I've often wished I could control racing games from my smartphone, but sadly the stock keyboard does not come with such an option. That said, a lot of smartphones have integrated sensors making it an option to control racing games via tilt controls. Hook that up to a computer and you're good to go! This pretty much sums up the concept behind Steering wheel for PC games.
Let's take a look at how well the app pans out in practice!
Test device: Sony Ericsson XPERIA Active
Android version: 4.0.4
Setting up Steering wheel for PC games is easy to do. The app starts up so that the computer's IP address can be entered. (You may have to install the server, in case you have not yet done so.) The download website is displayed within the app. Once this is taken care of you can get behind the steering wheel and take off. Start a racing game, select a layout and off you go.
layouts already exist for the following games:
Need for Speed
Richard Burns Ralley
Should your favourite not be included int he list my advice is to go through the existing layouts and check whether there's one that corresponds with the game. In case none of the layouts provide a good match there is sadly no option for creating a new layout.
Controls work by tilting the device, in the same way that racing games themselves perform on smartphones. Accelerate, brake, reset the camera and more can be controlled via the provided buttons.Multi-touch is also supported. Manual gear shift can be controlled via gestures (as well as a few other actions). Once you've learned the gestures you'll find shifting gears to be child's play.
Steering wheel for PC games is a well made application: the buttons are well-positioned within the different layouts and actually “driving” by tilting the device is pretty cool, as well as not-too-tricky.
The app will remember the IP address, making the next connection automatically.
The main drawback I can see is that there isn't an option for setting up new layouts, as well as the application's speed (more details regarding this in the next sections).
Screen & Controls
Setting up Steering wheel for PC games is easy and doesn't take long (less than two minutes in my case).
Controls are intuitive and the design is fine.
Speed & Stability
This is where Steering wheel for PC games let me down a bit. I was critical to begin with because of the whole transmitting-data-via-WLAN thing, but the delays caused the controls to react in a manner which is simply not precise enough.
The app is quite stabile, though.
Steering wheel for PC games is available for EUR 1.99 from the Play Store, which, unfortunately, is too steep in relation to what users are getting.