It's not often that a product comes along and completely changes the way I feel about a gaming genre. The Logitech G920 now has me hooked on the PC racing experience.
Logitech are no strangers to gaming peripherals or racing setups. When it comes to gaming peripherals like mice, keyboards and headsets, the name Logitech is synonymous with entertainment.
The G920 is the latest racing wheel/pedal system for both Xbox One and PC, the similar G29 is the PlayStation 4 version but now we're getting further into console territory than I'm comfortable with. Logitech's G920 Driving Force controller brings racing titles to life in a way that really has to be experienced to be appreciated - that said, I'll do my best to explain it here. Racing games are playable with a keyboard/mouse combination and millions of people do it but the whole experience is lacking. The next logical step is a console controller - in our case, an XBOX 360 wired version. Even with the Xbox 360 controller, driving games lacked appeal, realism and felt clumsy, sure the controller vibrated but it usually just means that you've hit something, something has hit you or you have run off the road. The console controller feedback felt very similar no matter what I was doing in that the controller shook a bit in my hands. After a brief experience with the G27 last year, the expectation was that the G920 with dual motors was going to be our utopia.
At trade shows or expos, I love to jump into a driving sim with the racing seat, wheel and pedals, smashing out a lap or two. The G920 means that you really can have this experience at home - and after 2 months, the novelty has not worn off one bit. The G920 Driving Force is not just about pushing the pedals and turning the wheel, the tactile and forceful feedback emulates the true sense of driving, especially when combined with a 27" or larger screen and loud speakers.
The G920 is a premium racing wheel boasting leather wrap, steel pedals, dual motors for force feedback and a really easy clamping mechanism to attach it to your desk/table. There is also a separate shifter that you can mount at the appropriate distance to the left or right depending on where you live - so you're not stuck with the 'strange' left hand drive setup if you live in places like Australia or the UK.
When starting the testing for this review, I had the misconception that a racing wheel setup was for racing enthusiasts only and not something that casual racing gamers would really get a return on investment - I couldn't have been more wrong. Racing games ranked about 3rd or 4th in my preferred gaming genres behind First Person Shooters, Strategy and perhaps Space Sims. Personally, I genuinely liked Project Cars and Need For Speed but the keyboard or console controller never really worked for me and I always felt that perhaps I didn't have the reflexes or knack for racing games. After trying out the G920, I found that I was unable to beat my G920 lap times with either keyboard or game-pad and the time difference was significant on all tracks where I did the comparison. We asked 5 other gamers to try the same test and found that nobody could beat their best G920 lap time with another controller. This is a gaming peripheral that has had a more profound impact on my gaming experience (and success) than any other device and as a result I've been playing more Project Cars and Need For Speed than I otherwise would have. I can honestly say that this has made me a better gamer when it comes to racing games. The G920 isn't just for 'Racing Enthusiasts' it's for anyone who really enjoys quality gaming time.
Looking at the wheel, it's just under 28cm in diameter and shaped for comfort. There are a pair of thumb rests that were just in the right place for me and I didn't hear otherwise from the other people who tried it out. The paddle shifters have a really nice tactile feel to them and after using them for a while, I think the shifter, as nice as it is, is really only for the hard core. The XBOX ONE buttons are easy to reach as well with the functions clearly marked for the less obvious buttons like LSB and RSB. Lighting on the wheel itself is a single LED above the Xbox logo which doesn't take away from the immersion. There is a dual-motor for force feedback and I can't speak highly enough of how this felt when racing in Project Cars or Need for Speed. The clamps have spring loaded tension knobs that you press and turn to raise. Once the tension knobs are raised, you can turn these to tighten or loosen the clamps, then once fitted to the desk, they can be pressed back into the head unit for a more sleek looking finish. This is a nice touch and reiterates that Logitech want you to be proud of your game-space. The leather wrap is tightly fitted, and allows for decent grip without any risk of your hands slipping when driving - even on the most erratic manoeuvers.
The pedals are awesome and a noticeable improvement over the previous G27. The shape is perfect as is the polish for each pedal. I found myself wearing shoes (well, a pair of sneakers) most of the time when gaming because barefoot didn't feel right. Whilst I initially thought a metal housing would have been great, the sturdy plastic does the job without making the pedal set weigh a ton. Each pedal has a different feel in terms of shape and tactile response. The accelerator feels smooth and even along the whole travel distance. The brake is progressive in that it gets firmer as your press it further - exactly like a real brake. The feel that Logitech has achieved with the brake pedal is going to be the hero of the product for many - especially in the driving simulator-type games. The clutch felt different again but this could also have been because I was using the other foot and comparing it to the brake more. There are mounting holes and a retractable grippy spike strip for use with carpet to keep the pedal platform steady. I tested this on carpet and didn't have any issues with the unit moving around. I would also like to point out that it didn't damage the carpet at all either, nor did it look like it was having any negative effect.
It will be interesting to see how many shifters Logitech sell for the G920. It is an optional component and for most casual gamers it's something they will be able to do without. The shifter also has 2 top and 1 underside mounted tension grips so you can get this in the right spot and know that it won't move when it's not supposed to. The stick itself has a really nice leather wrap, metal shaft and a leather cover like what you would see in a luxury manual transmission car. It is still really easy to use and after the first 30 mins or so I can't recall hitting the wrong gear once. Personally, I preferred the paddles on the wheel for gear changes but for games like Euro Truck Simulator, or Dirt Rally this will add much more to the immersion. Shifter positions are very deliberate and a good representation of a real vehicle as you would hope. Our unit stayed firmly in place when attached via the clamps underneath. As with the other components of the G920, there are mounting holes for a racing frame setup which will please the hardcore gaming racers out there.
- Height: 270 mm (10.63 in)
- Width: 260 mm (10.24 in)
- Depth: 278 mm (10.94 in)
- Weight without cables: 2.25 kg (4.96 lb)
- Height: 167 mm (6.57 in)
- Width: 428.5 mm (16.87 in)
- Depth: 311 mm (12.24 in)
- Weight without cables: 3.1 kg (6.83 lb)
- Software Support (at release): Logitech Gaming Software
- Connection Type: USB2
- USB Protocol: USB 2.0
- USB Speed: Full Speed
- Rotation: 900 degrees lock-to-lock
- Hall-effect steering sensor
- Dual-Motor Force Feedback
- Overheat safeguard
- Nonlinear brake pedal
- Patented carpet grip system
- Textured heel grip
- Wheel spokes: Anodized aluminum
- Wheel cover Hand-stitched leather
- Steering shaft: Steel
- Shifter paddles: Brushed stainless steel
- Mounting clamps: Glass-filled nylon
- Pedal frames and arms: cold rolled steel
- Pedal faces: Brushed stainless steel
- Pedal piston sleeves: Polyoxymethylene thermoplastic (POM)
- 2-Year Limited Hardware Warranty
- Xbox One™
- Powered USB port
- Windows® 8.1, Windows 8, or Windows 7
*Note that we tested this with Windows 10
- Powered USB Port
- Internet connection and 150MB hard drive space (for optional software download)
- Steering wheel
- Power adapter
- User documentation