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Featured Review: Thrustmaster TX Wheel System

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by HUM24H, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. HUM24H

    Godspeed Premium

    Six Months have passed since I have owned this wheel. Now it is time to put it to the test, see how this wheel performs and ultimately whether the negative reviews stand true or whether the positive reviews stand true.

    The Thrustmaster TX has been out for some time now, it was designed as the first FFB Wheel for the Xbox One and was licenced by both Microsoft & Ferrari. The Wheel had varying costs depending on which retailer or website you bought it from, I for example bought the wheel from Overclockers UK for £249.99 but I have seen the wheel fetch £300.00 on Amazon UK. No matter where you get the wheel from, the TX is priced higher than the like of the Logitech G27 & Fanatec CSR/GT3 RS V2 Wheels. But enough glossing over the prices let’s move forward and have a closer look at what comes in the box, the internals of the TX and then we will discuss just how I feel about this wheel.


    In The Box
    When you order your Thrustmaster TX you will receive the following:
    • Thrustmaster TX Wheel Base
    • Replica Ferrari 458 Wheel
    • Ferrari Styled 2 Pedal Set
    • Desk Clamp
    • Power Cord
    • Documentation

    The internals of the TX consists of a single Brushless Motor, sometimes referred to as a Servo Motor, this Motor is fairly small and while they claim the motor is Industrial Grade to which it maybe but I feel that the Motor could have been better but I will get to that later. The Motor is then connected via a Belt Driven Mechanism which consists of a single belt which connects to a plastic gear on the end of the motor, then the belt connects to a large pulley. From the pulley a second belt is sent from a bearing to the wheel’s shaft where you connect the wheel rim. Another addition to the mechanism is Hall Effect Sensors which are Magnetic Contactless Sensors which provides 65,536 values, this provides a precise response feedback from the wheel.

    Other than the Belt Drive Mechanism we find a vibration motor which is located under a black plastic shell, above that is a fan which is off until the wheel detects the main motor needs cooling to which the fan turns on. At the top of the wheel we find the Xbox Kinect Sensor and at the back we find our assortment of circuit boards.


    Alongside the TX comes a neat EcoSystem that Thrustmaster has built up over the past year or two, which allows you to connect a series of devices into the wheel giving an all in one system without the need for multiple USB’s plus it allows for use on the Consoles. Thrustmaster at this current time offer different Wheel Rims, Pedals & Shifters which can all be plugged into the TX, so let’s go over them quickly:
    • The different wheel rims consist of two types: The first being a replica Ferrari 458 GTE Wheel, which is 11 inches in diameter and includes a wheel plate with 6 push buttons, a two way toggle switch and metal paddle shifters. The second wheel is a replica Ferrari F150 Wheel which is an F1 Wheel. It too is 11 inches in diameter, it also has paddle shifters which are “push/pull” style shifters, 2 Rotary Encoders, 8 Push Buttons, 3 Metal Switches, 2 Eight Way Directional D-Pads.
    • The Thrustmaster TH8a is their new Shifter. Which is mostly made of Metal, consists of a 13cm tall shifter, two modes for both H Pattern Shifter & Sequential Shifter and it also uses Hall Effect Sensors.
    • Finally there is the T3PA Pedals which are a 3 Pedal Set which Throttle, Brake & Clutch. The Pedals themselves are made of Metal which the body being made of plastic. The Brake has an optional Conical Brake Mod which gives a more progressive feel as you press the Brake Pedal Further.

    The wheel is able to be mounted to almost any desk or rig, most off the shelf rigs are drilled for Thrustmaster Wheels and the included clamp allows you to mount the wheel to a desk if you choose. But I always recommend hard mounting wheels as its much more stable than using the clamp, for the TX there are two bolts which you use to attach it to your rig.


    My Thoughts
    Right we have talked enough about the Technical and also Thrustmaster’s EcoSystem, now it’s time for me to give you my thoughts on the Wheel, the packaging and generally my feelings about it.

    So let me first talk about what you actually get with your TX, firstly Thrustmaster have licensed this wheel with Ferrari hence why you get what you get in the box. I will be honest I was disappointed with the 2 Pedal Set included, I felt they at least could of made the Pedals better but instead they felt cheap and were pretty much the same as the ones included in the Thrustmaster F430 Wheel. Next the included Wheel Rim, I will be honest the shape of wheel is very comfortable but Thrustmaster could not of made it any cheaper, the sides of the wheel are wrapper in a rubber material and then rest of the wheel is bare plastic which just makes it feel like a toy.

    The desk clamp did make me laugh though, only because after looking at the bottom of the clamp you can see the markings “F430” on it which shows that it is straight from their F430 Wheel System. Now to me this is not right, I can somewhat understand why they are reusing parts from their F430 Wheel System but I would of preferred to of seen something new and improved. Overall it felt to me that I had spent all my £249.99 just on the TX Base and everything else was thrown in for free, that is how it felt to me. This is why when I first bought the TX I had bought the Thrustmaster 458 GTE Wheel Rim Add-On and the Fanatec Clubsport Pedals V2.

    Ok let’s move over to how the actual wheel feels and performs because ultimately this is what most of you want to know. When I first used the wheel I was very pleased with the amount of FFB being generated, it was strong and providing a nice platform to which the wheel could provide the extra detail like bumps and rumple strips. But as time passed I realised that my initial impressions were wrong. Firstly the FFB is strong, there is a nice amount of strength behind it but at the same I feel that there should be a bit more or maybe it should be better. I felt the FFB to be strong but not that detailed, it almost felt vague.

    That moves us onto the detail the wheel gives to you, while you do feel bumps in the road, the rumple strips and also flat spots on your tyres. I felt the detail could have been better, with more clarity and crispness to it but it felt a bit withdrawn or vague. Don’t get me wrong, the wheel performs well but at the same time I just wish there was more from it. There is one good thing about the wheel, that is it is response and quick. Compared to the T500rs, the TX is fast and quick to turn making it good for circuit racing.

    Overall I did enjoy using this wheel, it performed well and really it did ok. But I felt that for whatever reason Thrustmaster held back on the TX, they didn’t make it as good as they could of. I feel that if they had upgraded the materials used in the Belt Drive Mechanism to Metal, used a bigger bearing, used better belts which would allow for more tension in the mechanism and perhaps even a slightly bigger motor then the TX would be a really good wheel but the problem is it still sits in that recreational/toy like area which for me is not where I want this to be.

    The other issue is the reliability of the TX & even their new T300 which is almost identical to the TX, the wheel is plagued with both reliability problems and Quality Control issues. I myself have had issues with my TX, it makes a grinding noise at certain point when turning right, it can make a squeaking noise and also a knocking sound when turning left to right. This is all down to that Bearing and Pulley system.

    The TX could of and should have been a better wheel but as always Thrustmaster cut back and really it resulted in a wheel that is good but not great. Do I recommend the TX to people? Perhaps. I feel that if you want a wheel for the Xbox One then you have either this or the MadCatz to choose from and if i'm honest on the basis of reliability issues with the TX I would probably hedge towards the MadCatz, but if reliability isn't an issue then the TX does perform better than the MadCatz. Now among the alternatives on the PC, I have no experience with a G27 so I can't comment on it but I can say that compared to the Fanatec GT3 RS V2 wheel, I felt that the GT3 RS was a bit smoother in operation and a bit smoother in delivering it's FFB but at the same time I did feel the GT3 RS to be a bit numb. So all in all it really depends on what you are after but the one thing you are not short of in the price bracket is wheel's.

    Let me know if you own a TX and how you feel about it. Also let me know your thoughts of the TX among it's rivals.

    If you would like to have your hardware products tested and reviewed by RaceDepartment.com email me at humzah.hussain[at]racedepartment.com.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
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  2. Torcano


    Nice and insightful review, was considering buying this wheel as a holiday present for my younger brother to whom I passed down my ancient DFGT at the beginning of this year. He was interested in sim racing back then and is quite hooked on it now, and since this wheel is going around for quite cheap in my region I thought it would be a good upgrade for him.

    Also, you made an error in the post, the addon rims are 11 inches in diameter not 11 cm. :p
  3. Kurupt CDN

    Kurupt CDN
    Touring car fanatic Premium

    Thanks for the review, I agree with sone of the points about build quality and that your more or less paying for the base with the choice to upgrade the rim which I did to a gte. I also had a faulty break away adapter which I replaced for $3 asides from that Iam really enjoying the wheel and it's performance. I've owned the g27, fanatec gt3 rs and csr, with the worst being the gt3 rs v2 which was numb heavy and response was terrible. With out a doubt the tx is a step above all them and would recommend it to anyone looking for a wheel in that price zone. Your next price step is a fanatec csw which is almost twice the price and I've had friends even compare the feel and performance to the csw v1 which for the extra cost you were getting better build materials.......but being fanatec are they any more reliable? :)
    All in all I feel it's an exceptional wheel and doesn't break the bank.
  4. HUM24H

    Godspeed Premium

    Yeah I would say it is a good wheel but obviously be wary about reliability and QC Issues. I would for someone who is just starting in sim racing it will be a good wheel :)

    Oh dear not good, LOL! :D
  5. HUM24H

    Godspeed Premium

    It is a good wheel and I would agree that the GT3 RS is numb but I felt its FFB was delivered a little better for me. At the same time I was just expecting a bit more but maybe that was just me expecting too much. Also yeah to be honest with Fanatec you are falling into a similar boat when it comes to reliability but if im honest lately they have been stepping up their game.
  6. Thanks for the review, it confirms that I won't be buying one!

    ..oh, and please stop saying "should of" or "could of"... it makes me cringe to see such basic grammar mangled in an otherwise well written piece.

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  7. lol same just cancelled my t300rs
  8. Yeah, he should of known better eh? :rolleyes::cool:
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  9. Well, I have owned Fanatec GT3 V2, CSR , Logitech DFGT and G25. When it comes to quality of FFB in my opinion TX is faster, smoother, more detailed ,powerfull and direct than any of those wheels. Reliability is issue so its important to buy from reliable retailer. Pedals are bad but they do work but I would buy better pedals from Fanatec or Thrustmaster.

    Its also relatively easy to make new custom wheel using real wheel rim and custom electronics or using the electronics from the default wheel. I would recommend this wheel if you are willing to spend more money on better pedals.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  10. jimortality


    I've had my tx for 4 months and I love it. Thankfully I've had no issues and after buying a set of T500 pedals it's a very good wheel.
  11. Indeed, for me the T300 is a step up from the Fanatec GT2 in pretty much every way. Clearly everyone has different tastes, but there are few on the forums who have so far compared the GT2/GT3RS favourably ahead of the TX/T300, having owned/used both.

    Also all accounts are that the MadCatz XBox One wheel is pretty crappy: Totally plastic cog driven, while costing as much as the TX. If you mention preferring it in your review, I assume you've tried one and can confirm that it's a better wheel than the TX?
  12. Matt


    My first sim racing wheel was the G27, when I got the XboxOne I was on the hunt for a TX for Forza 5. After I got both I was 'meh' with Forza so the TX went to the PC. Mine however had a problem after an hour or so the FFB would drop off and then die. This coupled with the consoles effort rather lacking I returned the wheel for a full refund.

    When the TX was working it's FFB was far stronger than the G27 and probably just as detailed. pedals and shifter aside, the TX is defiantly better than the G27. I agree with the overall build quality being poor.

    I'm now waiting for my CSWv2 to arrive in Decem... wait that's now January due to a transport problem. Well, we'll see when it gets here, others from Aus are saying March -.-
  13. PaulH


    I bought a TX to use while my GT3 V2 was back at Fanatec being repaired, the TX was so good in its precision and FFB compared to the GT3 v2 I never went back to it(its my spare now).
    The pedals aren't great as stated, but I use Fanatec Elite's and its a great combo with a TX :thumbsup:
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  14. HUM24H

    Godspeed Premium

    Well I only recommended the MadCatz because of the reliability issues the TX has and for some the reliability issues is a big problem.
  15. [​IMG]
    Custom wheels for my TX. They ain´t pretty but they get the job done. :)

    In my opinion both Fanatec and Thrustmaster have issues with the reliability of their products.
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  16. Richard Hessels

    Richard Hessels

    They look very good.. i love plain & pure funtionality
  17. My reading of the Forza 5 official forums was many MadCatz users complaining of low quality. For instance there's no way to recenter the MadCatz and lots of users were finding it wasn't centered properly out of the box. Also the MadCatz offers no PC drivers (or at least didn't the last time I checked).

    Just saying that it's wise to doublecheck the quality of the alternatives thoroughly :)
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  18. Nice review. When you reviewed the ffb did you use mainly the stock F458 Italia wheel or the GTE rim? The GTE rim dampen and kills the ffb as you suggest because the motor have to work so much harder having to move all that led around.

    You are still not wrong in suggesting there could be more detail and less delay in the ffb delivery. But you will have to pay quite a bit more to get something a lot better in this regard :)
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  19. HUM24H

    Godspeed Premium

    Yes I used the GTE Wheel Mostly. Yeah you do have to pay more to get something better which is a shame but that's the way things are :)
  20. Just for reference, ArsTechnica has a comparative review of the TX and MadCatz up:


    Now I'm certainly not going to defend Thrustmaster for reliability right now (my T500 has been faultless but I had to RMA my T300 immediately), but it really is the only show in town for Xbox One and PS4 quality FFB right now. So it's a case of either taking a risk on quality issues with TM wheels (presumably due to overwhelming demand) or accepting crap instead for next generation console use. Simple as that.