Review: Logitech G27 Racing Controller
To establish the veracity of the G27’s pedigree, I tried the wheel out with a variety of racing titles: rFactor (using 1970 World Sports Car Championship 1.0, ILMS 2.77P, and PCC 2007 mods), Race ‘07 (WTCC ’07 and Radical SR3) and Richard Burns Rally. I tried the G27 withGT5 Prologue on the PS3.
Before getting started, I had to adjust rFactor and Race ’07 so that the car’s gearing goes into neutral in between shifts. To do that, I had to to edit a line in the controller profile. For Race ’07, go to the My Documents\SimBin\Race 07\UserData\ControlSet folder, find the .rcs file for the controller profile you made and alter this line: “Gear Select Hold Button =”, changing the value from “0” to “1”. The process for rFactor issimilar.
From the moment you crank up a racing sim and start driving with the G27, its build quality and operational refinement become stunningly apparent. The G27 feels and performs exactly as advertised — like an improved version of the already impressive G25. Wheel rotation is silky smooth, almost like a real car, with little shaft noise. Car control when cornering is very precise. The LED rpm/shift light array matched up perfectly with Race ‘07’s HUD tachometer, and looked really cool. The shifter, while still light to the touch, is firm and positive. The shifter’s stronger centering spring and tighter movement makes for fewer missed shifts. And the pedals — ah, the pedals — are very well adjusted from an ergonomic perspective. Quite simply the pedals rock, and I found that repositioning the pedal faces was not only easy, but also helped tailor the pedals to better accommodate my heel-and-toe technique.
Overall, the G27 is a precise, classy and polished piece of equipment. But that doesn’t mean sim racers won’t find their own nits to pick.
Here are mine:
Tighter tolerances in the G27’s helical force feedback gears seem to have forced Logitech to program in a slightly larger “soft spot” in turning resistance near top center. G25 owners know that when their wheel is a few degrees either side of centered, the force feedback and turning forces drop off slightly. This is to prevent the force feedback engine from producing divergent oscillations. While real cars also have a slight drop in turning resistance near center due to tire geometry, the G27’s soft spot is wider and has a noticeably steeper ramp-up in forces at its edges. When driving in Race ’07 I could feel a tiny bit of FFB-induced oscillation (wobble) while driving on long straights, and in GT5 Prologue straight line steering was just a bit vague with the wheel centered (although that might be an issue with the PS3).
More buttons on the wheel are a welcome addition, but they all have an identical tactile feel, which forces you to look at them — and away from the road — to confirm you’ve put the right one under your thumb. That partially defeats the purpose of putting buttons on the wheel in the first place. The lower buttons can be an awkward reach if you have large hands. The metal paddle switch levers are superb and the new micro-switch geometry makes for very positive operation, including a louder engagement “click”. The G27’s paddles really put me “in the cockpit” of my Porsche Spyder RS from rFactor’s ILMS 2.77 mod.
The LED array worked well with Race ‘07, but only when running Steam’s on-line version of the game. The LED rpm/shift lights look really trick and match up perfectly with the in-game rpm displays. But if your sim racing rig is a computer desk, you’ll have to glance down from the monitor to see them. Because the LEDs are so far below the line-of-sight to my monitor, they’re more gimmick than useful feature with my gaming configuration. Mounting the G27 in an F1-style cockpit that puts the LED array in the same line-of-sight as the monitor would probably make them more useful.
The shifter action is very positive, but as you’d expect from a desktop shifter lacking mass and heft, it still has a bit of a light touch. Combine that with a fairly long-ish throw between gears and missed shifts are only slightly reduced. The lack of a sequential shifter mode was a bit of an immersion-killer for some of the cars and sim titles, as the H-pattern’s motions felt all wrong for the type of vehicle being replicated.
In rally games such as Richard Burns Rally and DiRT, the rearward position on a sequential shifter can be reassigned and makes for a nice, improvised hand-brake. With no sequential shift option on the G27 I was concerned that there would be no intuitive way to emulate this important control. In RBR I assigned the G27’s 4th gear position to be the hand brake, and although I found it more awkward and less intuitive to operate than a sequential shifter, it did get the job done. Sometimes after actuating the hand brake I would fail to get the shifter all the way back into neutral, thereby sliding my car to a halt — something that can’t happen when a spring-centered sequential shifter is used as the hand-brake.
While some will rejoice in the refined H-pattern shifter, others will find the removal of the sequential shifter to be the proverbial turd in the G27’s punchbowl. Like many sim racers, I particularly enjoy racing simulations that emulate modern GT, endurance and touring cars. These types of cars utilize a floor-mounted, two-position sequential shifter for up- and down-shifts. The G25 shifter’s sequential mode was ideal for emulating this type of racing transmission. Since the core of any sim racing experience is to attempt to match the basic physical mechanics of car operation, Logitech has inadvertently blown a hole in their premier racing wheel’s ability to simulate a wide range of modern race cars. And abandon all hope, ye who upgrade to G27: The G25’s shifter isn’t compatible with the G27’s firmware. Yes, I already asked.
Many consumers were hoping that Logitech would endow the G27 with cross compatibility for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.However, that wasn’t to be. While that one element doesn’t take away from Logitech’s other achievements with the G27, it does leave us wanting more in terms of product versatility.