Software, Setup, Experience, and Conclusion
While the G29 was seen by a PC when switched to PS3 mode, the Logitech Gaming Software package has been updated to add support for the two new wheels. Once installed, the software initializes and communicates with the wheel directly, regardless of the location of the PS3/PS4 switch.
The software is flexible, with built in profiles which are really just sets of game-specific commands that can be mapped to the various buttons on the G29.
We tried the G29 with a few games. Project Cars has a pre-configured selection for it and mapped everything accordingly. Dirt Rally took some remapping to get everything working properly, except for the pre-racing selection GUI navigation, which we could not seem to get unlinked from the throttle pedal (selection would constantly move upward with pedal released / downward with pedal depressed). All was fine while driving though.
I had my doubts as to how good of an experience a racing wheel could bring, but after using the G29, I’m certainly a believer. When paired with a driving sim that correctly simulates the tire’s physical interaction with the road surface, the G29 *felt* just like driving a real car on the track. If the car shifts towards oversteer and begins to rotate, you can feel it in the wheel feedback long before you see the effects of it on-screen (when it would be too late to do anything about it, in the case of the light weight and twitchy Ariel Atom I was driving). When coming over crests, the feedback reduces as the front wheels lift off of the track. Front wheel drive cars torque steer just as they would in real life. Hit a curb at a specific angle and the game will try to rip the wheel out of your hands. The G29 does have its limits in this regard, but the dual motors can provide an adequate level of feedback – similar to the maximum effort required for a modern car with power assisted steering. I did notice a bit of a ‘notchy’ feeling to the wheel while slowly turning against the feedback (common while making small steering adjustments in a sweeping turn at speed). It was not to a bad degree, as Logitech wheels use helical gearing to minimize the effect, but in the places where it was noticeable I was reminded of why some shy away from gear-driven wheels in favor of smoother belt-driven wheels.
G29 vs. G27
When the G29 launched, there was some grumbling about this being a more expensive wheel than its predecessor. They do have a point, as the G27 came with a shifter (a $60 add-on for the G29). The G27 also launched a full $100 cheaper than the G29’s $399 price tag, and currently sells in the $250 range. While the G29 reportedly has higher resolution encoders and more buttons, the lack of a shifter is an annoying proposition considering the $150 increase in cost.
G29 vs. Thrustmaster T300RS
The T300RS is an interesting contrast to the G29. Thrustmaster’s wheel features belt drive and comes in at the same $399 price point, but it only comes with dual pedals. Triple pedal sets range $100-$150, and the shifter add-on comes in at another $150 (compared to the G29 shifter at $60). Thrustmaster does hold an advantage over competing wheels in that they have a very reasonably priced F1-style wheel add-on.
G29 vs. Fanatec
Fanatec gear is in a completely different league here, with $600 belt-driven wheel bases and $300 pedal sets, you’re cracking a grand before you even add a shifter or even an actual steering wheel. Basically, if you want as authentic of a simulation as possible (and have plenty of money to burn), Fanatec is the way to go. The rest of us working class folk will just have to stick with our lower cost wheels and drool over their wares.
The Logitech G29 Driving Force is a solidly built racing wheel. The included pedal set is just as solid, and works together with the wheel to give a surprisingly realistic driving experience, especially when paired with modern racing sims. Fans and owners of prior Logitech wheels may scoff at the omission of a shifter, (long overdue) lack of belt drive, and higher cost of this new wheel. There is also the need to have two separate products for PS3/PS4 or Xbox One. The pricing of the G29 and might be justified if they were updated to belt drive. Further, the G920 matches the G29 on cost but not on features, which seems to be gouging Xbox users, as they get roughly half the buttons and no RPM LED readout.