Better With Age
Logitech’s G29 improves its position with price
Logitech has been around since 1981 and has produced well over a billion mice during that time. As most companies have found out through the years, if there is no differentiation in products then there is a greater risk of suffering dips due to changes in demand or missed product cycles. Through acquisitions and smart hiring, Logitech has continued to grow and have addressed markets well beyond the mice that they have been famous for.
The G29 is compatible with the Driving Force Shifter from Logitech. This leather wrapped shifter features 6 speeds and a reverse in a self clamping package.
The move to gaming controllers was started decades ago and Logitech has a pretty significant lineup under the Logitech G brand. These gaming oriented products have proven to be quite popular due to their features, construction, and overall price. Initially Logitech opted for joysticks, but have broadened their reach with other controller types. Eventually they produced their own racing wheels and have found a moderate amount of success there. The earlier G25 and G27 products became quite popular due to their overall featureset and relatively low price. The previous G27 was originally released in 2010 so it was prime time to design a new product that would address the PC and console markets.
In 2015 Logitech released the G29 for the PC and Playstation and the G920 for PC and Xbox. The difference between the two wheels is limited to button placement and functions. The internal mechanism is the same as well as the pedals and mounting. This is primarily due to licensing limitations from Sony and Microsoft. The design philosophy that powered the G25 and G27 wheels is retained for this latest generation. There are some differences though, and they were not exactly positive.
At release the G29 and G920 wheels were priced at $399. This is a significant hike from the $299 price of the G27. Also significant is that Logitech did not include the manual shifter that was packaged with the G25 and G27 models. A far higher initial price which did not include an optional shifter was not a popular decision with consumers. While reviews were generally positive for the wheel, it seems as though Logitech had priced themselves out of the market compared to what the competition could give.
Now that we are a few years from that launch we are taking another look at the G29 now that prices have dropped significantly from $399. On Amazon and Newegg the wheel is listed at $266, and I have seen prices as low as $230. MSRP is still at $399 according to Logitech’s site, but in reality the price is far lower and much more in line with expectations and the competition.
Packaging is pretty minimal with no styrofoam or extra packing. It arrived in excellent condition with cardboard inserts and good compartmentalization.
Digging into the G29
The first thing we need to talk about regarding the G29 is the use of materials. I believe a big part of why the G29 was initially priced so high was due to materials more than the technology that went into it. On devices from Fanatec and Thrustmaster we do not start to see leather wrapped wheels until we get into the $500 range for both base and wheel. The hand-stitched leather wrapped wheel is a huge upgrade from the typical rubberized units that we see in this price range.
While the housing is primarily plastic, Logitech has implemented quite a bit of metal around the design. The paddle shifters are polished stainless steel that are nice and rigid, without feeling heavy. There is a good, positive feedback from changing gears with these units. The steering shaft is steel as well to decrease overall wear and keep the action smooth. The primary mechanism here should not need any maintenance for the lifetime of the product. It features a 16 bit Hall Effect sensor system, much like that provided in midrange and higher end Thrustmaster products.
Once opened the contents are pretty simple. Wheel, pedals, power, and a quick resource guide. Not much else is really needed.
The wheel spokes are anodized aluminum and feature a nice brushed finish. This decreases overall wheel weight while providing the necessary rigidity for quick, fast movements of the wheel and an adequate transfer of forces from the motors. The wheel itself feels as though it is a steel rim covered in polyurethane. The prized material here is the hand stitched leather wrap over the wheel. The primary surfaces are perforated for increased ventilation and wicking away sweat from those palms. At the top of the wheel is a very nice looking blue anodized aluminum strip denoting center.