There are not too many people that will argue with me when I say that Saitek’s X52 flight sticks are the best value HOTAS (Hand On Throttle And Stick) combination a flight sim enthusiast can buy. Infact the only people that might argue are those people yet to lay their hands on one off Saitek’s products.
I have used and reviewed every HOTAS system on the market today and I continue to be impressed with the innovation coming out of Saitek Lab’s.
The Saitek X52 is sleek, attractive, and very well built for what could be regarded a budget control system. Do not allow yourself to be fooled by the low price when you see this baby on the shelf. The Saitek X52 can match the performance of anything on the market including the big expensive systems on offer for over 800 dollars. The newest addition in the Saitek product line has been built to last with quality components and wiring you would not expect in a product of this price range. Saitek support has provided me with detailed information on how to disassemble their sexy stick and I will post photos later to show you what I’m talking about in regards to the “quality components” One other thing worth a mention is that Saitek appear to design their flight sticks with the home handy man in mind. Every flight stick released to date is easy to pull apart and even easier to put back together again. That is because Saitek products are HAND MADE and as such they are designed accordingly. Making there products by hand means they are well designed inside and out. You will not find wires glued to conductor panels like I have, in other brands. The Saitek X52 is trim and neat and the weight that you feel in the sticks is the result of quality components and not a large metal weight in the bottom.
The Saitek X52 offers a smooth consistent feel across all axis of movement, much like the feeling you got the first time you used a Laser Mouse. The control and accuracy is true and very precise. Using a simple but ingenious spring mounted disk at the base of the controller provides consistent even pressure through all stages of movement. Comfort has not been forgotten either with an adjustable wrist rest and with intelligently molded grips on both the throttle and stick to help reduce fatigue. Owners of Saitek’s X45 and X36 models will notice the absence of a throttle mounted rudder system. The inbuilt rudder now resides on the stick it’s self and requires a twisting action much like the Saitek Cyborg.
The throttle now comes with a few extra features as well; most notable is a bright blue LCD panel that depicts the mode you are in and the profile you have loaded. My favorite part of the LCD panel is the ability to program different time zones into its time date function. If you fly with the time synchronized to your watch like I do then this function will be your favorite as well. A VATSIM flight from Perth to Sydney is no problem at all because with the press of a button you can switch from UTC to Local time as you cross the time zone. The limit is your imagination and the functions of this flight stick are endless.
People like myself who fly Helicopters in Microsoft’s Century of Flight notice the difference most of all. Some of the old time helo pilots will tell you that flying helicopters is like trying to balancing two oiled ball bearings on top of one another. I can assure you that flying in a simulator setup for helicopter flight is no different. Helicopters are highly unstable birds requiring, small, precise, and smooth movement to ensure a successful flight. Saitek’s X52 HOTAS system provides me with the precision I need to get the most out of my flying and I highly recommend this product to anyone interested in getting the most out of our hobby.
In conclusion, I think you will agree that Saitek is an industry leader when it comes to Flight Stick development. There innovation and commitment to affordable quality products should be applauded and I will be watching closely for the next big thing to come out of Saitek.
The only thing missing in this product it the smell of AVTUR and the sound of spooling engines but hey I am sure they just wanted to leave something for there next product line.
I rate the Saitek X52.
9 out of 10 a must have product for the desktop pilot.
Regards Gavin Gillett
Features as posted on the Saitek webpage.
· Precision centering mechanism, non-contact technology on X and Y axes and constant spring force reduce free play, improve control and increase durability
· 2-stage metal trigger; 2 primary buttons in 1 convenient position
· 4 fire buttons including missile launcher with spring-loaded safety cover for instant access
· Conveniently positioned metal pinkie switch provides shift functionality to double up on programmable commands
· 2 X 8-way Hat Switches
· 3D rudder twist
· 3-position rotary mode selector switch with LED indicators
· 3 spring-loaded, base-mounted toggle switches for up to 6 programmable flight commands
· 5-position handle adjustment system to suit all hand sizes
Progressive throttle with tension adjustment, detents for afterburner and idle ·
2 fire buttons ·
Scroll wheel with built-in button ·
Mouse controller / hat switch with left mouse button ·
8-way hat switch ·
2 x rotary controls ·
Smooth-action slider control ·
Clutch button initiates ‘safe mode’ to allow on-the-fly profile selection, or to display button functionality without activating
For more information about Saitek and a list of the products they offer go to www.saitek.com/
The Saitek X52
is also available at The FlightSim Store