Quality is excellent and remarkable; however, not everyone can pay 1800 euros for an online game steering wheel. Fanatec may have thought the same thing and came up with a less expensive version using similar technology, known as CSL DD. There’s only one problem: it is only compatible on PC and Xbox but not using PlayStation consoles. It took a bit, and now Sony gamers can finally enjoy an inexpensive straight drive wheel.
The differences from the other Fanatec steering wheels
In contrast to the CSL DD and the “big” Direct-Drive models, the Gran Turismo DD pro is only offered as a bundle which means you can start with no hassle and without an additional upgrade. Furthermore, for 699 euros, you’ll receive four parts that you’d need to purchase separately from the other models of steering wheels by Fanatec and all the cables you require.
As we mentioned in the beginning, the bundle comes with the main, i.e., the powerful motor and weighs just five kilograms. It’s incredibly compact, with dimensions of around 15cm x 15cm in size (without the handlebar). The manufacturer also provides a collection of straightforward but durable pedals, including a table clamp and a Polyphony-designed steering wheel, and comes with particular features. We’ll get to that later.
The basic idea is that it is essentially GT DD pro that brings all the standard Fanatec features. This means you can run it across many devices. However, it is only available for the PlayStation, and it is not compatible with a PC. On the other hand, if you buy an Xbox compatible steering wheel, it can also be used on the Xbox and PC; as usual, there’s a Sony ID chip inside the engine block, whereas its Xbox identification chips are located in the steering wheels of Fanatec. Multi-console owners may have to pay a bit more cash; however, they’ll receive an Xbox-compatible steering wheel that is equipped to work on any system without hassle.
Switching can be done by pressing the big power button on the front to extend the duration. The color of the LED indicates which system is in operation. There is also the compatibility mode for games so old that they can’t recognize the DD pro by themselves.
Connector options for other peripherals can be found at the rear of the panel—for instance, two-shift sticks operating in tandem with the handbrake, and pedals. Unfortunately, the data port on the bigger brothers, which connects to additional screen telemetry, is not present. Instead, the device connects to both the console and the PC via a USB-C slot, which has the most robust, kink-proof port and a strong cable that is part of the supply.
One downside: This GT DD pro reduces the number of memory slots available for specific settings such as force feedback and rumble volume and maximum wheel turn. These memory slots are helpful since you don’t need to change values constantly in case you frequently play various racing titles. For example, you’ll need to have different default settings for the Formel 1 game than you would for a rally game.
Five slots are offered on Fanatec’s massive DD models. However, only two memory slots are accessible for the GT DD pro. But this is only one of the shortcomings of the console. When you use it on a computer, the Fanatec software specifically designed for Windows lets you save as many profiles as possible.
What is it that makes Direct Drive better?
We’ve discussed the differences in Direct Drive steering wheels and traditional belt drive models from other brands like Thrustmaster and Logitech in depth when we reviewed F1 Podium. F1 Podium Racing Wheel. To ensure completeness here’s an easy review:
Modern steering wheels mimic the countersteering mechanism of cars using so-called force feedback. Only through this, the game reveals how the car’s grip reacts to it and how its steering behavior does not match your intuition about driving. However, belt drives come with certain disadvantages. They must transmit power through two parts, which means that the game’s reaction can only be sent back to the player with a slight delay. Many nuances are lost in the process.
However, direct-drive steering wheels relied on industrial motors equipped with powerful magnets. They rotate around the steering wheel’s shaft with no intermediate mechanical stations, so they are called Direct Drive. The benefits are evident instantly. The Direct-Drive wheels move like butter. They respond faster than belt drives, and they don’t eat up any details. Therefore, you can feel the slightest impact of pavement on your hand and respond immediately.
Another advantage is the force feedback’s strength. To interpret all of the car’s actions, the force feedback has to be strong enough that you can react quickly. For instance, when your car’s grip loses the point where it is at risk of skidding. The majority of belt drives are too weak to handle this. Direct-drive steering wheels are typically equipped with an operating power of 12 to 25 Newton meters, based upon the type of model and maker. Twelve Newton meters is quite a bit of force and corresponds to the point an actual Formula 1 driver feels at his steering wheel. The resistance is more if you’re driving a tourer with no motorized steering.
In simulating these forces, you’ll be able to react more quickly and in a more appropriate way to the movements of your virtual vehicle. While this won’t necessarily improve your driving skills, however, with time, you’ll be able to become better drivers by learning to instinctively take in the skidding of your car and drive on without significant dismounts. You’ll also be aware that your grip is becoming less secure before the skid, and you’ll be able to take off the gas quickly. In addition, the precise drifting process is more effortless when using Direct Drive steering wheels.
The Power of Retrofit
With this in mind, only 5.5 Newton meters of torque produced from this Gran Turismo DD pro out of the box can be somewhat disappointing. After all, that’s just about the equivalent of slightly more expensive belt drives that are advanced and costly. However, three critical points must not be overlooked. First, the Fanatec DD pro can still react faster than belt drives, and secondly, 5.5 Newton meters can be pretty demanding for newbies. It is essential to become accustomed to this power since basic steering wheels made by Logitech and Thrustmaster are rated at 2 to 4 Nm. There is the option of giving your steering wheel an additional shot of energy.
A Boost Kit 180, although not very affordably priced at just 149 euro, increases the performance on the steering wheel up to 8 Newton meters. However, this boost kit was unavailable because we have a vast DD1 steering wheel that can limit this to 8 Nm,, which is exactly how the performance category of this GT DD pro,, including the boost kit,, is positioned.
8 Newton meters are slightly far from the 12-25 Nm found in other higher-priced Direct Drive models, but you can already work efficiently with this model. If you’re not accustomed to these Nm, and you are not used to them, you can expect an intense workout at your home. This will put a strain on your chest and arms. When playing console games all of the time, you’ll need plenty of juice.
The distinctive characteristics of the steering attachment
As previously mentioned, that steering wheel attachment developed by Polyphony Digital has been equipped with unique features. These features are beneficial when playing Gran Turismo, but not just in this game.
A crucial aspect comes into play when you use the rumble motors located on the steering wheel’s rim. They provide a more powerful version of the shake effect that is typical when playing Gran Turismo 7 from the tactile feedback of Dual Sense. Dual Sense controller. However, our tests using GT 7 were very impressive and enjoyable – and more potent in the rumble theme than what we experienced with the huge F1 Podium DD. This is where you’ll understand why Polyphony decided to create the steering wheel itself.
In other words, it’s not a lot about this particular attachment that is notable. Compared with similar Fanatec steering wheel accessories, this one is designed for Polyphony. It feels delicate, despite the weight of 1,040g; that’s probably why you’re only able to use it in Legacy mode. It is not above the limit of 9 Nm for a more powerful DD wheel. Mainly since the quick-release clamp made from aluminum is not present, it is attached using the twist lock (the known as Quick Release Light) made from rigid plastic.
For the quoted price, the build with its 28cm diameter and smooth, even grippy rubber surface is acceptable, even though the pressure points on the face buttons might give a little more feedback. The paddle shifters that are permanently installed are not expensive, but they offer an enjoyable experience when shifting and provide good click feedback.
As is the norm with Fanatec, the small LCD in the middle is used to display telemetry information (for example, the speed at which you are traveling in kilometers per hour) and the stored parameters that you can assign the steering wheel itself.
It’s all in the usual Fanatec standard except the Rev lights on the LCD screen. Instead of a full bar of LEDs that typically indicate the rev count of the gear in use, only three are here. Tia, I don’t know what to say about this. Three is sufficient; however, was it essential to save so much money that it wasn’t enough to add a few more LEDs? This isn’t something you should be overly concerned about; However, it should not be overlooked, particularly considering that some Fanatec steering wheels do not address the whole amount of REV LEDs linked to GT DD pro, as our testing using a Podium Button module showed. It would be nice to see this removed through a firmware upgrade.
The remainder of the package
The other components in the bundle are typical Fanatec components. For instance, look at the standard CSL pedals, which comprise a gas pedal and brake pedal, and are worth around 80 euros. If you’d like to include an automatic clutch, simply buy a different pedal for approximately thirty dollars. In addition, the load cells kit that provides natural resistance during braking could be retrofitted.
Another feature that we are pleased to have is the cable clamp that can be attached easily. We recommend using the race stand (not exclusively for direct-drive steering wheels), which permits a stable setup and is more at absorbing the counterpressure of your steering motions than the (pressboard) wooden desk. The essential elements are all included in the set. One of them is an assortment of T-nuts with a flexible design that you can slip through the rails on the bottom of your engine block. A beautiful design that is a stand for racing that’s perfect with this GT DD pro; we have
In terms of smoothness and responsiveness, the steering and steering wheels in the market are a bit behind this due to the installed technology. Direct Drive is simply an advancement in this area that belt drives can’t take on. However, Fanatec has managed to squeeze this expensive technology into a reasonable price frame and make it super sleek and compact is acknowledged.
I’m not so satisfied with the included steering wheel. However, I would not like to sound uncaring, given the cost. The rumble effects produced through Gran Turismo 7 (and future games that will be made to match it) are fantastic. Overall, the performance is excellent. I do think that there are more appealing steering wheel rims available, and the economic measure that comes with three REV LEDs is perceived as excessively expensive. The pedals included are suitable for newbies, but they will likely arouse desire in the future. Some items can be retrofitted (quite affordable).
Overall, the price-performance ratio doesn’t allow for any serious critique. It’s hard to find a more affordable direct-drive wheel in the market, and the price can be adapted to any system modification and every upgrade demand. This makes the bundle highly appealing for Sony customers as well as multi-consoles. If you’re planning to play only Xbox or PC, the best choice is better off with the (roughly identical and also cost-effective) CSL DD because it doesn’t include an Xbox-compatible steering wheel accessory along with it. Don’t hesitate, buy!
- Top-of-the-line Direct Drive technology at a affordable price.
- Compatible to work with PS5, PS4 and PC …
- and and Xbox family, with the purchase of an accessory for the steering wheel that is Xbox compatible.
- sleek and compact engine design.
- Super smooth driving experience
- Zacky Force Feedback with no delay.
- Force Feedback with Boost Kit upgradeable to 8 tons of torque.
- complete set of pedals, table clamp
- compatible with the large majority of Fanatec products. It is compatible with the vast majority of Fanatec
- incredible rumble effects from Gran Turismo 7.
- two memory slots to store special settings
- Only 5.5 Nm of torque out of the box.
- Co-supplied steering wheel attachments visually, not the most attractive
- The paddles for shifting are nice, but the paddles are too small.
- Only 3 REV LEDS
- The pressure points of the menu buttons are a little unsteady.
- Motor base currently unavailable as a set
- Boost kit quite expensive