When looking at two products from the same line, it is usually safe to assume that the later product, especially if an updated version of the older product, will have more impressive aspects to it. Nevertheless, such technological updates often bring with them a hike in price. Hence the question shifts from “is the newer product better” to “is purchasing this more advanced but expensive product worth the price increase”?
This is exactly what we will be examining today, as we compare two direct-drive wheels from Fanatec: the DD1 and the DD2. We reviewed both of these wheels individually (find the DD1’s review here, and the DD2’s here), but when it comes to a head to head, we err on the side of frugality and recommend you go for the DD1. The DD2 is, strictly speaking, better. But it’s also considerably more expensive, and we don’t think that the hike in price is worth the limited ameliorations.
DD1 vs DD2: Build Quality
The DD1 is the first-ever direct drive wheel to have engineers design a servo motor specially made for racing simulators. Every little screw, every single material choice was made for a reason, and they are built to last. Obviously, we can’t talk about the wheel per se, as the DD1 (and the DD2 for that matter) are wheelbases that you will have to attach your own wheel to. A positive factor is the fact that not only are the Fanatec Clubsport and CSL wheels compatible with the wheelbases but all Fanatec wheels that will be produced will always be compatible with the DD1 and DD2.
Speaking of the DD2: it makes small but welcome adjustments to the DD1 that we can’t but enjoy. It weighs a hefty 13 kilograms, has brushed aluminum cover plates and aluminum coating, an automotive-grade “Quick Release System” with rubber dampener for zero flex and movement between the steering wheel and wheelbase and other technical features such as the unlimited rotation range that make it an incredible machine.
The DD2 thus edges out its older model, even if not by much.
DD1 vs DD2: Design
The entirety of the Direct Drive Podium series is incredibly sleek. Two hefty, black metal boxes with only nominal changes between the two iterations. The DD1 has the brand name on its wheelbase, the DD2 does not. The DD1 has smooth side panels, while the DD2 has slight ridges to them. Other than that, the two wheelbases are nigh identical, with little else that can be said to describe them.
Unless you have a particular repulsion against seeing “FANATEC” printed on one the sides of the wheelbase, it’s safe to say that the design is identical, and thus a tie.
DD1 vs DD2: Force Feedback
The DD1 not only does force-feedback well, but it does it quite intelligently. By default, the force-feedback is strong, responsive and you will feel much closer to driving a real car than ever before in your life. This is not all, however, as through the tuning menu you’re allowed to adjust force-feedback levels and all functions that go alongside it, from steering lock, shock, ABS, drift mode, force, spring, damper, to force effect intensity.
The DD2’s force-feedback itself isn’t too different, nor do you lose the capability to adjust a myriad of settings in your favor. What the DD2 does to add some authenticity to your driving is unleash a titan-worth amount of torque. Reaching a peak level of 25Nm, the DD2 is capable of reproducing an identical level of torque that you would feel in a real race-car. This makes it considerably harder to drive if you plan on leaving the settings as realistic as possible, but ever more satisfying once you get it just right.
That being said, in terms of force-feedback, the DD2 doesn’t revolutionize what you would feel from the DD1. Being that the two largely equate with each other we’ll have to call this section a tie once again.
DD1 vs DD2: Other Considerations
The main other consideration we have to bring forth, and perhaps the one that has swayed us the most when having to decide whether to recommend the DD1 or the DD2, is the price. Let us start by saying that the DD2 is a fantastic piece of equipment, and in many ways, it is indeed superior to the DD1. Having said that, the DD2 costs an entire third more than the DD1 or a comparable, high-quality, direct-drive wheel/wheelbase (take the Accuforce V2 as an example). The DD1 isn’t cheap either, costing roughly double what a ClubSport V2.5 goes for. That being said, the difference in utilizing a DD1 v a ClubSport V2.5 is enormous. With a DD1 wheel, you’re assured you’ll have absolutely no latency, immense levels of customization, unparalleled force-feedback, a sturdy and long-lasting build, and years of support from Fanatec. It’s expensive, but it’s easy to see what justifies this large difference in price. When you compare the DD1 and the DD2 you simply can’t say the same. Yes, the DD2 is better, but it isn’t so incredibly better that you’re ready to spend so much more on it.
From a purely pragmatic cost-quality ratio the DD1 is the clear winner.
As stated before, a newer, upgraded product is sure to have more powerful and impressive specs compared to an older model. This holds true when comparing the DD1 and DD2. But, while these ameliorations to the DD2 are welcome, they are also very expensive. Too expensive for us to be able to recommend you to buy the DD2. If this is your first (and even if it’s not) purchase of a direct drive wheel, the DD1 will leave you incredibly satisfied.
The Fanatec DD1 hits all the nails on the head when you’re looking for a powerful direct-drive wheelbase. Immersion, power, realism and build quality are all more than present in this great product.
- Powerful and adjustable force-feedback (amongst other things)
- No latency between wheel and game
- Specially crafted and considered build quality
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