2022 was a standout year for the sim racing and flight sim manufacturer Next Level Racing (NLR). Having expanded the Elite aluminium profile line with the GT Elite sim racing rig, the team also launched an innovative motion platform, and a professional-grade flight sim cockpit in partnership with Boeing.
Next Level Racing HF8 haptic feedback gaming pad
Maintaining momentum into the new year, the Aussie brand is kicking off 2023 with the launch of another inventive offering—well, rather an improvement on a previous product.
The Next Level Racing HF8 was first revealed last month at the ADAC SimRacing Expo in Nuremberg, Germany. Featuring eight individual haptic feedback motors, the gaming pad has been specifically developed with sim racing and flight sim use in mind.
While haptic feedback gaming pads are nothing new, previous iterations have been largely unrefined and unable to deliver the nuanced vibrations you get in a real car or aeroplane cockpit.
A few years ago, the Realteus ForceFeel promised to do just that. However, Realteus has yet to deliver on its promise to many early backers, with some reporting that they have yet to receive the product and others suggesting that the fledgling company is no longer trading.
On that note, NLR CEO Hess Ghah said, “The new HF8 Haptic Feedback Gaming Pad is a breakthrough for Haptic Feedback devices, offering a unique and exciting gaming experience for our customers. Next Level Racing saw potential in the original Realteus pad, and our R&D team improved various components such as comfort and aesthetics of the product, internal components, overall quality and effects, and introduced our own software for more adjustability and refined effects.”
HF8 haptic feedback gaming pad compatibility
The HF8 haptic feedback gaming pad is compatible with PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. A 3.5mm audio jack provides console compatibility; sound signals are then converted to vibrational feedback via an on-board processor in the pad itself.
PC users, however, can take advantage of the USB interface and Next Level Racing’s own HFS haptic feedback software. This allows you to set the strength of various parameters and individually tweak the output from each motor across various potential feedback areas. Pre-built profiles also allow a more refined sim racing and flight sim experience out-of-the-box; vibrational feedback from gear changes, acceleration, braking and engine rpm should all be more accurately replicated.
HF8 haptic feedback gaming pad price
Available from this month (January 2023), the HF8 will retail for £229 (UK) / $229 (US). While sim racing and flight sim use is the primary focus, the HF8 features a universal design for maximum adaptability and comfort for all seat styles. So it should make a great addition to your favourite office chair when playing a variety of games—or if you just want a timely vibrational reminder when it’s time to have a break from the screen.
Featured image: Next Level Racing