The Thrustmaster T300 GTE is a force feedback steering wheel package from Thrustmaster. The wheel is compatible with PS3/PS4 and PC and can be found for around £250-280. This fits into the middle of Thrustmasters range of wheel offerings, but for the purposes of this review as sim racing enthusiasts we'll be considering this as an entry level wheel for PC sim racing.
Inside the box you'll find the T300 servo base, which contains the force feedback motor. The detachable wheel rim in the form of a 458 Challenge steering wheel replica and the pedal box, which for the T300 GTE is a 2 pedal box (throttle and brake).
Let's tick off some of the basics. The T300 base gives us 1080 degrees of rotation via a brushless servomotor and provides it's force feedback via a belt driven system to provide a higher level of refinement over more traditional gear driven systems like that found in the Logitech G29 (we'll go into more detail on the force feedback later). The base can be attached to a desk with the provided clamp or bolted to a rig/cockpit using holes present in the bottom of the base.
The GTE rim that comes with the package is 280mm in diameter, 7:10 scale of the real rim used in the 458 Challenge race cars. The fact that Thrustmaster chose to go with a 7:10 scale replica wheel is actually a blessing in disguise in my opinion. It falls right into the size category of modern day GT and Formula cars while keeping a more classic shape. This proves to be very versatile as it allows you to road race, rally race and even drift with the base rim. Something open topped or other specifically sized/shaped wheel rims prevent you from easily doing.
The rubber finish is pleasant to the touch but can become tacky in use if your hands have a tendency to sweat. I tend to wear and recommend the use of gloves for any extended periods of racing anyway so this has never really been a problem for me.
Quick side note: Gloves keep everything from getting too grimy from sweat and give you a better grip of the wheel, BMX gloves are a cheap alternative to actual racing gloves that can be a bit pricey.
The overall construction of the rim is outstandingly solid for the price point. The base of the rim and the paddles are constructed of the same stamped metal which provide a real feeling of quality and superb rigidity, at no point do you feel like you're going to break any part of this. With that said, perhaps the tactility of the paddles leaves a little to be desired, while there is a distinct click on actuation and a pleasant weight to the throw it's perhaps not quite as snappy as some would like. This has led some people to mod the paddles to use magnets for a little more snap.
The button box attached to the back of the rim gives you access to 6 mappable standard buttons, labelled as per the real race car. Very solid construction here again with no wobble on any of the buttons and a nice crisp actuation.
A cutout in the rim base presents you with an 8 position POV hat switch (d-pad), the diagonals are a little tricky to try and isolate with a single press so I would stick to binding the POV switch to the traditional menu navigation or camera bindings (look left, look right etc.).
Last and actually least, we have the toggle switch in the bottom right of the rim. This gives us 2 bindings, one left (2 position) and one right (OFF position). The toggle is spring loaded and returns to center when released. The '1' position on this switch does nothing and is just a resting point for the spring loaded switch. There is a third, regular button binding available where the whole toggle can be pressed down. While these functions are fine, the reason I call this the least is that the finish on this toggle is lacking in comparison to everything else on the button box. There is a fair amount of play on center and the construction of the plastic housing doesn't feel as nice as other materials used on the wheel.
The meat and veg of any wheel is ultimately how it feels! After all this is sim racing and immersion is king. It can difficult to convey in words how something 'feels', but I'll do my best to summarise the performance of the T300 GTE in a quantifiable manner.
As mentioned previously the force feedback of the T300 is dual belt driven, this means that compared to gear driven mechanisms (G29 etc) you don't have that feeling of notchyness in the steering. I wouldn't say that the steering is perfectly smooth, there's definitely a hint of the belt drive that you can feel while you are moving the wheel under load. It's difficult to describe and not really noticeable unless you are looking for it.
In terms of strength, the T300 has the ability to provide more than you could ever possibly need. It easily transcends what I would regard as realistic levels of resistance, so it can certainly be tuned to everyone's taste, unless you're The Hulk, I guess..?
Detail is equally as important as strength when discussing FFB and the T300 GTE does an excellent job keeping up at whatever data a game is throwing at it. The responses are fast and details respectably crisp and accurate. You feel every bump as/when you should and chassis details are also translated very well.
At this price point you'll be hard pressed to find a wheel that can compete with the performance of the T300.
The pedals that come with the T300 GTE are of a basic plastic construction with linear springs on both pedals, the brake pedal being stiffer than the throttle. They connect directly to the wheel base and don't require a separate USB slot.
It's safe to say that the pedals don't match the quality of the wheel base and rim, however if they did we would be looking at substantially more expensive package. I do think they are fit for purpose for the target market of the T300 GTE.
It's likely that if you are considering this wheel you are either looking at it as a first wheel or an upgrade from something like a Driving Force GT. And for that purpose, the pedals will do you just fine until you've either lost interest in sim racing (but who are we kidding, that's not going to happen) or you fall head first into the rabbit hole and want to start upgrading your gear(almost certainly what will happen). At which point something like Fanatec Club Sport pedals would provide a healthy upgrade.
The T300 GTE puts a very strong argument out there for being the best value wheel in this segment of the market. Great FFB and a high quality rim caters well to every demographic of gamer, though the pedals may fall short of what a more serious sim racer would desire we think they will fare just fine for most people in the market for this wheel.
The detachable rim opens the door to a plethora of rim options. Thrustmaster offer several rim options that will plug and play with the T300 base. Most are a similar variant to the standard rim but the Thrustmaster F1 rim is a popular alternative. There are also third party companies creating adaptors and completed rims that will attach to the T300 base so the world is your oyster.
Our recommendation for serious racers who cant afford to spend thousands on gear would be to pair the T300 wheel with a set of standalone pedals such as the Fanatec Club Sport V3s to create perhaps the best value for money setup money can buy.