Thrustmaster TH8A Shifter Review – Taking Immersion One Shift Closer

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To go with our recently reviewed T150 steering wheel, Thrustmaster also sent us the TH8A H-Pattern/Sequential shifter.

Read on to find out our thoughts on this well built add-on.

As we went deeper into the world of racing simulation, we found ourselves driving an old school Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback. the game just couldn’t draw us in, though, as we knew that Mustangs didn’t have paddle shifters back in the 60’s, and we always prefer a manual transmission over an automatic. The game lost some of its immersion with this one drawback, even when using the T150 steering wheel. Luckily for us Thrustmaster had sent us their TH8A add-on shifter, and once it was added to our rig we were immersed back in the game in no time.

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When we first got the package in the mail, we noticed that it was fairly heavy. As we pulled the shifter out of the package, we realized why. This isn’t some cheap plastic add-on, only designed to be used for a couple of years and tossed by the wayside. This is one of the best built gaming peripherals we have ever came across and expect it last for years to come. It’s made out of 90% metal, with contact-less shifting sensors that utilize Hall Effect AccuRate Technology (H.E.A.R.T), meaning there’s nothing to wear out over time. When you have a peripheral that needs this much movement by design, that idea is genius and makes the $150 price tag understandable.

The shifter gives you two options for shifting. The H Plate shifter comes installed and for us, using it was a no-brainer, but not everyone prefers a shift pattern so Thrustmaster included a sequential shifter plate that swaps out in a matter of minutes. Four screws and a  quarter rotation later and we were trying it out. In all honesty, if we want a sequential shifter we’d just use the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel on the T150, but we know that others may prefer the shifter itself, so it was nice of Thrustmaster to include the option. Puzzling that they didn’t opt for a chrome plated sequential shift plate though, as the shifter loses some of its sexiness with that plain black plate installed.

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Mounting the shifter to our set-up was fairly straightforward as it uses a simple table top clamp. For those of you with a fancier set-up, the shifter has pre-drilled mounting holes and the table top clamp is easily removed. Whichever way you choose to mount it, make sure it’s secure as you’ll be using it a lot, and shifting can be a violent event when flying into a corner at 100+ MPH and grabbing a lower gear in order to slow down a little quicker.

The TH8A shifter feels as if it came out of a real car, and even uses a somewhat standard shift knob. You can replace the original one with a knob of your liking as most universal knobs will fit. We are leaning towards ordering a Pokemon Pokeball style knob ourselves, because, why not. The only real complaint we have for the TH8A is the long shift throw, as the shifter itself could have been an  inch or two shorter, but there’s an answer for that with Ricmotech’s Short Shifter Kit. You can also adjust the shifter resistance with the turn of a screw, so it’s pretty easy to customize this shifter.

Racing simulators like Assetto Corso and Project Cars can only immerse you so deep by themselves into the world of racing, but Thrustmaster wants to assist these great games by making your experience as close to the real world as possible. The TH8A shifter, coupled with the T150 or just about any Thrustmaster wheel and a 3 pedal system like the T3PA, takes these experiences to the next level.

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