Playseat Evolution Driving Simulation Cockpit Review

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With the increasing popularity of esports - and the increasing amount of money being pumped into competitive gaming - sim racing has begun to take a foothold as not only a liesure activity with a hardcore fanbase, but also one that can lead to cold hard cash.  In either scenario, if you're really into sim racing, and janky setups or wheel stands aren't cutting it any more, Playseat's Evolution will be just the ticket for even the most hardcore of enthusiasts out there. With a racing style bucket seat, gratuitous adjustibility, and rock solid durability, the Playseat Evolution will become the cornerstone in your sim racing setup.

Overview


Playseat Evolution is the definitive solution for the ultra-realistic driving simulation to be experienced in your living room. A real car seat, covered with leather-look black vinyl with the highest quality finish touch, supported by a strong black steel structure, which gives the driving simulator qualities of great stability and robustness.

The steering wheel support is compatible with most of the hardware in the market and a new system for mounting the pedals completes the new Playseat Evolution. Great comfort and the great adjustments system allow all the drivers, even the youngest ones, to customise the cockpit in order to easily find their ideal driving position.

The racing seat Playseat Evolution is also used by professional riders to train and test the new tracks.

 

*Courtesy of Playseat America

 

Features & Specifications


Product Characteristics

  • Compatible with Playstation2®, Playstation3®, Xbox®, Xbox 360®, Wii®, Mac® and PC
  • Compatible with all steering wheel and pedal sets on the market
  • Durable silver coated fully adjustable framework
  • Leather-look black vinyl
  • Used by professional racing drivers
  • Superior build quality, stability and comfort
  • Easy to assemble and store due to it’s patented foldable design


Specifications

  • Recommended drivers length: minimum 120cm / 47inches, maximum 220cm / 87inches
  • Recommended drivers weight: minimum 20kg / 47lbs, maximum 122kg / 270lbs
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 130x50x98cm / 51x20x39inches

*Courtesy of Playseat America

Design


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Here we have Playseat's Evolution, an enthusiast-grade racing cockpit, and the first thing that may jump out at you is the racing-style bucket seat.  The seat delivers a snug, inviting, and aggressive feel that is welcome for a racing sim / game.  It's not too upright, but relaxed enough where it is comfortable without losing a focused racing feel.  The bottom and rear cushions are very comfotable, but not super plush.  The wrap of the bucket seat gives a true racing seat feel, but it's still open enough for those with bigger bodies.  The wheel and pedals are each attached to a stout arm, and the entire assembly attaches to the base of the seat itself.  The seat primarily rests on the two side rails with some beefey cross-bracing to keep everything absolutely rock-solid.  No wobble or rock whatsoever. 

 

The Playseat Evolution remains comfortable even through long enduro races, partly due to the comfortable cushions themselves and largely due to the flexible ergonomic capabilities, which we will get into shortly.  It will accommodate a wide range of drivers, from kids to you really tall people out there.  I'm 6' 2" tall and there's definitely room for folks who are well north of 6 feet tall.  Playseat works with all major wheel manufacturers and advocates for hole standards, so the Playseat Evolution can accommodate a majority of wheels and pedals out-of-the-box.  With that, let's dive into some more details.

 

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The bucket seat is finished in a faux-suede material which gives a fot feel, and the more wear-prone areas are given a treatment of a leatherette material.  All of the stitching is extremely well-done and is doubled up for durability and a nice racing look.  The bucket seat has racing-style cutours as well.  Overall the seat is really comfortable, but like I've mentioned it's not super plush, which I would actually say is a good thing - it helps it keep a racing feel and keeps it from feeling like a "lounger."

 

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Alright, onto the adjustability.  This is an enthusiast-level product, so we would expect anyone willing to shell out several "Benjamins" (read: $100 bills for thos unacquainted with the slang) to be able to dial the setup in for their own preferences, and Playseat does not disappoint.  The pedal distance, shifter position, wheel height, wheel tilt, and wheel distance relative to the wheel/seat can all be independently adjusted.  All of the adjustment points have large hand screws to loosen or tighten and then the individual components can be moved easily right where you want them, a couple turns, and it's set in rock-solid fashion.  Within 5 minutes of experimentation you should have no trouble being completely dialed in for the exact experience you want, pretty much no compromises apart from seat-back tilt.  The metal frame tubing is also conducive to clean and simple cable management as well, as you can see the G27 we paired with the Evolution runs a majority of the cables through the head tube and out to our machine.

 

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Peeling open two panels in the back reveals a couple spring back supports and a locking pin for the seat's folding capability.  Pull the pin upward and the seat will fold down flat and compact for storage.  The wheel assembly can then slide inward to minimize its footprint to a relatively small area, and stood upright, it'll fit neatly into a closet - that is, if you don't have a whole lot of other things in it already.  Given the overall size of the cockpit, it's quite impressive how small it's able to get, but you'll still need to provision some space for it.  You'll probably also need a buddy to easily move it, there's not great place to grab it to pick it up and it is quite heavy, especially with a wheel and pedals, but it does slide fairly easily over carpet by lifting up the pedals. 

 

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The Playseat Evolution is hefty for a reason - it's a freakin' tank.  Everything is welded with relatively heavy gauge powder-coated steel.  The base of the chair itself is especially rock-solid and there isn't a hint of creek or wobble to be found.  This rig will take some serious abuse, so if you're a bruiser, your wheel will give out long before the chair.

 

Final Thoughts


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The Playseat Evolution is most likely the accessory any mid-level sim racer all the way up to hardcore enthusiast is looking for.  It really completes the experience, especially for thsoe who are already heavily-invested in a high-end wheel and pedal setup.  The comfortable racing-style bucket seat, rock-solid construction and stance, wide range of adjustibility, and storability make it a staple accessory for the above-average sim racer.  The overall attention to detail is obvious, from the quality double-stitched fabrics to the strategic engineering of the frame itself to the careful way that it folds up for storage in a relatively compact package.  It's rock solid, will allow you to push through long enduro races where fatigue is your enemy, not your sore butt / back.  And to top it all off, it will most likely accept your wheel out of the box so you'll be off and running, with a dialed-in setup within a very short amount of time.

 

Today you'll most commonly find the Playseat Evolution for around $400, so there's no doubt this is an enthusiast product that really requires someone to want to take a leap into another realm of sim racing.  But once you get the Playseat Evolution, there will be no going back to any setup that wasn't purpose-built for sim racing.  If you can find it on sale for somewhere in the low $300 range, it absolutely screams "good deal," even next to it's younger (and less expensive) sibling, the folding Playseat Challenge. Is it worth it?  If you can afford it and are looking for a truer racing experience, I'd have to argue that yes, it is.  It will be durable, it will last you a very long time, so if you'll be racing for years to come, the actual cost may not be that high, and it really does complete the whole experience (aprt from, say, a 3-monitor panoramic setup).  The other big consideration is space, so if you don't have somewhere dedicated for this bad boy to live, you'll need almost a dedicated closet to store it away, so keep that in mind as well.  Overall, a rock solid, quality product that does everything we want for a racing cockpit, and definitely ranks up there as a must-have for the hardcore sim racers out there.  

 

The Good

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The Bad

  • Extremely adjustable
  • No wheel, pedal or seat wobble
  • Rock solid frame
  • Folds flat / pseudo-collapsible for storage
  • Nice cloth / embroidery
  • Comfortable
  • Price
  • Size / space needed
  • Difficult to move by oneself

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