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CES 2011: Hercules/Thrustmaster

by: Dan -
More On: CES 2011 HOTAS Warthog T500 RS XPS 101
The folks at Guillemot Corp. (parent company of the Thrustmaster and Hercules brands) always have a couple of goodies to show off at CES. This year, as expected we had access again to the HOTAS Warthog, which John was able to spend some time with back in June at E3. It was a big hit, with multiple people lined up to get a crack at the flight stick and yoke.

What I really wanted to play with was the recently announced Gran Turismo branded T500 RS racing wheel and pedals. It was paired up right next to the HOTAS Warthog, but one look at the setup and I knew I would be sitting this one out. So, with a balky knee, I decided to forego the test drive myself and put on my real journalist hat and interview another CES attendee (Tim Kulkarni) that was gracious enough to let me film him for the demo video posted below. According to Tim, he indicated this was the best racing wheel system he has used outside of professional grade simulators. He said he had a little problem with it jumping gears, but otherwise it was top notch and had some of the best pedals he had used. I spoke with the Thrustmaster representatives, and they indicated to switch the pedals from traditional to GT mode, it would take about 15 minutes and household tools. They also hope to bring a branded shifter as well PC drivers for the T500 RS to market in the near future, as the company realizes that it is a sizeable investment (MSRP of $599) and would be best used across multiple gaming platforms.

Another new product from the Hercules brand was the Hercules XPS 101 speaker system. This is a more upscale audio system than Hercules has produced before, but it looks to be quite nice. The styling is slick, with a glossy finish, dual speakers for 2.1 audio and a separate control module. Unfortunately it was a non-working version, but we hope to take a more detailed look at it when it is released in North America in early 2011 with an MSRP of $249.99.

Check out the demo video below, with Phillip from the Thrustmaster Research and Development team providing some narrative while Tim tries out the T500 RS.