Tuesday September 29th, 2015

The Logitech G920 is the company’s first force feedback racing wheel available for the Xbox One, and racing fans can rejoice with its release coming shortly after the launch of Forza Motorsport 6. If you're looking to get the full racing experience on the Xbox One, then look no further.

The racing wheel comes with a pedal set that includes a throttle, brake and clutch. However, if you want a six-speed manual, the Driving Force Shifter is an optional add-on that will cost you $59.99. The hand-stitched leather on the wheel is very comfortable and allows you to firmly get a grip while you're driving, and the high quality of each piece was immediately apparent. Also, right on the face of the steering wheel are all the controller buttons, which makes it easy to navigate through menus and quickly access different controls while you race.

The paddle shifters are made of stainless steel and feel great. However, while it’s much easier to shift using the paddles, the optional Driving Force Shifter adds another layer of realism if you prefer manual. If you’re already shelling out $399.99 to get the wheel and pedals, the extra money you'll have to dole out for the optional Driving Force Shifter is completely worth it. The knob feels great, and while shifting through all the gears is a smooth experience, I do wish that the gears locked into place better.

The G920 has a nonlinear brake pedal, which is supposed to simulate pressure-sensitive brake systems in real cars. The brake pedal is very stiff right out of the box, which takes some getting used to at first. Luckily, you can dive into the advanced settings to make adjustments to the way the pedals react, and once you find a configuration that works for you, you’ll be pulling off heel-toe shifts in no time (well, that last part is probably only applicable to seasoned racers).

Setting up the racing wheel didn’t take particularly long, and everything is clearly laid out. While you’re able to set the G920 up so you can race from the comfort of your couch, the ideal setup would involve using some sort of racing stand and chair. Unfortunately, they aren’t very cheap, and it adds to the already high cost of entry for this type of racing setup.

My first attempt to clamp the wheel and the shifter to a table was a failure due to a plank that is offset just near the edge of my table. While I was able to get the wheel into place, the shifting knob was impossible to firmly clamp due to the way the three clamps are set up. It wasn’t ideal, but I had to angle the shifting knob to get it to stay in place.

The base holding the pedals, while solid and generally able to stay grounded, will eventually shift from you pressing and stomping on the pedals, depending on the surface you’re using it on. Unless you’re on carpet, the base will move around, which may force you to pause a race midway to move it back into a more comfortable position. I had to get creative due to the hardwood flooring I was testing it on to keep it stable at times.

There was a definite adjustment period to using the racing wheel after using a controller. Negotiating turns, weaving in and out of traffic, drifting and even getting braking down felt like learning to drive for the first time all over again. However, once I grew accustomed to it, I had zero intention of going back to racing with a controller. The wheel completely changes the dynamic of the racing experience, and the force feedback on the wheel played a large role in that.

Force feedback helps to simulate and relay traction loss, over- and under-steering, weight shift and even the road conditions. While the Xbox One controller does a fantastic job communicating this information to you via haptic feedback, the wheel offers a wholly different experience. The force feedback intuitively relays vital, split-second information to you, and it provides enough resistance while remaining relatively quiet and smooth in action.

Should You Buy It?

Yes, but that recommendation comes with some caveats. The Logitech G920 is an excellent racing wheel and a fine addition to any gamer’s collection. However, it is expensive, and justifying the price tag is not easy for the casual gamer, especially if you’re on a budget. The costs begin to soar once you factor in the optional Driving Force Shifter, which I found to be a necessary add-on, and a racing stand. Although, looking at some of the competitors on the market, the G920 seems to offer a better balance of value, reliability and performance.

If you’re a hardcore racing enthusiast with the money to invest, this seems like an easy buy. The wheel immerses you into races in a way that is simply not possible with a controller, and once you get the hang of it, there’s little reason to go back to using anything else. It’s clearly a well-constructed device and seems as if it’s built to last, so you can view it as a long-term investment that should last you for years to come.

The Logitech G920 was reviewed with Forza Motorsport 6, which you can find a review for here.

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