Annual Review: Six Gamepads

Saitek R440 Wheel

Saitek has revamped its force feedback wheel, the R440. In our earlier review, we complained about the shortcomings of the drivers, but these should have been made good now. The wheel is a rather odd shape with two inward-pointing arms. You mount it with another bit of plastic and then clamp it to the desk by screwing. This is not exactly an ergonomic way of doing things, but it does a great job of holding it down. The pedal set with its pedals pointing down from the top, like they do in cars, also needs another element to clamp it. Personally, I think this wheel looks pretty silly and so do its four red and yellow buttons. But worst of all are the LEDs which light up one after the other as you turn the wheel. We're not at the circus, for Pete's sake!

And, of course, we can make the same complaints about the ergonomics as we did for the earlier model. It's not hard to hold, but being so far from its axis makes you uncomfortable after a while. What's more, the axis is loose and the tacky plastic speed controls behind the wheel are inconvenient. The pedal set is hardly any better. The position tires the feet after a while, the travel is too slack and the pedal design prevents you from feeling the pressure points even though it is quite easy to find the right pressure.