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That Simagic is pushing hard is obvious. Recently, the Chinese manufacturer surprised the sim racing community with the introduction of, among others, the very good-looking Simagic GT NEO. This advanced wheel is designed to offer exceptional performance and realism, providing an unrivalled driving experience and new standard. And all at a (relatively) affordable price of just $ 290 / €359. Simwear, official distributor of Simagic, has been kind enough to give us a Simagic GT NEO and Simagic MagLink send. In this comprehensive Simagic GT NEO Review we take a completely objective look at this steering wheel and test it extensively. Does Simagic live up to expectations with this affordable and cool-looking steering wheel? Let's find out!

Simagic GT NEO Unboxing

Simagic has clearly put a lot of thought into the design of the box and the way they have packaged the Simagic GT NEO. The packaging is robust and well thought out, ensuring a safe arrival. Upon unpacking, you immediately get a good first impression of the build quality and design. Opening the box, you immediately see the steering wheel, which has a cardboard cover with the outline of the steering wheel on it. Upon removing this cardboard protection, you find the GT NEO well-wrapped in a plastic bag. This all looks very good and sturdy! At the very bottom of the box you will find all the accessories and - a lot of - stickers.

In summary, you will find the following in the box:

  • Simagic GT NEO steering wheel
  • USB cable
  • Simagic Quick Guide
  • Button Stickers
  • Simagic 'Keep Racing' Stickers

Simagic MagLink

In addition to the GT NEO, we at Simwear also have the new Simagic MagLink received. Since I have a Fanatec DD2 Wheelbase Have this MagLink, in combination with the Fanatec Podium Hub, needed to attach the handlebars to this wheelbase. The Maglink costs just €29 and installing it is super easy!

What is the Simagic Maglink?

Maglink revolutionises the way your racing wheel and base connect, enabling seamless software integration and effortless expansion of your racing ecosystem. The innovative magnetic connection design makes connecting different handlebars and accessories simple and instantaneous, with plug-and-play functionality for a quick start. This system looks and feels similar to that of Cube Controls.

Installation Simagic Maglink

Start by removing the Simagic Quick Release from the steering wheel by loosening four screws. Then attach the Maglink to the Podium Hub with six screws. Connect the small connector cable on the inside of the GT NEO and mount the Podium Hub and Maglink combination back on the steering wheel with the original four screws. That's it! Use the included magnetic USB cable to connect the steering wheel to your PC.

Simagic GT NEO

The launch of the GT NEO marks another significant addition to Simagic's already rich product portfolio. This transforms Simagic from a modest newcomer to a leading force within the sim racing community. With this product, Simagic directly challenges competitors including Fanatec, whose McLaren GT3 V2 steering wheel has been an absolute favourite among many beginners and the mid-range segment for years. The GT NEO highlights Simagic's position and underlines that the manufacturer from China can no longer be ignored. The truth is that with the introduction of the GT NEO and their wide range, Simagic is emerging as an extremely attractive and considerate manufacturer with an impressive eco-system. This is especially relevant given Fanatec's ongoing battle with unresolved issues.

simagic gt neo

Stylish design and build quality

The Simagic GT NEO redefines the standards in sim racing with its advanced and tough and lightweight design, aimed at delivering extraordinary performance and a realistic feel that provides an unprecedented driving experience. The GT NEO is a good and interesting acquisition for any avid sim racer. The GT NEO stands out for its bold and stylish design, with a 300 mm diameter that I personally find ideal for a racing wheel.

The handlebar is particularly comfortable in the hand. Weighing just over 1 kilogram, the Simagic GT NEO is remarkably light. Made from durable materials, this lightweight Formula/GT racing wheel has a unique forged carbon finish. This rugged composite material feels and feels like plastic but ensures a solid build. I am generally not a fan of forged carbon, but I must admit that on the NEO it does have something unique and distinctive. Despite its light stature, the Simagic GT NEO is characterised by exceptional strength in its construction. Even with firm tightening, you don't feel any flexibility or hear any creaking noise, which is testament to its very solid build quality.

Wide Scala of Input Possibilities

The wheel flaunts a wide range of advanced features, including two aluminium thumb encoders, four 12-bit rotary encoders, two 7-way switches, ten customisable RGB buttons and an impressive 15-piece LED speed display. The number of input options, in this nevertheless quite compact steering wheel, can be called impressive.

All controls, including buttons and encoders, are optimally placed so that every function is easily accessible without looking while racing. Even in the dark! This contributes to a comfortable and intuitive user experience everywhere. One downside, however, is the sound and feel of the ten illuminated push buttons when you press them. I personally find these quite loud and feel cheap. Another aspect that stands out is that the rotary encoders are also made of plastic instead of aluminium. I understand this consideration to keep costs down, but this makes the whole thing feel a bit too plastic.

I had, perhaps because of my recent experience and review of the GSI Hyper P1, expected that the four rotary encoders could also be depressed. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A pity, but absolutely negligible. The Simagic GT NEO offers more than enough input options.

At the rear, you will find a total of two shift and two clutch paddles. The clutch paddles have a slight spring resistance, good travel and a pleasant feel. Made of aluminium, these paddles have a pleasant feel and can be adjusted in position by means of small screws, so that you can adjust them more inward or outward. The two magnetic shift paddles feel tactile, but incidentally make almost no noise. I personally found this quite pleasant.

Another aspect that immediately stands out, and which slightly bothered me, are the two flat curves at the back of the steering wheel. In terms of design, it looks strange and seems like these are recesses where there should be two more buttons like the Pokornyi Engineering HYP-R and GRID MPX have that. No idea what the thinking behind this is or the point of it, but that it looks and feels strange is something that is certain.

Grips Provide Insufficient Grip

The NEO features silicone handles that, frankly, do not offer much grip or comfort. Although these grips feel pleasant and ergonomic, the material looks and feels more like plastic and feels somewhat slippery. After several intensive racing sessions, I cannot help but conclude that the grip of these silicone grips falls short. I personally find this a shortcoming, but is of course entirely subjective and is something you have to experience yourself to make a judgement on this. Grips with a better grip would make the GT NEO almost perfect. However, it does offer a clear indication of where the GT NEO could be improved.

Simagic Software: SimPro Manager 2

The heart of the wheel is the intuitive software SimPro Manager 2, an advanced software package developed specifically for tuning and personalising Simagic hardware. This software allows you to configure their equipment in the finest details, ensuring an optimal riding experience. SimPro Manager 2 allows users to adjust handlebar sensitivity, strength of feedback, paddle settings and much more. All this is done through a user-friendly interface accessible to both beginners and experienced sim racers.

Simagic SimPro Manager

SimPro Manager 2 allows you to create and manage different profiles, allowing users to quickly switch between different configurations for different types of races or vehicles. Whether you prefer rally, F1, or endurance racing, SimPro Manager 2 provides the right tools you need to perfectly tune and personalise your Simagic GT NEO. With just a few clicks, you can customise every colour on your steering wheel. The software feels intuitive and user-friendly.

Advantages and disadvantages

The Simagic GT NEO excels on several fronts, including price, design and build quality. However, the GT NEO also has some drawbacks. The silicone grips do not offer enough grip for some, which can be perceived as a lack during intense racing sessions.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design
  • Durable and robust construction
  • Sharp Price
  • Lightweight handlebars
  • Intuitive Software
  • Maglink System

Cons

  • Grip of the silicone handles
  • Sound Plastic Buttons

Conclusion: Performance and Experience

After several weeks of intensive testing of the GT NEO, my verdict is unequivocally positive. Whereas I initially had my doubts about both the quality and comfort, I have completely adjusted these thanks to the outstanding build quality and the wide possibilities for personalisation. Given its price of around $310 / €380 (Maglink included), this steering wheel guarantees unmatched value for money in its segment, making it an attractive option for sim racers looking for top quality without spending a fortune. In addition, the introduction of the innovative Simagic Maglink marks a real breakthrough; this simple yet ingenious design not only allows the steering wheel to shine within Simagic's own ecosystem, but also makes it compatible with other systems. This opens doors for users of other eco-systems to experience Simagic's high-quality products. A smart move!

Despite my enthusiasm, there are also some criticisms. The grip of the silicone grips leaves something to be desired, the forged carbon look is not my personal preference and the push buttons are on the loud side. A premium variant with improved grips, authentic carbon and more high-quality buttons and encoders would be a welcome addition.

Simagic GT NEO Review: Our Verdict

"The GT NEO is affordable, refined and good beyond expectations!"

However, even with these caveats, the Simagic GT NEO stands as a strong option for sim racers on a tighter budget or who simply don't want to spend the money on more expensive high-end alternatives. Is it a gamechanger? No, it certainly isn't. But based on various evaluation criteria, I know the GT NEO is a very respectable score of 8.1 which is testament to its quality, price, design and performance. I therefore expect the GT NEO to become one of the more popular steering wheels in the coming years. And that is more than deserved. Because overall, the Simagic GT NEO is a very enjoyable steering wheel.

Good Choice!
simagic gt neo

Simagic GT NEO Review

The Simagic GT NEO stands out as an excellent choice thanks to its cool design, high-quality build, and the possibility of extensive customisation. With its lightweight design, ergonomic grip, and wide range of functionalities, the GT NEO offers a realistic and immersive racing experience. This combination of features combined with the competitive price makes the GT NEO an attractive option.

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Wilco Verhaegh

Over 18 years ago, my passion for sim racing began with Grand Prix 4. My passion for racing, motorsport photography and gaming knows no bounds. With Motorsport-Pictures.com, I capture racing cars on film. Moreover, I am proud of my book 'Mastering The Art Of Sim Racing', in which I share my knowledge and insights with aspiring sim racers worldwide!

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