Logitech, We Need to Talk: A Review of the G29

logitech-g29-g920Taking advantage of a 24-hour sale at Memory Express and finally upgrading to a toy steering wheel that’s a bit more… shall we say… relevant… I’m still not entirely sold on the Logitech G29. While both aesthetically pleasing and functionally sound, Logitech’s newest consumer racing wheel for the PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One (depending on the sub-model you choose to purchase) simply isn’t worth the $499 USD asking price. There is not enough in the box to warrant such an enormous price hike compared to previous Logitech offerings, and those looking to upgrade from an older Logitech product in an effort to future-proof their simulator setups may come away extremely disappointed from the package. I personally am kind of satisfied with my purchase, but objectively, many people won’t be. And it’s time to talk about that.

Now before we begin, many of you have undoubtedly heard the horror stories surrounding the G29, and some are most likely wondering why in God’s name I willingly went out and bought this relatively new product from Logitech despite the overwhelming number of negative customer reviews. It all boils down to a trio of key reasons, and I’ll outline them to give y’all an indication of why I pushed aside my trusty Driving Force GT with Logitech G27 pedals for an expensive side-grade.

  • Many lazy developers are failing to add support for multiple USB devices. On no less than three separate occasions this year, I purchased a game I could not play. WRC 6, NASCAR Heat, and Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo all required me to dig out my Xbox 360 pad, as the three applications did not include functionality for multiple inputs when configuring your controller. If I buy something that’s intended for a hardcore racing game audience, I fully expect it to accommodate the needs of said hardcore audience – and part of that is allowing people to use their fancy third party handbrake, H-Shifter, and even pedal attachments. With my current setup, I was left waiting for either a community mod or a patch from the developers themselves, immediately after booting up the game’s executable for the first time. With a Logitech G29, I wouldn’t have that problem.
  • I own a backwards compatible PlayStation 3, and basically every racing game under the sun. I’ve spent entire nights blasting through Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, Gran Turismo 6, or NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup with the default plastic pedals that come bundled with the Driving Force GT. Despite having to wrap a bungee cord around the brake pedal to provide artificial resistance, these games are phenomenal with a wheel, and I wanted a PlayStation 3-compatible wheel that came with a solid set of pedals from the get-go because the amount of time I invested into these older titles warranted a decent wheel for them, not Fischer Price plastic under my feet.
  • I will eventually purchase a PlayStation 4. Yes, I’m missing my Madden and NHL fix, but with DriveClub turning into a somewhat competent arcade racer, Project CARS dropping in price and bundling all of the DLC together in a Game of the Year Edition, as well as Gran Turismo Sport and Project CARS 2 appearing on the horizon, the PlayStation 4 is actually turning into a decent platform for racing games of all sub-genres, and that’s only going to continue in the future.

I can’t recall the last time I’ve done a hardware review, if ever, so lets dig into what the Logitech G29 does, and doesn’t have to offer.

g29-racing-wheelIt’s a Beautiful Thing.

The overall build quality and design of the Logitech G29 is really phenomenal – this is a gorgeous looking wheel compared to the G27 that’s been in basically everybody’s homes since it was first introduced. It feels nice in your hands, it’s quiet under normal gameplay circumstances, and the abundance of buttons is exactly what I was looking for after using the Driving Force GT for a solid four and a half years. When it comes to configuring the controller, most of the buttons actually remain in the same location as the Driving Force GT had them laid out in, meaning it took almost no time at all to map the new layout – I could literally take my DFGT settings, change three buttons, re-do the pedals, and hit save.

This increase in quality extends to the profiler, which has seen a much-needed facelift – though some sliders have actually been removed. Personally, I’m digging the change, though some will miss the ability to adjust the springs and dampers. If those options are in the profiler, I haven’t seen them yet.

untitled-4Regarding the pedals, the Logitech G29 essentially uses the exact same model of pedals found in the G27, with the only change coming in the form of the brake pedal – which has been modified into acting like a load cell. In short, you push the brake to about 40% of what would normally be full input on the G27, and it instead stops unexpectedly – requiring you to physically put additional pressure on the pedal for the rest of the input range. In my opinion, it’s given me an added level of control over my car and I’ve taken to the new approach required for braking quite quickly, but I can see the rubber piece acting as a load cell failing in the hands of someone who’s hard on their equipment. I can’t imagine the part is very robust with the way it feels under my foot. The brake is also too sensitive by default, and I found myself turning the sensitivity slider down to about 25%, because the original setting of 50% was insane.

Depending on how often you rely on an H-Shifter for historic cars, the outright omission of the stick from the base Logitech G29 package can be a deal breaker. I personally haven’t used an H-Shifter for years because it’s slower in a competitive format – no questions asked – but those who hold immersion as more important than online results will be choked to discover that the price hike saw less stuff fall out of the box when you tipped it upside down. I don’t care for the lack of an H-Shifter, but many will.

ams-2016-10-25-23-03-21-51PC Simulators

It took around two nights to get fully accustomed to driving with the Logitech G29. While it may be using a portion of the same underlying hardware as the G27 to power the wheel, it certainly feels much smoother and more refined than the G27 – and it’s really the first time I’ve driven Automobilista where the cars felt comfortable to whip around the various circuits available. The G29 does not shake or rattle around in your hands – the biggest complaints of the G27 by far – but instead matches the aesthetic improvements by offering a driving experience where you can gently place the car where you want it to go; wheeling it when necessary. It’s the exact kind of improvements owners of the G27 have been asking for, but unless your G27 is literally falling apart in your hands, it’s hard to justify binning your G27 for a G29.

nr2003-2016-10-30-15-20-05-96The biggest difference, as mentioned above, is how the brake pedal operates under racing conditions. Rather than memorizing how far you have to push the pedal in each corner on a specific track, you can ride the pedal on entry – as you would in real life – and give a quick stab of the brake as you approach the apex to help the car rotate. Dustin and I have been shaking down the Aero88 mod in NASCAR Racing 2003 Season for… reasons… and it was truly impressive how dynamic your driving style becomes with a load cell-like contraption such as the one Logitech have implemented into the G29.

Gran Turismo 6

PlayStation Games

Here’s where things get upsetting. Gran Turismo 6 with the Logitech G29 is a fantastic experience; I’m really glad I’ve finally gotten to try this game with a properly built wheel, as it confirms my original findings when I gave the controversial car collecting title an equally controversial shakedown earlier in the year. However, when I took the plunge on some of my favorite PlayStation 2 games – fully compatible with the Logitech Driving Force GT as well as the G27 – the Logitech G29 absolutely shit the bed. I mean, the wheel didn’t work at all.

I loaded up NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup – quite a wonderful game with my Driving Force GT – and the wheel pulled hard left immediately after receiving control of the car from the CPU when leaving pit road. The wheel simply wasn’t recognized in Enthusia Professional Racing – my car remaining stagnant on the grid with the wheel turned all the way to the left – and lastly, I couldn’t even navigate the menus in Need for Speed Underground; the “Start” button having been mapped to one of the D-Pad directions. Despite the G29 powered largely by the same firmware as the Logitech G27 and Driving Force GT, which can be used on basically every older PlayStation title known to man so long as you’re playing it on a Sony Console, this compatibility has mysteriously been revoked for the Logitech G29. That’s not cool.

The trade-off for the lack of compatibility with PlayStation 2 titles is most likely PlayStation 4 compatibility, though the risk of future proofing your setup for titles that aren’t even on the shelves yet is a bit of a gamble. I know Gran Turismo 4 is an awesome game, and I’d love to play it with a wheel. What we don’t know, is what Gran Turismo Sport will look like when it’s sitting on the shelves for $60. I know Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 is the best racing game ever released for the PlayStation 2, and I’d love to play it with a wheel. What we don’t know, is how Project CARS 2 or DiRT 4 will look.

I don’t understand why Logitech suddenly abandoned compatibility with PlayStation 2 games on the fat-model PlayStation 3, when it’s available in other wheels running similar firmware.

dolphin-2016-10-30-16-04-23-24

Emulators

It’s a bit out of left field, but the popular Nintendo home console emulator Dolphin actually includes steering wheel support, allowing you to bust out a single input device such as the Logitech G29 for use in one of the few hardcore racing games released for either the GameCube or Wii. I was able to dial in the G29 to such an extent, I was slaughtering the AI on Legend difficulty in NASCAR Thunder 2003, to the point where any thought I had of playing through the games’ extensive career mode went out the window once I compared my practice times to the lap at the top of the board in qualifying. While not a direct testament to the quality of the G29, this goes to show the kind of additional gaming options you have when purchasing a single-input device, compared to the standard mix-and-match configurations that most sim racers opt for.

ams-2016-10-25-23-03-53-81Value

Here’s where the issue with the Logitech G29 arises: the cost. Without factoring in flash sales or special discounts, the MSRP is an astounding $500 USD, a full $200 more than the G27’s launch price of $300 USD all the way back in 2009. You do not receive an H-Shifter in the base package – as you would with the G27 – and the reduced compatibility now prohibits you from playing games that were once fully compatible with previous Logitech wheels you may still have hooked up to your PC or PS3. The abundance of buttons on the face of the wheel, while extremely useful for hardcore PC sim racers compared to the shitty layout of the G27 which placed half of them on the shifter, were already seen on the Driving Force GT – a wheel which retailed for $110 USD at launch. It is absolutely insane for a company to charge upwards of $500 (including taxes) for a product that isn’t a demonstrable upgrade in every single aspect from their previous releases. It’s got less functionality, doesn’t come with an H-Shifter, features a button layout that Logitech themselves admitted doesn’t cost a whole lot to implement based on the price of the DFGT, yet retails for $200 more. It’s astounding this MSRP got past the drawing board, and was actually approved by multiple suits at Logitech.

You are essentially paying an extra $200 to future-proof your PlayStation 4, and that’s bullshit for one very distinct reason: Many racing games on the PlayStation 4, aside from DriveClub and Gran Turismo Sport (which hasn’t even come out yet), are multi-platform releases. Unless you plan on picking up a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One in the near future and know you’ll dive into Gran Turismo or Forza alongside Call of Duty or Madden – as the Logitech G920 is the exact same product for Microsoft’s current console – you can completely avoid this wheel. Provided you aren’t running one of those budget Ferrari Thrustmaster offerings, whatever you’ve got in front of you right now is more than adequate for your needs.

53 thoughts on “Logitech, We Need to Talk: A Review of the G29

  1. Who fucking cares for this plastic “G27 in different clothes” toy,There are rumors that Fanatec (YES it’s better than Logitech & Thrustmaster) is planning to introduce a Direct Drive wheel next year for the release of the next Forza title on the very powerful next gen console from microsoft, Xbox Scorpio.

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  2. No, the real issue for me is that you have a company that’s basically try to sell you an overpriced 8 years old tech as a new product.

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    1. Outdated or not, how can you charge that much for what is really just a specialized controller? Yet more evidence that a reason sim racing is not more popular is the fact that it is, for many people, cost-prohibitive.

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  3. Steering wheels are one of the most overpriced gaming accessories out there, and companies are scamming people with $1000 direct drive wheels and $500 consumer wheels. I could stick an Atari joystick up my ass and produce better results on the track than using a wheel.

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    1. For a DD-wheel (industry motor with controller unit) you just pay for what you get. Sellers charge a fee for a ready to run setup, which is just fine and your choice. You get a device which will hold probably 10+ years and the software gets updates for free. So wtf are you talking about?

      Accuforce Pro comes with the very best software to configure the wheel for each Sim or even car. They send units to the game developer to get direct wheel support. The button/paddle shifter unit will cost 700 bucks extra with a DD-wheel. Still expensive but Quality isn’t cheap and a shitty consumer wheel is nothing in comparison.

      Thrustmaster seems more of a scam because poor build quality and little reliability. Logitech maybe more reliable, but poor FFB. Fanatec something in between. You get what you pay for and more.

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  4. You didn’t say anything about how it feels in the center. Still pretty much no FFB there?

    If it doesn’t exhibit any rattling, this alone makes the wheel look like a compelling offer. Not having the H-shifter included for that price, however, is a real deal breaker.

    By the way, James, why did you opt for the DFGT wheel anyway? Does it rattle less? You seem to have enough experience with a G27, yet you only picked the pedals. That makes me curious.

    Also, any news on Project CARS 2? You mentioned it at least twice in the article, so I suppose you know something?

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    1. If I’d found G27 pedals when I had my DFGT, I wouldn’t have replaced the wheel either. Ended up waiting and getting a T300RS for 300$ instead.

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      1. Why is that? I personally never tried the DFGT wheel in action. Didn’t look sturdy to me, not to mention it looked more toy-ish. So, what exactly DFGT has it would be worth resorting to such a setup?

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        1. The price difference between the DFGT and the G27 was pretty big. Got a DFGT for 60$ from someone, the G27 was routinely 300$ new or close to that used. It’s not as strong as a G25/27, but feels about the same, has more buttons and terrible pedals. I broke the little shifter in about a week, but other than that it worked OK. It’s too bad nothing ever replaced it.

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  5. You knowingly bought the exact same equipment you had before essentially? You didn’t even discuss the difference, if any between what you had before and now. Besides the pedals, probably should have gotten a thrustmaster or a fanatec, seems clearly like a consumer driven purchase, and less than pro review. What technology is the wheel compared to your old one?
    Jeez
    If your clearly happy with your old equipment and just needed an updated version thats forward compatible, not sure wgat the point of a review is.
    As far as I can tell. You just spent $500 to essentially use basically the same setup you already love.
    Pointless? Other than compatibility.
    Or just a simple review for simple taste?
    I hoped to hear you talk about fidelity.
    And the only fidelity discussion came from a basic trick similar to the bungee cord method you use to add resistance.
    Seems kind of dumb to review something you clearly don’t recommend. Especially with TM and Fanatec products at a lower price point.
    Dude you could have gotten a real load cell club sport pedals. And a Fanatec wheel for near the same cost likely.

    This one left me with more questions and bewilderment than good review info.
    WTH?

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    1. For a review that you allege to lack detail, you sure seemed to learn a lot from it.

      “You knowingly bought the exact same equipment you had before essentially?”

      Like, that’s what a G29 is. That’s what was addressed in the review. There IS nothing to compare.

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      1. unless you had been living under a rock…
        …these issues had been discussed on release, already. Maybe except your “discovery” concerning the lack of PS2 compatibility. Although, reading the specs in a “glass half-empty” state of mind, one would have concluded such from the get-go.

        And Logitech is not alone with this. Their only current competitor in this price-bracket of the market: Thrustmaster, also sells you 2 essentially identical wheel-bases – one for playstation, one for xbox. As with the two Logitech wheels, both will work on the PC (this is purposefully discounting the older PS3-era T500 to be precise).

        What really drives me nuts is – as a PC-only consumer of these products – I essentially overpaid both companies for the included “licenses” for either proprietors’ respective console systems. With my last and current wheel being a G25 and a T300, I paid for a feature that I find entirely redundant as I am not in the market for any of that.

        A bit of a paradox I notice here:
        the most cost-efficient way to enjoy a capable “toy-wheel” for everyone that races/games on the “PC” is to get out and purchase what is primarily a “blessed by the console-gatekeepers” premium-laden piece of hardware. In layman’s terms: we pay those suckers for a privilege we never have planned to and never will make use of.

        I could not care less about the Ferrari-logo on my T300 Alcantara-wheel, by the way. The overall design and feel of it is pleasing, though – so I guess in this particular detail it is somewhat more justifiable to pay a premium for that Ferrari license (since it is essentially a replica of one of their car’s wheel designs).

        Considering what Logitech is asking of their customers, though, I have always recommended one of the Thrustmasters when asked for the better value (functionality&performance over price).

        So the reality seems to remain unchanged for the time being: Consoles sell mainstream racing wheels. Not the other way round. I.e. if it was the other way around, you would not have run into that compatibility wall of yours.

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      2. I stand by what I said. This was a consumer driven choice to re buy the same setup you love. For way too much coin.
        For something you don’t even recxommend.
        Im amazed at how un-pro and useless this was.
        Take it one step further when you consider you could have changed up for two hundred dollars cheaper and got a T300 or Fanatec gear that actually is an upgrade. At least I assume. You would have to do another review to confirm what I believe. But you were too busy rebuying the same equipment and over paying for it.
        I don’t respect that. Fan boy behavior. But at least your still on your trusted setup of choice and don’t have to learn anything new?
        Not the point of an informative blog IMO.

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  6. “I personally haven’t used an H-Shifter for years because it’s slower in a competitive format”

    That’s what iracing taught you, as it rewards paddles in h-shifter cars. That’s why is more fair when you race manual cars in Assetto Corsa and the grid varies between paddles and shifter drivers, because the paddle shifting in manual cars was balanced to not have an unfair advantage over who races the car with the right equipment for the car.

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    1. good point.
      One of those little details that I find Kunos gets right compared to the other sim studios.

      Although, not having to loosen your grip on the wheel when shifting does make for an advantage in car-handling. You can literally get away with shifting gears in a lot more situations than when using an h-shifter car. That does not make it faster (quite the opposite, since the above statement implies the driver did run into some less than ideal driving-condition), yet it makes you more confident and recover from mistakes far more often. And that is a huge part of racing, as well. Being competitive will often brake down to who can manage his own mistakes better than the competition.

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  7. In my country G27s are a rare sight so, also because of a lucky coincidence, I managed to get my hands on a G29+H shifter for 290 euros (Fairly honest price), as much as it feels neat while driving the limited compatibility with Playstation 3 (it gets recognised as Driving Force Pro, aka no clutch and H shifter) was upsetting to say the least. Apparently through a homemade USB adapter and the GMIX software you should be able to make it fully compatible with Playstation 3 and Playstation 2, but getting the parts here can be pricey. Definitively mixed feedback for the G29

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    1. G27s are out of production for as long as the G29 and G920 respectively have been announced — if not for longer than that.

      And with a large portion of today’s market being driven by direct sales circumventing any retail-stock, the latent availability of products that are phased out and in the process of being replaced with the new is driven shorter and shorter.

      To be honest though, the deal you got matches my impression of perceived value exactly. IMHO this is the price-point at which these should be offered to begin with. The simple fact that these sort of deals are out there (and to be found repeatedly), reinforces my impression that Logitech’s marketing department has only become increasingly greedy.
      Make no mistake, on paper those current G-wheels are a somewhat considerable upgrade under their plastic skin, replacing a few modules with parts that are expected to outlast those used in the G27. Those changes sadly do not translate into improved performance, since that is not what these minor changes were meant to achieve. Neither do those change the politics surrounding these wheels (compatibility, branding). And the potentiometer-pedals still remain connected to an 8 bit controller. Which would be fine with purely travel-based input-readings, yet in combination with the elastic foam-insert on the brake-pedal giving you a somewhat progressive feel, one has to ask the question what they were smoking when specifying this modification into the otherwise unchanged pedals and A/D-controller.

      Suddenly the 10-bit resolution of those Thrustmaster wheels’ pedal controllers don’t seem like such a waste.

      Adding to these thoughts, the problems which Windows 10 users had to endure with those driver-updates pushed through Microsoft’s new centralised update-system underhandedly overwriting device-IDs and temporarily braking working installations… …I just cannot stop myself from concluding that company has lost it’s way when it comes to wheels.

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      1. Driver problems, same mechanism, ridiculous price, no shifter included (shitty or not) and still the terrible little clamps? I was so happy to jump ship to Thrustmaster. Although I also wouldn’t have paid 500$ for the regular 300RS.

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      2. Soon after pCars lauched, i started to have look at deal because my trusty old momo wasn’t cutting it anymore. Bought my G27 for 230 CAD new, taxes, S&H included. Not long after, almost all G27 were sold out online and G29 started to be available, at 500$

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  8. “I personally haven’t used an H-Shifter for years because it’s slower in a competitive format.”

    That’s not true for project cars: If you drive a car with h-pattern and configured to use autoclutch
    you will be much faster.
    This is one of the many bugs and glitches in pcars which have been known even before release but never got fixed by the SMS shitheads.
    There’s a built in delay when using paddles and autoclutch but not when using shifter and autoclutch. Instant shift with h-shifter, delayed shift with paddles.

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      1. Badly, too.

        It’s like they spent so much time fucking around with toy wheel hardware and convincing themselves to buy this shit that they never really learn how to drive a car.

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  9. Docking this wheel for the lack of compatibility with games made in an age where a 1tb hard drive seemed to be worth it’s weight in gold, is a little unfair. Then again, Logitech have learned a lot from Apple and others offering less for more. I really hope they burn. The trouble is you have no alternatives for a mid range wheel. Thrustmaster and Fanatec are not options for me based on their price. So I guess I’m sticking to my poor DFGT a little longer.

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  10. so lucky i found a new G27 and not had to buy this rebranded stuff which basically its exactly the same and doesnt come with an H shifter, very good wheels, price is crazy though, have fun with it a significant step up either way

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  11. So is there a guide somewhere that I can use to get my wheel working with Dolphin? You talked about it before but it felt terrible in D2D when I tried it.

    Like

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