|Thrustmaster Run-N-Drive PC/PS3 Wireless Gamepad|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 08 April 2009|
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Gamepad Final Thoughts
So how do I feel about the Thrustmaster Run-N-Drive wireless gamepad, model 4160527? At first, I was drawn in by the looks, and expected this to be an attractive upgrade to the standard SIXAXIS/DualShock3 controller. But then my hands wrapped themselves around the Thrustmaster Run-N-Drive, and that feeling of something new didn't bring positive emotion with it. The Run-N-Drive shares all of the same functionality, but the major difference comes with the expectation that everything will be the same just better.
While I will admit that my hands are larger than the average teenager likely to play games on a console, I think that it would have been a good idea to keep the profile identical to the source it imitates (Sony's SIXAXIS controller). The handle is roughly the same (only extended), but the thumb sticks have slightly smaller pads and are approximately 1/2" closer than normal. This was easy enough to get used to, but it's still not convenient to gamers who switch between controllers. Probably the biggest irritation was the position of the analog (cross) thumb pad, which was under-sized and made difficult to access because of the Optical Wheel dial.
The Thrustmaster Run-N-Drive wireless gamepad comes in two packages: retail box (what we received) and a plastic bubble-pack. Guillemot offers the bubble-pack version for a few dollars less, even though the contents are identical, so it stands to reason that the retail package isn't the best deal if you've got a choice.
Although I'm a fan of how nice the Run'N'Drive gamepad looks, the feel takes some getting used to. The construction is top-notch, and the functionality is better that nearly every other aftermarket gamepad available for the PS3. I really would like to see AA batteries used in place of AAA, and a larger/more accessible analog thumb pad, but otherwise I have not major qualms with the Run'N'Drive.
As of April 2009, the Thrustmaster Run-N-Drive 4160527 sells at NewEgg for $29.99, but our price comparison tool has found many other online retailers stocking this wireless gamepad as well. There doesn't seem to be a unique part number for the bubble-pack version Guillemot offers, so some careful searching could save a few extra dollars (although I recommend simply searching out the lowest price).
In conclusion, I can recommend the Thrustmaster Run-N-Drive wireless gamepad to gamers wanting an all-encompassing controller for the PC/PS2/PS3 platforms. It doesn't beat out the SIXAXIS/DualShock3, but Sony keeps the licensing for Bluetooth wireless technology for themselves. While it works well for driving and flight simulation games, it will never really beat a full driving wheel/pedal kit or flight yoke; both of which Thrustmaster also offers for an unusually low price. The new model 4160527 Thrustmaster Run-N-Drive isn't going to beat-out specialized controllers, but it's an excellent alternative for gamers wanting maximum functionality out of a single gamepad.
+ Optical Wheel dial offers improved driving interaction
- Analog thumb pad is too small
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.
Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.
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