Our writer here at Simrace247 Jimmy Mansi gets to grips with the Thrustmaster T248 and casts his opinion with a review and if it is worth a buy.
Thrustmaster, one of the world’s leading sim hardware hardware manufacturers, have released an update for the T248, their best in class next gen Xbox racing wheel, meaning it is now 100% compatible with the industry defining sim racing game Assetto Corsa Competizione.
The wheel’s unique LED dashboard display and key mapping are now fully synced with the game allowing for full telemetry to be displayed (including tire pressure, race position, speed etc.) for a truly immersive experience.
The Thrustmaster T248 Wheel is available for Xbox PC featuring cutting edge force feedback, H.E.A.R.T. magnetic technology and more than 20 different displays on the LED screen, all bundled with an affordable price tag for racing sim enthusiasts looking for their first piece of high quality hardware.
Let’s talk about sim racing setups and the Thrustmaster T248
What can be described as one of the biggest rabbit holes I have ever entered into, is the purchasing of equipment required when it comes to sim racing. Your first ‘port of call’ so to speak, when looking at what you’re going to purchase, is your wheel and pedal setup. Straight off, this can range from ‘cost effective’ to ‘outlandish’ and everything in between. Having gone on the full journey of racing from sitting on a footstool with a controller to entry level setup and now full 80/20 rig, DD wheelbase and load cell pedals, I can highly recommend easing yourself into sim racing, and from the start, I would place the Thrustmaster T248 at just above entry level for a wheel and pedals setup and below are my reasons for this.
Looks & Feel
A massive factor for me, when I purchased my sim racing setup, was how it all looked. I wanted to look at it and think to myself ‘yeah, this is exactly what I wanted, it looks great’. The T248 does not disappoint with this. The wheel looks brilliant, with the buttons and switches laid out nicely but well within reach without having to adjust or move your hands completely away from holding the wheel. The wheel is clean in its design, easy to navigate and feels good in the hands. The size of the wheel, while smaller than your average ‘round’ wheel, it still felt good, even for someone with larger than average hands. The buttons have a solid ‘click’ on the wheel however, one improvement I would look to is the magnetic paddle shifters. Even being magnetic, these still felt a little flimsy and were incredibly loud when shifting. At the price of this product, I was surprised that magnetic shifters would be included (something which is normally an upgrade/mod you have to purchase for an additional cost) but, they simply, could be much better. Another nice touch on the wheel is the dash display and while basic in what it shows, it is just that little extra that adds to the immersiveness in sim racing.
The FFB on this wheel is provided by Thrustmasters ‘Hybrid Drive’ system. This isn’t your usual gear driven FFB that most entry level wheels have, nor is it predominantly belt driven. What this does is makes the wheel feel somewhat heavy in slow/sharp corners but the FFB power is impressive again at this price point. The one thing I will say is that you may find yourself spending a little more time than normal trying to tune the wheel with the sim/game that you’re playing but once this is done, it’s easy to get along with. The T248 comes with three FFB settings, ranging from standard to max FFB. I found myself using max FFB (setting three) as I like to feel as much feedback as possible from the car & track.
The T3PM pedals that come with the T248 are, for me, hugely impressive. I set them up on my 80/20 rig and what impressed me the most to begin with, was the brake pedal. When I started sim racing, I started with one of, if not the most commonly purchased wheel and pedals setup and found the brake pedal to be beyond frustrating due to its lack of travel. It wasn’t an issue in games where you could switch the clutch pedal for the brake but in others where you couldn’t do this, a long race using the brake pedal was an ankle killer. The T248 brake pedal felt great and I could instantly trail brake and also stamp on it when needed, feeling confident in the build quality and strength of the product. I was also impressed with the ‘loud’ (acceleration) pedal and was able to quickly gain the feel for play through and on the exit of corners. There are stiffer/firmer springs and washers you can use on the pedals to customise the feel which again I felt was a nice touch. As mentioned before with the magnetic shifter paddles, being able to customise your brake pedal is usually an ‘upgrade/mod’ on most wheel & pedal setups at this price and to me, pedals are the most important factor with sim racing. So to have a great setup out of the box with the option to customise at no extra cost was a real win.
Cost & Longevity
As mentioned at the start, sim racing can be incredibly expensive. You can purchase a wheelbase alone that costs ten times the entire T248 setup and as I also said, this is just above entry level in terms of a setup. You’re looking at around £270 for a wheelbase, wheel and pedals which will do the job for immersiveness, feedback and enjoyment to a ‘good enough’ level. But, that is what the target market is with this. It would be a great introduction into sim racing and not a huge loss if you decided after a while that you simply did not enjoy it. The product feels solid and while heavily plastic, it does not feel like it cannot cope with the stresses and forces that will be going through it.
My only comparison with this wheel comes from another manufacturer who focuses on entry level wheels and I can confidently say, if this had been an option when I first started and I had taken the time to look around, for the price I would have gone straight to the T248. I would have most likely, stuck with this wheel for a lot longer than I did my first setup, due to the fact this offers so much and yes, I’m going to shout about the pedals again.. They are beyond good for this price point in what they offer without having to modify and spend more money.
With Thrustmasters T150 on the market, you may ask “why the T248?”.. The simple answer is that for the extra £60-£70 you get so much more for your money in the pedals and FFB that you wouldn’t want to miss out.
Lastly, I’d just like to thank Thrustmaster and simrace247 for sending me this setup to try. None of this is a paid promotion and the thoughts and feelings above are my own.
Thanks for reading,