Review: Logitech G29 Driving Force Racing Wheel

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Product: Logitech G29 Driving Force Racing Wheel
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Manufacturer: Logitech G
Original MSRP: $399.99
This product was provided by the manufacturer for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 433 of the podcast.

When this new generation of consoles arrived, every indication that Logitech gave was that they wouldn’t be offering any console peripherals any more, especially racing wheels. Gamers clamored for a solution though, since up until DRIVECLUB was released, there were no solutions available on PS4 at all. Racing game forums were buzzing with rumors of gadgets that promised connectivity of existing PS3 wheels to the PS4, none of which work so far. Those who spent hundreds of dollars on a G25 or G27 from Logitech obviously wanted to keep using them, but hardware and design differences between the PS3 and PS4 didn’t allow for that to happen. But that’s a different article.

Then Logitech dropped a bomb with the G29. Priced at $399, it took a stand directly against the Thrustmaster T300, but some of the features are different between the two. The T300 offers a wider breadth of customization options, with multiple wheels and an impressive shifter, but all of that costs extra. Out of the box, the Logitech G29 actually offers a couple of better items like a leather-wrapped steering wheel (as opposed to the rubberized wheel with the T300) and a full 3-pedal module (as opposed to the T300’s two pedals.)

Logitech G29 Driving Force

Inside the base is pretty-much what was in the G27 wheel but with two exceptions. First, a brand new optical encoder is included, offering better calibration of the wheel during use which comes as a direct response to criticisms of the G27. Second, the internal sensors that were optical in the G27 have now been replaced with “hall-effect” electromagnetic tech, that promises better accuracy and increased durability since optical sensors have a higher risk of failure.

The main drive system is still comprised of gears instead of the belt-drive system that the T300 employs. Some enthusiasts feel that the gear systems that Logitech uses don’t accurately simulate how a real driving system would feel and that it makes things feel too stiff. Having used both wheels extensively now, and knowing people’s feelings about the gears system, I really don’t feel a noticeable difference. I do like that the external connections are actually underneath the unit with simple cable management included, taking stress off of the connections.

… the external shifter isn’t included …
What surprised me the most though is that I expected the wheel to be noisy, at the very least when it hit the limits of its rotation, and it wasn’t at all. I’d say it’s just a hair louder than the T300, meaning that it’s very quiet indeed. One thing though that I believe is a side-effect of the gear-based system is that there seems to be a mechanical dead zone about 1/2-inch to each side of center, and it takes some getting used to. I’ve messed with the software on a PC (the wheel works on PC as well as PS3 and PS4) to see if it could be adjusted, but I found nothing. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but it is something that definitely needs to be mentioned.

On the outside it’s not the G27 at all. In fact, the design is definitely inspired by the Driving Force GT. The layout of the buttons is great, especially how accessible the main four are. It’s a familiar layout and one that should feel comfortable to most. But this also identifies one of the biggest disappointments with the G29, the fact that unlike the G27, the external shifter isn’t included in the box. On the G27, all but six buttons were actually on the included shifter, including the D-pad. This time around the shifter needs to be purchased separately for $59.99.

Luckily, the sequential shifter on the wheel is great; that would be the “flappy paddles” that you reach with your fingertips. They offer a good amount of resistance and shifting is decisive. On a side-note, the shifter from the G27 will plug into the G29 but, depending on the game and platform, you’ll get differing results. Overall, the shifter usually works on PS4, but the buttons won’t.

CableManagementG29

On to the pedals, which look exactly like the ones included with the G27. Like those, each one is adjustable with a few turns of some screws. The build is all metal and they’re high-end from top to bottom. Different though is the brake, which now feels completely different and simulates that “hydraulic” feel of the brakes on a real car. It takes a while to get used to, but boy does it feel great. Resistance on the accelerator and clutch is above average as well and the old carpet-catcher on the bottom of the module is back, which made me smile.

Logitech G29 Driving Force_Pedal Unit

As I mentioned above, the wheel works on PC, PS4, and PS3. When it’s on the PS3 it won’t show up as a G29. Instead it will show up as a Driving Force GT, so any external shifter won’t function. So there’s the rub for those that already own a G27. Do you just replace the G27 with the G29 and downgrade your PS3 experience somewhat, or do you use both and keep them separated for each console? That’s obviously a personal decision, and I’m not making that one for you.

… the wheel comes wrapped in leather …
Conclusion:
At the end of the day, we now have two racing wheels offered at the same price of $399.99. Both work with PS3, PS4, and PC and both offer full force feedback. The differences lie in the fact that one offers more features out of the box, but the other offers a lot more flexibility, and that’s really what you should consider when you decide between the two.

I really have no complaints about this wheel except for probably the price. It’s still tough for me to justify a wheel for the PS4 that costs the same amount as the console does. The differences that I notice between the two wheels are slight. I like the feel of driving a tad more on the Thrustmaster, but I do like that the pedals on the G29 feel and perform as well as they do. I also like the fact that the wheel comes wrapped in leather out of the box rather than rubber.

So like I said, it’s really up to you. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already decided that you may want to spend four hundred bucks. So read this review and maybe the review for the T300 and make your decision based on what’s in the box with each, or if you maybe want to swap add-ons out at some point. The bottom line is that they’re both really good wheels.

Score:
9.0

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