Top critical review
148 people found this helpful
on January 3, 2005
Short version: This wheel is a cheap plastic imitation of its higher quality forbears. It works, but it doesn't give anywhere near the realistic driving experience the previous models gave.
My friend bought the original, red Logitech Wingman Formula Force (...) a couple years back. I borrowed it recently to play with NASCAR Racing 2003 and loved it. The experience was quite realistic. So I thought to get my own.
First I bought the standard Logitech Wingman Formula Force GP (...), because it didn't seem the MOMO version was much different (...), and I didn't want to bother with the rebate. I thought the cheaper price reflected savings in production efficiencies. The GP wheel was shockingly different, in a bad way. The original red Wingman Formula Force has some kind of ball bearing, spring and damper system that lets the wheel turn freely, but give varying amounts of force feedback depending on the game. The original red wheel lets you feel when the wheel gets "loose", and you're about to lose traction. The new, cheaper GP version has a horrible plastic, notchy feeling, as one other review commented - as you turn the wheel it grinds. Turning seems to be a matter of grinding each gear tooth which corresponds to a bit in the control axis. The GP is not at all like a real steering wheel, when the original red wheel was a passable facsimile. The force feedback on the GP is a joke. It's like seeing a downsampled, low resolution, 8-bit version of what used to be a high resolution, 24-bit image.
So I returned the standard, cheaper (...) GP wheel to Amazon and bought this MOMO wheel hoping that the extra dough gets you that special "real" feeling. Unfortunately, the MOMO still fails. This (...) MOMO version is better than the standard GP version, but there's still a plastic notchy gear feeling to the wheel. The notches are finer, and the force feedback effects have a higher sample rate, but it's still the same fundamental cheap plastic gear feeling.
It seems that the wheel I actually wanted was the ORIGINAL, now discontinued, Logitech MOMO Force wheel with the authentic leather, steel pedals and whatnot. It probably wasn't cheap, but you get what you pay for. About.com reviewed the original MOMO wheel and commented: "One of the best features of this force feedback wheel is that there is no "notchy-ness" in the steering wheel. In other force feedback wheels you could feel the gears in the wheel which would prevent you from making smooth adjustments. This wheel solves that problem, it's very smooth."
I wish I had read that review before I bought this new, plastic version. It's surprising though that nobody had commented in a comparative review about how the steering feel has been compromised. About.com wrote: "The Logitech Momo Racing (black) wheel is a revamped version their legendary Momo Force (red) wheel. They replaced some of the expensive metal parts with plastic and even made some improvements along the way such as increasing the pedal throw and adding a manual stick shifter. The result is a wheel that is even better than the original." (...)
I beg to differ. Maybe the About.com reviewer got a different version of the MOMO wheel, because I'm surprised he didn't comment on the lack of ball-bearing feel to the new wheel. This plastic, notchy feeling to the steering in both the current GP and MOMO versions destroys the suspension of disbelief. The few reviews that said anything about the plasticky-ness, expressing disappointment, were given poor feedback. Why? Do people only want to read glowing reviews of products, regardless of the accuracy of the review?
The only thing positive to say about the newer wheels versus the original red wheel is that the pedals are bottom hinged, and easier to modulate. The new wheels are also cheaper in price. But as I've explained, the new plastic wheels are also cheaper in the quality of experience they provide. You get what you pay for.