.

The entire wheel is not overly large, nor is it really all that heavy. The motor seems to do a nice job of pushing your hands around when driving and it does not get very warm.

Support in some games is currently hit or miss.  In Project Cars the wheel should use the T500 preset and works perfectly.  In DiRT Rally it is not recognized and I had to remap the wheel every time I restarted the game.  In GRID Autosport the wheel was enabled, but the d-pad acts as if it is being depressed down and causes the menus to be unusable.  This apparently is not uncommon in new wheels as the Logitech G29/920 exhibits the same behavior in these games.  DiRT 2 and DiRT 3 have no issues with the wheel, but it is not offered as a preset in these older (and unpatched) games.  Check the forums of games that people are currently playing to find out more about compatibility.

 
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