Saitek x52 Review
Saitek X52: Out the box
Plug in the Saitek X52
X52 Programming
X52 Conclusion
Manufacturer Specs

Saitek X52 Review

Saitek x52 Out of the box


The Saitek X52. This is certainly a step up from my old stick -- a Saitek ST290 Pro. Not that I'm complaining about the old ST290; it's been a good companion for well over three years and was a steal at just under $30. It just doesn't have enough functions for even semi-serious flight simming.

So I splashed out on a HOTAS. The cheapest one I could find. So in comes the Saitek X52 Flight Controller. And how is it? Would I recommend you part with $100 for this baby? Read on...

First off, this is not a stick for just any casual gamer. I've read many reports of people who are put off by the fact that it has too many buttons, too difficult to program etc etc.

Well the news is out: the X52 is part toy, part gadget and like most things gadget the X52 requires a certain amount of patience to master. The Saitek X52 is aimed at the casual to serious flight sim market who can't afford it's big brother (the X52 PRO) or more expensive models from other manufacturers. So we're not talking Halo controller here. No point and shoot and wake up with a hole in your head. The X52 is for serious gamers who believe in a cause -- that cause being the non-dumbing down of games. Simmers are serious about their games -- and even more serious about their equipment. And let's face it, if you can fly an F16 Fighting Falcon, engage multiple bogeys beyond visual range while avoiding SAMs intent on blowing you out of the sky AND still get back to base in time to smoke a kipper for breakfast, then you really should be able to program this joystick.

The second thing to note is I'm largely comparing this to a ST290 PRO also manufactured by Saitek. This is a twist stick with a throttle lever at the rear, not a HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick for all you Halo players). It may seem strange that I'm comparing the X52 to the ST290, but I think that the majority of buyers will be upgrading from single sticks to the X52 to see whether a HOTAS is right for them. This is the only stick in its price range. It's the cheapest HOTAS money can buy and I think most players will upgrade to the X52 from MS Sidewinders, Saitek Cyborgs etc not from Thrustmaster Cougars or CH Products Sticks which are twice the price. This is for those of you who are thinking of travelling the same route I did.

So it arrives on your doorstep one day and you think "Hell, I just spent $100 on a joystick -- I hope it's worth it"

You go inside with a smaller box than you imagined -- also a little surprised at how light it is. Maybe they ship the stick and throttle seperately? Nope -- it's just well packaged. However the unit is light, so all those used to the weight of a Cougar are going to be a little disappointed.

So it's out of the box. What do you get? Well, obviously there's the stick and the throttle. There's also a connecting cable to join the two together (the joystick connects to the throttle via a 5 pin connector, and then the throttle connects to your PC via a USB plug. This seems a little backward to me because if the stick connected to the PC you could probably use it as a standalone joystick if you wanted, but this is no biggie).

Also in the box is the driver CD which also contains the SST software and the manual. What? No printed manual! That's right! It's a PDF on the CD.That's a real pet peeve of mine, especially on a piece of kit that costs $100. But I can live with it. I've had Saitek products before and know what to expect from the software so I don't need a manual. It would have been nice though.

And you also get a bag of rubber suction cups.

The rubber suction cups are about as much use as a chocolate teapot. My desk isn't smooth so they won't stick. And when you attach them to the stick or throttle they have a tendancy to fall out. Well, no worries, both the units have little rubber feet so that should be ok. Shouldn't it?

So now I have a little bag of little rubber suction cups to play with. Bonus!








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