Racing simulator buffs haven't exactly been spoilt for choice when it comes to affordable driving wheels on PC. While serious racing fans might lean toward a Fanatec setup or something similar, Logitech and Thrustmaster are the two most popular brands as they tend to offer more affordable packages.
Logitech's G25 intrigued many when it arrived eight years ago with a 270mm leather-wrapped steering wheel, a set of stainless steel pedals and a separate shifter unit for $300.
Three years later, the company replaced that model with the G27, which was based on the G25 but brought new features such as the use of helical gearing instead of straight gears, resulting in less noise and better steering response.
Fast forward another five years and the G27 is still popular today as the racing package can be had for as little as $250, which is a bargain for a decent racing setup. The G27 is well known for its durability, quick force feedback and customizable button functions.
Having been so long since Logitech first introduced the G27, we weren't surprised a few months ago when its successor was announced. Technically, there are two successors: the G29, which is compatible with PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and then the G920 is for the Xbox One as well as PC (the previous-generation "G" racing wheel was never compatible with Microsoft's consoles).
Logitech says both wheels are built for longevity and that only quality materials have been used, though it has to be said that the new G29 and G920 don't look or sound radically different to the G27.
An issue right out of the gate is the 'Driving Force Shifter', or rather lack thereof. This is now an optional item. Some of you might be thinking that's fine because you're going to use the flappy paddles anyway, so why pay for something you won't use?
The issue is that the G29 and G920 have a suggested retail price of $400 and the Driving Force Shifter sells for an additional $60 while the old G27 includes the part in its $270 package, so that's worth keeping in mind as we go forward…
G920 Driving Force
As we just mentioned, the Logitech G920 Driving Force is designed for use with the Xbox One and PC -- we're interested in the PC support, of course.
With the exception of all the new buttons on the wheel, the G920 is similar to the much older G27. The steering gear housing is pretty much exactly the same and the hardware inside, such as the helical gears, are the same as far as we can tell.
The G27 featured six small red buttons on the wheel which weren't that easy to access as they sat below your thumbs. The G920 improves on the number of buttons offered and their position.
On the left side of the wheel users will find a D-pad which can be useful for navigation, while the opposite side features the Xbox A, B, X and Y buttons which can also be used on the PC for navigation and in game commands.
Below the Xbox buttons there is a menu button, along with a 'right stick button' which gamers are free to configure.
The opposite side features the 'view button' and 'left stick button' and while they are predefined, gamers are free to customize their function.
At the bottom we have the 'Xbox button' and again on PC this can be programmed to do pretty much anything. Above the Xbox button there is a bright white LED which we found annoying and there doesn't appear to be a way to disable it.
Finally behind the wheel are the flappy paddles, which should be used for shifting gears up and down, though if you're a cheater who plays with an automatic transmission then they can be assigned to some other function.
Apart from the improved button layout the physical design and construction of the wheel is improved over the G27. The wheel is wrapped in real leather and features exposed black anodized metal which looks nice.
Something missing from the G920 is the shift lights which were featured as standard on the G27 and for whatever reason come on the PlayStation version, the G29.
The G920 offers 900-degree lock-to-lock steering which means you can turn the wheel two and a half times, which is the same degree of motion as a standard road car. The steering degree can of course be reduced to 360-degree lock-to-lock for games such as F1 2015.
For fans of rally games Logitech has included a steering wheel stripe which acts as a visual indicator. This helps determine the direction the wheel is pointing from the driver's peripheral vision.
A dual-motor system provides sharp and accurate force feedback that lets you feel the car's tires on every turn and type of terrain, sense under- or over-steer drifting and more.
The stainless steel floor pedal system is almost identical to what comes with the G27 package though there are a few changes, mostly to the brake pedal.
Logitech says the nonlinear brake pedal mimics the performance of a pressure-sensitive brake system for a more responsive, accurate braking feel.
I imagine this provides a more realistic feel when driving an F1 car for example, which requires a lot of pedal force. However unless you mount the floor pedal unit to something this design is actually annoying. Because you have to push so hard, the unit just slides across the floor. There isn't anything under the unit to grip the floor, a large rubber pad would have been nice.
In the end, I found myself having to use the clutch pedal as the break, which wasn't so bad for F1 2015 as it made sense, but wasn't ideal for other racing games such as Project CARS which features a range of GT cars.