Thrustmaster T248 steering wheel and pedals reviewedRaceFans
It’s hard to think of a more exciting time to get into racing simulation than this current era of unprecedented choice and variety.
Whether it’s PC-based subscription platforms like iRacing or Assetto Corsa Competitzione coming to the current generation consoles, there are plenty of ways to race in the virtual realm. With many more games to look forward to in the coming year.
But while racing sims have gotten more serious, sophisticated, and expensive in recent years, the hardware is also designed to help you get the most fun and immersion out of it. If you’ve just taken a look at a hardware manufacturer’s website to gauge what kind of price bracket you’re considering, you’ve probably seen some mind-boggling numbers for a modern kit.
It’s pretty common to see numbers north of £ 300-500 these days – just for a wheel itself. And often that doesn’t even factor in a chainstay, pedals, and even accessories like a handbrake or manual shifter, let alone something to ride the whole thing on.
If that’s just a little too much money to justify and you wish there was a more affordable option to help you race, fear not – Thrustmaster has you firmly on mind with its model T248 for your consideration.
Compatible with PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles as well as PC, at a suggested retail price of around £ 300, it certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s designed to provide you with all the essentials you need need. Not just for running online (or offline if you prefer), but also for serious running.
But what kind of experience do you get for your money?
For starters, you get a great degree of convenience, especially on consoles. The term “plug and play” certainly comes to mind here and it’s all thanks to the small LCD screen in the center of the dashboard and the menu system built into it.
Rather than messing around with the calibration settings every time you go racing, you can adjust and tweak so much from the dedicated user interface that’s built into the wheel itself. With the simple push of a few buttons, you can adjust the overall force feedback strength, range of wheel rotation, or even reverse all three pedals to suit your personal setup.
It’s so quick to adjust the settings using the steering wheel itself that it means you can jump between, say, F1 2021 and the 360 degrees of locking required for an F1 car to 540 degrees for a GT car or even the complete 900 for road cars at Gran Turismo Sport or Euro Truck Simulator.
You can switch between multiple functions on the LCD screen on the fly, allowing you to see your reference time, lap or position information or use it as a real-time tachometer. In a nice touch, you can even choose how the tachometer is presented – like left to right, inside to outside, or outside to inside. An incredibly minor detail that just allows you to personalize your experience a bit more.
On Track, the first major feature to note about the T248 is its sophisticated sounding “hybrid drive” force feedback system. While it doesn’t live up to the extreme power, nuance, and quality offered by top-of-the-line direct-drive wheels, it certainly offers a tactile sense of improved levels of grip compared to wheels from even a generation ago.
There are enough buttons to map the majority of the functions you’ll need for most racing games you’ll want to play, especially on console. Don’t expect the same switches or adjustable dials you would get from a high-end wheel, but a plus-minus switch within easy reach of every inch is perfect for quickly changing fuel mixture or ERS modes.
Thrustmaster boasts that its magnetic shift paddles provide faster response times and help extend paddle life and you can believe it when you go up and down gears. However, it’s hard to ignore how clunky and loud the gear paddles can be.
If you are running in VR or with headphones on, it will be quite easy to ignore it unless you are sharing the space with other human beings. It’s quite telling when someone comes down from above to ask what was the cause of all these clicks. Don’t expect that you can get away with sneaking around at night for a moonlight testing session.
Beyond the wheel itself, the T248 comes with a set of three very good quality pedals with adjustable plates to change the location and angle of each. The resistance of the brake pedal is even adjustable with various spring options included to make it firmer or softer depending on what you like.
Be warned though – the default brake pedal setting is stiffer than a speeding ticket in the pit lane and you’ll probably want to adjust it if you plan on using the pedals on your living room carpet, rather. than a wheeled stand or a full cockpit rig.
Don’t be put off by the idea of investing time in adjusting the layout and resistance of the pedals to your liking. It’s much less of a hassle than you might expect with the straightforward process of unscrewing the pedal plates and replacing the springs and so worth the convenience of having everything set up to your personal preferences.
For around £ 300, one wonders if the T248 is good value for money. Considering the price of the higher end options or older wheels like Logitech’s T150 or G29, this is certainly a steal. Especially considering the quality of the pedals and the improved force feedback compared to older models.
If you’ve wanted to dip your toes in a dummy kit for a while and have some extra cash to spend on yourself after Christmas, you’ve got a pretty enticing option to consider in this quality combo set.
Rating from racing fans
Read all of our RaceFans reviews here.
Announcement | Become a supporter of RaceFans and
Browse all reviews