Fanatec GT DD Pro vs Thrustmaster T-GT II: Best Mid-Range PS5 Racing Wheel
In this guide, I'm going to look at the best mid-range racing wheels that are compatible with PlayStation 5. This is a relatively tricky category to find sim racing products for, so we'll show you our best recommendation.
With the release of the Gran Turismo film, and Gran Turismo 7 being one of the best-selling racing games on PlayStation 5. I thought it was the perfect time to look at which mid-range racing wheel is best for PS5 sim racers.
Which racing wheels are in the mid-range category?
The mid-range price point is a competitive one within sim racing. You have racing wheels from many different brands offering a wide variety of different sim racing experiences.
Mid-range racing wheels sit just slightly beyond budget racing wheels in terms of price and performance. And they often offer something slightly above an entry-level wheel would. However, racing wheels and bundles within this category can’t be too expensive otherwise they risk falling in with other premium racing wheels.
Racing wheels such as the Logitech G923 and Thrustmaster T248 both scrape towards becoming a mid-range racing wheel. However, they both offer relatively entry-level experiences which keep them firmly in with other budget-friendly racing wheels.
Popular sim racing brand MOZA Racing does have some mid-range racing wheels which would be perfect for this comparison. However, none of MOZA’s current racing wheels are PS5 compatible.
That leaves us with two sim racing giants, Fanatec and Thrustmaster. Both of these brands have wheels that are PS5 compatible and within a mid-range price point.
Fanatec has the GT DD Pro which is a Gran Turismo licensed wheel that was released around a similar time to Gran Turismo 7. This is a direct drive racing wheel capable of peak forces up to 8Nm.
This racing wheel is available to buy individually or as part of a few bundles. The bundles include the wheel base, a Gran Turismo licensed steering wheel and a set of pedals.
|Fanatec GT DD Pro Wheel Base (8Nm)||$/€599.95|
|Fanatec GT DD Pro Bundle (5Nm)||$/€699.95|
|Fanatec GT DD Pro Bundle (8Nm)||$/€799.95|
While Fanatec just has the GT DD Pro which is a mid-range PS5-compatible wheel base (although this comes in a few different bundles). Thrustmaster has a variety of different PlayStation-compatible racing wheels.
They have the T248 which I mentioned just now along with the older T300RS. Both of these wheels can be picked up for under €300 which makes them both fall into being categorised as entry-level wheels.
Then stepping up in performance, quality and price, Thrustmaster has the T-GT II. This is a belt-driven racing wheel which also carries Gran Turismo badges as part of an older partnership.
Thrustmaster sells the T-GT II in three forms. The individual wheel base. They also sell the T-GT II pack which includes a steering wheel. Finally, they have the complete bundle which includes a steering wheel and pedal set.
|Thrustmaster T-GT II Wheel Base||€499.99 / $499.99|
|Thrustmaster T-GT II Pack||€599.99 / $699.99|
|Thrustmaster T-GT II Bundle||€649.99 / $799.99|
Fanatec vs Thrustmaster
That means, by a process of elimination, we have two real contenders for the title of best mid-range PlayStation 5-compatible racing wheel. The Fanatec GT DD Pro and the Thrustmaster T-GT II. I find it pretty interesting that both of these wheels also have Gran Turismo branding!
Both racing wheels at a glance
Before I go too far, I want to provide a quick comparison of both racing wheels so we can have a gauge moving forward. These racing wheels are priced differently, both incorporate different technology, and both have a range of pros and cons. So establishing this baseline early is good moving forward.
|GT DD Pro||T-GT II|
|Bundle Price||From $/€699.95||$/€799.99|
|Technology||Direct Drive||Belt Driven|
|Compatibility||PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Ready||PS4, PS5, PC|
You can see from the comparison of these two PS5 racing wheels above that both have their differences. Thrustmaster’s racing wheel is available at a slightly cheaper price as a stand-alone wheel base. But the complete bundle that includes a steering wheel and pedal set is pricier than Fanatec’s GT DD Pro.
When looking at the technology and strength, Fanatec has a slight advantage with the direct drive GT DD Pro. It features better internal technology with the larger direct drive motor, which is capable of more force.
Wheel base comparison and performance
I want to start off with one of the most important categories, the overall performance created by the wheel base. This is where the differences between the T-GT II and the GT DD Pro start.
The Thrustmaster T-GT II utilises belt-driven force feedback. This uses a smaller internal motor that sends the force feedback to the steering wheel via a belt or pulley system. This technology is seen as a good entry-level to mid-range technology. Although it is inferior to direct drive wheels.
A belt-driven racing wheel can lose some of the force feedback detail while it is being transferred via the internal belt. This smooths out the force feedback removing some fine details such as track surface changes.
The Fanatec GT DD Pro uses direct drive technology which uses a larger motor directly mounted to the steering shaft. This allows for stronger force feedback as well as the forces being more detailed.
Thrustmaster T-GT II
During our test drives, the Thrustmaster T-GT II performs well. The force feedback is surprisingly strong for a belt driven wheel. Thrustmaster hasn’t released any official strength numbers, but it is predicted to be around 6Nm of peak torque.
And the force feedback does hold up well and feels very similar to the strength that the GT DD Pro produces in its lower-powered 5Nm form. The internal belt on the T-GT II is very quiet during use and is pretty responsive as well.
The main noticeable difference when racing these two wheels back to back is that the Thrustmaster seems to lose a few smaller details from the force feedback that are noticeable when using the Fanatec wheel.
Fanatec GT DD Pro
When switching over to the GT DD Pro, everything becomes elevated. I’m using the 8Nm version of the GT DD Pro for this comparison, giving it an advantage over the Thrustmaster wheel.
The increased power output is immediately noticeable when coming from the Thrustmaster wheel. But the thing that is more noticeable is the fidelity of the force feedback. The response time is incredibly quick while tiny details come through nicely.
The range of force feedback is impressive with smaller forces feeling distinctively different to the larger forces such as weight transfer. Overall, the GT DD Pro produces much-improved force feedback compared to the T-GT II, making it a clear winner in the performance category.
Winner – Fanatec GT DD Pro
Steering wheel comparison
Next up, I want to look at the quality of the steering wheels that are included in these bundles. Both companies offer a Gran Turismo licensed steering wheel. Thrustmaster’s license agreement is older than Fanatec’s as the T-GT II was released before the Fanatec wheel.
Thrustmaster steering wheel
Starting with the Thrustmaster wheel, this wheel feels really quite premium. There is a large Gran Turismo logo in the center giving a nod to the game it was licensed for.
Surrounding this are a series of push buttons, each labelled with its corresponding PlayStation label. There are also four rotary encoders which all work perfectly in Gran Turismo 7. During use, these rotary encoders were really useful for selecting different inputs while driving.
The wheel design is a combination of plastic and brushed metal. This gives off some mixed messages, as some of the plastic feels a little cheap. However, the leather hand grip makes up for this and feels really premium, even at this price point.
Around the rear of the steering wheel are two metal shifter paddles. These aren’t magnetic, instead opting for springs, and they feel OK to use. Not amazing but not the worst.
Fanatec steering wheel
Next, I’ll look at Fanatec’s Gran Turismo steering wheel, and this is normally an area where the German sim racing brand excels. This steering wheel was however designed by Polyphony Digital to look like a Gran Turismo wheel.
The majority of this steering wheel is constructed from plastic which immediately makes it feel a little less premium than some other Fanatec wheels. Like the T-GT II wheel, there is a large GT logo right in the center, just so you don’t forget which game you should be playing!
There are a series of push buttons, which are placed relatively similarly to the T-GT II. Then there are a few major differences. Instead of rotary encoders, this steering wheel has a series of directional pads.
In theory, these give you more inputs than a rotary encoder, as you can assign various inputs to each direction. However, the lack of a true rotary encoder is a little bit of a shame. On a good note, all of these inputs are designed to work in Gran Turismo 7 giving you plenty of choice of inputs while driving!
On the flip side of the wheel are two plastic shifters. These don’t quite feel as positive to use as the magnetic shifters on other Fanatec steering wheels. And the rubberised hand grip doesn’t quite feel as nice as the grip on the T-GT II.
Overall, I slightly prefer the steering wheel on the Thrustmaster T-GT II, so have to give the win Thrustmaster’s way. However, with both wheels, you can purchase the wheel bases individually and choose a different steering wheel. And in Fanatec’s case, I would recommend doing so, as they have a brilliant selection of steering wheels.
Winner – Thrustmaster T-GT II
Moving on to the final part of this bundle, I’ll look at the pedals that come with each bundle. This is a really important part of the bundle, as a good pedal set can find you a lot of additional lap time.
Thrustmaster’s T3PA GT II pedals
The pedal set that come as standard with the T-GT II bundle is a 3-pedal set including a clutch, throttle and brake. These pedals all measure distance rather than pressure like a load cell pedal does.
This means that the pedals aren’t the most realistic to use. Despite this, the brake pedal is relatively stiff, providing a decent amount of resistance. The other pedals are a little less resistant which is true to life.
There is a lot of plastic on these pedals though, which really detracts from the overall quality. If you were to buy the wheel base individually, I’d opt for the T-LCM pedals which are a huge improvement, although pricier.
Fanatec’s CSL pedals
Moving on to Fanatec’s pedal set, these immediately feel more premium than the Thrustmaster pedal set, mainly thanks to the all-metal construction. You’ll notice right away that there are only two pedals, not three.
The two pedals both use contactless hall effect sensors, which is the best technology to use before moving up to load cells. Much like the Thrustmaster pedal set, the brake is firmer than the throttle, and feels pretty decent.
There is a stiffer spring and a foam damper behind the brake to help give a more realistic progressive feeling. Much like the Thrustmaster pedals, I would also recommend upgrading to the optional load cell brake pedal that Fanatec offer. This will provide much more performance and consistency under braking.
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Winner – Fanatec GT DD Pro
Upgrade options for both wheels
While both of these PS5 racing wheels come with everything you need to go sim racing in Gran Turismo and other PS5 racing titles. You can upgrade both wheels in various ways.
Thrustmaster upgrade options
The Thrustmaster T-GT II doesn’t offer any upgrades to improve the wheel base. Instead, all upgrades come in the form of steering wheels and pedals.
You can buy the T-GT II without the Gran Turismo licensed steering wheel, and instead opt for a different Thrustmaster wheel. There are a range of different steering wheels including a few Ferrari Formula 1 replicas.
The Ferrari SF1000 is one of the coolest formula-style steering wheels on the market and would be my go-to choice for upgrading the steering wheel.
For the pedals, you can choose a different pedal set than the included T3PA GT II pedals. The T-LCM pedals cost €229.99 and are the natural upgrade option. These pedals include a load cell brake pedal which is ideal for consistent braking performance.
Fanatec upgrade options
Much like Thrustmaster, Fanatec offers a range of different steering wheel and pedal upgrade options. In fact, they offer a lot more options than Thrustmaster.
There are plenty of steering wheels which are compatible with the GT DD Pro. These steering wheels range from €119.95 all the way up to €1499.95!
My recommendation for an alternative steering wheel would be the Formula V2.5X which is one of the best formula-style steering wheel designs currently. This steering wheel features a lot of inputs that the Gran Turismo steering wheel lacks, and makes for a great upgrade choice.
For the pedals, you can also choose from a range of pedals. If you buy the complete bundle, you can choose to include the upgraded load cell brake pedal. This costs a little more to add, but will turn the pedals into a full 3-pedal set with an impressive load cell brake pedal.
Overall, Fanatec has more upgrade options, giving them an easy win in this category. Although the Thrustmaster SF1000 Ferrari steering wheel is super cool!
Winner – Fanatec GT DD Pro
The compatibility of both products is a relatively easy category to judge. The Thrustmaster T-GT II is compatible with PC, PS4 and PS5. It’s also compatible with a range of steering wheel and pedal options.
The Fanatec GT DD Pro goes one better and is compatible with PC, PS4, PS5 and it is also Xbox Ready. This means, that if you connect an Xbox-compatible steering wheel to the GT DD Pro, it will also work on Xbox consoles.
Winner – Fanatec GT DD Pro
That leads us to recommend one product over the other. And if we add up the wins from each category, we can see that Fanatec wins out. Other than the steering wheel, which I prefer on the Thrustmaster wheel, Fanatec outperforms or offers more options than Thrustmaster.
The direct drive wheel base gives Fanatec a huge advantage that outperforms the Thrustmaster T-GT II. And the sheer number of upgrade options makes the Fanatec ecosystem more appealing than Thrustmaster’s currently.
Winner – Fanatec GT DD Pro
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