Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition Background: Well...im old...ancient someone would say. My first contact with simracing was Geoff Crammond´s excellent Formula One Grand Prix in 1990´s and since then I have driven numerous driving games with Assetto Corsa being the latest one. I have owned and destroyed several wheels from manufacturer´s like Microsoft, Logitech and Fanatec so I would call myself as a experienced driver with average driving skills. I have been relatively happy with my Fanatec CSR wheel and Clubsport V1 setup but sometimes you just want to try something new and hopefully better. Fanatec Clubsport Wheel would have been one good choice but it was just too pricey and possible future warranty issues made me look elsewhere. Thrustmaster T500 RS is nice but the newer design, brushless motor and better belt system convinced me to buy 458 Italia wheel. Having owned and destroyed a Logitech G25 in my previous life the newly released Thrustmaster TX 458 for 300 Euro´s was the only real choice for me. Luckily it was Christmas so Santa Claus helped me get this wheel. Thanks Santa, I owe you one...or two. First impression & some numbers: "What the .... Why in earth did I buy this piece of toy wheel" was my first thought after opening the box and lifting the unattached wheel. The two things that really striked out badly was the yellow Ferrari logo and the 2-way Manettino switch which really makes the wheel look cheap. The wheel rim building material looks and feels almost the same as found in early 90´s Nissan dashboard´s. Luckily appearances can sometimes be deceptive as the wheel "quality" will grow on you. The wheel rim weight is approximately 730 gramms and its 28 cm in diameter. The power supply is inside of the base unit which weight is about 3,9 kg compared to Fanatec´s 2,9kg including the wheel but without the external power supply. In PC-mode you have total 13 buttons and a D-pad in your disposal. Gas and brake pedals are made of metal,base from light plastic and the total weight is approximately 1,36kg. Brake has progressive resistance and the gas pedal feels quite stiff. Pedals connects directly to wheel base and they are not USB compatible. Wheel can be attached to table/cockpit with good clamping system or more permanently with built-in screw threads. After attaching the steering wheel and making the required firmware update for PC I was ready to Rock´n Roll. Driving impression´s: I could feel big difference between the CSR and Thrustmaster TX as soon as I accelerated out of the pits with my rFactor 2 Corvette.In straight line the 458 Italia will give you much more information about the car suspension movement and the bumps on the road. In corners I could feel the change in grip much more clearly and earlier stage than I did with Fanatec CSR. Steering response feels faster, more direct and FFB in whole felt much better. CSR has small FFB deadzone where you dont feel any feedback but with TX you feel the FFB almost whole range of wheels turning range. With Assetto Corsa the difference between the wheels was smaller but Thrustmaster still feels superior of these two. Again the Thrusmaster feels so accurate,direct and fast to react drivers every steering input. Driving BMW Z4 GT3 with CSR feel´s just little bit boring but the TX wheel made the car more enjoyable and exciting to drive. Gear leavers are made of strong metal and have nice solid feel to them. They are quite short to allow easy access to back buttons so I needed some time finding right position for my hands and fingers. That ugly Manettino switch works but they really shoud have used better quality switch in that one. Other buttons feel OK but for me the Fanatec has better buttons and the wheel rim in whole feels better. Pedals look and feel quite cheap but surprisingly they work much better than their appearance might suggest. Conclusion: Connect the dots FFB quality and the base unit are definitely the best part of this wheel . Driving with this wheel is true pleasure because FFB is strong, detailed and fast. Thrustmaster really should have used better quality materials with the rim and the pedals. Luckily you can always use Thrustmaster T500 RS add-on wheels and pedals or use USB pedals from another manufacturer. Thrustmaster plans to release improved T3PA pedals which includes a clutch pedal. I think this package is OK starting point for newcomer but I would definitely buy new pedals if I was serious about simracing. Im relatively happy with the rim so currently I have no plans to buy the 100€ Ferrari 458 GTE wheel add-on which should be much better in quality wise. The GOOD: + FFB is very good + Base is made of strong, good quality plastic + Many buttons, even behind the wheel + Accurate and reacts fast to drivers input + Good clamp that will stop the base from moving. + Gear leavers are made of thick metal and changing gear feels quite good + Ability to use add-on wheels and pedals The BAD: - Pedals are light weight,looks and feels cheap. Surprisingly they do work moderately well - Wheel rim looks cheap and the build quality should have been better. It does work & feels better than first impression might suggest - Loud fan under stress - No power switch - USB cable can't be removed - No clutch pedal 05.02.2014 UPDATE: My Thrustmaster TX is dead so rest in peace my friend...you will be sorely missed. But luckily his twin brother has arrived. One morning about 10 days ago my wheel went completely dead, no lights or any wheel movement at all so the electronics must have failed. I contacted my local dealer and they replaced my wheel in 10 days . Whole process could have been 2-3 days shorter but they didnt have the wheel on stock so Im very happy how fast they replaced my wheel. I also e-mailed Thustmaster twice and both time they replied in 24 hours so no complaints about their reply speed. According to my local dealer over 10% TX wheels have been returned back for warranty repairs. Other users have also experienced wheel failures so there seems to be slight quality problem with first batch of the TX Wheel. I still like the wheel very much.