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Logitech Wingman 3D Force Feedback review

Former staff writer    -   February 24, 2002
Category: Input Devices
Price: $59.95


Introduction

Flight sim and action game fans looking for a good, all-in-one joystick with a little extra oomph should check out Logitech's Wingman Force 3D. With a comfortable design, incredibly versatile driver software, and a relatively compact footprint, it knocks Microsoft's first-generation Force Feedback stick off the desk, literally!



The Force 3D is fashioned after the redesigned WingMan joystick line that includes the Extreme Digital 3D and Attack joysticks. Rather than making the design resemble actual aircraft control sticks they designed an ergonomic stick that is consistent with the current Logitech product line. Unlike other force feedback joysticks the base is slim- you will have a hard time visually identifying the stick as a force feedback device unless you spy the force feedback references imprinted on the base. The other thing that they improved on from the typical FF design is the smaller electrical brick that provides power to the device.

Features

  • 2 axis joystick
  • Throttle lever
  • Twist handle rudder control (lockable)
  • Force feedback
  • 8 way hat switch
  • 7 programmable buttons

    System Requirements

  • PC with Pentium� 166 MHz or faster (or compatible processor)
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 20 MB available hard disk space
  • CD-ROM drive
  • USB Port
  • Windows� 98,ME,2000,XP

    In the box

    Inside the box you will find the joystick neatly encased in a protective cardboard shell, a A/C Adapter used to provide juice to the joystick, and a packet containing a Quick Reference installation guide, a CD containing the WingMan Software version 4.11, a full version CD of FreeSpace 2, and a Logitech product catalog and registration card. The game is worth about $40 so you have what, $30 bucks in the joystick? You can't go wrong!

    Installation

    Installation went very smoothly. You plug the A/C adapter in to your wall (This powers the force feedback), then plug the USB cord in to the back of your computer (or usb hub), and then just pop the CD in and run the setup. Windows XP did a great job at automatically detected the joystick and installing the correct drivers. The installation installs a program called Logitech WingMan Profiler and it automatically detects all of your games that support Force Feedback. Since it does that, you can customize each game with it's own controls. You can also change how strong or how weak you want the force feedback to be. There is even an option that allows you to increase or decrease the centering spring.

    The Software

    Here are some pictures on the Logitech Wingman profiler.

  • This is the main screen of the program.


    This is the main screen of the program.


    This is where you can select which game profile you want to edit.


    This is where you can selection the strength of the force feedback and the centering spring.



    Logitech Wingman 3D Force Feedback review
    Reviewed by: Matt Cameron
    Reviewed Date: January 24th, 2002
    Provided by: Logitech.com
    Price: $59.95

    Introduction

    Flight sim and action game fans looking for a good, all-in-one joystick with a little extra oomph should check out Logitech's Wingman Force 3D. With a comfortable design, incredibly versatile driver software, and a relatively compact footprint, it knocks Microsoft's first-generation Force Feedback stick off the desk, literally!



    The Force 3D is fashioned after the redesigned WingMan joystick line that includes the Extreme Digital 3D and Attack joysticks. Rather than making the design resemble actual aircraft control sticks they designed an ergonomic stick that is consistent with the current Logitech product line. Unlike other force feedback joysticks the base is slim- you will have a hard time visually identifying the stick as a force feedback device unless you spy the force feedback references imprinted on the base. The other thing that they improved on from the typical FF design is the smaller electrical brick that provides power to the device.

    Features

  • 2 axis joystick
  • Throttle lever
  • Twist handle rudder control (lockable)
  • Force feedback
  • 8 way hat switch
  • 7 programmable buttons

    System Requirements

  • PC with Pentium� 166 MHz or faster (or compatible processor)
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 20 MB available hard disk space
  • CD-ROM drive
  • USB Port
  • Windows� 98,ME,2000,XP

    In the box

    Inside the box you will find the joystick neatly encased in a protective cardboard shell, a A/C Adapter used to provide juice to the joystick, and a packet containing a Quick Reference installation guide, a CD containing the WingMan Software version 4.11, a full version CD of FreeSpace 2, and a Logitech product catalog and registration card. The game is worth about $40 so you have what, $30 bucks in the joystick? You can't go wrong!

    Installation

    Installation went very smoothly. You plug the A/C adapter in to your wall (This powers the force feedback), then plug the USB cord in to the back of your computer (or usb hub), and then just pop the CD in and run the setup. Windows XP did a great job at automatically detected the joystick and installing the correct drivers. The installation installs a program called Logitech WingMan Profiler and it automatically detects all of your games that support Force Feedback. Since it does that, you can customize each game with it's own controls. You can also change how strong or how weak you want the force feedback to be. There is even an option that allows you to increase or decrease the centering spring.

    The Software

    Here are some pictures on the Logitech Wingman profiler.


    This is the main screen of the program.


    This is where you can select which game profile you want to edit.


    This is where you can selection the strength of the force feedback and the centering spring.


    Wingman profiler sits in your system tray and can be identifed by the "W" for Wingman.


    The Controller


  • The WingMan Force 3D offers all of the standard features found on your typical force feedback joystick, including some nice extras. In terms of standard functionality, the Force 3D includes seven fully programmable buttons, a recessed 8-way hat switch, (done in a stylish transparent blue plastic), and a smooth-motion throttle lever. It also has a twist function built into the handle, (very helpful for the flight sim fanatic that needs a rudder), and two extra buttons located on the base of the stick. If you are one of those people that hate twisting joystick handles, there's a nifty locking nut on the base of the joystick handle that will stop the stick from twisting. Just a small detail, but very nice to have nonetheless. The eight-way view hat is a big improvement over earlier sticks, with a wider design that's easier to grip with your thumb. The slider throttle has an odd u-shaped grip that's also geared to thumb use. One nice touch is that the stick buttons are labeled with their number-no more trying to remember which one is "button 6."

    Wondering what force feedback looks like? Well, I have thrown together a little animated picture that I made with my cheapo web cam. This was when I was taking off in a plane in Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2. You can check it out here (56K users BEWARE this image is large, 271k)

    Conclusion

    The throttle and twist-action rudder functionality is smooth and precise, as is the stick movement. The buttons don't feel mushy or too "clicky" if you will. The force-feedback effects are just right in my opinion, as they're not so strong that you're arm will hurt badly after a few hours of gaming, while at the same time the effects aren't so week that you need to crank up the force strength settings to see what it can do either.

    Wingman Force 3D is priced at only $59! That's the manufacturer's price too, so chances are places like Best Buy or other online retailers may very well offer it for a few bucks less, but even at $59 it's a steal, because no other force-feedback stick is priced that low and offers that kind of performance and functionality.


    Pros:

    • Affordable
    • Easy button access
    • Doesn't run hot
    • Nice software bundle

    Cons:
    • The stick isn't comfy.. I like a thumb rest, like my Thrustmaster has.



    1. Logitech Wingman 3D Force Feedback review
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