Into the opp shop this morning to waste some time before Duncan's TSP interview and I stumbled upon a race wheel for five bucks. I didn't get excited, because normally the ones I've seen in the oppshops here are all the old school PC game controller interface, which I don't have one of. Nope, this one's USB! It's $5 "as-is" too, so I thought I'd take a gamble on it despite never having heard of the manufacturer.

It's a Betop BTP 3130, according to the label on the bottom - the label on the front of the steering wheel is almost illegible to us uncultured western folk, it looks like it says "XL-130" but that actually makes it harder to find on Google, not easier.

It's supposed to have 16 programmable buttons and vibration function. That's being a bit generous. The vibration function, I can't get it to work in Dirt 3 on Steam. It's possible this one's broken and that's why it ended up in the opp shop I suppose. The 16-buttons is outright untrue though - buttons 1 and 2 share their function with the gear paddles, you can't program them independently. That makes 10 buttons, 14 if you count the POV hat/D-pad. It didn't really bother me, because it's still plenty of functions for most arcadey driving games.

The most important thing is the analog axes and I suppose they do what it says on the box. Keep in mind, I've never played a decent driving game with a decent steering wheel. I'm a recovering Gran Turismo fanatic, but I always played with a controller. Since this device didn't appear to function on the PS4, I didn't have anything else to test it with - I suppose I could try it on the PS3 and see if I get lucky.

But for the most part, once I configured the dead zones and linearity in Dirt 3 to my liking, I really never felt like it was the controller letting me down. I suck shit at Dirt because I haven't played it in ages, and it's quite surprising how much more difficult throttle and brake modulation is with your feet in a game, as opposed to your thumbs (I have no problem doing it with my feet in a real car).

It looks like these go for about $40~60 brand new via AliExpress. I'd still probably prefer a decent Logitech setup that also supports the PS4, but there's a substantial price delta between this unit and those. I'm certainly not unhappy with what I paid.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

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