Thrustmaster can safely be considered one of the leading peripheral manufacturers in the world, and at the heart of their output lie their line of gaming steering wheels. The TMX is the Xbox One and Windows enabled version of the PS4’s T150 that Stefan was rather taken with a few months ago, and we took it for a spin to see how this version holds up.
The 11” wheel certainly feels authentic, with a good degree of weight to the steering. The rubberised grips help to keep you in control, and emphasises the solidity of the wheel itself. These are black here compared to the bright blue of the T150’s, which also has the advantage of making it look a great deal more like something from the real world than the PlayStation equivalent.
Attached just behind the wheel body are the two metal paddle shifters which elicit a satisfying click with each press. They’ve been designed with some real thought, with a lot of surface area for you to aim for with your fingers and a switch that should be good for over 500,000 activations to ensure some real longevity.
The wheel itself does make some noise in action, though the servo gears and mixed belt pulley are relatively quiet overall. I often play with my headphones on, so the small noise from the unit was invisible, but without a headset on the whirring as I pulled the wheel from side to side didn’t distract or detract from the action. It’s obviously possible that someone used to a higher-spec wheel may disagree.
Either way, the wheel is remarkably accurate, and the combination of powerful force feedback and rumble do a fantastic job of bringing you right into the driving seat of whatever game you’re playing. I mainly tested the wheel using the newly released Dirt Rally, and overall the experience was remarkable, and I found myself genuinely fighting to keep the car on the right track with a level of realism that surprised me. Just be sure to turn the “Soft lock” option on in this particular game.
The included pedals do a perfectly satisfactory job with a good range of nuance to their motion, though they’re the weakest part of the package. Most importantly, they manage to stay put, with the extended base and its non-slip pads helping to keep the pedals where they need to be. At least, that’s what I found on carpet, but I know Stefan found the T150’s identical pedals to slip when in use on his carpet. Your mileage may vary, in other words.
They’re still a touch plastic-y, and lack the resistance of a high-end set-up, but you can upgrade to the three pedal T3PA or T3PA-Pro whose metal pedals will undoubtedly feel more solid through repeated use. However, as an entry package the TMX unit performs admirably, and gives you the advantage of being able to upgrade later on.
The final addition that you can make is with the TH8A add-on shifter, and if the quality is as high as the wheel itself, I can imagine a full setup will feel very good for all manner of simulation racers. Again, this is all modular so you can upgrade as and when you feel the need, but I’m sure that most won’t feel short-changed by the metal paddle shifters behind the steering wheel that form a key part of the TMX unit.
The wheel itself includes a full set of buttons for navigating menus and performing other functions which all do an acceptable job. The only one I didn’t like was the loose feeling D-pad.
One other element that annoyed me was the length of the TMX’s cables. If you’re a PC player then you’ll likely be sat at your desk, and the short distance between you and your computer will be well within the TMX’s range. However, as a console player you may find yourself having to rearrange your living room, and I found that neither the USB cable nor the power lead offered anywhere near the distance I needed.
Overall, the Thrustmaster TMX is an excellent mid-range simulation wheel – coming in at the same £169.99 RRP as the T150 – whose responsive and powerful feedback makes for an utterly engaging driving experience. There are elements to the package that are a bit weaker, but their functionality remained unquestionable and there’s always the potential to step up to better accessories down the line. If you’re looking for an Xbox One steering wheel that brings a fantastic level of realism to your living room, the Thrustmaster TMX could well be for you.