You can invest as much money as you want in a sim racing setup. Spending a couple of thousand dollars wouldn't be entirely unreasonable, and ten times that amount could get you a setup comparable to that of an F1 champion. However, it's not necessary to go all out when you're just starting out in the racing world. You can get by with the bare essentials.
Referring to the Thrustmaster T128 as basic would not do justice to this budget champion. This wheel shares the same Hybrid Drive System as its larger counterpart, the T248, albeit with less power. However, it still provides force feedback that is much more impressive than most inexpensive wheels. It is definitely more powerful than the TMX, which was our previous budget choice for a racing wheel.
The advantage of having such powerful force feedback is that you'll experience increased resistance when turning the wheel, resulting in more precise steering. Even when compared to the more expensive Logitech G923, I personally prefer the wheel feel of the Thrustmaster lineup. In my review of the T128, I was genuinely impressed with the wheel's responsiveness.
The T128 does have a somewhat inexpensive feel, particularly when it comes to the plastic shifters located at the back of the wheel, even when compared to the similar T248. While I didn't encounter any issues with missed shifts during my testing with the T128, I wasn't particularly fond of the feel of the shifters. Nevertheless, considering the price point, my primary concern is reliability rather than appearance or even tactile experience.
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I'm also not a fan of the pedals on the T128. There are only two pedals, and they don't feel great underfoot. Additionally, they are mostly made of plastic. I understand why they didn't include the much-improved T3PM pedals found in the T248 model, but the pedals are definitely the weakest part of the package.
While these points may sound like significant drawbacks, we're discussing an incredibly affordable yet surprisingly satisfactory racing wheel. The pedals, although not exceptional, are still among the best you'll find in this price range. It's worth noting that plastic construction is a common characteristic of budget wheels. What truly matters is the excellent feedback and accuracy provided by the wheel itself. When it comes to delving into more serious racing games, I can't recommend anything else as a better option.
The Xbox version is also available at a discounted price of $160, but since we are playing on PC, we can opt for the less expensive PlayStation kit and save some money.