The G27 kit, wheel, pedals and shifter weigh in at almost 20lbs. This makes the wheel itself very sturdy, an H pattern shift knob is included and the pedals are absolutely marvelous and include a clutch. All three parts even come with permanent mounting points rather than only a desk clamp.
As you can see on the picture, I’ve mounted the wheel, shifter and pedals using the permanent mounts on my existing Logitech Momo Force cockpit, which I slide against the wall under my 50″ HDTV. In retrospect I should’ve mounted the TV about 4″ lower than I did, but it works and it’s also practical for watching, ahem, you know…
The steering wheel has an 11″ diameter, it’s leather wrapped and it’s incredibly silent. So silent that when I first plugged it in, it steered left then right by itself as it calibrated in an eerie silence and I thought for a moment that there might be something wrong with it. There wasn’t. It’s just incredibly smooth and silent. The leather wrapping seems harsh at first compared to the soft-touch rubber of the Momo Force but I got used to the feeling (read smell) quite rapidly. The smell of leather on your fingers as you play Dirt 3 only immerses you deeper in the already fun game.
It has six buttons laid out in three columns on two of the steering wheel’s three spokes. Also on the wheel are the two usual paddle shifters. The wheel is made of what looks like brushed aluminium but probably isn’t. The paddles are made of the same metal. Unfortunately the buttons on the wheel are too small and closely packed so I found myself constantly hitting two of them simultaneously by accident. They are also not identified, they are numbered in the Logitech Profiler as well as in most games’ options but not on the wheel itself, which makes it complicated to remember which button I mapped out as the DRS and which one I mapped out for KERS.
The force (feedback) is strong in the wheel, I had to lower the maximum from 80% down to 60% in Need For Speed Shift 2 Unleashed (Could they have used a longer name?) because at 80% it was atrociously hard to keep the car going straight as the steering pulled me to one side, then the other. Otherwise the wheel is precise and much smoother even than the wheel in my actual car. Granted I drive a 1993 Suzuki Sidekick but still…
The steering turning ratio can be adjusted all the way up to 900° rotation which is way too much for most games except the ones where you drive a monster truck or an SUV. I’ve found 180°~230° to be a sweet spot for the usual suspects of racing games.
Sadly, the LED array on top of the wheel, although gorgeous, is completely useless. It’s supported only by one game that I could tell (Codemasters F1 2011) and even then, you might as well use the one on the HUD instead of looking down at your steering wheel and risk missing the apex or worse. It also is badly designed for you see, instead of lighting from left to right, from green to purple, it lights from either side to the center, and from green to white.
The LEDs are too minuscule, badly placed and thereby useless.
Easily the best part of the setup, the pedals are made of metal and Logitech seem to have used a heavier alloy than for the wheel. I’m impressed by the ease with which they can be modulated in games like Codemasters F1 2011, Grid (when it decides to work with Grid) and Dirt 3. My previous setup had the Momo Force, they could not be feathered as well as the G27 and they were plastic, and although sturdy enough for most uses, I never allowed anyone to use them with shoes on, it will not be a problem with the G27′s pedals.
The spring strength for the brake pedal is quite good, and when I pressed down on the clutch and the brake simultaneously I found that my chair, mounted on felt pads, kept on slipping backwards. I’ve replaced the felt pads with rubber ones, problem solved. The accelerator is smooth. I’d qualify it a silky if it didn’t sound totally gay. Not that there would be anything wrong with it…
The bonus to boot is that they can be disassembled and mounted upside down like in a real car quite easily just by following a few simple steps, the drawback of course is that it will void the warranty on them.
This is where things go wrong. Do you remember those candy packs they had back in the 1980s, the ones that had a sugar dip-stick and two packs of fruit flavoured crystals? Do you remember how incredibly delectable the sugar dip-stick used to be, and how very good one of the two crystal flavours was, and the second crystal flavour was supposed to be grape but instead tasted more like a dead carp in a wet sock? That’s the same feeling I got with the shifter. The wheel is amazing, the pedals awesome and the shifter, meh…
But first let me point out the positive, there is a shift knob, and it looks terrific.
And now the rest:
There is not enough strength in the spring, the buttons are again not labeled which renders them all but useless even on the PS3 and the POV pad is utterly idiotic because they’ve placed it too far from the shift stick. There are a few how-tos to add some spring strength to the shifter but I’m afraid it all seems rather complex compared to the pedals mod, and of course it will also void your warranty.
It would have been better for Logitech to save the LED shifter light money and put the extra 2$ on a stiffer spring for the shifter or better, to remove some of the useless buttons and add instead a 3$ solenoid triggered by the clutch pedal to prevent shifting when the clutch is not being pressed.
That would’ve been astronomical.
And after falling short a notch with the shifter, the wheel takes a mortifying tumble with limited game support. If you thought you could pick up one of these puppies, drop it in your PC and fire up Grid Race Driver or even Dirt 3 then play you’re in for bad news.
Although I’ve read large and wide on the Interwebz, I have yet to find a reliable way of getting it to work with proper feedback on Grid Race Driver. The pedals are fine and the wheel technically works as a controller in Grid, but the force effects seem to work sometimes and sometimes not, they even stopped working all of a sudden in mid race throwing me into a tyre wall… And it gets worse, the Logitech profiler, which hasn’t been updated since 2010, needs to be tweaked to work with Grid. This is one of the most popular and better racing games out there, come on Logitech…
Dirt 3 also needs the profiler in order to work properly but at least it supports shifting the H pattern shifter with the clutch, unlike Grid which does not and forces you to go with auto or sequential paddles. The G27 does work pretty well out of the box with NFS Shift 2 Unlimited and Formula 1 2011.
The wheel is bundled with iRacing which sadly is too much sim and too little fun for a casual (non hardcore) racer like myself.
The wheel does work with the PS3 as advertised on the box, on both games I’ve tried it with, Grid Race Driver and Burnout Paradise. Sadly the graphics on the PS3 are not even close to what the PC is capable of doing, and there’s no way to remove the incredibly annoying motion blur which renders Grid Race Driver unplayable on the PS3.
Sadly though, once again there is no button layout map, so you have to guess what each button does. My quick fix for the steering wheel mounted buttons was to use a P-Touch to label the Kers, DRS, car status, pit request buttons. (see picture) But it’s a rather red-neck solution to a problem that should’ve never existed in the first place, not when the wheel has a street price of 349.99$.
-Force effects strength is powerful and precise
-Turning ratio is adjustable up to 900°
-Quiet and smooth
-Nice look, leather wrapped, well presented
-Pedals are easily modulated, silky smooth accelerator, good spring strength on brake, clutch feels good
-Permanent mount points
-Easy to mod (mount pedals upside down, bigger wheel, stiffer spring for shifter)
-Gives new dimension to supported games like NFS Shift 2 Unleashed and Codemasters F1 2011
-Shift LEDs mounted on the wheel are puny and useless
-Buttons on wheel are too close together and too small
-Buttons in general are not labeled
-Shifter is too loose and buttons on it are useless
-PC game support is limited
Conclusion, the G27 is a great wheel, possibly the best on the market for casual racers but it’s also a bit like a stripper with fake breasts. It’s nice to look at with its flashy LEDs and fancy shift knob, and although the pedals are fantastic and the wheel is excellent, the shifter and LEDs are too much silicone and not enough breast.