So you’ve been playing car games for a while now and your aching fingers are starting to get a little bit sick of manipulating your controller’s thumbsticks – or worse, your PC’s keyboard. It’s time to splash out on a proper gaming wheel.
And if you want sim-essential features like force feedback and a clutch pedal, you’ll need to aim a little higher than the $100-200 ‘starter wheels’ currently on the market. For many gamers, the Logitech G920 (and its Playstation-specific twin, the G29) has been the go-to entry-level racing wheel since it debuted in 2015.
It’s a popular choice, but how does it rate? We at WhichCar spend most of our time gripping the wheels of real-life cars, so having a steer of Logitech’s tiller should be an interesting exercise. Here’s how the G920 stacks up.
What do you need for the Logitech G920?
The G920 is compatible with the Microsoft Xbox One, One S, and any PC running Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 or macOS 10.1 and above.
How much does the Logitech G920 cost?
The G920 and its G29 Playstation-compatible twin both retail for $499, but with online stores like JB Hifi and Harvey Norman advertising them for $349 and $298 respectively, you’re kind of a chump if you pay the retail sticker. Want the six-speed manual shifter accessory too? It’s available from the aforementioned stores for $71-79, or as low as $59 from Kogan.
What’s it like?
With a diameter of just 275mm, the G920’s leather-wrapped wheel does feel a little bit toy-like in adult hands. That said, it sure feels sturdier than you might expect of a gaming peripheral, especially one that’s priced at the more affordable end of the spectrum.
Credit that to an aluminium wheel hub that provides plenty of resistance to flex, and build quality that’s generally hard to fault. The faux leather rim feels great – there’s no slippery, cheap-feeling moulded urethane here, and it feels nicer to the touch than some car wheels.
That said, the clamping system for attaching the wheel and shifter to a tabletop could do with either a grippier material for the vice-style jaws, and/or a mechanism that’s less prone to slackening off over time.
The pedal base has a big footplate for resting your ankles on, which also helps stabilise the pedal assembly during big jabs of the brake pedal. There’s a nifty retractable spike strip that grips carpet very well, but again, if you’re sitting them on a hard surface there’s not enough friction to keep the pedals in place, and stickier rubber feet would help greatly.
There are threaded holes to mount both the wheel and pedals to a dedicated sim seat setup (six holes on the pedals, two on the wheel), which in our opinion is definitely the best way to use the G920 – clamping to a desk and having the pedals slide around the floor simply isn’t ideal.
How about that shifter? The Driving Force shifter feels especially toy-like, but it’s got a well-defined six-speed gate plus a reverse gear lockout, and it feels a lot more authentic for games with road cars. Used in conjunction with the clutch pedal, it definitely adds to the immersion factor.
Using it with the Xbox couldn’t be any easier, with just a single USB cable and a mains power plug to plug in. Making it work on a PC was a little more difficult though, with no games able to recognise the wheel until we installed Logitech’s G Hub software. After that, it was plain sailing.
We tested the G920 across a number of racing games, everything from Forza Motorsport 7 to Farming Simulator 2018. One thing you’ll need to note, however, is that in nearly all games there was a significant amount of tuning to the wheel’s sensitivity and force feedback settings that needed to be done to make it feel natural.
Forza Motorsport 7 and Project Cars 2 required the most fiddling (PC2 having the most obnoxiously heavy force feedback response by default), but the end result of about half an hour of parameter-twiddling was a tactile feel that felt reasonably authentic. The G920’s dual force feedback motors (which are directly geared to the steering column) provide more than enough force to wrench the wheel around in your hands, and in most games we ended up winding back the force feedback settings to provide a more realistic feel.
Except Dirt 2.0. Right out of the box, the Logitech felt great in Codemaster’s rally sim without having to mess with any wheel settings, and given how important force feedback is for discerning how much grip you have on gravel, mud and tarmac, that’s a huge tick of approval. In fact, given the unique demands of a rally game and the variance in the surfaces that you race on, we’d say a wheel with the capability of the G920/G29 is crucial to maximising your enjoyment of Dirt 2.0.
And the same goes for other fairly serious sims. While Forza Motorsport 7 can be enjoyed with the standard gamepad, it’s a different story for Project Cars 2.
A wheel is virtually mandatory for this game (not to mention other sims like Assetto Corsa and iRacing), and a wheel with the feature set of the G920/G29 should be considered the minimum. Given PC2 does a stellar job of modelling tyre friction, having a wheel with decent force feedback is critical to being able to interpret that tactile information with your fingertips, and exploit it.
The G920/G29’s big 900-degree rotation is also a big advantage, especially for drifters and, we’d imagine, titles like European Truck Simulator and Mudrunner that put an emphasis on steering precision rather than speed.
Are there any downsides to the Logitech G920?
Besides the need to spend a fair bit of time testing and tweaking wheel settings (which, let’s face it, is a necessary evil for virtually all wheels) and the pedal base’s lack of grip on smooth floors, there are some other negatives worth noting. Logitech says the G920/G29’s helically-geared force feedback is supposed to quieten down the wheel, but it’s still quite loud when the system is working hard.
And when you counter-steer quickly against the force feedback, the wheel emits a horrendous rattle from within and it feels like the teeth on the force feedback gears are slipping. If you’re fond of virtual drifting or rallying where big counter-steering movements are common it may be an issue, but if you wear headphones it probably won’t. Either way, it doesn’t seem to affect the wheel’s long-term operation.
The heavily sprung brake pedal does a decent job of feeling like a real car’s middle pedal (though is really too firm if you’re using it on floorboards), while softly-sprung accelerator and clutch pedals feel accurate too. Pedal spacing between the brake and clutch is a little too close, however, especially if you like to left-foot brake. With just 30mm of air between them, accidentally pressing both brake and clutch at the same is a common occurrence.
The pedal faces themselves can be removed and flipped upside-down to enable easier heel-toe downshifts - a thoughtful feature on Logitech’s part, but not one that really solves the pedal spacing issue. If Logitech built in some lateral adjustability to the pedal faces, it would surely be to the benefit of those with larger feet.
Rally fans of sim drifters may also find the lack of a handbrake lever to be a drawback (pressing the B button just isn’t quite the same), but we can understand why Logitech couldn’t justify a peripheral that’s even more niche than the six-speed gearshift.
But if there’s a downside that’s eclipses any of the above, it’s the fact that you’re railroaded into buying a platform-specific wheel. If you’re a PC devotee then you’re fine: either the G29 or G920 will work on your machine. But if you’re one of those platform-agnostic gamers who has both a Playstation AND an Xbox sitting in your living room, then you’re gonna have to choose which one you like more – G29 for Playstation, or G920 for Xbox.
For a wheel peripheral that can be found for quite a reasonable sum of money, the G920/G29 delivers some very respectable value. With a huge range of motion, three pedals, the option of a H-pattern shifter, a nice and firm brake pedal and strong force feedback (not to mention the hardpoints needed to bolt it all to a proper sim seat), it’s not hard to see why Logitech’s wheel has become such a popular choice for gamers making a start in sim racing.
It certainly adds to the immersion factor, giving you the ability to feel the severity and wheel-tugging effect of a racetrack's kerbs or a dirt rally stage’s ruts, while also giving you the satisfaction of performing a proper heel-toe downshift while threshold braking. Play with headphones on to drown out the sound of the wheel’s motors, and it’s remarkably close to the real thing.
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