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Logitech Driving Force Pro Impressions.

Sam P

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As I mentioned to some of you, I purchased the Driving Force Pro recently to give it a spin. It's basically the newest (and reportedly the greatest) wheel to come out of Logitech and it's the 'official' wheel for GT4 just as the original Driving Force was the 'official' wheel for GT3. The biggest highlight of the new wheel is the 900 Degree range of rotation (about 2.5 turns lock-to-lock), which resembles most road cars. The old wheel (and most other wheels) only have 180 degrees or thereabouts.


Anyway, first impressions of the Pro are good. It's very well-packaged and attractive to the eyes. Apart from a very cheap-looking and feeling shift knob, it is also very well built. The imitation perforations on the rubber grip is a nice touch. Overall, it just looks and feels like a much higher quality item than the Driving Force it replaces. And it better be, it's not cheap -- $150USD/$199CDN. The pedal box is also more tactile, with better resistance (and variance in resistance) between the throttle and brake pedals.


But then I fired it up and my enthusiasm waned. The thing I hated MOST about the previous Driving Force is the Force Feedback mechanism. It is too heavy, too rough and far, far too noisy. It is always whirring and whining (especially when moving fast) and does not feel well oiled -- it feels like stirring a bowl of gravel. This has NOT been corrected. However, the force feedback motors are indeed much stronger, although it doesn't make things any more realistic. GT is all about realism, and this is anything BUT realistic. The wheel diameter is also far too small (same as before) which presumably puts less strain on the motors.


I think FreakTornado and DrunkOM also voiced similar complaints about the first wheel.


For a good benchmark feel, try the Outrun 2 arcade wheel. It is sublime. Even Logitech's own Momo racing wheel for the PC is still better than the Driving Force Pro.


The 900 degree functionality won't work in GT3 (though you can force it, but then the steering becomes slower than a bus), but it works fine in Live For Speed and it is indeed pretty cool. This sort of rotation certainly has it's place and it really does up the involvement level of the player. Especially when you wanna drive sideways.


Another problem with the new wheel that pertains to us home theater gamers, especially, is the short length of the USB cable. I sit about 10-11 ft. back from my 47" RPTV (next to my PS2) and it won't reach my couch comfortably. The old wheel manages this feat just fine. I dread having to spend another 30 bucks for a USB extension cable. For a 200 dollar wheel, there is no excuse to go cheap on the cable lengths. As an aside, the regular PS2 Dual-Shock gamepad sucks here, too. XBOX controllers, on the other hand, always rock in this department (yay for HT-minded thinking).


Also, the lap attachment that came with the Driving Force fits the Pro perfectly.


So basically, at this price point, it is not worth the money. It is not the ultimate wheel that marketing, hype and gaming sites suggest it is and does not feel realistic (like a good arcade wheel would). It is too rough and too noisy, but the 900 Degree functionality is really very cool indeed. As it stands, I'll wait till the price drops or till something better comes along.

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Originally posted by Big Daddy Bling Bling@Dec 30 2004, 08:36 PM

I was considering a purchase but it sounds like it's not worth the upgrade right now. I bought the original wheel the day it came out, complete with all the GT3 trim. I was kicking myself when the same wheel was on clearance at Target for $50 a couple months later, sans GT3 logos.

Yeah, your wheel will work fine with GT4, so I wouldn't bother till the price drops, either.

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