The Thrustmaster T100 is the latest in Thrustmasters long line of gaming wheels. I would say that Thrustmaster have a reputation as the worlds leading game wheel manufacturer and have had a long line of successful and great performing wheels. If it’s one thing they know about it’s how to make a good wheel and a wheel that gives value for money, no matter what budget you have. The T100 is a mid-ranged wheel which offers ‘force feedback’, something which you usually find on wheels priced much higher than this one.
Key features according to Thrustmaster website
Force Feedback system with Immersion TouchSense® technology and reinforced mechanism
Force Feedback driving response lets you feel every detail while you’re racing
(the road or track’s relief, loss of tire grip, bumps and impacts, etc.)
Metal axle and ball-bearing mechanism
(sturdiness and precision)
Mixed belt-pulley and gears system
(smoothness and fluidity)
Adjustable Force Feedback effects level
(can be optimized for the game being played)
Powered by Immersion TouchSense® Technology
Aesthetics and feel
The Thrustmaster T100 comes in one color, which is black. The lack of color will probably put some off, especially if you look at others in their range such as the Ferrari wheels they offer. That being said it does look quite nice, having a traditional and more authentic look to the wheel. The wheel doesn’t seem to be designed for those who want a visual spectacle but more aimed towards the grown up gamer who prefers a classic look or one that replicates their own steering wheel. However, it has a big white T in the center of the wheel which breaks the color scheme wheel up slightly.
The actual feel of the wheel is something of a triumph, with the rubberized grip making the wheel feel exceptionally good in your hands. I’d say the actual grip is probably one of the wheels stand out features and beats a standard plastic coating everytime. The pedals look standard but do match the overall color scheme and they go well together. The buttons are positioned with adequate space between them, meaning once you’ve got over the initial hurdle of figuring out where they are and what they do then you won’t get confused and hit the wrong button. It may not be the most pleasing on the eye if you like flashy likes and glossy textures but I’d say that the neutral color scheme will appeal to many.
How to connect and Software
The wheel locks on to any cockpit via a screw system, there is a separate piece which fits on to the bottom of the wheel which allows it to be clamped on to any surface which has enough of a lip that it can grasp on to. It is also connected via USB and via the mains, the electrical power I assume is needed to power the motors which work the force feedback. Set up is quick and easy.
The software and drivers are downloadable from the Thrustmaster website. You will find that your computer recognizes the device as the Ferrari F430, which is a similar wheel but is a bit confusing. In the settings you can test out buttons and adjust the force feedback. I would recommend not messing about too much with these settings as doing so usually means a serious headache when playing certain games. You can adjust the pedal settings to make them inverted and even combine both the pedals, which was a neat feature. I enjoyed testing out the different features of the force feedback which you can do via the software, a simple push of a button would show you how the force feedback acts under certain whether conditions or under breaking as well as a host of others, it got me prepared for the racing ahead of me and I enjoyed playing around with it. Overall the software and drivers were easy to install with some rather cool features.
In game use
I mainly tested the T100 on the PC, mainly because I struggle using the mouse and keyboard and consider a wheel a luxury tool at my disposal. Of course the main factor when choosing a wheel is how well it actually performs and this wheel certainly delivers. Well, it delivers if you find the right game that is. I struggled when playing F1 2013, I had multiple problems with the lack of sensitivity, it just didn’t seem to turn right around corners and would force me to brake unnecessarily just to turn a corner. This however was rectified by changing the steering settings and when I had played around with the settings I found a setting that suited me perfectly. It was a different story on other games I tried though, it enhanced RaceRoom no end and performed very well in Grid 2. In both of these games it connected pretty much automatically and performed brilliantly without adjusting any settings. I would also impressed with the gear changers, these are located at the back of the wheel and are controlled by a simple motion of clicking them towards you. They were positioned well and felt sturdy.
The wheel feels exceptionally good in steering and the force feedback is probably the feature that makes me come back for more. If you decide to buy this wheel then try pressing the button at the bottom to stop force feedback, you’ll soon notice the difference and how easy force feedback makes driving. The force feedback is more noticeable in F1 than any other game, which is surprising given how smooth the tracks are and how incident free it usually is. I guess settings are different for each game but once you use the force feedback you will never want to go back to your conventional wheel. Every bump and knock sends vibrations through the steering wheel, really adding to the experience and realism, I even started crashing my car just to see how it would react, it was awesome. The force feedback is also used as a steering aid, it keeps the wheel central and this helps novices like myself to keep it on track. It is also fully adjustable so it can be as strong or as delicate as you wish, this is done by either the game settings or via the software and it’s worth looking in to if you’re at all unhappy.
The amount of games it supports is quite extensive, with pretty much every racing game I own on the PC and PS3 being accommodated too but the level of performance can vary if the game does not natively support the wheel. Luckily, I had no such problems and unless you have an obscure title I imagine that you’ll find a way of working the wheel on your chosen game. You can find a full list of supported games by visiting the Thrustmaster support page here.
Where to buy
The T100 is currently available on Amazon in the UK and US.
The Thrustmaster T100 is not without flaws, it does look a bit plain and adjusting settings can be tedious, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find an amazing wheel which offers more than what you expect. The force feedback sets this wheel above and beyond its competition and should be pole position in your next choice for a gaming wheel.