Review: Thrustmaster T80 Racing Wheel for PS3/PS4

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Product: Thrustmaster T80 Racing Wheel
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Manufacturer: Thrustmaster
Original MSRP: $99.99
This product was purchased by PS Nation for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Editor’s Note:
The wheel doesn’t include the manual, so here’s the link to it online. It’ll help with a few things, like how to attach the seemingly backwards bracket, and how to set the sensitivity of the wheel itself (on the PS3): T80 Manual (PDF)

PS Nation also reviewed this Steering Wheel:

Driving fans have been put in quite the pickle on PlayStation 4. Logitech no longer makes driving wheels and they never worked with Sony to ensure that their existing wheels work on the new console. At this point only wheels from one manufacturer are compatible with PS4, those from Thrustmaster (at least one other company is saying that their products will work “soon” though). So we’re a bit handcuffed at the moment if we want a wheel for the newly released DRIVECLUB. That’s where the T80 Steering Wheel comes in, along with the T300RS (which runs $399.99 currently) as they’re the only wheels that work at all.

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The T80 is what could be considered the “entry-level” model but it’s a pretty solid package. Also, it’s compatible with both the PS3 and PS4 but you’ll need to flip a simple switch on the upper-left of the panel behind the wheel for the appropriate console. Button layout is great and easy to reach without moving your hand very much and it even includes a Share button for taking that quick screenshot. One annoyance though is the inclusion of a red LED on the front of the wheel to indicate that it’s correctly connected. Even though the wheel doesn’t require a separate power supply, the light is incredibly bright. I actually put a piece of tape over it because it distracts me when the room lights are down.

T80Light

The reason that it doesn’t require a power supply is that it doesn’t have any powered force feedback. Instead, the wheel offers resistance with the use of bungee cords. Resistance is very smooth, but it’s constant and a bit strong compared to how a wheel with power steering would feel. If you’re used to using a wheel with force feedback, this can take some time to feel right. For me, it works but I definitely prefer active force feedback though at $99 I guess you can’t expect everything.

Shifting is handled with the “flappy-paddles” on the wheel itself instead of a separate gear shift stick. They’re built-in to the wheel though, and not truly “flappy”, so more like the paddles on the Logitech GT Force Pro. They’re responsive enough though, but for the hardcore, they may not be sufficient.

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The package includes two pedals (so no clutch) on a very well-constructed base. The pedals are both setup so that you can change the rotation of them into three different configurations, but have a good screwdriver handy. There are two screws you’ll need to take out before you can turn the individual pedals and the screws are tightened REALLY well. Hit this link to the Adjustable Pedal Set (PDF) if you want more info. The base plugs into the back of the wheel base via an RJ-11 connector, which is easy to access.

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Responsiveness is very good, and since they’re using a bungee cord inside, motion is really smooth as well. The bracket used to mount it to the tabletop secures tightly (better than my Logitech wheel) and is easy to work with since it has a single handle on the bottom. The base works pretty well on carpet and on smooth surfaces with a decent number of rubber feet, but I would have liked the spike strip like on the bottom of the Logitech wheel setup. My biggest complaint though, is that the USB cable from the wheel to the console is rather short. So short in fact, that I personally have to use an extension cable. I sit a decent distance away from the TV, but nowhere near being an unreasonable distance.

Conclusion:
I’ve been using the wheel for a couple of weeks now, and if it was the first one I’d ever used I would probably like it more, but simply-put, it’s a very baseline wheel. It does the job admirably, but it’s a no-frills solution. Unfortunately, for now at least, the next step up will cost an additional $300, which is a pretty big jump. Thrustmaster is known for their attention to quality though, so I have no reservations in terms of longevity and build quality. Let’s just hope that we get some more options soon, because right now, I’m feeling a bit limited in terms of choice.

Score:
7.0

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Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Podcast Co-Host, Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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  • IceSamurai Dono

    Should we hold back for a Force Feedback model? I would like to own a wheel for this generation.

  • Pingback: Review: Thrustmaster VG T300RS Racing Wheel for PS3/PS4 | PlayStation Nation()

  • Francois Engelbrecht

    Bought 3 Thrustmaster T80 steering wheels. All three broke in the same
    way. Develops a sudden steering direction change to the right. Took
    first 2 back for replacement and third one suffered severe percussive
    retirement. I will never by the T80 again.

  • Wes Tipton

    I bought the T80 yesterday, and although it is hooked up and is recognized by the console, I can’ find anywhere to dial it in. The steering works, but no matter I do under hardware steering wheel settings I can’t get the throttle or brake and shifter set-up.
    Any help would be much appreciated.

    • Sir Harris Hilton

      Get the PDF T80 instructions online, I had the same issue and it solved it perfectly ??

      • Wes Tipton

        I gave up and bought a Logitec G27 wheel 2 years ago, and I love it. Very sturdy construction, 3 pedals and both manual and paddle shift. I have logged well over 100 hours so far with no issues.

  • Stirling Wilson

    can anyone tell me where ( in Glasgow Scotland ) i can buy an extension lead as the usb lead to console is too short