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Review: Logitech G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel (PC/Xbox One)

7

Good

Driving a car – it’s something many of us do on a daily basis. So when asked to steer a car using a small analogue stick on your controller or the keys on your keyboard in a virtual space it’s not something that is going to feel natural to all players. Over time more advanced gamers will get the most out of it, but there is simply no replacement for a steering wheel setup. The Xbox One and PC are both formats that feature many racing games to play, so if you’ve been in the market for that upgrade, Logitech has an answer for you that comes with its own ups and downs.

Design and Build

It must be said that the Logitech G920 does look the part. It’s is real easy on the eyes. Everything from the leather hand-stitched wheel cover through to the smaller details such as the steel shifting paddles all scream quality. Each button press clicks in a very satisfying fashion. They’ve really gone to town in making this a showcase for one of the sexiest racing wheels money can buy. Unlike some other wheels, you’ll find the Xbox One button layout being matched on the wheel and even colour-coded, along with the Xbox guide button. Operating it from the Xbox One dashboard can be done with ease. It also feels exceptionally solid. You’re not going to be breaking this 900 degrees wheel any time soon. Unfortunately the wheel itself is not interchangeable with other wheel variants as you might have seen with other manufacturers. It’s permanently attached to the base. There are, however, other features that make this stand out from the crowd.

Whether you have a racing chair or plan to attach it to a desk of some sort, it’s versatile enough for you to make that decision. It can be hard-mounted to a rig with screws or you can conveniently clamp it to your desk with the on-board clamps that neatly tuck away (the plastic knobs that you use to tighten the clamps) with a downwards click as soon as you’ve tightened it, so you have nothing in the way of your racing session. The unit is connected via one power point and a USB cable that plugs into the front or back of your console or PC and automatically calibrates once you power up. In the box you will also find a set of pedals.

Much thought has gone into the base as it can also be hard-mounted to a rig with screws or, if you don’t have that set-up at home, rubber grips will prevent it from sliding. What’s that? You have carpets? No problem. The retractable carpet grip will prevent it from moving on your carpet. Of course this could damage your carpet with extreme racing sessions over time, so just be aware of that. The pedals include the accelerate, brake and clutch inputs. The accelerator and clutch pedals work just fine, but the brake pedal has a rubber insert to simulate some resistance as you would feel in real life. The problem is that the resistance is immense. You can’t just use your foot to apply pressure. No, you use your upper legs to push down on it, which had a major impact on the races I took part in. 

Performance

As beautiful as the wheel looks, it doesn’t help it when it comes to the feedback you get from your favourite racing game… and it’s here where it loses some traction. Logitech has stuck with its tried and tested helical gearing system. While all the other manufacturers have moved on to belts to provide a smoother result, it’s going to be a little more ‘grindy’ with this experience. One of the biggest reasons to invest into a wheel of this nature is to experience the realism and the force feedback it provides. The Logitech G920 offers you that experience, but be prepared to tweak each game in the advanced settings menu to get it anywhere near rivaling other racing wheels.

Dirt Rally – 5/10

Rally driving is generally a twitchy experience, but unfortunately the G920 took it to a whole new level. I constantly had issues with over-steering and no matter what I did, I just could not get it to work as I intended in this game. The wheel feedback was so twitchy and sudden that it felt like I was playing a racing game using the D-Pad or keys on a keyboard. The required force you have to hit down on the brakes also posed to be a problem. It affects braking points in a big way. Tap the brake as you normally would and you’ll drive right by your planned braking point and roll the vehicle down some cliff. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience at all.

Dirt 4 – 8/10

Thanks to its more arcade-like element, it did not ask for that same amount of precision and as such the G920 handled the events on-screen with style. The snow in Sweden was obviously more challenging, but enter Australia with its dusty roads and I was drifting around corners like a pro. Codemasters has obviously spent more time tweaking the G920 for this experience as it worked perfectly without having to change a single setting from the factory default setup. The over-steering I experienced in Dirt Rally was also nowhere to be seen.

Forza Motorsport 7 – 7.5/10

I spent a lot of time playing Forza Motorsport 7 using the G920, but it took a lot of tweaking to get the wheel to perfection. The force feedback and the weight of the wheel required some serious tampering, but once solved it was very enjoyable. It was in FM7 that I finally tested Logitech’s official Driving Force Shifter. Truth be told, it was the first time I used a gear shifter in a racing game and it took a lot of time for me to get to grips with it, but once I did there was no looking back. You would think that driving a manual car in a game would be as simple as it is in real life, but since you’re racing other cars and not just driving it becomes a frantic experience that improves the more you play. Pulling down on a gear shift to pass a car will always be more satisfying than tapping a gear paddle. (For those interested, the Driving Force 6-speed manual shifter can also be hard-mounted or clamped to a desk).

Unfortunately things just weren’t as perfect as I know it can be. The biggest headache came in the form of the helical gearing system and that dead spot that comes with it. You won’t experience this with slower vehicles, but take a Hypercar for a spin and you’ll find yourself randomly losing control of the vehicle. At random the car will start swaying side-to-side and ultimately you will spin out, unless you apply the brakes to slow down the ‘out-of-control’ motion.

F1 2019 – 8.5/10

It is by far the best game to play using the G920. Start up F1 2019 and the G920 will come with preset settings to make your life that much easier. I do recommend that you turn the force feedback up to the max, unless a mild thud when another car hits you is fine by you. By turning it up to the max it provides much more road feedback, resembling other racing steering wheels. Where the G920 is ahead of the pack is in terms of button placements. It feels much more natural to find the buttons on the wheel to contact your team for a race update, than it is on most other products on the market. It could come down to personal taste, but I loved the layout. The only hassle was, yet again, the brakes. The corners come at you real fast in F1 games and having to just about slam your foot through the base is a tiring experience. After about three 25% race distance races I was sweating, my calves were cramping and I had to give it a break. I guess I was as tired as a real driver would be?

Specs

Wheel:
Rotation: 900 degrees lock-to-lock
Hall-effect steering sensor
Dual-Motor Force Feedback
Overheat safeguard

Pedals:
Nonlinear brake pedal
Patented carpet grip system
Textured heel grip
Self-calibrating

Materials:
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)

Physical Specifications:
Wheel:
Height: 270 mm
Width: 260 mm
Depth: 278 mm
Weight without cables: 2.25 kg

Pedals:
Height: 167 mm
Width: 428.5 mm
Depth: 311 mm
Weight without cables: 3.1 kg

Conclusion

The Logitech G920 is incredibly sexy on the surface and it winks at you just enough to make the experience enjoyable. It does require a lot of work to get the most out of what it can offer. It’s not going to be on par with some of the Thrustmaster wheels I’ve used (in the same class) before, but if you’re limited to a desk then there isn’t much else to match what this desk-clamp racing wheel offers.

Good

  • The materials used are classy
  • Comes with a desk clamp
  • Fantastic button placement

Bad

  • Requires a lot of tweaking to get the most out of it
  • Brake pedal is extremely stiff
  • Still using gears in the motor, instead of improved belts system

Summary

The Logitech 920 is a piece of tech that will look beautiful in your lounge, but it requires a lot of work to get the most out of it. There are better options for the same price, but if you're limited to clamping it to a desk then this is the racing wheel to drive off into the sunset.
7

Good

Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.

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