Review: Thrustmaster T500 RS
Thrustmaster has provided the sim racing community with a truly top-tier controller for carving up the virtual track. Although large and heavy — and with a heavy price tag — the wheel sets a new standard for force feedback and rotation in both quality and quantity. The pedal base has all the customizable options you’d expect on a high-end product and shows that Thrustmaster didn’t skimp on this oft-neglected, yet critical component of a sim racing controller. The button layout, while very PS3-centric, is also quite well laid out for any sim racing application. The use of Hall Effect sensors gives consumers a product with a high degree of accuracy, reliability and durability. The unit’s size doesn’t lend itself well to desk-mounting, but is surely just fine with a sim cockpit or wheel stand (Wheelstand Pro, are you listening?)
The only place where this wheel truly disappoints for me is in the ergonomics of the paddle shifters. While the paddle shifter internals are crisp, positive and accurate, fixing them to the wheel housing is a curious choice. I am sure this design element is something sim racers could eventually get used to, but the shifter location and width makes it easy to have one’s hands out of position to affect a shift, and the significant reach needed to actuate the paddles can compromise your grip on the wheel.
Even so, this is one superbly crafted product, and highly recommended for the sim racer with deep pockets (and perhaps a sim cockpit laying around).
What I liked
- Silky-smooth Wheel Rotation
- Class-leading, broad and solid Force Feedback and vibration effects
- Minimal on-center softening and lock-to-lock consistency
- Rock-steady tracking when on-center, with virtually zero back-lash.
- Adjustability of pedal set
- Useful PC driver GUI
- Ability to re-map buttons in PS3
- Crisp and accurate paddle shifter switches
What I didn’t like
- No load-sensing brake pedal
- Paddle shifter ergonomics — too awkward of a reach, fixed to wheel housing
- Wheel housing too large for some desks
- Awkward/clumsy desk clamp
- Rubber wheel grip feels cheap for such an expensive product
- Pedal base slide around too much on carpeted floors
- Lack of on-wheel adjustment options
Reviewer’s System Specs
- Intel i7-920 processor
- Asus HD5870 gpu
- Asus P6T motherboard
- 6 GB DDR3 RAM
- WD 7200 SATA HDD
- X-Fi sound card
- Asus 26″ LCD monitor
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