Saitek RX600 Cordless Wheel (PS2)

Review

posted 12/9/2002 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PS2
The wheel itself turns well and offers good resistance. I’ve used various wheels from other manufactures and the RX600’s turning feels pretty good in comparison. The turning radius is only 90 degrees on either side though and I’ve always liked wheels with a bigger turning radius. Although the wheel feels nice in turning, the center dead zone is just too large and there’s no way to adjust it. Unlike the Mad Catz wheel where you can adjust how much dead zone there is if the program doesn’t allow you to, you are at the mercy of the large dead zone that the wheel has. The large dead zone makes it pretty hard to drive cars, as you have to turn a lot in order to do gradual turns. This also contributes to over steering, as it’s hard to know when the wheel starts to register a turn. With the two games I tried with, I was all over the place and even long periods using the wheel didn’t help me get used to it.

It’s hard to say how well the cordless feature works as a wheel but all the buttons and D-pad seem to work well and without any noticeable lag. The reason it’s hard for me to judge the effectiveness of the wheel’s reaction is because of the large dead zone. I couldn’t tell if that was the reason it was hard for me to control the vehicle or if there was lag. But since the other functions seem to be lag free, I am inclined to hypothesize that it’s because of the dead zone. It’s too bad the wheel is so hard to use though as Saitek did have the right idea in producing products other than a gamepad cordless.

For a wheel running on four AA batteries, the RX600’s rumble feature is surprisingly strong. When running over corners or getting bumped by other cars, the wheel’s vibration generated was pretty good and wasn’t weak at all. The rumble won’t make you lose control and is strong enough to feel when driving.

The product instructions state that you should get around fifty hours of use with the included batteries. Well, since the unit seemed to be missing the included batteries I plopped in 4 regular AA batteries of my own. For my week of usage, I didn’t need to change the batteries so it should last you a while. Like most wireless products, the less the wheel rumbles, the longer the batteries should last.

The RX600 was a good idea that wasn’t implemented well. It’s not a bad start for Saitek and while it didn’t perform up to the usual standards, it’s a nice step in the right direction. For now, if you are looking for a wheel I suggest trying the other wired products as the RX600 just won’t give you the control you need for racing games.



D
Saitek's RX600 looks like a winner but it didn't play like one. The frustration of the large dead zone and the inability to control the speed of the car using the flipper pedals easily led to vast over steering and out of control driving.


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