Chinese manufacturer Simagic popped up on my radar a little over a year ago with what was then the world's cheapest direct drive steering wheel base (which has since been trumped by the 70% cheaper and absolutely brilliant entry-level base CSL DD from Fanatec) and since then they seem to increased the pace of production and developed a number of new products, including pedals and a sequential gearbox.
Here at Gamereactor, we have for the past 18 months been using the Aiologs sequential shifter and have been very, very happy with it. The Aiologs shifter costs £220 and has a distinct, robust feel to it that has worked wonderfully well in our Racing rig when driving the R5 Fiesta (MKII) in Dirt Rally 2.0, but when we switched pedals (from Heusinkveld Sprint to Ultimate +) and upgraded our handbrake to a hydraulic variant - It felt a bit like the Aiologs gearbox was too small, a bit to weak, or not robust enough to get that real, proper race car feel.
Q1-P is clearly more solid. More robust. Bigger, clunkier. A real lump even if it weighs clearly less than it seems to do because the body of the shifter is made of aluminium. Switching gears with it, however, is a completely different story than Fanatec's shifter or Aiolog's variant, as it intends to more realistically emulate the slightly coarser, mechanical feeling you get when you slam ears in a GT car with sequential gearbox, or a rally car. It's a distinct feeling. And that without too much resistance, which with a couple of turns with the Allen key can make this shifter the perfect training tool for any that wants to start a career in professional arm wrestling. It gets really, really, really clunky and heavy, if you need it to be.
Installing the Simagic Q1-P Sequential Shifter was simple. There are three holes in the front of the body itself and three holes in the back. We lined up the inner holes against the screw channel itself in our Ultimate aluminium rig from Swedish Rig Design and pressed the washers that are included in the package. Two M6 screws are all that is required and the box is as solid to the rig as can be. Without any risk of flex or loosening. In terms of software, the Q1-P is super-easy to install because it does not need a special program but rather only appears in Windows and then is recognised by various games that we have tested (including Dirt Rally 2.0 and Automobilista 2). The only thing required after this is to inform the game that it is a gearbox and nothing else, tie "gear up" and "gear down" to the shifter, and head on out on the rally track (or racing track).
On the top of the Simagic Q1-P Sequential Shifter, there are four high-quality buttons that are programmable, like an external button box, and this is an ingenious idea. It is easy to make it so that the buttons, for example, activate pit-in, brake balance or radio talk in, for example, Assetto Corsa, and the whole process is smooth and simple, without issues.
There is also a small digital display on the top of the shifter-box that shows which gear you are in, but considering that this small screen does not sync with the game you are running, it is really 100% completely useless. For example, when you are in maximum gear (5) in an R5 car in Dirt Rally 2.0 and quickly downshift, the display itself often misses this and then continues to step from five to gear six, seven and eight when you step up in gear in the game, and although it absolutely does not affect the functionality itself, it is a detail that Simagic should have dropped, completely.
Simagic Q1-P Sequential Shifter is a brilliant gearbox, in the end. Sure, the hefty price tag is an issue but for those who want to reach a more truly credible feeling when you slam gears in especially Dirt Rally 2.0 and WRC 10, this is a really superb upgrade to your rig. The feeling when you change is distinct, robust and realistic, which makes racing more fun, quite simply.