If you're reading this, then you're probably like me. It's just not practical or possible to own a proper wheel and you want to know if this thing is better than a controller for driving games. Having used it for a few days now, I can tell you that it is, but as you may already know, some idiot forgot to put all the buttons on it.
The design meeting must have gone something like this. "So lads, we've made a quality feeling device. Well balanced, better longer triggers than on the controller, and more precise in the turns, but there's a problem. Somethings gotta go. It's either the fundamentally important L/R shoulder buttons or the silly, pointless green lights on the top. So we're all agreed then, out with the shoulder buttons. Oh, and no one really needs a mic do they so let's cut that too"!!!!
Seriously though, once you set it up right in the menus and get used to it, this thing really is quite good. I bought it primarly for use with F1 2011 and Forza 4. Despite what you might have read, it is actually possible to configure the wheel satisfactorily without the LR shoulder buttons for the driving element, even with manual gears, DRS, KERS, etc. The problem comes when you're not driving. Want to fast forward time while in the garage on F1? Forget it. Want to tune your car set up in Forza? Can't be done without the shoulder buttons. Totally unforgivable, especially for Forza as it's made by a Microsoft first party studio! The only way round this is to turn off the wheel and turn on a controller, then switch back when it's time to drive. This gets old fast!
Another issue is that the rumble/vibration seems to be much weaker than on a pad, even with it set to max in the options. Indeed, Forza 4 has no rumble at all but this is a know bug that should be fixed so no fault of the device itself. Despite these major flaws I'm still glad I got one, which should tell you how good it could and should have been.
Just thought I'd add my settings for both games which might help new owners of the wheel.
F1 2011 Steering sensitivity 60% Steering linearity 25% You can use manual gears by mapping them along with KERS and DRS to the X, Y, A, B buttons. Use the Back button for car status and access instant replays from the pause menu. Set up like this, the only thing you can't do is look behind but the game has very good arrows to show where others cars are so it's not a problem for me.
Forza 4 The problem I mentioned before where you got no rumble has now been patched and fixed. I find the default advanced settings fine and use configuration 3.