Last updated: September 6th, 2023
Image: Cube Controls F-Core with QConn connector in shot
Today I’m delighted to get my gloves on the latest sim racing wheel offering from our friends at Cube Controls – the F-Core. Priced at around €469.00 / £499.00 / $519.00 USD, this wheel would be a very significant upgrade from lower budget wheels from the Fanatec stable. To seasoned Cube Controls owners, this wheel will feel very familiar. It has that stiff, grippy and communicative feel throughout and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Let’s take a closer look.
The Cube Controls F-CORE sim racing wheel makes a great first impression. It feels very solid in hand, and all of the usual Cube Controls touches such as the carbon face plate, embossed (hand painted) Cube Controls logo, and those exceptionally grippy moulded grips are present and accounted for.
F-Core by Cube Controls Review:
It’s very similar to other wheels in the Cube Controls stable, perhaps with the exception of the shifters. The shifter bodies are manufactured in nylon-carbon injected composite. While I was using the wheel I forgot about this entirely – the paddle shift feels just the same as my Cube Controls OMP Pro.
It’s a well-engineered design that feels very light and the grips – working in tandem with my F33L sim racing gloves; well – ergonomically this wheel performs very nicely indeed. I might add that there are no issues with flex or twist and the wheel overall gives a rock-solid and dependable feel. You notice the diameter, which at 290mm grip to grip lends itself to pure Formula driving. During my testing, I used the Formula iR-04 in iRacing.
While using the wheel it’s obvious that the layout ergonomics have been thoughtfully considered. The grip has a nice thickness that you can really get your hands on in higher torque moments, but the layout makes the buttons and encoders easily accessible while you’re driving too. It doesn’t take long to adjust to the wheel at all.
Material and Build
The Cube Controls Formula F-Core features the usual glossy 4mm carbon-fibre front plate (as we see on all Cube Controls wheels).
The plate is mounted to a die-cast aluminium main body which gives the wheel a strong, stiff feeling but keeps the weight down to 895g. I think this is the lightest wheel I’ve tested for a long time – as some wheels can weigh as much as 1.4kg!
In terms of assignability, the Formula F-Core excels with plenty of input options. The wheel hosts 12 momentary buttons with improved button guards for “VR friendliness” and easier indexing during a race. The wheel also features 2 backlit on/off toggle switches which shine a bold green in our photos. There are 2 front and 2 thumb rotary encoders, the thumb rotaries in particular are positioned in the ideal place – I use these to navigate the black box in iRacing.
Two integrated “multi-directional joysticks” (Fanatec call them Funky switches…) really complete the offering – leaving absolutely no need for any more control inputs.
Connectivity and Battery
Connectivity options are ample and efficient, with the Formula F-Core offering a USB / Bluetooth dual mode, allowing for both wired and wireless connections. A Cube Controls Qconn to USB connector and integrated charging electronics streamline the charging process, while connection and battery status LEDs (green when charged, red while charging, yellow when out of power) ensure you’re always informed of your wheel’s power status.
This is my first experience with the QConn connector – it has a very strong magnet and I never once felt concerned about it coming away from the wheel during use (the battery was flat when it arrived so I ran the wheel connected to charge it during use). If there was an event that tugged the cable too hard, the connector would let go. This of course wouldn’t be a problem as the wheel is connected via Bluetooth.
A potent LiPo battery powers the Formula F-Core, with a capacity of 2000 mAh promising up to 40 hours of use, ensuring you have plenty of power for lengthy racing sessions.
The F-CORE’s shifters are made of nylon-carbon-injected composite material. To the uninitiated, these may seem a step down from the aluminium and carbon fibre used in pricier models. That’s not at all the case in my opinion! It’s lighter and just as strong. The paddles feel robust and provide slightly softer, quieter tactile feedback than their metallic brethren. I have no issue with composite materials – I’ve literally just switched from a carbon racing helmet to a composite one. They’re just as safe, strong and an awful lot lighter.
The hallmark of these shifters is the integration of contactless hall effect sensors. Unlike mechanical switches which can wear out over time, hall effect sensors work based on a change in a magnetic field, meaning there are no mechanical components to degrade. This results in high reliability and longer life for the shifters, and of course, this makes them a little bit quieter too.
A launch control clutch system and the ability for in-software clutch and shifters configuration adds the “cherry on the cake”. This wheel is priced at an entry, budget level but it’s still very high-end, in my opinion.
The Cube Controls F-Core emerges as an enticing high-performance choice for sim racing enthusiasts, particularly those looking for a robust wheel on a modest budget.