If you want a high-quality force feedback racing wheel that works for the Xbox One, you don’t have a lot of choices. There is the cheap and flimsy looking wheel from Mad Catz, and then there is the upper echelon of expensive custom wheels from Fanatec. There isn’t much in the middle. Or there wasn’t at least, but now Logitech has stepped in to fill the mid-range gap with its new G920 Driving Force wheel.
Based on the award-winning G27 that debuted several years ago, the new G920 takes those time-tested internal components and places them in a new shell that is more luxurious and better designed than any previous model. It also adds that ever important Xbox One compatibility. Logitech saw that I had reviewed several racing games like Project CARS and Forza 6, and wanted to give me a chance to try out this new wheel.
From the moment you try to pull the wheel out of the box, it becomes obvious that Logitech is going for the high-end of the build-quality segment. The wheel is wrapped in hand-stitched leather and the center spokes are made from solid metal. Hanging from the back of the wheel is a pair of large shifter paddles that are also made from metal. In the name of saving weight and cost there is some plastic included in the kit, but most of it is relegated to the front of the wheel housing that holds all the motors. The few pieces of plastic you will touch on a regular basis feel as nice as anything you get on a standard Xbox One controller.
The pedal assembly is large and has decent weight to it as well thanks to heavy use of steel for the assembly. The pedal setup includes a clutch, and it features one of the biggest changes from the old G27 setup. The brake pedal now has a non-linear actuation that Logitech says is more like a real car. Basically, the pedal takes a lot more effort to push and use, but this system is very poorly implemented. A real car with a good stiff brake pedal takes force from the moment you touch it. The brake in this pedal board has half of its travel feel just as easy as the other two pedals, and then you hit the dead spot. The result is that you feel like the pedal just stops short, not like you need to push it harder. You have to physically remind yourself to keep pushing the brake to get 100-percent actuation in game.
The pedals also work great on carpet, thanks to some pop-out spikes on the bottom, but you will have some issues if you are trying to use them on a hard floor. There is very little rubber on the base to provide a non-slip surface, so when you jam that brake pedal, expect some sliding to happen.
The leather wrapping is nice and grippy, and the thickness of the wheel makes it great to hold. The force feedback is powerful and it provides enough feedback to help you understand what is happening to your car’s wheels. The metal paddles on the back of the wheel are nice and large so you can always reach them, and they feel very sturdy. I do wish the wheel was a litter bigger in diameter, but it is a small complaint against an otherwise outstanding package.
If you would rather not use the wheel paddles, Logitech also sells a Driving Force shifter add-on that gives you access to a six-speed manual shifter for use with your clutch pedal. This $60 addition is a little hard to swallow however, as the cheaper G27 came packaged with the shifter rather than charging extra for it. The shifter itself feels sturdy enough, and it has stood up to the few weeks of abuse I have been putting it through without any issues.
Mounting both the shifter and the wheel to any desk of standard size is a pretty simple affair. There are two knobs on the top of the units that allow you to operate locking screws on the bottom. Once you have the wheel and shifter tightened down, press down on the screws to lock them into place. Both mounts feel surprisingly sturdy, and even the wheel felt stable during the most violent fits of force-feedback. Mounting the wheel is made even easier thanks to a special pocket under the wheel and routing slots to handle all the extra cables you have to deal with when using the wheel.
The wheel is PC compatible, and using it at your computer is very easy thanks to its desk mounting system, but using it for my Xbox proved to be much more frustrating that I would have hoped. The wheel must connect to your system via USB, and the included USB cable is unacceptably short. The power cable is also similarly short, so be prepared to sit very close to your Xbox One and your television.
There is also no good way to use the wheel in a chair without some sort of mounting point. This is certainly not a wheel you can just sit in your lap and use. It’s too small, the mounts are in the way, and the force feedback will wreak havoc on your thighs.
Thankfully there are lots of companies out there that have stands, seats, and various other mounts that make this less of an issue, but it does add more expense. If you want a really cheap way out, when I first got the wheel, I sat in my office chair and use a piece of 2×8 deck wood to sit across the arms of the chair. I just mounted the wheel to this. It was inelegant and ugly, but it allowed me to use the wheel.
Once you get mounting all sorted out, using the wheel in games is incredible. I tested the wheel is Forza 5, Forza 6, Forza Horizon, F1 2015, Project Cars, and The Crew. Simulation games like Project Cars, Forza 6 and F1 2015 are the best use case for the wheel. Having a finer degree of control over your steering angle makes it much easier to navigate around a track, and the feedback of the wheel helps give you a greater idea of how the car is behaving.
If you have never used a wheel before, it can be intimidating, and difficult, but once you get used to the differences between using a wheel and a normal controller, your skill in the games should improve pretty dramatically. The exception is when it comes to more “arcade-style” racers like Forza Horizon 2 and The Crew. In these games, precision is not as important as speed of input, so you may find yourself struggling a bit. Overall though, I enjoy using the wheel and it has made my racing games more enjoyable to play.
The MSRP of $399 can be a bit hard to swallow for gamers new to racing wheels. When you tack on the extra $60 for the shifter, and the extra cash needed to get some sort of mounting system for living-room use, the cost alone could be enough to sway many buyers. That said, if you want to really upgrade your driving experience in your simulation racers like Project Cars or Forza Motorsport, the Logitech G920 is an incredibly great wheel at a fair price. I wish the cords were a bit longer, but that is just a small fault in an otherwise great product.