Logitech may have topped themselves when they created their almighty G27 Racing Wheel about a half-decade ago, a gaming accessory that convincingly rose your experience to simulation-grade quality. Back then, it really was an awesome supplement if you were adamant about playing compatible PlayStation 3 and PC racers in unparalleled form.
And after a long wait and a new console cycle, Logitech G brings the moderately updated G29 Driving Force racing wheel. This is the third generation of their renown lineup that builds upon its previous incarnation; A big boy toy that can radically change how you control your virtual car, if you let it.
Enthusiasts Meets Gentleman
At its core, the G29 doesn’t deviate from its predecessor and continues to strive for authenticity. A leather-wrapped steering wheel with cyan accents prominently encompasses an anodized aluminum frame, appearing sveltely stitched like a BMW M executive coupe – except without the thickness and meatier diameter of Formula One or rally cars.
This goes hand-in-hand with its obvious gaming intentions, where it has to be somewhat compact while still making enough room for the plethora of buttons adorned on the faceplate. As every necessary button is included and triggers are altered to fit; you also get LED lighting above the center which acts as an active rev indicator, along with some unique rocker buttons (+/-) and rotary dial with enter button that caters quick dynamics tweaking to media functionality on PC.
Behind all that goodness the G29 also sports metal flappy paddles that handle manual shifting duties, and behind that a very heavy and sturdy base that features an adjustable dual clamping system that will come in handy if your using this on a table or desk. The pedalboard is exactly what you’d expect where the accelerator, brake, and clutch are found with differing tensions to denote their purpose like in a real car, the base itself is plastic but thankfully stays in one place for peace of mind. There’s a progressive feel from each pedal and a better sense of control involved, as each part can be physically tweaked by 2.5mm hex key for improved heel toe technique.
Get Up And Go
One apparent recommendation is that you have plenty of space and/or ergonomics for a proper setup. Granted, the G29 is thoughtful in incorporating a clamp system as a rudimentary solution but is at the mercy of surface wobble, a begrudging last resort unless you opt for a purpose-built racing wheel stand which keeps everything comfortable and fixed. Luckily, Hooking up everything is straightforward with USB, pedal (just a throwback serial cable), and power connectors that are all hardwired.
Calibration is almost and surprisingly nonexistent depending on your machine of choice, and is one of the least daunting aspects that the majority will probably experience with the G29. It’s an understatement to say that I was very relieved that everything was automatically configured to my PlayStation 3 copy of Gran Turismo 6, and with a flick of a switch on top of the wheel we instantly had PS4 titles working seamlessly with DriveClub too. There’s a little bit more work involved with the PC since you’ll need to download the aptly-named Logitech Gaming Software in order to get everything up and running, with button remapping, secondary pedal sensitivity, and custom profiles being readily available.
Just after a few minutes we noticed that the G29 has 900 degrees of turning range at the wheel before locking, an appropriate car-like amount of radius for current games even if competitors (like the Thrustmaster T300RS) come equipped with 1080 degrees of rotation. You can also reduce this to 360 degrees in PC titles like Project CARS and F1 2015.
The added immersion is engaging to a fault where you’ll actually feel the properties of each car reacting to the topography of any given track. Enthusiast will love how everything comes together compared to the detached element typical from gamepads, but much of the nuances come directly from the force feedback that takes some getting used to.
All modern gaming wheels have haptic response but the G29’s dual motor system is fitted with helical gearing instead of a motorized belt, in which the former is theoretically more durable without the need for active ventilation; however, this also makes force feedback for the G29 quite abrasive and noticeably jagged when the steering whips around. In its defense, nobody can blame Logitech for lacking in authenticity, but you’ll feel the power as minor arm strain starts to occur after an hour or so of continuous driving.
Against the Logitech G27
But because this comparison is inevitable, the G29 has to be squared off against the older G-series steering wheels by Logitech – like the ancestral G25 and more specifically, the G27 model for the PS3. Both the G27 and G29 are technically similar in almost every way with very little differences, from the dimensions to the neat LED tachometer up front.
But some omissions involving the 6-speed manual shift knob not being included, and the G27 being absolutely incompatible with PS4 due to an alleged security chip does hurt — igniting many debates on how scrupulous Logitech is really being among the driving wheel faithful.
It would be unfair to judge based solely on customer assumptions of why their old gear won’t work and the excuses companies give, so I’ll just say this: The Logitech G29 Driving Force is a great steering wheel if you’re unwavering about playing racing games, although not perfect in terms of feedback response. But considering the climate this is still worth upgrading to, if you managed to get over the controversies surrounding the freshness of said peripheral.