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By contrast, the pedals do look like the poorer part of the package but their spring is excellent and the long base is designed for you to rest your heels so you get none of the slipping that was evident in Thrustmaster’s Enzo.
Force Feedback on the R440 is also top notch. Games such as Need For Speed Underground 2 and Colin McRae Rally 2005 feel spectacular as not only road surfaces and impacts, but also acceleration, changing gear with the paddle gearbox and heavy breaking are faithfully simulated. Should you not like the feedback in any particular title Saitek’s software will allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the R440 independently in Windows.
Ultimately, the biggest compliment I can give the R440 is that it’s quite simply fun to use. The fact that I spent close to two hours just ambling around the Free Ride section of NFS Underground 2, exploring the city, looking at the scenery and rarely driving flat out gives some suggestion as to its immersive qualities. It felt like going on a relaxing drive, and I have since used the R440 a couple of times to cool off after long and frustrating days, instead of jumping in my real car to do the same job. If nothing else, it has already saved me petrol money.
Of course, some things could be improved upon, there could be more buttons on the steering wheel or a directional pad like the one seen on the Thrustmaster Enzo; perhaps the pedals could be slightly heavier or the USB cable a little longer, but to dwell on these aspects would miss the point of the R440. Saitek has produced a little gem of a product here, and for the great majority of us racing fans with more sense than money, we would be fools not to pick one up.
Cheap, well built and fully featured, three phrases that don’t normally go together. The R440 should be in the home of every racing fan on a budget, and I for one am off for another spin.
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