PROS / The SRW-S1's buttons allow for a lot of customization of the gaming experience.
CONS / The SRW-S1 provides no force feedback.
VERDICT / The SRW-S1 is specifically meant for Formula One gamers, but you won't get the full experience of controlling the pedals as well.
Many gaming steering wheels are designed to give you the Formula One or IndyCar racing experience, and the SRW-S1 does a good job of mimicking a professional wheel's actual controls and buttons. It really does look just like a real F1 wheel. This specialized wheel focuses on one aspect of a gaming wheel and masters it – customization. While the wheel lacks some standard features, like a stick shift and rumble feedback, the customization available with this PC-only wheel is amazing.
The features of the SRW-S1 are few and far between, which keeps it from being among the best PC steering wheels. This racing wheel is designed as a stand-alone peripheral, which means there is no stand to place or rotate your wheel. You have to hold it up yourself. There are no pedals or stick shift to speak of. It is just the wheel, so gamers looking to drive using pedals, gear shifters and a mounted wheel will be disappointed. There is no sort of vibration or force feedback either.
As realistic as this gaming steering wheel is in appearance, the lack of rumble is sorely disappointing. This would give you a feel for the virtual road conditions so you can prevent hydroplaning or driving off the road. The SRW-S1 just doesn't match up to the handling and feedback a mounted wheel provides.
The design of the controls, at first impression, looks cluttered and difficult to maneuver. The SRW-S1 comes complete with 15 programmable buttons, adjustable dials and a D-pad. While it's overwhelming to look at, it's quite easy to turn the dials and customize them in-game. It is quite sturdy and can take some abuse. At under 2 pounds and with a width of 10 inches, it is also incredibly easy to store.
The customization of this PC steering wheel is great. SteelSeries, the manufacturer, focuses on designing fully programmable wheels, and it excels in that with this controller. Using the first dial, you can adjust the steering sensitivity. The center dial allows you to adjust the ABS and traction levels. The third dial lets you change the camera view. Even the D-pad has a function, allowing you to adjust your perspective by moving your virtual seat. It's a small feature, but one that shows the level of care put into this controller, making the racing experience fully programmable and personal.
SteelSeries provides a decent amount of help and support. It doesn't offer phone support, but it does urge you to contact representatives by email. The main site has an online community where you can ask questions and seek help through forums, an advantage over many other wheel peripherals. You also get a one-year warranty.
The SRW-S1 is uniquely suited for gamers looking for hardware that looks just like an F1 wheel. Unfortunately, it doesn't perform as well as other wheels in terms of design and handling, and because it's compatible only with PCs, it is only useful to a small user base. This sturdy wheel works fine for F1 racers, but without rumble, feedback and pedals, it can't compete with the best racing wheels.