|Thrustmaster RGT Force Feedback Pro Clutch Edition|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Larry Fraser - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 12 April 2008|
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One feature that turned out to be a huge plus for the Thrustmaster RGT Force Feedback Pro Clutch Edition is a feature I initially didn’t give a second thought, the four paddles. While every mid to high end wheel now comes standard with shifter paddles, Thrustmaster goes one step further here. This wheel includes not two but four paddles behind the wheel. The top two are your standard digital shifter paddles that can be used to shift gears or assigned any other button function. The bottom two are analog paddles that can take the place of gas and brake. While it is true that you can usually assign the gas and brake function to a digital paddle, the result is an all or nothing function. You either have 100% gas or 0% gas. With an analog paddle, the more your pull the paddle, the more gas you apply just like the foot pedal. I had honestly never given a feature like this much mind. My thoughts were along lines of why would you want to use that when you have actual pedals you could be using. The benefits became very clear not during my testing but when my five year old Daughter requested to give it a try. She enjoys racing games on her computer and has her own wheel, but has always struggled with the pedal unit. I’ve always had to assign her digital paddles to the gas and the brake. With the analog paddles she was able to get around the track with ease. They allowed her the partial throttle control that she never could get with the digital paddles.
The steering wheel base is held in place by a single screw clamping mechanism that utilized the same four rubber pads that are found on the pedal unit. (with similar results) I found myself constantly trying to tighten the single tightening bolt with increasing fear that I would eventually break it. I never was able to get the wheel locked in place to a degree that I would be comfortable with. It always had a tendency to work loose from my desk. This can be frustrating when your in the middle of a race and you have to worry about reseating your steering wheel base. I suffered at least one smashed finger during a race when I tried to make a quick adjustment to the base and got my finger caught between the unit and my desk. Needless to say I didn't do very well in that race. I will say that it is no worse than the mounting mechanism on my Logitech Momo wheel, just still in need of much improvement.
The pedal unit is connected to the base unit by a single wire that splits into two RJ25 style plugs just smaller. One of these wires plugs into the back of the wheel base and the other into the base of the shifter. Given that the shifter is not designed to be disconnect from the wheel I really don’t see the need for the double plug. I have to imagine that this could have easily be accomplished with just one plug.
The unit is powered by a standard wall wart which plugs into the base of the wheel unit. You will also have a USB cord coming from the base of the wheel unit to be plugged into your computer. The end result is three wires coming out the back of the wheel unit. I realize that this is the standard configuration and is most likely the simplest design given the location of the wheel motor, however I would much rather have the USB cord and the power cord coming out of the pedal unit with a single cable connecting the pedals to the wheel.
The negatives I have mentioned should NOT make you run away from the Thrustmaster RGT Force Feedback Pro Clutch Edition given that they are common in all wheels in mid to lower price tiers. However, the addition of the clutch pedal and the analog paddles are usually not included in a product of this price.