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
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.
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.