Logitech Driving Force
When it comes to racing wheels, the big thing everybody talks about these days is 900-degree turning. Spinning tiny wheels in all of a handful of games is just swell, but if you're content with a smaller range of motion and want to save money, the Logitech Driving Force deserves a thorough look. Built for the PlayStation 2, the wheel comes with force feedback, excellent control, and a price tag that won't leave you pouting in a corner.
The ubiquitous square, X, triangle, circle, and directional pad present themselves, although you won't necessarily want to use the wheel for nondriving games. The buttons are convenient for navigating menus and using special functions on cars, such as nitro boosts and hand-brake maneuvers. Depending on how you drive, your hand might brush against some of these buttons, which could cause you to accidentally push them. Fortunately, the wheel has numerous comfortable positions to allow for more careful hand placement.
Logitech's implementation of the R1, R2, L1, L2, Start, and Select buttons differ from the normal buttons, coming instead in a low-profile, silver finish. Their tactile response left something to be desired. The combination of short button travel and quiet action makes you second-guess whether or not you ever pushed the button.
The gear-shifting paddles on the underside of the wheel have a long throw, but you'll know when you've reached the end of their motion when you hear the audible "clunk" sound. The paddles seem to be of a sturdy build and will most likely stand up through normal wear and tear. Logitech decided not to include the stick shift on the Driving Force, opting to include that feature only on the more expensive Driving Force Pro. But in all honesty, once you use the paddles to shift gears, you aren't going to be using the stick shifter for much other than an impromptu game of horseshoes.
We attached the Driving Force to our table via two large top-mounted octagonal screws. The process took all of a minute and proved rather painless. Once we secured the wheel, it didn't budge for the remainder of our driving session. Putting the Driving Force away after use was equally easy--a few quick turns released the wheel's hold on the table and allowed us to remove it for storage. Do take care, though, as our table sustained a few permanent scratches while we were attaching the wheel. It would have been perfect had Logitech put some rubber feet on the underside of the Driving Force to prevent table damage.
Inside the box, we also found a laptop attachment device for the Driving Force, designed to allow you to play with the wheel on your lap. In theory, this device might work, but in practice, we found the laptop attachment device rather disappointing. With nothing to secure the wheel to a stationary point, it merely moved around between our legs. With the Driving Force between our legs, turning the wheel gave us imprecise control under ideal conditions. Suffice it to say, if you're serious about racing, playing with the Driving Force in your lap isn't going to be an option.