Hi, My name is Dan and I'm returning to Ciao afresh with a mission to practice my writing evermore. My reviews do also appear on Dooyoo under the name dannylee. On rare occasion I use original material under my very old moniker, UrkiE-UK
The must-have peripheral for on-screen drivers
Wheel and pedals sturdily built, great response and strength from the wheel
Gearshift unit slightly less convincing than the other components, but still a valiant inclusion
Look & Feel
Robustness & durability
Value For Money
Range of Extra FeaturesGood
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I am a huge fan of racing games, or simulators to be exact, as they are one of the few action sports that CAN be reasonably be reproduced when sat in front of a screen with the right tools. Fortifying this viewpoint is the fact that superb quality controllers are coming out of the woodwork recently, one of which being the Logitech G25 force feedback wheel. Well, not only that, but a full pedal box and a H-pattern shifter, something which before now was rarely seen packaged with a gaming accessory and was a luxury gadget attained seperately. But who doesn't want the thrill of simulating a real gearbox to add to the mixture? It's true to say that nearly all bases are covered, yet for the price of £125 you'd be let off for thinking that it's quantity over quality. This review aims to show you how wrong that assumption is.
I own a PC and the G25's been my right-hand man for the duration of over 12,000 laps on my favourite racing simulators. That's got to be at the very least 300 hours, if not more, whereby this equipment has been under extended strain and pain while I'm muscling it for all it's worth as my on-screen cars are thrown around corners like no tomorrow. I'm a regular user of iRacing.com, a straight-faced racing simulator which is probably the best out of the clutch of available works out there.
- The ring of power -
The response, agility and strength of the steering wheel will be a delightful surprise to a serious racing-gamer. Driving over rough surfaces, kerbs or potholes will be felt distinctly and immediately, and the simulation of tyre grip and steering can be potentially arm wrenching. The range of resistance and the fluidity at which it is felt is a true cut above cheaper and even comparitively priced steering wheels. Whilst some other wheels inherently have a bit of residual resistance in the steering due to the friction of the gears and gubbins connecting it to the feedback motor, the G25 can deploy full force to no force in the blink of an eye, and back again. When I jump in and play, I can almost feel the sidewalls of the tyres crying out at full cornering forces, or the front wheels hunting for every rut and dip on the road as I make tiny corrections down the back-straight. If you are steering too much and allowing the front wheels to scrub across the road in streams of understeer, you'll know to back off. If you're hanging the back wheels in a slide because you got too heavy on the throttle, you'll feel the exact window of opportunity the front tyres give you to correct it. If you're traversing the undulations of a virtual oulton park or brands hatch, you'll feel the car go light as you simmer over the crests and feel it hunker down as you hit the basins. If you take a bit too much of that inside kerb into that chicane, expect an affirmative jolt from the wheel as opposed to a mild shudder. Just about every force that acts on a car is capable of interpretation by the G25, so if you are playing a quality racing simulator, rest assured that you've got a quality wheel.
It's obvious that the guts and glory on track are gonna be translated into heat and noise, but compared to my previous controller, the logitech Momo, it's quiet. My racing sessions last perhaps an hour and a half of solid use at a time, and there is nothing to suggest that the wheel is not engineered to cope, except an acceptable level of heat from the motor, which as a unit is quite compact, too. 7 inches covers the distance between the front of the desk surface and the back of the motor housing, and the very rearmost point is only 2 and a half inches high - perfect for tucking underneath or cosying beneath a monitor or extra tabletop. To round it all off, the design of the main motor housing is quite attractive in itself, with a sleek and sloping nose almost resembling the bonnet of any mean sports saloon courting the roads today. It's hardly a block of plastic, but a dark and curvaceous cover.
The build of the wheel itself is commendable and reassuring, featuring a hand-stitched leather wrap with stippled hand-grips and a healthy wheel diameter of about 9.5". This may sound small in real terms but is fairly consistent with a sportscar such as a Caterham. Maybe if you are a hand-perspiring madman you'll find that the textile becomes slightly slippery unless you make a point to dry your hands or wear gloves, but I find the leather to be a much more genuine and natural material than the squishy rubber my old Momo wheel used to have. Especially important should you desire to put the wheel through it's enormous 900 degrees of rotation, the plain and simple circular design is a simple pleasure that foregoes the fancy shapes some other manufacturers use to catch the eye. No frills to be found here except a solid-feeling and standardised (in a good way) steering wheel. The cross-sectional diameter of the grip itself is small and therefore more suited to people like me who hate the feel of a fat steering wheel which prizes your hand open and takes that little bit away from your sense of touch. A cross-section of about an inch in diameter makes this more akin to an 80's sportscar, before chunky, childlike units came into view. I tried a Fanatec wheel which fits this overgrown description and hated it, but it's worth taking into account that you'd get used to anything if you had used it for a while, so it's merely a matter of taste to a large degree.
Behind the wheelgrips are two large plate-steel shift paddles for those times when you are driving a formula or top-end car which uses them. Far from weedy, the paddles can be used without being delicate, as slamming the paddles to the hilt means you are only hitting the plastic backstop, rather than the internals of the trigger switch. A nice foresight, this means that you can flinch your shift-fingers lightning quick and you'll get the response you need. Mine have easily witnessed thousands upon thousands of shifts, and are still good as new. The 'click' may not be anything substantial, but because you can simply pull sharply to ensure they bottom out, you need not be listening or feeling for one.
On the wheel hub itself are two basic programmable clicky buttons. Two is not a lot, and when you've already binded them to look left and look right, there's no extra room on the wheel for pit speed limiters, handbrakes or anything else. This is my only proper grievance with the G25, and has been addressed by Logitech in the successor and more expensive G27. Still, it's good to know feedback has been heard, even if it doesn't directly benefit the G25.
Mounted to your desk via two twist-knob table clamps, moving and removing the G25 is a low-stress task. Whereas my Momo needed 2 of these clamps plus an extra one underneath, the G25 does with the 2 highly accessible and quick-change fixtures. These clamps squeeze your desk surface by hanging two L-shape grips underneath, and these are quite low-profile as they hang only 2 inches below the surface. For me, this has meant that the G25 stays permanently fixed to my desk, to the right hand side. I've got enough room underneath to use my mouse with my other games and programs, yet when I decide to jump into a race, I can simply untwist the clamps, slide the wheel over and fix it down. Deployment is 10 seconds, if that, and I'm in game. If you are a hardcore accessory buyer, this need not matter as you'll surely have your G25 mounted to a dedicated racing chassis! Using a universal USB connection and branching the pedal and gearshift units from it, there's no need for more than one USB slot on your computer, so it's got a small cable footprint too. An AC adaptor is required to supply the external power, but is also included in the box.
- The tactile talons -
The G25's partner in crime, the pedals, are themselves well built and impressive considering the package as a whole. A clutch, a brake, and a throttle - everything you need at a good build and feel. I myself am an advocate of the heel-toe technique, which is sensitive to pedal placement and resistance. Logitech have catered for people like me, and thus I can ply my skill perfectly with these.
The pedals resistance is not governed by springs, but gas struts. These bright red things are bracketed to the pedals and well housed, providing a smooth and noiseless operation of all 3 pedals. The clutch pedal is fairly weighted but is clearly lighter than in real life, even though my real daily driver has a hydraulic clutch and is already on the light side. The brake pedal also is nice and tough, though a trick seems to be missed whereby perhaps a hydraulic element could have been incorporated to provide a more realistic 'squeeze' of the brakes. But let's not be too demanding of such a good value package, as fussy and cash-happy drivers have already cottoned onto the existence of 'load cell brake pedals'; custom accessories which endeavour to simulate the hydraulic feel, but pricey is probably not the correct word! For now, the reasonable resistance of our brake pedal is still much better than the competition. The throttle pedal is largely the same story, but much lighter as to be expected.
The construction of the pedals themselves is not light-duty. They could happily reside on the shelves of a motor-tuning store as real products, because that's probably the standard to which they're built. Thick, brushed steel adds real authority to a pedal set, yet you can still replace them with your own custom pedals if you wish. The pedals and the mounting brackets are seperate pieces which allows you to unscrew the standard units and fit your own. Forethought like this is a great score for enthusiasts. Quick feet are just as important as agile hands in Motorsport, and if you don't like the ordinary pedals then you're still OK. The base of the pedal set is large and stays put very well. Carpet users are in luck as the base features a flip-down spike footing, but owners of laminate-flooring may have to think of something else. Luckily my pedals are backed against the wall, but you may need a rubber mat or base to get by with these.
High gear -
The gearshift unit, which can accommadate H-pattern shifting from 1st to 6th gear plus reverse. The gear lever can also mechanically switch to sequential shifting mode, so that the gearstick becomes a simple push-pull stick, which is more suited to driving GT cars or mid-range racecars, like real life. Also on display are 4 extra buttons, which to be honest should be on the wheel, instead of on an off-hand peripheral such as this. Clamping to your desk surface similarly to the wheel, the gearshift unit is probably the odd one out in this package. Whereas the wheel and pedals feel sturdy and substantial, the same can not necessarily be said of this almost fully-plastic device. When I purchased my G25, I already owned a standalone Act Labs H-pattern shifter, worth about £70. When comparing, I much preferred the Act Labs shifter, but let's be fair - my old faithful shifter was hardly going to be toppled by a packaged unit which was probably worth half as much in real terms. In spite of this, friends who DO use the G25's shifter report that is does the job cleanly and well, and should not be sniffed at as an entry-level unit. If it's still alive after many frantic races, I trust that to be endorsement enough for the durability, even if it may not initially feel like it.
The lever itself has a ball-shape top which sees a leather wrap similar to the wheel used on the knob and gaiter. The amount of throw is fairly small and selection is not quite as crisp, but it is far, far better than being stuck with sequential paddle shifting all your simulation life, and as mentioned is surely the perfect trainer for a more expensive unit in the future. I admit to being spoiled by my Act Labs shifter in this respect, and can only commend Logitech for refusing to make the shifter merely an optional extra and packaging it as one, even if it's outclassed by the wheel and pedals supplied with it.
Packaged with the G25 is the Logitech profiler software, featuring interfaces and drivers for your wheel to help you get going. Installation of a Logitech controller is often easy peasy, and such a rough and ready accessory is no different. Calibration and setup of the wheel is all handled in installation and you are walked through for most of it. Once installed, there are a handful of vital attributes which can be tweaked to your liking to make the force feedback translatable to you. With force feedback items, fettling and fiddling is important to make your wheel feel in tune to your senses, and things such as Spring effect and Damper effect can be adjusted with a simple slider. Up to 900 degrees of rotation are available - if you want it. It's important that this particular item is adjustable because personally I find it a bit too handy and somewhat disconnecting to have 2 and a half full rotations lock-to-lock, whereas some people love it and relish the frantic domination of the steering wheel. Some of these settings will appear to be another language for the typical layman, but if you follow advice from your respective game's experts, you can get the best out of your game and the adjustability will be well thanked for. On startup of your computer a self-test is done by the wheel whereby it will automatically steer the wheel lock-to-lock, provided it's plugged in. Most force feedback wheels do this, but the G25 stands out because the sheer speed at which the computer can rotate the wheel is testament to the agility and forces possible. Strength is adjustable, of course, but all bases are covered. If your chosen game does not offer changeable settings, Logitech's software does.
Finish line -
The G25 impressed me from day one and is still my most-used and most-loved accessory. Aiming to provide more brawn to the desktop PC, it delivers a wheel that can really move you. Before I bit the bullet and purchased one, I found it hard to imagine such a good controller would be reasonably priced, and however impressed I used to be with my old Momo, the G25 just destroyed those benchmarks. Logitech's successor, the G27, promises an improvement to the G25, such as more on-wheel buttons and even quieter or smoother operation, but as a basic package the G25 is worth the money, even if it was for the wheel alone. As a middle point between bargain basement wheels and professional bespoke equipment, this wheel has a great reputation for driving forward the level of quality expected. I've owned my Logitech G25 for around 3 years and I cannot praise it enough. When I have taken my car to a real trackday, I've had my G25 to thank for it's agile simulation of a real car!
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Manufacturer's product description
Logitech G25 Racing Wheel UK Power Supply
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