The new Formula CSX3 retains the same diameter as its predecessor and the F-Pro, with its 282mm and a total weight of 1143 grams for the basic version with four paddles. It comes in at around 1200 grams for the version with the two additional paddles. The front plate is made of 5mm carbon, as always of the highest quality with first-class edge machining. The design of the front plate is visibly sharper and more modern than that of its predecessor, and differs significantly, especially in the upper region with a camber that accommodates the new LED-display compartment. The proprietary polymer grips have a maximum diameter of 45mm and a rough plastic graft at the rear.
Thanks to the new positioning of the rotaries inside the body, the holes in the handles are much larger than in the past and allow a comfortable and easy grip as well as excellent finger mobility. The polymer has a fairly rigid consistency that maximises the force feedback details while still maintaining good comfort even during long sessions.
In the rear region we find the new die-cast aluminium shell, a construction philosophy also adopted by Cube on the F-Pro. The matt surface finish of the aluminium gives this body a premium look and I personally prefer it to the more polished finish of the older generation of Cube steering wheels. Attached to the centre of the shell is the proprietary Cube hub, made from billet aluminium and anodised blue. The design of the hub is identical to that mounted on the new F-Pro and allows, as in the past, the attachment of all quick releases on the market with 70 and 50.8 mm holes.
On the body we find the ON/OFF button that allows us to switch the wheel off completely, deactivating the backlight and the data connection with the PC. At the bottom, just below the hub we find the proprietary Q-Conn connection, an absolute novelty already introduced on the F-Pro and which will characterise all new Cube Controls steering wheels. The Q-Conn uses a 4-pin connection and relies on the presence of N52 neodymium magnets that automatically align the plug to the socket on the body. The magnetic connection is very solid and has been designed by Cube to prevent pin breakage in the event of excessive steering wheel rotation.
The display and LED compartment has undergone a major restyling in terms of both design and technical functionality, with the implementation of the Simhub software that natively supports Cube Controls steering wheels. The CSX3 in this case makes a clear departure from its predecessor by integrating a 4-inch VoCore display embedded within a plastic frame that also serves as an LED holder. While it is true that the display diagonal is slightly smaller than its predecessor, the resolution offered by the new VoCore is much higher. We are talking about an LCD display with capacitive touch screen, a resolution of 800×480 pixels, a luminance of 350 lumens and a refresh rate of up to 30hz.
The pixel density per inch literally doubles that of the display mounted on the CSX2 with a distinct advantage in terms of overall visual quality and ability to effectively reproduce even the smallest details of the most complex dashboards
The display free of glass covers also allows the full exploitation of the touch screen’s functions, which can be used to navigate within the advanced pages of the prepared dashboards. The LED compartment has also been completely redesigned compared to the past. We have a total of 17 LEDs, 11 horizontal dedicated to RPM and six vertical divided into two groups of three usually used for additional functions, such as flags, the spotter or activation of ABS and Traction Control. The shape of the LEDs is no longer circular as on the CSX2, but has a more articulated design with the central LED being rectangular in shape and the others symmetrically decreasing slightly in size.
The maximum brightness is at a good level and even when set to maximum is never annoying, not even in low ambient light
conditions. Display and LEDs can be managed via the SimHub software, which natively supports CSX3 within the new Device section. In the LCD screen you can select the dashboard to be used, enable or disable the touch screen and adjust the intensity of the VoCore display backlight. On the second screen, you can deeply customise the backlight of the RGB LEDs.
On the CSX3 we find 12 momentary buttons, 2 ON/OFF switches, 2 funky switches, 4 front rotaries, 2 side rotaries and 2 thumb rotaries for a total of 44 assignable functions. Compared to the CSX2, the dedicated rotary for adjusting the bite point of the double clutch disappears; it is now adjustable directly via the CubeSet software. The buttons positioned along the outer perimeter of the front plate are all easily accessible and integrate a customised Cube switch with a transparent plastic button cap that can be customised with dedicated stickers. The switches have a very short stroke, excellent pressure resistance and tactile feedback
Each button is equipped with RGB backlighting that can be fully customised in colour and light intensity either via Cube’s proprietary software or SimHub. In the upper region, the two ON-OFF lever switches are also retained with a green backlit ring, in this case not customisable. The two funky switches of the new CSX3 are smartly positioned and feature a blue aluminium knob with the Cube logo screen-printed on it. Each joystick has seven assignable functions, making a total of 14 inputs. The directional cross returns a sharp, audible click. The central button and rotary encoder have the right amount of resistance and precise, pleasant feedback.
The 4 front rotaries, made of anodised aluminium, are now larger than in the past and have LED backlighting, which is also fully customisable in colour and luminous intensity in the same way as the buttons. The new customised encoders are also noticeably different in terms of tactile feedback. The resistance to rotation is very high and the clicks are deep and precise. Also profoundly revised are the side rotary switches, also equipped with customisable LED backlighting and no longer protruding but embedded inside the steering wheel body. The rotaries have a black anodised aluminium knob with horizontal grooves that, despite the small surface area exposed, make them easy to operate even when wearing gloves. The encoders are also electronically upgraded. The resistance to rotation is much higher than in the past and the clicks are again precise and clearly perceptible
As on the CSX2, the two aluminium thumb rotaries are retained, positioned near the top of the handle. The rotaries are well positioned and have good resistance to rotation.
Let us now return to the rear region and take a look at the new paddle department, which has been completely re-engineered compared to the CSX2. The new optional magnetic paddles that Cube calls CORE are positioned above the shifters and anchored to the rear bodywork, which can be used for additional functions such as brake distribution, DRS activation or push to pass. They are made of carbon-fibre reinforced nylon and operate via a Hall sensor. Tactile feedback is provided by a neodymium magnet. The L-shaped paddle is made of 4mm carbon and has two slots that allow the distance from the hub and its angle to be adjusted. The carbon paddle can also be reversed so that the L can be oriented downwards and reach the headstock more easily. Overall, the two CORE paddles have good tactile feedback, with the right trigger force and reach quite naturally.
The magnetic shifters with hall sensor have a new design and mechanics compared to the previous generation and appear identical to those already seen on the new FPro. The structure of the shifter is made of anodised aluminium and 4mm carbon and integrates the magnetic hall sensor, a ball bearing and the stroke length adjustment pin. The aluminium shifter shaft, on the other hand, incorporates the magnet required to activate shifting, while the movement is controlled by the new ball bearing, which completely eliminates friction and eliminates lateral movement.
The 4mm carbon paddle has also been completely revised and appears wider and with a decidedly more modern design. The slots on the paddle allow the distance to the hub and its angle to be adjusted. A fundamental novelty compared to the CSX2 is the ability to adjust the total travel of the shifter by acting directly on the gold-coloured pin that slides inside a small slot, a travel adjustment that is exclusive to these new Cube shifters. The paddles are reached naturally, the activation force is significantly increased and the feedback is much sharper.
The main body of the clutch consists of an aluminium monoblock, which incorporates the magnetic hall sensor, the ball bearing and the total stroke adjustment pin. The moving element incorporates the magnet for reading the analogue signal and rotates on the ball bearing. The vane movement is ensured by a torsion spring with preload adjustment. By turning the torx screw located just behind the spring, the resistance to pressure from the paddle and its rate of return to position can be controlled.
The 4mm carbon paddle has the same L-shaped design as the optional CORE paddles, and similarly to what is seen on the shifters, the slots on the paddle allow its distance from the hub and its angle to be adjusted. The length of the total clutch stroke can also be adjusted by turning the gold-coloured pin as already seen on the shifters. The bite point can be adjusted directly within the CubeSet software and thanks to the latest firmware it is possible to set one of the rotaries on the steering wheel to adjust the travel of the second clutch on the fly. This is a very convenient function that allows us to precisely adjust the bite point directly on the track.