Whilst you might be aware that Logitech is renowned and respected for many product lines, Fanatec remains the underdog in our tests. In fact, suffice to say, Fanatec's new racing wheels are so realistic that, following years of failed attempts, Porsche finally agreed to license its brand to the German company. You can imagine how the stakes are high, then, with a prestigious name like Porsche backing your product. So we set out to determine if Fanatec is up to scratch.
We found that the design of the S wheel couldn't be more different from Logitech's G27 - all the buttons are directly on the wheel, the shifter is attached via metal bars, the wheel can be turned on or off, plus it has an LED on top so immediate adjustments can be made to the strength, turning radius, and more besides. In fact, the only real similarity in terms of design can be found in the red stitching on the wheel, as well as the size though it must be admitted that the S wheel is three quarters of an inch larger.
We must say too that Fanatec's racing wheel design offers a welcome change, and, indeed, we still can't adjust ourselves to it. To begin with, unlike the G27, the S wheel works with the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC that means it's the most accessible wheel tested. Eight buttons are large as well as easy to press, with four each side of the steering wheel, and, furthermore, they even glow according to which console the wheel is plugged into. Okay, those buttons aren't as tactile as we would have liked, but you can be sure they are sufficiently large and strong enough to push.
The D-pad can be found on the lower portion of the wheel, plus two extra buttons, which was somewhat confusing. At the same time it's difficult to control and is barely suitable for navigating menus whilst racing on a console. Equally the two buttons underneath are also difficult to press. On the other hand, the paddleshifters are just as good as you'd find on the G27, built to perfection and made of stainless steel.
However, there are problems, for instance, connecting either the G+1 or sequential shifter to the wheel. In order to achieve this we had to take the two included metal bars and then place them inside the corresponding holes in both the wheel and shifter. In the past Fanatec wheels haven't presented this problem but we must say we found the metal bars very difficult to place inside firmly, then too hard to move from both the wheel and the shifter. In fact, the plastic tops were still lodged in the shifter and we couldn't remove them.
We must also say that the 6+1 shifter is also a far cry from Logitech's design. It isn't nearly so smooth or seamless as we've come to expect, in terms of it being a simple plastic piece, and, to be honest, shifting gears should not require fighting some gearbox. Unfortunately, in this instance, it did. We have to say, though, the sequential shifter was much easier to use for the simple fact it just clicked back into place after every gear change.
The pedal board is completely plastic and this includes the pedals. It feels right as you press them, being better suited to shoeless drivers than the G27, but not by a long stretch. Similarly, the board itself is lighter than we would have liked though suffice to say it does come with an attachable metal board. This adds plenty of weight to it. The pedals performed decently yet they did feel a little cheap.
The S wheel provides an excellent driving experience, much like the G27. It was easier to ascertain quick adjustments, thanks to the LED screen, and for racing games, which usually require more action on the button. But navigating screens on gaming consoles was a nightmare by comparison. We must say it took us some time to adjust to activating different buttons whilst involved in a race, although, equally, once we became settled, each of the eight buttons were easily accessible.
As far as the wheel was concerned it performed well. The larger steering wheel with thick leather confirmed it was easier to grip, giving the illusion of more power, yet as far as strength goes it's very similar to the G27. The pedals remain sensitive, but sufficient to utilize properly, though the clutch tends to stick, and it simply doesn't have the weight or feel we would have preferred. To be honest it feels a little cheap. And another factor: shifting with the 6+1 shifter just didn't operate properly. Shifting gears works by itself, but it was difficult to shift these gears, the reason being that the metal attachment from the wheel to the gearbox proved unstable.
Drifting was only slightly better than it was with the G27, and this was partly due to the thicker steering wheel. As for the S wheel, well, it is faster than the G27, yet not sufficient to make a difference where it should count. Its main advantage, in fact, is the larger and thicker steering wheel.
The Porsche 911 Turbo S Wheel is a great piece of hardware except for the fact it's generally marred by small nuisances. And what are these you might be asking? Well, they include an uncomfortable and cheap 6+1 shifter, a budget attachment method for the gearbox, plus a poorly placed and designed D-pad for navigation. We must say that these faults are huge ones, meaning it was difficult to want to use the gearbox at all.
Yet the wheel itself performs flawlessly. It's faster, stronger, more comfortable, more accessible, in comparison to the G27. And if you exchange the standard pedals for the Clubsport pedals the price shoots through the roof, but so does the quality (of which more later). You can moot some of these differences but you have to bear in mind that, with its ability to work with the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and also the PC (the latter pair wirelessly), the Porsche 911 Turbo S Wheel Clubsport Edition remains a serious contender for your living room dashboard - even with its faults.
OpenWheeler is a very desirable driving simulator which brings maximum pleasure and satisfaction to the racing car game fans and remains a racing game chair which delivers way more than it promises - utmost enjoyment while playing only racing car simulation game compatible with PS, XBOX & Wii game consoles.
It's a single seater racing simulator with stunning paintwork that covers all possible market standards. With a foldable adjustable seat especially designed for racing cars it provides racing car game enthusiasts with maximum body support and the best driver seat position thanks to the fact that it is fully adjustable backwards and forward.
With its reclining racing seat comes with a real car seat sliding mechanism as a standard ($40 or £40 with PlaySeat, not available with GameRacer at all).
And finally, we have to say, OpenWheeler works with all kinds of steering wheels.
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