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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 08 April 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Thrustmaster Run-N-Drive PC/PS3 Wireless Gamepad
The new Run-N-Drive Gamepad
Closer Look: Run-N-Drive 4160527
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

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.

Thrustmaster_Run-N-Drive_Gamepad.jpg

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.

Run-N-Drive Conclusion

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.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval

+ Optical Wheel dial offers improved driving interaction
+ Programmable buttons allow customization
+ Contoured trigger buttons add comfort
+ 2.4 GHz wireless gamepad
+ Internal memory stores custom mapping and combo keys
+ Very natural shape and feel
+ Contoured trigger buttons add comfort
+ Compatible with PC, PS2, and PS3
+ Very accurate thumb sticks
+ Underbelly triggers add diverse functionality

Cons:

- Analog thumb pad is too small
- Optical Wheel dial obstructs analog thumb pad
- AA batteries last longer than AAA
- New layout requires some getting used to

Ratings:

  • Presentation: 8.75
  • Appearance: 9.25
  • Construction: 8.00
  • Functionality: 8.50
  • Value: 8.00

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.

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Comments 

 
# DetectionMirage 2013-02-05 10:27
I have gone through 3 of these in the past 3 years, I even tried a wired one, but it was constructed as nicely as the wireless one. The problem I keep having is the notorious drifting and stuck buttons. Typically the Controller will have a burst of working well after about 25 minutes of playing with it. The problem becomes when you first turn it on it drifts, you will walk forward or aim up and down with out pressing the analog. Also sometimes it keeps pressing a button by it self (i.e presses X when X has not been pressed). This may be the fault of batteries or calibration, but it certainly does not detect as when as a sony controller. I really enjoy the underside buttons, they are great for aiming (zooming) and crouching. If the can improve the response of the controller, that would be better. Maybe if the did have 2 AA, it might upgrade the signal.
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