SteelSeries SRW-S1 Review
Published: 10th February 2012 | Source: SteelSeries | Price: £99 |
Testing and Conclusion
In testing I ran a huge amount of racing games to see what the SRW-S1 was good at. From the aged, but still brilliant, GPL through GT Legends, Race Injection, F1-2011, NFS:Shift 2 and of course SimRaceWay itself.
The first thing that strikes you is how easy it is to configure. Because the placement of the buttons are labelled you can usually use the same button in a multitude of titles which allows you to learn where it is very quickly. Of course so many buttons can seem overwhelming, but the reality is you wont need all of them by any means.
Although initially holding the wheel in the air feels unnatural, especially if you're used to fixed wheels, the steering response is absolutely flawless. There is no lag, and even delicate inputs are read and replicated with precision. Because your input mirrors your visual reference so accurately you don't need to think at all about using it and the whole thing feels very natural. The accelerator and brake 'triggers' have an equally linear response and are no more complicated than the triggers on a standard pad.
Actually as a by-product of this all-in-one philosophy the hand-controls for the accelerator and brake are perfect for opening the world of racing to those who might not have full use of their legs. Every other wheel on the market falls into either the pretty useless MarioKart style, or the 'needs pedals' ones, so as far as we're aware, this is the first modern wheel that supports genuinely useful hand controls.
There are a few niggles of course. Firstly because it's not mounted and you have to hold it up, this definitely isn't the kind of thing you can use for a full-length F1 race, or a Le Mans 24 hour. With the need to hold it gently because most of your fingers are on the hand controls and your thumbs are trying desperately to not press one of the many buttons, you can quickly find your shoulders fatiguing. Secondly those huge dials work for the SimRaceWay game itself and, rotation angle aside, nothing else. Indeed the d-pad and select buttons aren't a replication for "cursor keys and Enter", which would be nice to see. Finally, and this is just a personal nitpick, the gear-shift paddles have far too much play. There is a full centimetre before the microswitch engages which is pointless. There is no vibration to simulate the force-feedback, but that's something that I can live without although I know it bothers some people. Finally because you're holding it up it's not easy to reach all of the buttons because you need "hands-on" at all times to work the throttle and brakes, whereas with a wheel and pedals you are pretty much hands free on straights.
However those are small things. Sure this isn't aimed at the ultra-hardcore racer with an Actlabs shifter and Frex wheel but if you want to have way more control than is possible with a pad, but haven't got the room, money or maybe even use of your legs needed for a vastly more expensive G27 style setup, then this is a surprisingly good first rung on the ladder. You'll be astounded at how much faster you are, and how much more immersive it is to use a the SRW-S1 than a pad. At around £100 it's very good value for money and we're happy to award it our OC3D Gamers Choice award.