The Thrustmaster T500 RS. The only official racing wheel for Gran Turismo 5. And we’ve got one in. I’ve gotta say, after having tested many a wheel, this one is a fine piece of machinery. Click on to see the full unboxing.

What’s instantly noticeable about the T500 RS is how big it’s behind is, and that’s no joke. It’s huge, which is actually a good thing. Players want stability for racing wheels and that means more weight, which helps even if you bolt it to a table.

Since this isn’t a full review (which we’ll get to pretty soon, so stay tuned), I’ll point out a few important points. First, the buttons feel great. They’re stiff, clicky, and the D-pad is no joke. What may prove problematic is the paddle shifters, which don’t move with the wheel, but they’re also pretty large so we’ll see in the full review how they work out.

The steering wheel itself is also high-quality. In the video above, I thought it was leather, but it in fact is high-quality rubber…a slight letdown, but not particularly a big deal. It’s thin and easy to grip, compared to the Fanatec line of racing wheels which are much fatter.

Some brief asides: the power brick is the largest I’ve ever seen. The pedal board is big and heavy, but more importantly clunky. In the video I hurt my hand because the edges aren’t sharp, but still thin…somehow I managed to hit a nerve in my hand, delivering a ‘funy-bone’ feeling for about 20 minutes. There is also no separate gearbox, nor are there any connectors for one should the company decide to introduce it. At CES, I was told that they have no plans to integrate one for the T500 RS, but that they do think the accessory is, or rather would be, important for racers.

Final note: the wheel includes a bolt-action connector to stick it onto any flat surface, and there’s plenty of leeway, so what you have available, so long as it’s square-shaped, should work just fine.

That’s it for now, stay tuned for the full review coming soon!



James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.