Product Type: Logitech game controllers
Newest Review: ... doesn't work with Windows '95 however... you'll need '98 or above. Now, the Logitech WingMan Formula package contains a... more
Logitech WingMan Formula
Logitech Wingman Formula
Member Name: MichaelR
Logitech Wingman Formula
Date: 05/05/01, updated on 05/05/01 (702 review reads)
Advantages: Ergonoic wheel, Clamps securely to desk, Game port and USB connection
Disadvantages: Lousy pedals with short travel that are too close together, bulky base unit for wheel, No longer produced (but still available and supported)
Not quite sure what happened to the title on this one...
The picture does show a Logitech WingMan Formula wheel though, and that is what this op is going to be about :-)
The Logitech WingMan Formula wheel has now been discontinued by Logitech in favour of the new Formula Force (basically the same thing with force feedback) and the WingMan Formula GP series of wheels.
You can still buy the Logitech WingMan Formula though - there still seem to be a lot of them on the shelves of shops like Game. You're likely to get a better price on the wheel from somewhere like PC World though, as games shops generally don't give good discounts on discontinued products...
The Logitech WingMan Formula comes in two different colour schemes - either all black or black with a yellow outer rim to the steering wheel. The actual part of the wheel that you grip is fashioned from a strong rubberised compound of some sort. I'm not sure exactly what goes into it, but it does stop your hands from slipping during play (unlike some of the plasticy offerings on the market today)
The rubberised wheel can cause your hands to sweat a little during those mammoth four hour sessions of Grand Prix Legends, but your hands should still stick to the wheel even when sweaty.
The outer wheel is mounted onto a solid plastic centre section which has the Logitech logo mounted in the centre. Above this are two status LED's, the first one shows whether the wheel has power (power is drawn from the computer) and the second shows whether the wheel is 'on-line'.
There are also four buttons on the centre panel that can be programmed to perform different functions within each of your driving games, so you might have one set up as a clutch, one as a handbrake perhaps if you were playing a rallying game and so on.
This whole arrangement is mounted onto the centre spindle of the wheel which has two Formula One style gear shifters
attached to it. These basically allow you to sequentially shift up and down through the gears of your virtual vehicle.
Convention dictates that the right hand paddle shifts up whilst the left shifts down, but you can set them up any way you like. If you're really strange (and have octopus-like arms!)you can even put the gear shifts onto the central buttons and assign something different to the shifters.
The spindle is then mounted onto the base unit that sits on your desk.
The size of the base unit is something of a problem. It's big. Really big. It really does take up a significant amount of desk space, especially when you consider that you also have to allow space for the large connector which connects to a long, thin port on the right hand side of the base unit. This is roughly the size of a parallel connector.
This connector then splits off to two further connections. One end plugs into your pedals and the other end plugs into your game port. The wheel is also supplied with an adapter that you can plug the game port connector into to use it in a USB port instead, if you so desire.
The USB connection doesn't work with Windows '95 however... you'll need '98 or above.
Now, the Logitech WingMan Formula package contains an excellent wheel in my opinion. It's a nice shape - a full, rounded race wheel that is small in dimension (like a real racing wheel) with easily accessible functions (the shifters can be reached with either the index or middle fingers, or both. The buttons in the centre can be reached with the thumbs) and a nice 90 degrees of lock each way.
The wheel also self-centres, so it's easy to change direction as the wheel helps you a bit when you start coming back towards the centre.
The steering feels very progressive, and I like that. What I mean is it is harder to turn the wheel as you apply more lock, so you can really feel how much lock you have pu
t in. Many wheels feel too light all the way through the steering range, feeling just as light at 40 degrees as they did at 10.
This is a not a problem with the Logitech WingMan Formula.
The thing that lets the package down though is the pedals.
The pedals are fashioned from a soft plastic as far as I can gather, mounted onto a textured plastic base plate.
The main problem with the pedals is that they are too small and too close together. I have size 8 feet and I find it very hard to work the pedals correctly, so anyone with larger feet is going to find it extremely hard.
The brake is barely big enough to fit my toes on, with the accelerator being less than an inch longer.
The fact that the brake is so small means that you can often miss the pedal when you bring your left foot off of the 'dead pedal' (a little foot rest to the left of the brake) and spend a vital fraction of a second searching around for it with your foot.
In the worst cases, you miss your braking point and either spin or go sailing off into the nearest gravel trap or wall.
The pedals are spring loaded and are progressive to an extent, but the problem is that they have so little travel in them that it is hard to gauge how much power or braking you have applied. You can only really feel the pedal get heavy when it is almost all the way down.
I've also found that it is very easy for feet to slip off of the pedals - whatever you may be wearing on your feet (I've not tried racing boots - I think that might be a bit extreme!)
You can drive with them, but any racing game experts who think they could teach an F1 driver a few tricks will almost certainly lose time with these compared to if they used a good set of pedals.
It's just shame that you can't use a separate set of pedals with this wheel as far as I know...
It is a good package for the price - and now that it has been
discontinued you may well find the package is even cheaper.
I should also stress that although it is no longer being produced, Logitech does still support it and you can download updated drivers etc from Logitech for this wheel. Logitech has always been very good at continuing to support discontinued products.
In its price range, I can't think of a better wheel that I have used. It's just a shame about those pedals...
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