Thrustmaster T248X review: A worthy contender
The Thrustmaster T248X is the company’s attempt at a budget option for Xbox and PC players alike, but how does it hold up against the competition?
Sim racing over the last few years has become a widely popular sport, with people around the world taking to Assetto Corsa or iRacing to compete against others.
Forza Motorsport is set to launch on October 10 with EA Sports WRC just a month later, and fans are excited about the popular racing games. We reviewed the Logitech G920 racing wheel for those on a budget, but what about those with a bit more money?
Thrustmaster was kind enough to send over the T248X wheel and pedal set, and we can confidently say it’s worth checking out.
- Connectivity: USB-A
- Compatibility: PC, Xbox
- Force Feedback: Hybrid Drive
- Price: $399.99
- Features: Force feedback, Magnetic paddles, Magnetic pedals, Dashboard display, three Force Feedback settings
The Thrustmaster T248X has an appealing design that we quite enjoy, but we do think they could have done a bit better with the overall design.
Its plastic wheelbase and desk clamp are exactly what we expected for the price and bolts onto our Secretlab Magnus Pro desk without any issue.
The wheel itself comes in at right around 10.5″ in diameter, which is comparable to Logitech’s G920 and G923 wheels but is a bit smaller than others.
Thrustmaster did wrap the outer facing portion of the wheel in leather, but we found it to be barely noticeable and nowhere near as high quality as other wheels. The rest of the main wheel portion is made from plastic, except for the paddles.
The company didn’t skimp on buttons and features on the face of the T248X, with the dashboard display being the biggest thing added to make the wheel stand out from its competition. With it, you can view a bunch of different bits of information including gear ratio, RPM, best lap, and more.
It’s quite handy for in-game information, but it also gives you the ability to adjust settings on the wheel without having to tinker with in-depth software.
Thrustmaster added two magnetic paddles to the back side of the wheel, which are very well-built. However, they’re horrendously loud and we found the noise to be very distracting while ingame.
The buttons on the face of the wheel are mounted directly into the molded part of the wheel. They’re perfectly serviceable, and they don’t feel like we’ll have any issues with them breaking in the near future.
The T248X comes with Thrustmaster’s T3PA pedals as well, which we found to be phenomenal thanks to the fact the brake pedal can be adjusted to four different pressure modes. The base is largely made of plastic, which is fine, and all three of the pedal faces are made of lightweight metal.
We do wish that the T248X was wrapped in higher-quality leather around the rim of the wheel and would have loved to see Thrustmaster make the paddles quite a bit quieter. Although it’s made almost entirely of plastic, it still feels quite premium and we’re definitely happy using it for long sessions.
The Thrustmaster T248X has a plethora of features that are quite perfect for a beginning sim racer. The buttons are fine, and they’re all within easy reach while in-game.
As there are a lot of cables running from the full wheel setup, cable management is greatly appreciated and Thrustmaster did quite well doing so with cable channels and Velcro straps to help keep them tidy.
They even took it to the next level with the USB cable, as you can disconnect it at the back of the wheel without having to run the cable through the velcro strap each time. We do wish they did it with the power and pedal cables, though.
One of the most important aspects of higher-end racing wheels is force feedback, and Thrustmaster’s adjustable hybrid drive is great. It’s not as high quality as direct-drive wheels, but the hybrid drive is definitely a step up from the G920’s fully gear-driven system.
Instead of just a gear, the hybrid drive system uses a gear and belt combination for even better feedback. There are three presets for the level of force feedback as well, which are accessible through its onboard screen.
The Thrustmaster program is by far the easiest software we’ve ever used, mainly because there aren’t really any features to it. There are options to test the input, the current force feedback, and update the firmware of the device.
We really prefer it this way, as each game generally needs its own tweaking with a racing wheel, so this leaves changing around the controls to either the one device settings or in-game.
We were a bit hesitant to try out Thrustmaster’s Hybrid Drive setup but were pleasantly surprised once we started gaming with it.
While the gear drive on the Logitech G920 is plenty for most, the added torque and feel from the T248X is well worth the added $100 or so in price.
The added torque comes from Thrustmaster’s Hybrid Drive system, which uses both a belt and gear to provide force feedback. It’s not quite as nice as a full belt drive system, but we found it to be pretty realistic while testing it out.
We used it on Assetto Corsa Competizione and Dirt Rally 2.0 and the wheel felt great the entire time.
The T3PM pedals are really, really, good, straight out of the box. We found the brake to be extremely smooth and easy to press, which makes using the T248X much more realistic.
You can mod the brake resistance as well by changing out the spring or removing the bump stop, and Thrustmaster even offers a spring kit with two different strength springs to try out.
Our only complaint about the T3PM pedals is that they don’t grip onto carpet or hardwood very well unlike the Logitech G920 pedals. However, the higher quality brake resistance and overall feel make them our preferred option overall.
Should you buy it?
You should definitely look at the Thrustmaster T248X if you are looking to purchase a racing wheel and are limited in terms of budget.
The hybrid drive system and high-quality pedals provide stellar immersion into the latest racing games and the $399.99 price tag isn’t out of reach for most.
The Verdict – 4/5
We love Thrustmaster’s T248X steering wheel, but the noise made by the paddles and low-quality leather wrap around the rim of the wheel make them fall just short of perfect.
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