by William Kelley on December 30, 2009 in Peripherals
Crave ultimate realism in your PC games? Setting yourself up with a real simulator is a tad expensive, but for racing fans, Logitech gives us the next best thing with its G27 racing wheel. Logitech has long been known as a quality producer of racing wheels, and with the G27, the best just got better. Vroom vroom!
There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Logitech is the unofficial king of the peripheral world when it comes to PC accessories. There is not enough room in this page to list them all one by one. Established in 1981 in Apples, Switzerland, no other company has given us such a wide range of highly successful products. From budget to high-end, there is no segment of the market left untouched.
While a great many gamers are strictly casual, there is a strong and growing segment that is just plain hardcore. This group demands every aspect of their genre of choice to be catered to by their games and also by their game controllers. Those of us (including me) that focus mainly on driving games, and more importantly driving simulations, have very high demands and expectations of our equipment. Most current racing simulations and games allow for a wide range of features that can be mapped to controllers offering us a very immersive experience.
With the advent of the G25 racing wheel, we were finally given a mass market setup equipped with not only a H-pattern shift but also a clutch pedal. Before this, the only other available similar configurations were not only expensive but also very hard to find. It was a treat for a great many of us to finally have the ultimate in control for our games without having to spend a small fortune in the process. Sure, there were a few quirks, but no one can deny the success of the G25 and what it has done for racing simulations.
Today we get our hands on the latest incarnation, the G27. Sporting a leather wrapped steering wheel, stainless steel shift paddles/foot pedals and the 6 speed shifter we are given the tools to take the common game to the next level. While it is not a major leap over the previous G25, there are some noteworthy improvements. The shifter has been refined and no longer suffers from the shortfalls of the original.
Also, the pedals are adjustable right to left to change the spacing for those with different sized feet. Gone is the option of the shifter to allow a sequential pattern which was somewhat redundant since there are paddles behind the wheel for this style shifting. Also refined are the motors for the wheel itself. They are nearly silent in regular use with gear whine being nearly completely eliminated. Let’s get it out of the box and onto the test bed and see just how the G27 performs on the track.
Out of the well-packed box we get out first look at the G27. Your nose is treated to the smell of leather and you cannot help but focus on that gleaming stainless steel. Everything has a nice solid feel and there is no doubt that this is one quality setup. Fit and finish is excellent and there are no seams or gaps anywhere. Other than a few wrinkles in the leather, there is just nothing to question.
A closer look at the wheel itself gives a better look at the brushed aluminum spokes as well as the leather wrapping. I myself have owned more than a few cars over the years with a leather wrapped wheel and the look and feel here is nearly identical.
Up close and personal we are given six programmable buttons on the wheel itself. Right above the hub is a set of LEDs that will most likely be used as a shift light in future game releases. I am not aware of any current titles that support this. The all metal paddles are nestled behind the wheel.
I wanted to highlight the paddle placement behind the wheel more closely. I have had my hands on a few other wheel combos and have never cared for where the paddles were situated. Logitech has put them exactly where I like them which is nice and tight. There is plenty of room for your hands yet you are not reaching to use them. This is critical when playing a rally sim, since one missed shift can be the end of your winning stage time.
Underneath the body of the wheel we see the dual clamp mounting system. With a deep body and the two strong screw down clamps, I had no problem getting it mounted and firmly anchored on my keyboard tray.
For those of you that want a mechanical mount, there are dual recessed threaded nuts that will accept a bolt and will more permanently mount your wheel. Also take note of the channels recessed into the plastic to route all wires tightly and safely through the bottom of the base when you have it mounted down.
The six speed shifter is the next item up on our list. From the leather shifter boot to the simulated shape of an automotive console, we get a real car feel from the design and implementation. The shifter moves smoothly and solidly clicks into each gear. To access a reverse gear all you do is push down on the shifter itself and shift it into 6th gear. Again, this type of shifting is used on quite a few production automobiles so it is a natural motion as well.
There are a wealth of programmable buttons as well as a directional gamepad style button on the shifter body. You can program them through the included Logitech Profiler software as well as in game in most current titles. I can say that with past experience with wheels with far fewer buttons are just not as flexible when you want the most control possible in-game.
On the next page, we’ll continue our tour around the G27, and also tackle testing.