I recently obtained the Logitech G27, Fanatec GT3RS V2 Clubsport Edition and Turbo S Ultimate Edition racing wheels to compare.
I have uploaded my comparison plus pictures in a torrent available for download here.
I have uploaded the following files to Megaupload:
High-end wheel comparison - Full Review.pdf
MEGAUPLOAD - The leading online storage and file delivery service (17MB)
High-end wheel comparison - Rating Scale.pdf
MEGAUPLOAD - The leading online storage and file delivery service (91KB)
Upgrading from DFGT to GT3RS.pdf
MEGAUPLOAD - The leading online storage and file delivery service (8MB)
And here are some youtube videos:
Logitech G27, Fanatec GT3RS V2 and Fanatec Turbo S Startup / Calibration
Logitech G27, Fanatec GT3RS V2 and Fanatec Turbo S Noise Comparison in Dirt 2
Logitech G27, Fanatec GT3RS V2 and Fanatec Turbo S Noise Comparison in iRacing
How to install the Fanatec shifters on a Fanatec wheel
Logitech G27 H Shifter and the Fanatec Porsche Wheel H Shifter
Logitech G27, Fanatec GT3RS V2 and Fanatec Turbo S Paddle Shifters
If you do not wish to download the PDFs, the full review is posted below. (I highly recommend the PDF for readability reasons)
I would like to thank Thomas from Fanatec for supplying the wheels and giving me the opportunity to test them.
The high-end wheel comparison:
Fanatec Porsche 911 GT3 RS V2 Clubsport Edition
Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo S Ultimate Edition
By: Crazedmodder on August 25th, 2010
With so many new racing games being released in the next few months many people are looking at getting a wheel and many are also looking to upgrade. Luckily, there are some very good high-end consumer wheels available and they are packed full of features. I have the 3 most popular and well regarded wheels in this category here to test: the Logitech G27, the Fanatec Porsche 911 GT3RS V2 Clubsport Edition and the Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo S Ultimate Edition. These wheels share many similar features but they are very different and this comparison will help you decide which wheel fits you the best.
My experience with wheels started with a Logitech Driving Force GT and GT5:Prologue over a year ago. I have been playing Supercar Challenge for 6 months and iRacing for around a month. As far as my experience with racing games I started with GT1 and NFS on the PS1.
I tested the wheels on:
[LIST]Gran Turismo 5: Prologue
Midnight Club: LA
Need for Speed: Shift
Test Drive Unlimited[/LIST]
Almost all of my time was spent in GT5: Prologue, Supercar Challenge, iRacing and Test Drive Unlimited.
The Logitech G27 wheel looks like a racing wheel because of the brushed stainless steel spokes, the black center hub and the brushed aluminum paddle shifters. The wheel rim is wrapped in black leather, has thumb bumps and a small girth. The spokes and the paddles are semi-glossy and they do show marks from any amount of grease on your fingers. The bottom spoke could use a cover where the leather ends, the same as the piece that holds the buttons, because the way it is now it looks unfinished since the leather is slightly frayed and the cut does not look smooth. The housing for the motors and electronics is semi-glossy black and has a slight texture to it.
The G27 has 6 buttons on the face of the wheel which are a little on the small side and close together so pressing the wrong button is a possibility until you are very used to the layout. They have a nice stiffness to them and a very short throw although a little more feel when they engage would be appreciated. Their placement keeps them out of the way when being aggressive while racing or drifting preventing an accidental button press.
The paddle shifters behind the wheel are made from aluminum and when pressed the paddle tilts forward to engage an exposed switch. There is no feel when the switch engages but there is a very loud click sound. The click sound can be heard while racing and is usable as feedback but it would benefit greatly from the switches having a feel to them. Unfortunately the click sound cannot be heard with headphones on which means there is no feedback from the switches when racing with headphones. The throw is pretty long and the dead zone is fairly large so the lack of feedback really hurts these shifters. If you pull the shifters all the way to the end, until they hit the casing of the switch, then you can be confident that the switch engaged but if you just tap on the shifters then you will have to pay attention to audible or visual cues on screen to know if you engaged the switch or not. They are very comfortable to use however, they are large and their position makes them easy to access but they do not get in the way because they are set back and are closer to the hub than the wheel rim.
This wheel features LED shift lights. There are 10 LEDs in the housing acting as shift lights and as the redline approaches the shift lights converge on the center LEDs from both the left and the right, meaning the same number of LEDs are lit on both sides. As such, the shift lights have 5 positions from off to maximum. The LEDs light in the sequence: green, green, amber, amber and finally red. They are a nice feature but the placement and size makes them difficult to see because they are a little too low for me to notice when focusing on my screen. A bit of extra brightness a long with a larger size could help but I believe the problem is that they have to balance it so it is noticeable enough to be useful but not distracting. Hopefully the next high-end wheel from Logitech will have larger shift lights and they will be in the top part of the rim, similar to the Ferrari 599’s shift lights.
This wheel works on the PC and PS3. The drivers are very good, they install without issue and you can adjust:
Overall Effects Strength: 0% to 150%
Spring Effect Strength: 0% to 150%
Damper Effect Strength: 0% to 150%
Degrees of Rotation: 40° to 900°
The G27 uses a USB cable 7ft / 2.1m long that is fixed to the wheel. All the connections are under the housing and there are four paths routed out so the cables can get under the housing without getting crushed and so that they do not prevent the wheel from laying flat. There are two DB9 ports, one circular DC power port and the fixed USB cable. The connectors being hidden away underneath the housing keeps them protected from getting bumped but it also makes them impossible to access when the wheel is fixed to a surface either through the table clamp or screws. For users who have a cockpit or who place their wheel, shifter and pedals somewhere they do not move relative to each other this is not a problem but moving my pedals and wheel somewhere out of the way when I am done racing is difficult and ends up being messy.
The wheel can be fixated to a surface either by using the table clamp or by 2 screws. The table clamp on the G27 is very good because it is easy to install and it does not come off. To install the wheel on a table or desk with the table clamp all that is needed is to:
- turn the two knobs counter-clockwise to make them pop-up
- turn them counter-clockwise to loosen up the clamps until the wheel fits on the desk
- turn them clockwise to tighten the clamps onto the desk
- push them down and turn them clockwise to lock them down
Once the table clamp is properly tightened the wheel will not come off no matter how hard it is pulled, it is completely solid.
The G27’s force feedback is provided by two gear drive force feedback motors and the gears are cut in a helical shape instead of being straight cut. This makes the gears mesh better and lowers the noise without lowering the force feedback strength. As a result this wheel is very quiet, nearly silent, during grip racing or even drifting. The force feedback does become quite loud creating a rattling sound, I have seen some call it chatter, when it is trying to provide feedback for vibrations. This occurs mostly while rallying but it can also happen when passing over some rumble strips or when jerking the wheel quickly to catch a slip. This noise is very subjective because I have read many posts on forums from people who find it unacceptable, people who do not like it but can live with it and people who are not bothered by it at all. I am in the camp that finds it unacceptable because it makes racing late at night very difficult when people are sleeping and I race quite aggressively so I find it occurs too often. Also it is a shame because it transforms a pretty silent wheel into one that occasionally makes a racket.
As for the force feedback strength and feel, it is strong and has a somewhat smooth feel to it. It does have a bit of a dead zone for the force feedback which makes the wheel feel twitchy during racing. The force feedback is not notchy but it shakes a bit too much in similar situations to when it creates the rattling sound, i.e.: when rallying, passing over rumble strips or jerking the wheel to catch a slip. During drifting and grip racing the wheel rotates smoothly and the force feedback feels smooth and natural. When drifting the wheel rotates more than quickly enough to keep up without needing a push nor does it hamper counter-steering efforts. The force feedback strength is good with the motors providing a lot of weight when turning as well as strong feedback for weight shifting and bumps in the track surface.
The G27 pedals have a housing made of plastic and the pedal plates are made of stainless steel. The plastic of the housing is semi-glossy black with a texture, the same as the wheel housing, the stainless steel pedal plates are brushed, mimicking the wheel’s spokes, and there are red plastic cylinders under the pedals to make them look nicer, likely to mimic the appearance of load cells. These pedals can only be used with the G27 wheel through the DB9 connector.
The housing size is quite large because of the heel area but the bulk of the weight is underneath the pedals. It feels as though it has weights added in that area to give pedals extra weight and stability although they are not heavy at 6lbs / 2.7kg. The heel area of the housing can lift when pressing the clutch and the brake at the same time if you do not leave your heels on the heel area. The pedals were sliding slightly on hardwood flooring because my chair was low so I was pushing the pedals away instead of down and the pedals are very stiff. The pedals come equipped with a carpet grip system which is a plastic block with many short spikes that can be raised into the housing to use the pedals on the floor or dropped to use the pedals on carpeting. The carpet grip system works extremely well and I never had any slip problems when using the pedals on carpet. These pedals can also be hard mounted to a surface with 6 screws.
The pedals are very stiff and the brakes offer progressive resistance, they get more stiff as you push further. The pedal plates are a little small which is odd considering how large the housing is and how much space is available. The travel is good on the pedals and the stiffness makes it easy to modulate the pedals accurately. Trail braking works well because the stiffness of the brake and the progressive resistance make it easy to loosen up the brake when turning in to a corner. Unfortunately the progressive resistance is not as noticeable with shoes on and even with socks on it does not have the progressive feel of a load cell brake. For a pedal that uses a spring and potentiometer the brake feels extremely good however, and you can be quite accurate while braking. The accelerator offers a lot of resistance which I find helps when trying to apply little throttle or increase throttle application smoothly but being accurate when modulating the accelerator is not as easy. The clutch feels unrealistic because it feels slightly progressive, in racing it does not make much difference but when launching it does not work as well as I would like. As far as pedal adjustments are concerned, these pedals do not offer much. The pedal plate position can be adjusted left and right but not up and down.
The G27 shifter is made from plastic and follows the same black plastic and brushed metal theme of the wheel and pedals. The shifter boot is made from black leather matching the wheel’s. The shape of the shifter is a sphere and the top piece of the ball that displays the shift layout is low-gloss light gray with a slight texture. This shifter can only be used with the G27 wheel through a DB9 connector.
The shifter has 6 speeds in a traditional H layout with 1st gear at the top left plus reverse which can be accessed by holding the shifter in (down) and then putting it into 6th gear. When holding the shifter down to access reverse however, all other gears are locked out except for 3rd and 4th which seems a little low-quality and a bit odd. The shifter unit is home to many buttons housing 8 buttons plus an 8-way d-pad in addition to the 6 buttons and 2 paddle shifters on the wheel. The buttons above the d-pad, 4 of them, are arranged in a diamond layout that mimics the Playstation controllers? face buttons and are low-gloss black. The buttons below the d-pad, 4 of them, are arranged in a straight line and are low-gloss red. The buttons feel and look a little bit cheap. They also have a little wobble and when pressing them they do not offer good feedback.
To mount the shifter there is the option of either using the table clamp or fixating it to a surface via 2 screws. As with the wheel, the shifter?s table clamp is very easy to use, takes similar steps to the wheel’s to install, and it is solid when clamped down. It uses similar knobs and feet to the wheel to clamp to a surface but it also has a 3rd clamp underneath that gives the shifter extra stability.
In terms of feel the shifter is quite poor and it needs a lot of work done to it. As it is now it feels too much like a toy and offers nearly no resistance or feedback when changing gears. When racing changing from 5th gear to 4th gear often results in going into 2nd gear which causes damaged engines in iRacing. I can most likely get used to the feel with time but it will take away from the realism and immersion nonetheless. I occasionally have issues with the shifter getting snagged on the gate when going diagonally between gears, 2nd to 3rd for example, where I would go to shift up or down and have the shifter just hit the separator between gears, the piece of the gate between 1st and 2nd for example, and get stuck on it. The gate also has too much slack when in gear causing there to be a lot of play when wiggling the shifter left and right, this does not cause issues in the functionality of the shifter but it does make it feel very cheap.
The shifter is pretty quiet and it only produces a low clicking sound when the switch engages and of course some noise when the shifter is pushed into a gear from hitting the gate. The shape and size is also good and it feels comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
Fanatec GT3 RS V2 & Turbo S Wheels ? Common Features
These wheels have all their buttons on the wheel which gives them 10 buttons plus the two paddle shifters plus a 4-way d-pad. The faces of the wheels are very nice and they do not look like toys because of their button layouts. The buttons are placed in a way where they do not compromise the look of the wheels and allow them to maintain their similarities to their real life counterparts. As such this results in the layout not mimicking any controllers. This means that at the beginning you may have to run with the manual close by but even though the layout is sacrificed for the look of the wheels the layout is kept very logical so learning it and remembering it comes quickly. When looking at pictures each piece that resembles a button is actually two buttons because they can be pressed up or down and the one that is immediately below the center of the hub is the 4-way d-pad. The buttons are quite big which makes them easy to find and press although the start and select buttons are a little smaller. I do occasionally have a bit of a problem while trying to catch a mishap during racing or drifting where my palms hit a button accidentally which results in changing views, looking behind or pausing the game. My hands are not small but they are not large either and although it does not happen often it is still a nuisance, I hope that Fanatec offers a button combination to lock the outside face buttons in a future firmware.
They have LED displays that are comprised of three red 7 segment LED displays. The size, brightness and clarity of the displays is quite good but they are not as easy to see as real gauges in a car or the gauges on screen so when looking down at them it takes a bit of extra time to acknowledge the value that is being displayed. There is not much support currently for this feature but hopefully its inclusion will allow developers use it in the future because although it cannot be glanced at quickly it is still quite useful to display date that would normally clutter up your screen.
The wheels come with a lot of tuning options that can be adjusted to suit whatever you want. Some console games lack certain tuning options so having them right there on the wheel is amazing and up to 5 different setups can be saved for different cars or different games. It is very useful to be able to change the degrees of rotation on the fly as well as the dead zone. I cannot even begin to convey how amazing it is for GT5: Prologue to be able to change the degrees of rotation, no more 900° F1 racing and courtesy of the adjustable dead zone there is no more violent wobble on the straights when racing the F1 car. Another useful adjustment is that you can set at what percentage of brake application the brake vibration will activate if the pedals are connected to the wheel through the PS/2 connector. The speed that the wheel spins (drift mode), linearity, force feedback strength and vibration strength can also be adjusted and stored in the tuning menu. I would like to see a jump function if possible, something like hold the base button and press up in Sen to jump between 180°, 270°, 360°, 540° and 900° or in ABS to jump by 10 for example.
The drivers work well, they install quickly and offer options to adjust:
Wheel angle: 200° to 900°
Dampening strength: 0% to 100%
[*]Drift mode: 0 to 6
These wheels also feature upgradeable firmware which is a really great thing to have because if new features are requested and implemented by Fanatec, if they do not require a hardware upgrade, then users will be able to benefit from them without having to spend extra money.
They use detachable cables which are very nice because if the cables ever get damaged they can be easily changed. Their connectors on the right side are a purple PS/2 port for the Porsche wheel shifter set, a green PS/2 port for the pedals and a circular DC port for the power supply. On the left side there is the purple PS/2 port for the Porsche wheel shifter set and a USB B port. The USB cable included is 6ft / 1.8m in length. The Turbo S also has a a headset port on the left side next to the USB port.
Another nice touch is that the Turbo S Pure Edition and the GT3RS V2 come with a pedal adapter to use the G25/G27 and Microsoft pedals. I understand why companies would want to lock you into their products so the fact that Fanatec is offering these is a very pleasant surprise.
The wheels can be fixated to a surface either with their table clamps or with screws. The table clamp is difficult to set up and the wheels can come loose if they are pulled away from the surface they are clamped to. Fortunately when racing the wheels are very stable and they do not come loose from left and right motions. I did not have any problems with the wheels coming loose while using the table clamps and I found that they work much better than what I had read online. The biggest problem I have with the table clamp is setting it up because after loosening up the screw, pulling the clamp out and putting it around the table the clamp kept getting stuck on the gate that holds it in place so I had to take the wheels off the table, put them face down on the floor and then push the clamp back in when it is in that position because that keeps the gate out of the way of the clamp. Screw fixation takes 4 screws and the drilling template comes in the box which I find is a very nice inclusion and makes hard mounting to a cockpit very easy.
The force feedback is provided by a belt driven motor and there are two additional force feedback motors in the wheel rim for vibrations. The force feedback motors are very quiet and when driving over dirt or rough rumble strips there is no rattle and the only sound that is audible from the wheels is a slight sawing sound when you are turning it against the force feedback motors.
The force feedback on these wheels is extremely good as it is very strong and very smooth. The belt drive motor has no force feedback dead zone which means that this wheel does not feel twitchy and helps to make it feel much more accurate. The force feedback is incredibly strong especially in iRacing and really tires my arms out when oval racing. With the force feedback turned up in many games it mimics a car without power steering and in games with strong force feedback, such as iRacing, it is even stiffer than that. The motor can withstand abuse as I did some extremely long road racing sessions in iRacing, over 4 hours, and the force feedback did not get soft nor did it cut out. The force feedback feels very smooth, all the feedback given feels very gradual, similar to real cars, and feedback that is supposed to be subtle actually feels subtle. The smoothness combined with the strength makes it feel very immersive and very realistic. The only problem that I feel from force feedback in this wheel is that it is sometimes too smooth in situations where it should be a little rougher. This does not reduce the feedback that is given to you because you can still feel everything that is happening very well but it feels a bit odd when passing over really rough patches of road. I did not get much use out of the vibration motors in the wheel rim having only really used them in combination with the brake vibration when racing in console games as they are not supported by many games yet. They have potential and will be useful once games support them because they are capable of providing strong feedback. I would like to see them used to provide additional feedback when passing over rumble strips or bumps instead of engine revolutions because I think that would provide the extra roughness that the belt driven force feedback does not provide.