Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Steering Wheel
Start your engines!
- Solid design and build quality, good control interface, comes bundled with Forza 2 and Project Gotham Racing 4
- Limited wireless functionality, foot pedals may cause ankle cramps
If you're a hardcore gamer with a penchant for racing titles, the Xbox 360 Wireless Steering Wheel is one of the best peripherals on the market. It combines sturdy construction, force-feedback functionality and intuitive handling for a great racing experience. Well worth shelling out for.
Price$ 149.95 (AUD)
Steering wheel peripherals have come a long way since the days of the original PlayStation. There was a time when would-be race drivers had to make do with hideous chunks of wheel-shaped plastic that were far less practical than a regular control pad. Instead of adding extra realism, they added extra minutes to your personal lap times and made you look like a complete tool to boot. Thankfully, things have improved in leaps and bounds since then, with the latest generation of ‘racing’ peripherals finally being worthy of the name.
The Xbox 360 Wireless Steering Wheel is probably the best offering yet, and certainly the best for this console. The product has been on the shelves for a while now, but in light of the recent 25% price-drop, we thought we’d get our butts into gear and give it a proper test drive. Featuring inbuilt force-feedback with dual ‘rumble’ motors, slip-resistant foot pedals, (semi) wireless functionality, and 270 degrees of motion, it should put a smile on any hardcore racer’s noggin. At the risk of sounding like a 1980s Scalextric commercial, it’s almost like having a racing car in your own lounge room. As an added bonus, you even get two free games thrown in too.
Unlike other racing peripherals, the Xbox 360 Wireless Steering Wheel has been custom-built by Microsoft to ensure a perfect fit. Everything from the build quality to the colour scheme perfectly matches the Xbox console: they just look right together, like a Lamborghini Diablo and a bikini-clad model. If you’re a fan of the Xbox 360’s regular control pad, you should also be happy with how the wheel handles: it’s based on the same technology. To this end, all of the Xbox 360’s controls are replicated faithfully, including the navigation button, D-pad, start/back buttons and X/Y/B/A face buttons. The wheel feels solid in your hands, is realistically sized and responds as a real one should, with 270 degrees of motion. In fact, our only real issue with the device is its slightly misleading moniker.
Despite touting its ‘wireless’ capabilities (going so far as to shoehorn the word into an overly clunky name), the Xbox 360 Wireless Steering Wheel needs to be plugged into a wall socket for full functionality. While it can be powered by AA/rechargeable batteries, this disables the rumble/force-feedback, which is an essential part of the gaming experience. In addition to injecting an extra level of realism, force-feedback also helps you to gauge speed and cornering in the majority of racing games. We can’t imagine anyone choosing batteries over force-feedback, which makes the ‘cable-free’ option kind of pointless.
Additionally, you also need to connect the foot pedals to the steering wheel via an RJ-11 cable. Since when has wireless been defined as ‘up to two wires’? Presumably, Microsoft got away with this because the wheel isn’t plugged into the console, but it’s still a bit of a fib to call it wireless. Still, as long as you have a spare AC socket near your Xbox, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.
In terms of design, the Xbox 360 Wireless Steering Wheel sports the same cream-and-grey finish as the original X360 console. Unfortunately, no black alternative is offered, which means owners of the Xbox 360 Elite will just have to live with a clashing colour scheme. We found the build-quality to be top-notch across all components — this is a first-party product after all — with none of the flimsy plastic bits that can mar cheaper peripherals. We were particularly impressed with the quality of the table clamp, which fits snugly onto most table tops via a plastic screw arrangement complete with rubber stoppers. Once fastened, it is nearly impossible to wrench the clamp free, which is bound to come in handy during those sudden hairpin corners. The wheel is also designed to fit across your lap, though we found this a bit cumbersome in practice.
The pedals are equally well designed, and for once, the ‘slip free’ claim seems to hold true. We used them on a polished floorboard surface — usually the bane of floor-based controllers — and they remained securely in place throughout testing. Our only reservation was that we had to overextend our ankles to get full throttle while sitting at certain angles. Over extended periods of time, this could start to feel painful.
We tested the wheel out on a variety of games, including Project Gotham Racing 4, Forza Motorsport 2 (both of which are included free with the wheel) and Midnight Club: Los Angeles. As with any force-feedback peripheral, the success of the device largely depends on the game at hand, as it needs to be programmed into the software. For the most part, we think the developers did a pretty good job across each of the tested games.
Response time was lightning-fast and is easily on par with a regular wireless control pad. Much like a real steering column, the wheel will quickly realign itself to the centre after turning left or right, which is a nice tough. The force-feedback truly does make for an intuitive and immersive gaming experience, with every slick manoeuvre (or not-so-slick pileup) accompanied by an authentic shudder. All up, this is an incredibly impressive piece of kit that we have no hesitation recommending to racing fans.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- StarCraft Remastered updates a legend with 4K widescreen support, updated audio, and more
- Obduction's new VR hand-tracking makes Myst's spiritual successor even more stunning
- Star Citizen dumps DirectX 12 plans to focus on Vulkan-powered graphics
- Dungeons and Dragons ditches pen and paper with D&D Beyond
- Exclusive no more: PlayStation 4 games are coming to the PC via PlayStation Now
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - Microsoft / VMWareVIC
- FTIT Business Process Analyst x 3 - (government background)NSW
- FTCloud Infrastructure Specialist - Azure/AWSNSW
- FTSenior Java Developers (Several positions available)QLD
- TPSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- CCSecurity Incident Analyst - Splunk - TelcoVIC
- FT.Net DeveloperACT
- FTArcFM/Gis Lead DeveloperNSW
- FTData Analyst LeadSA
- CCSolution ManagerSA
- TPProgram ArchitectQLD
- FTFunctional Consultant - CommercialsQLD
- TPTechnical Analyst - 6 Month Contract - Great Rates Of PayNSW
- FTBusiness Solutions AnalystNSW
- TPJunior Business AnalystQLD
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- FTSenior BANSW
- FTProject Manager - Finance BackgroundQLD
- FTIT ManagerVIC
- TPDevOps ManagerVIC
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- CCSenior Test Analyst-InfrastructureNSW
- FTSCOM AdministratorACT
- FTSenior IT Business AnalystNSW