Nevertheless, choosing all the abovementioned engaging as it is, is pretty easy...unless you're looking for an Xbox 360 wheel. Licensing seems to be the Rubicon that needs to be crossed here. No doubt it was best crossed by the Thrustmaster. They have a couple of steering wheels for Xbox 360, whereas the previous top-quality and best-selling Logitech hardly have a single one still in production. Curiously it's the one segment where the contended rivalry between Thrustmaster wheels (though their exquisite 1080-degree rotation T500 RS extended by the eight-speed 11-cm aluminium TH8 RS transmission is still on top in the non-professional price-bracket) and long-tradition Logitech wheels is not present. However, about Xbox 360 wheels, you can't omit the Mad Catz, respectively Mad Catz wheels. This company has some 24-year history in PC peripherals and gaming accessories production, and Mad Catz definitely do offer a couple of driving wheel sets for Microsoft Xbox 360 that are not a bad mid-priced alternative. Just like the cordless, Mad Catz Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360.
Mad Catz Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360 is similar in options and performance to the Mad Catz Officially Licensed Wireless Force Feedback Wheel for Xbox 360. The strongest distinguisher is indicated even in its name: the lack of force feedback. While this wheel can't really provide you with such a true-to-life effectiveness like its haptic feedback version or the budget driving simulator option, the Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit 458 Italia produced by Thrustmaster, it is a good starting point for beginners. Fortunately it can be paired with the OpenWheeler, so that you can really begin your simulator racing experience with adequate equipment. The lack of force feedback is definitely not pleasant, but in this price range there's no Logitech Driving Force GT supported by Xbox 360, so the Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360 is probably among the best steering wheel sets you can acquire if you seek acceptable design and as less cord as possible. Though made of plastic, the wheel is not too light (not that it'd really be a problem, once installed on the marvelous OpenWheeler game seat) and it has a good amount of functional buttons. All the buttons you'd expect from an Xbox 360 wheel are present, reflecting the standard controller: Start, Back, Home, Y, X, A, B and the D-pad. But the left and the right-stick, the functions of which are re-assigned to the small digital gear changing paddles. They are responsive. Even though if you have had the chance to try the GT-style paddles on Thrustmaster 458 Italia which are made of sleek stainless steel for the Ferrari 458 Cockpit, you'd score them as 'good enough for shifting gears' at most. Well, not every sports car is a Ferrari, and it doesn't have to be. The gear stick is also tiny, but prompt-reacting and it's detachable and mountable on either side of the wheel. Though it's feather-light, thus ultimate customization is achieved, suiting all the drivers worldwide. The Mad Catz Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360's steering wheel is covered with anti-slip rubber texture along the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions, which results in a comfortable grip. There's an all-plastic desk-clamp mechanism, that can be used for table of desk clamping, but does not seem or feel reliable for extended usage. This is not a surprise, such type of clamping like mentioned in the text above is more of a temporary solution until you get used to using a steering wheel controller or most likely up till your first longer session, when you realize how important firm support is for driving. Just like you need a secure-mounted driving wheel in a real car, whatever the roads you drive on, you do need a good mount and a proper-shaped seat in car racing games to better focus on driving - OpenWheeler gaming seat will provide you with it for all your sim racing and flight simulator games. Back to our test wheel, there's a further mounting option allowed - lap-mounting. It's fairly comfortable and optimized for longer sessions (while here 'longer' means '35-40 minutes instead of 15 prior to loosing feeling in your legs'). The one-position-only, inverted plastic pedal set has a removable foot rest. Once you depress the clutch or the brake, there's a relatively prolonged travel back to their initial place. No heel- or toe-shifting is available. Other than this, the pedals are bulky and do their job fine. There's not really an installation part of the Mad Catz Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360, since it is a steering wheel for Xbox 360 only, unlike most of the Thrustmaster wheels, no cross platform play is possible. And as a final part of this general description paragraph, please take into account - there's an AC Adapter option for powering (alternatively standard 3AA batteries are needed), there's a plug for it, but it's not included in the box. Such was to be included from the Mad Catz but due to some manufacture and marketing reasons, it wasn't. It took us no longer than a minute to find a replacement power supply on the Amazon UK for some £7.99. That's why the aforementioned omission should be regarded as minor. Now, let's test!
Games like Shift: Unleashed, Project Gotham Racing 4, Forza Motorsport 3 and the state-of-art, Forza Horizon are all compatible with Mad Catz Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360. Despite of the limited turning circle of 270-degrees, the wheel is very rigid. The paddles are responsive and quick and good words can be said about the gear lever's preciseness. Either of them should have been a bit larger, though, an improvement applied in Officially Licensed Wireless Force Feedback Wheel for Xbox 360. The lack of confirming sound when paddle shifting is an omission you can live without but it would have been better if provided. It can't have been that pricey to include, as you have it in both the rivalry Thrustmaster wheels compatible with Xbox 360 - the Thrustmaster 458 Italia (ideal starter kit along with the OpenWheeler game seat, that later only needs to be upgraded on the driving wheel set part) and the smooth Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit Italia. Without force feedback or vibration, though, the Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360 can only be objectively recommended for beginners. Not having such makes the wheel numb to both oversteering and understeering. In other words - half of the fun, and a basic indicator for simulators. By setting all the assisting systems it's slightly compensated. However, in simulators you should be instantly aware when loosing grip, in order to register new records and improve your driving style as much as possible. So, this steering wheel set is best suitable for arcades as opposed with the 458 Italia Cockpit - the vibration semi- driving simulator alternative by Thrustmaster. The 458 Cockpit Italia always provides you with the right amount of vibration, so it's equally suitable for any racing genre. The Mad Catz Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360 on the other hand is wireless and you don't have to worry about choosing a racing seat for it, as the OpenWheeler matches it. Maneuvering with the Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360, changing gears and operating it as a whole is further enhanced by it being a rather quiet steering wheel. The pedals which similarly to the shining predominantly-metal stunning-turning radius (1080-degrees), Thrustmaster T500 RS driving wheel set are inverted to emulate real sports car pedals, have a bit too much space in between, so left-foot braking is needed. Unlike the top PS3 wheel the T500 RS, there's no clutch pedal and no metal, so much for comparison. This positioning of the pedals though was only applied in professional driving simulators for decades, prior to the T500 RS, so we find mentioning the latter with due credit - relevant. In conclusion, Mad Catz Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360 is a very good alternative for rookies, it is smooth and it has an up-to-date design. Paired to the OpenWheeler gaming seat, you'll have a fulfilling starter kit for your car racing journeys. Most of the car racing games currently on market support this steering wheel set and though it's not as cool as a Ferrari-designed one, it's elegant and due to the black and dark silver colours expanded by the green circle, it's a nice addition to your precious Xbox 360 console.
The aesthetically pleasing OpenWheeler gaming seat has many more advantages, in addition to ideally matching the Mad Catz Wireless Racing Wheel for Xbox 360. It is compatible to all the steering wheels you can currently find on market. It is well-built and ergonomic, providing firm back and shoulder support to your body. Because of the sliding metal rails in its stainless steel frame chassis, any pedal block mounted on it can be adjusted to suit any size of driver. Thus, any friends or family members regardless of their age will also have the option to try it. Of course, only if you're willing to let them near your precious driving simulator equipment. The OpenWheeler is also fully-foldable, so you can store it in your living room, without having to experience all the inconveniences of coach racers. When you finish your game play, you can simply store in a wardrobe, highboy cabinet or under a bed. To make the setting up of your car racing or flight simulator journey even easier, there are two in-built front wheels and hard floor protectors for moving it all around your room.
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