Nowadays, the sources of adrenaline seem to be almost infinite. There are a variety of, let's call them figuratively, new-edge sports activities. From the bungee jumping and snowboard to the paragliding. The thing is that in order to afford them, you need to have a lot of free time and most of them are seasonal. Even our favorite stadium concerts are held mainly through the summer. How about something you can practice five times a week for an hour or so after work and still have enough time and energy left for both your healthy night's sleep and for your family? Sounds good, doesn't it.
Times when car racing games (also computer games in general) was more of a leisure activity for the kids on late Sunday afternoons are long gone now. Due to the immense realism that is though constantly increasing, a very few car racing fans neglect the advantages and the fun a good simulator or an arcade can provide. Even real racing car drivers spend time on simulators as an obligatory part of their training. It is affordable and you don't really need that many pieces of equipment. Whereas, for a variety of reasons you may not find it that suitable to actually purchase a good-conditioned BMW Z4 3.2, another all-time affordable classic like Honda CR-X del Sol or why not a spanking new Ford Fiesta ST 2013 (a good alternative for city traffic indeed, perfectly reviewed by Top Gear quite recently), with electronic racing equipment things are rather different. Regardless of your weight and height, you will be able to position yourself comfortably, having acquired the proper driving simulator set. What's more, because of the pioneer in steering wheels equipment, the Thrustmaster, you can now do the latter in a standard-size living room. You just need a contemporary computer or an Xbox 360 video game console and a few titles to begin with, just like the: Forza Motorsport 4, Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed and Colin McRae: Dirt 3. The Thrustmaster's offer can be described at least as pretty tempting for all the console video game players who had to think of most avant-garde solutions in order to have their beloved Xbox 360 steering wheels around the TV set and manage to fit an appropriate piece of furniture to mount them - all this without re-decorating the entire room or wasting valuable space.
All the above-mentioned problems and inconveniences will be forgotten for good, once you try the Thrustmaster Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit 458 Italia Edition. Released as the successor (or more appropriately a succession) of the shiny Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Italia racing wheel, in addition to the diligently-made and stunningly realistic replica of the actual Ferrari 458 Italia Gran Turismo car's driving wheel, it has an extra major advantage. The result of the hard work of the Thrustmaster's design team is magnificent - owing to the fully collapsible stylish black steel-structured stand holding the wheel and pedal units together, a truly functional driving simulator is formed. The stand is height-adjustable, which allows you to use it on any chair you feel comfortable in, without having to hunch over, that in the long-term can lead to serious health problems. Comfort has been among the key terms designing the foldable cockpit. You can store your Thrustmaster Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit 458 Italia Edition under a single bed or in a standard closet any time it's not in use. It is heavy (about 22 pounds), well-built and stable.
The steering wheel besides being identical to the sterling Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Italia video game driving wheel set's wheel, is a 7/10 scale copy of the real one. It is lavishly coated in a grippy, padded rubber, so that your hands will not sweat, regardless of your gaming sessions' average length. There is at least one more obvious advantage, apart from the stand that differs it from the steering wheel system. It is the exclusive G.V.S.(Global Vibration System) technology applied, so that vibration is enabled. The modus operandi of this 16-bit precise technology is the following: it functions all the time the vibration is connected (by a simple USB included in the box, not an extra AC/DC adaptor) and because of it the vibration can be felt throughout the entire cockpit, including the steering column and the pedal set. A clever and a rather handy innovation! The vibration itself, expectedly, cannot outweigh a force feedback system to any well-experienced gamer. For a novice to a mid-experienced one, we believe it is the right choice, by no means a compromise. It is strong enough to feel the differences between the different road surfaces in rally games or to alarm you when you've left the boundaries of the racing track. At the same time, it's not too harsh to cause any pain in your wrists. Besides, if you're professionally into simulator racing but you can't afford to spend some thousand pounds on the pro-labeled custom-made driving simulator equipment, you'd best take a look at the brilliant aluminium Thrustmaster T500 RS racing wheel system, paired with the matching Thrustmaster TH8RS gearbox and mounted on the space-saving durable black and red OpenWheeler+ game seat. If you are still gaining your experience though, the all-in-one mid-range cockpit should fulfill your dream of actually being able to enjoy a racing game. Since neither a keyboard, not any dual sticks can adequately simulate the experience of driving race cars. All this at a reasonable price. But is the Thrustmaster Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit 458 Italia Edition really worth the difference in its price as compared to the Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Italia racing wheel? Let's find out.
The unwrapping and hooking up part this time has been pretty simple, so we don't really feel it needs to be retold in more than a sentence or two. The cockpit is plug-and-play, and a piece of cake to adjust for any size of player. In addition, probably the USB-cord could have been slightly longer, so that you can comfortably connect it to your Xbox 360 in a larger room. There is a variety of budget extension cords on market though, so this particular con is minor. Worth mentioning extra to all the steering wheels we've tried so far is the headset connector on the wheel-circle. Positioned between the ‘X' and ‘Xbox 360' buttons, you can, for instance, use it to connect a microphone-headset and chat during online multiplayer sessions. Both the drilled pedals and the gear changing paddles are made of metal that along with the overall Ferrari-licensed black stainless steel structure, thick rubber and streamlined plastic, do indicate a great built-quality for the class.
We have tested the Thrustmaster Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit 458 Italia Edition on a couple of titles, like usual the ones we suggest will be of greatest interest to its future owners. These were: Colin McRae: Dirt 3, Forza Motorsport 4 and Need for Speed: Shift 2. The wheel was instantly recognized on all of them and the control was more than satisfactory, especially on the Forza Motorsport 4 and Shift 2. Like mentioned above, the contact between the 11.2 inches (28.4 centimetres) diameter steering wheel and your hands is perfect. We've felt the 270-degree rotation peachier than it is on the Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Italia driving wheel or any other mid-range gaming wheel, unless mounted to a proper game seat. Simple as it is, due to the cockpit structure, the Ferrari Vibration GT is quite ergonomic, way exceeding any furniture installation options generally used by novice-gamers after having spent some hundred British pounds on their starter kit-wheel sets. The secure and stable journey you'd have using the cockpit will help you cut down precious seconds of your lap times. The vibration engine is adequate and the arrangement of the: A, B, X and Y (located where the turn signals on the real glorious Ferrari f430 successor, the Ferrari 458 Italia are) digital function buttons is very handy. Identically to the 458 Italia and Ferrari F430 Thrustmaster wheels, the Engine Start button is a D-pad and the Manettino dial is ready to be set up for driver assist, traction control or other fine-tune settings you decide. Both the touch and the response of the solid metal gear changing paddles are ample. There is the familiar and pleasing positive click every time you shift a gear and they are attached to the wheel and turn with you. The foot pad is wide and the pedals provide you with decent resistance. Having the Manettino knob, the adequate vibration and the prompt-reacting paddles and digital action buttons always at hand, the driving delight of any car you drive (even the clumsy Audi TT 3.2 in Shift 2 or the non-impressive F-Class Ford Ka 2011 in the exclusive Xbox 360's Forza 4 Motorsport) will reflect the one you can obtain from the real-world Ferrari 458 Italia car. Of course, the real one is better but undoubtedly far less accessible. Summarizing up this longer paragraph - the Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit 458 Italia Edition definitely has a lot more to offer than the ordinary Ferrari 458 Italia driving wheel, despite of the wheel itself being literally the same.
We have distinguished just three flaws, one of them, as a matter of fact, quite arguable. That's why, we will begin with the agreed on first. The 8-feet length of the USB connecting cord is ideal when you pair the Scuderia black and silver, sleek cockpit to a computer. However, suggesting you might want to use it with (or test it on)) a larger-sized widescreen LED TV and you have, normally, positioned your Xbox 360 nearby (once again - cable length), then you will need a longer cable. Extension cords are not expensive nowadays, however we think this should have been standard, considering the cost of this very unit. A curious fact is that, there is an unusable battery compartment behind the pedals of the set. It is a left over from the Ferrari Wireless GT Cockpit 430 Scuderia Edition PC/PS 3 which base is used in the making of the Vibration GT as well. Although not really a problem and definitely sharing no other of the wireless cockpit's flaws, this empty compartment (with removed metal contacts) should have been cut, regardless of any cost-reducing policy. Especially considering that such hasn't been applied anywhere else. Still - annoying. The arguable disadvantage, like you have probably guessed is the absence of a gear stick. In general, it is nice having one. However, the Thrustmaster Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit 458 Italia Edition is a Ferrari-certified product and a replica to the Ferrari 458 Italia. It is Ferrari-labeled, it has the Manettino dial and among its distinctive features is the resemblance to the real super sport car. If you're a true Ferrari enthusiast you are probably aware that there is no stick-shift option available in real-life for the 458 Italia as well ever since its launch and such is not expected. This being said, it is up to you whether to regard this omission as a disadvantage or exactly the opposite.
The conclusion we have reached is that the Thrustmaster Ferrari Vibration GT Cockpit 458 Italia Edition feels great in its segment, the mid-range one. It is definitely better than all the entry steering wheels available. Despite of being pricier (related to the unique foldable construction it has), there is hardly a better alternative for the price that can substitute an entire driving simulator. It is well-built, pretty functional and stylish. And apart from a few minor flaws (such can be found in any single product), it is worth every penny.
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