Updated: Dec 18, 2020
A step up from Logitech G29's gear driven sim racing wheel base, is Thrustmaster's belt-driven T300 leader of the mid field?
The Thrusmaster T300 has become a staple for sim racers around the world, with an industrial-class brushless servomotor connected to Thrustmaster's "new dual-belt, friction-free optimised mechanism", the T300 is a sound choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
Belt-driven force feedback, clarity in low end feedback and a good choice of wheel add-ons make the T300 a sound choice for beginners and enthusiasts.
Belt driven vs gear driven
The T300's real selling point is the use of a dual belt system rather than a gear driven system.
A gear-driven system is a decent budget solution for providing the immersive force feedback experience sim racers are looking for but the mechanism comes with some drawbacks. Gear-driven systems tend to be noisier and provide less clarity in their force feedback, especially at the lower end.
The T300 on the other hand utilises a smoother dual-belt system to provide the force feedback from the motor. A belt-driven system can provide 2-3 times more power to the wheel than a gear driven system and provides a far smoother and quieter driving experience. The other major advantage of the belt-driven system is the clarity in the lower end, allowing the driver to experience the more subtle forces played through the wheel, for example at the early stages of under-steer or when the car lightly clipping the curbs.
Subtle, low-end performance
The iRacing FFB setup app demonstrates this clarity perfectly. The app allows the racer to make a lot of adjustments to the FFB but for the casual/enthusiast level user, the most useful feature is the ability to calculate your "min feedback" setting. The "min feedback" function of the app allows you to calculate the smallest input from iRacing that can be output by your wheel. The smaller the value, the smaller the force your wheel can recreate through the motor. The lower the result, the better the wheel.
For the T300, users report test results as low as 3% whereas a gear driven system such as the G29 will give a result of between 16-20%. So clearly, the T300 is capable of providing far more subtle sensations through the wheel.
Now for some racers, the use of a belt-driven mechanism might be enough to swing the vote, but for those on the fence, what else does the T300 offer?
The T300 has opted to incorporate HallEffect Accurate Technology (H.E.A.R.T.). This technology offers ultra-precise inputs to your console or PC via a non-contact magentic sensor which outputs at 16bit, meaning the wheel can create 65,536 different outputs.
One of the great advantages of the T300 is its wide range of compatibility. The whole T300 range is compatible with both PC, PS3/PS4 & XBOX and is compatible with several wheel add-ons.
T300 RS (PS & PC)
The T300 RS is the standard package which includes the T300 servo and a leather playstation wheel. Whilst the servo itself is the same high quality servo found in all T300 packages, the pedals leave a lot to be desired and are a poor match for the immersive quality of the T300 wheel base. Thrustmaster have since re-released all new T300 product lines with the upgraded T3PA pedals.
T300 RS GT Edition (PS & PC)
Thrustmaster listened to their customers' and responded to the universally poor reviews of the standard pedals in the T300 RS package and have since released the T300 RS GT Edition which comes with Thrustmaster's T3PA pedals. The T3PA pedals are a marked improvement from the originals, with a 100% metal interior construction and up to 25kg of pressure force with the included conical brake mod, although they still lack the addition of a loadcell. Although these pedals don't include a loadcell, the long reach, individual pressure settings for each pedal and fully adjustable pedal plates, make the T3PA pedals some of the best non-load cell pedals on the market. The T3PA pedals are a sensible upgrade to an existing T300 RS wheel and pedal set.
T300 Ferrari 599XX EVO 30 Alcantara Edition (PS & PC)
The top end of the T300 lineup, the T300 Ferrari 599XX EVO 30 Alcantara Edition keeps the same T3PA pedals but upgrades to an alcantara edition of the wheel. Alcantara is a popular fabric finish in sim racing equipment simply because it is so widely used in real race cars. Alcantara offers decent levels of grip and comfort as well as adding to a sense of realism by using the same finishing fabric used in many real world race cars.
As well as the addition of alcantara, the wheel has a more sporting shape with a flattened bottom as well as a more ergonomic mappable button layout designed around the Ferrari 599XX Evo 30.
TM Leather 28 GT (XBOX)
Thrustmaster completed the set with the addition of the TM Leather 26 GT wheel add-on for XBOX. The wheel is compatible with both the T300 and the T500 allowing XBOX users access to the higher end servos for their sim racing games. The wheel itself is more on par with the TM Ferrari and TM GTE wheels than the base level TM GT edition with the improved button layout and higher quality leather finish.
For the price point, we think the T300 servo is the best on the market, offering a high end, belt-driven, immersive force feedback experience with good levels of accuracy, strength and subtlety. The lower end packages offered by Thrustmaster let down by the poor quality pedals, so we recommend going with the Thrustmaster T300 RS GT Edition as a minimum. The Ferrari Alcantara and TM Leather XBOX wheels are nice touches for the line up.
However, Thrustmaster has thrown a spanner in the works with their new, reasonably priced load cell pedals, the T-LCM. Our recommendation for a decent mid-range wheel and pedal set is to buy the T300 servo (which can be bought separately on the Thrustmaster website), the T-LCM pedals and your choice of wheel add-on.
or, if you already own a T300 base and wheel, try upgrading your pedals:
Finally, if you want the ultimate pedal set in the Thrustmaster lineup with a load cell brake pedal, consider the Thrustmaster T-LCM . Read our full review here
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