SteelSeries packs the SRW-S1 Racing wheel in a box that you can view the full wheel with buttons and all shifters. The first thing you really notice is just how life-like the SRW-S1 wheel is. The wheel is slightly smaller than a karting racing wheel with 22 buttons and knobs on the front side and 4 paddles on the rear. The engineers at SteelSeries and Ignite Technologies did a great job in the SRW-S1’s build quality. The wheel looks and feels solid with the rubberized parts feeling more expensive than $120. The buttons and knobs on the wheel are high quality and don’t feel like they will break off or get damaged any time soon.
The USB cord that attaches to the SRW-S1 is a very thick, braided cord that can easily withstand chairs rolling over it or any other trauma. The cord is actually quite long (8-feet!) so there is plenty of space for you to connect the wheel no matter where your PC sits.
The weight of the SRW-S1 feels just right as it’s nowhere as light as the Wii wheel, but has a life-like feel. In game, you can imagine the wheel can be a little overwhelming, but upon closer examination, the layout is logical and the included Simracing game is a great way to get comfortable.
You will notice a D-pad towards the left which is the only hint that this wheel is being used for video games. Actually, you can use it to navigate around your HUD in-game and its default is your Seat Adjustment. Below that is your steering sensitivity for those who like a bit of understeer (push), a realistic car adjustment for those who have time on the track.
The dial in the middle allows the player to get some automatic assists from the game from brake balance controls to traction assist to clutch control. With the dial to the right of that one, you can adjust for how much “help” you get. You really can dial-in and fine-tune Simraceway’s driving aids to your style of driving.
Flipping over the SRW-S1 wheel you will easily spot the 4 paddles. The top two are for shifting up and down, while the large two on the bottom are for your throttle and brake. The shift paddles have a distinct “click” like all paddle shifters, but the lower two levers are more like your throttle in a real-life car.
Buttons to adjust your brake balance, request a pit from your crew, KERS boost, or Launch Control really make this a wheel that driving sim enthusiasts will really get a kick out of. How will not having a wheel attached to a steering column and your desk feel while playing? Will the lack of force feedback be an important factor in gameplay? On the next page we setup the SRW-S1 and go racing!