Datel Super Sport 3X Steering Wheel
After several years of using a joypad for playing racing games on the PC I decided it was time to buy a steering wheel to see if I can improve on my lap times.
Looking through several reviews and gaming forums it became clear that if you want a good quality wheel that gets you right into the action then the Logitech steering wheels seem to be the popular choice. Unfortunately the cheapest one available is over £80 so not an affordable option for me.
After researching the cheaper options it was down to a model by Thrustmaster, the Ferrari GT Experience and the Datel super sport 3X. There wasn't many reviews for the super sport 3X but the few there was were positive, the trust model had good reviews but there was some negativity towards the pedal angle. So I closed my eyes and brought the Super Sport 3X for £41 from Amazon as Argos had sold out for £30 unfortunately.
Datel Super Sport 3X Review
This review looks at how usable the steering wheel generally is and how well it performed on games such as Codemasters F1 2011 and Nadeo's Trackmaina.
I was expecting the wheel to be plastic and cheap but was pleasantly surprised that it is sturdy with a fairly good build quality. Yes it is plastic and doesn't have a padded wheel as you get on more expensive wheels but the light grey area is a thin foam layer for extra comfort which is perfectly adequate for casual gaming.
The buttons are in a convenient position though I haven't used the sequential gear stick in anger yet. The wheel has a 4 way Digital thumb stick to the left and a four way POV thumb stick on the right. L1 and R1 are 10:00 and 14:00 positions with L2 and R2 in the same position behind the wheel. Also behind the wheel is two F1 style paddles for changing gear. In the centre of the wheel is Select, Mode and Start buttons which are also used for setting the wheel up. Unfortunately both the sequential gear stick and F1 style paddles have an audible click, so could/will become annoying to other people in the room who are not interested in your amazing overtaking manoeuvres especially if they are watching TV.
The wheel only has a 180 degrees turning angle which is limited compared to other wheels which can be as much as 900 degrees on some games. Coming from a joypad controller this is perfectly adequate for the casual gamer. I can see that this might be a problem on rally games or games that drifting is required but it still feels better than a game pad. If you are into F1 games then this is perfect as real F1 cars have a similar turning angle. There is a super boost option that can be assigned to a button of you choice that can make the turning angle more sensitive, but how useful or practical this is I don't know.
|View of Sequential Gear Stick, F1 Paddles and L2 & R2 buttons|
The wheel is designed to be attached to a desktop with 7 suction cups. They hold fairly well but the back 3 do tend to come loose causing the wheel to tip, this may be a consequence of my desktop being high causing me to pull downwards on the wheel as I drive. The wheel is about chest height on my desk. Making the cups moist before pushing them down gives much better suction and makes it sit firm.
Though it is possible to use the wheel on your lap you will catch your arms on your legs on full lock so is not that practical.
The Super Sport 3X does not have it's own PC drivers as the settings are stored on the wheel it's self. You do need to download the SuperSports3X config program from datel to change the button configuration and sensitivity.
There are several game settings set-up built into the wheel for Xbox and PS3.
Dirt2 360 PS3
Dirt3 360 PS3
Formula1 2010 360 PS3
Formula1 2011 360 PS3
Gran Torismo 5
Grid 360 PS3
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 360
Sega Rally Online Arcade 360
Use Xbox mode for PC not PS3
All buttons are configurable and can be set-up to be used in PS3 mode of Xbox 360 mode. The manual says that the wheel has two modes, one with a green light for Xbox 360 and one with a red light for the PS3 and PC. This is wrong! if you are using the wheel on a PC then you need it in the green Xbox 360 mode. Windows will then install a Xbox 360 controller drivers. The down side is there is no rumble with the standard windows driver, though there is a alternate driver called HBCD that can be installed for more advanced users.
http://www.redcl0ud.com/xbcd.html 98/2000/XP Xbox controller drivers
Then patch the above driver with a suitable driver from here to activate Rumble
This set-up has worked for me on Windows XP. Use at your own risk.
When the rumble is active it vibrates more as you turn, when you are straight there is no rumble.
It's does improve the feel of driving but not as good as force feedback.
If you follow the instructions and set-up the wheel in red PS3 mode the wheel and buttons will work but the axis for the peddles are messed up. You have to press half way down to get any acceleration and fully to get brake so un-drivable.
Once you have configured the settings to your liking and set-up the game you wish to use then it is ready for action.
In Game Driving
So how does it perform? You will need to fiddle with the in game settings to get the feel of the wheel right, which can take some time. The main games I have used the Super Sport 3X on are Toca Race Driver 2, Trackmainia Forever and Formula 1 2011.
Toca Race Driver 2:
For this game I switched off all the dead zones and just increased the steering saturation as the steering isn't responsive enough with it off. I found I could corner much better than a joypad and the pedals are a definite advantage at carrying speed through corners. Previously I had practised on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in a Formula Ford with the joypad for more than an hour achieving my best time of 46.27 which after many attempts I was not able to beat. I have tried the same set-up with the wheel and after about 20 laps of getting use to the new controller I managed to beat my time by 0.16 of a second. That may not sound a lot but on a 46 second lap that is a big time improvement. I would put most of the improvement down to being able to use pedals and controlling the corner speed better but racing with a wheel feels much better than a joy pad.
This game requires fast reactions and responsive controls. I may need to play with the settings a bit more on this one but the fast reactions required for this game suit a joypad so im struggling to beat my previous lap times. Being straight before jumps is important which I think is easier to achieve with a wheel, also getting close to corner barriers is better when you have time to line yourself up is better. I find it a bit harder in fast left right sections to take at speed.
Trackmania requires you to complete a stunt track in a time better than a target time. The platinum time is the hardest and requires a perfect lap to complete.
Though the joypad is an advantage on sections requiring quick full lock chicanes the wheel is better for constant radius corners and banking.
I tested the wheel by trying to beat my platinum time on 3 tracks. Though i did manage it in all 3 cases it took many many goes on each track and I only made small improvements of 0.01sec, 0.03sec and 0.07sec. So using a wheel in this game is not much of an improvement over a joypad but feels better anyway.
This is the game I manly brought the wheel for to play. After trying several in-game settings I have gone for all saturation and dead zones off.
I can race comfortably and this wheel defiantly enhances the experience and I think performs well. I have had to set the DRS and Kers buttons to the L2 and R2 buttons behind the wheel as the front L1 and R1 buttons I use for gear change as the clicking of the f1 pedals is too prominent for a computer used in a lounge.
Overall I think this is a good budget wheel. You will need to spend time setting it up right for each game but that is probably the case with all wheels.
You can change all the buttons functions simply.
Pedals stay put on laminate floor.
Noisy gear shift and F1 paddles
No rumble with standard Windows drivers.
See below for Datel Super Sport 3x Video
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