Author Topic: Premium joystick recommendations  (Read 4958 times)

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Offline redsniper

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Premium joystick recommendations
My X52 is starting to get a little bit dodgy, not quite centering properly and stuff. I'm also gainfully employed, so these things combined are a good enough excuse for me to spring for one of those super-fancy joystick/throttle setups I keep hearing about. What do ye recommend, brothers?

CH products and Thrustmaster Cougar seem to be the ones I keep hearing about. Is there anything else comparable I should look into? Also given the reputable invincibility of these things it shouldn't be too risky to buy used, amirite? I don't think I could justify spending more than about $200 as a max.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 09:15:21 pm by redsniper »
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Offline jg18

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CH FTW. I've heard the Thrustmaster Cougar's internals are poorly made and require a bunch of mods to make the Cougar useful, making the full cost several hundred dollars and up.

Here's a review comparing the CH sticks and throttle to each other.

Fighterstick (top of the line) currently on Amazon for $107, Combatstick (fewer buttons but probably just fine for space sims) for $80, Flightstick Pro (just 4 buttons and a hat, smaller stick) for $72, Pro Throttle for $96.

I have the Flightstick Pro and the Pro Throttle. The Flightstick Pro's number of buttons is okay for a space sim. It'd be nice if it had a few more, but it works fine if you're using it with a keyboard or a throttle. The main reason I chose the Flightstick Pro over the other two sticks was the stick size: the other two sticks are modeled after the F-16's and are probably too big for my hands. It doesn't hurt that DOSBox has built-in support for the Flightstick Pro, making it really easy to use for games like Descent.

Note that the prices for these items can fluctuate from week to week (even day to day) on Amazon, so if you're willing to wait a bit, you may be able to get a better price. That said, the Pro Throttle and Combatstick are probably at around the lower end of the price range I've seen on Amazon for those items, and the Flightstick Pro and Fighterstick at the upper end, although at the cheapest I've seen the Fighterstick, it's probably no more than say ~$10 less than it currently is.

Hope that helps.

EDIT: Corrections.

As for used, well, I just wouldn't buy a used joystick in general (too risky), so I dunno. If you buy new, CH has an excellent reputation for customer support.

EDIT 2: A review comparing CH Fighterstick/Throttle to x52. The link points to the CH section.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 09:46:23 pm by jg18 »

 

Offline MatthTheGeek

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Obligatory "mouse is bestest joystick".
People are stupid, therefore anything popular is at best suspicious.

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Offline newman

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Took me a while to get used to it, but I'm liking the Logitech G940. Yes, it shows up in windows as three separate devices (stick, throttle and pedals), but it can be overcome with ppjoy. And if you want force feedback and a HOTAS setup, it's pretty much the only option. Now that I did get used to it, I love it. I used to think of force feedback as a gimmick, but it works really well for me, and the feeling the ffb gives me when being shot it, or flying through flak, or hard landing on the Theseus deck.. it's way more fun than I could ever have with any other controller type. Not that you can't play with the mouse. Sure you can, and you can play well. It's just that I find playing with a full HOTAS + trackIR a lot more fun :)
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Offline jg18

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Obligatory "mouse is bestest joystick".
Obligatory "mouse sucks".

Fair and balanced, non-inflammatory version: I'm aware that many people enjoy using the mouse to steer the ship. I, however, hated it when I tried using it and much prefer using a keyboard or joystick. To each his own, as they say.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 04:06:07 am by jg18 »

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
My X52 is starting to get a little bit dodgy, not quite centering properly and stuff. I'm also gainfully employed, so these things combined are a good enough excuse for me to spring for one of those super-fancy joystick/throttle setups I keep hearing about. What do ye recommend, brothers?

CH products and Thrustmaster Cougar seem to be the ones I keep hearing about. Is there anything else comparable I should look into? Also given the reputable invincibility of these things it shouldn't be too risky to buy used, amirite? I don't think I could justify spending more than about $200 as a max.

do you want plastic, or metal? ch is plastic (sturdy as **** plastic but plastic none the less), but some of those thrust master sticks are all metal.

i own ch fighterstick pro throttle and pro pedals. the stick has a rather conservative design, and some of the best gimbals you can get (they do take some breaking in though, after a year of use its the best spring tension you can ask for in a stick, this thing gets better with age). the stick has hardware trim built in, a good feature for flight sims. it also has a throttle wheel but i seldom use it. the pro throttle is nice as well. its on a slider as opposed to a rotating handle like the x52. it has a nice analog thumbstick and the same number of hats and buttons as the fighter stick. the pedals are just a 3 axis stick with no buttons, rudder and toe breaks. you could probibly live without the pedals unless you play a lot of flight sims. ive had my setup for years and nothings broke yet. its also made in the usa.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 04:20:12 am by Nuke »
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Offline redsniper

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
I'm leaning heavily towards the CH Fighterstick/Throttle combo. All the talk of ungodly precision and durability really appeals to me. I have a couple misgivings though. It sounds like the stick was designed for people with GORILLA HANDS which I don't really have. Now I've also seen that can pretty easily be solved by slapping a chunk of foam on the handrest, but I'm worried about reaching up to all those thousands of hat switches at the top and bumping the wrong one or something. Are they especially sensitive or do you have to be pretty deliberate with them? I'd like to use them as buttons if I could, for targeting and countermeasures and stuff. Second, I really like twist handles, which this stick doesn't have, and I don't feel hardcore enough to want to buy rudder pedals. Will that little joystick nub on the throttle work well enough as a third axis?
"Think about nice things not unhappy things.
The future makes happy, if you make it yourself.
No war; think about happy things."   -WouterSmitssm

Hard Light Productions:
"...this conversation is pointlessly confrontational."

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
i wouldn't call them all that precise though. the design is mechanically solid but the axes have an 8-bit resolution. they didnt move to 10 bit until the put out their eclipse yoke. just something to keep in mind.
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Offline redsniper

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Would I really even notice? I'm sure that's not worse than the X52, right?
"Think about nice things not unhappy things.
The future makes happy, if you make it yourself.
No war; think about happy things."   -WouterSmitssm

Hard Light Productions:
"...this conversation is pointlessly confrontational."

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
the x52 pro has a 10 bit resolution. but i just dont like the mechanical design of saitek's sticks. they wear out in such a way that the deadzone grows over time. cougar has the same. not sure about saitek's force sensitive stick, whatever its called. im actually considering a stick mod to put more modern electronics in, though it would likely prevent me from using ch's software.
I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

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Offline redsniper

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Yeah, but what about the X52 amateur? :p
"Think about nice things not unhappy things.
The future makes happy, if you make it yourself.
No war; think about happy things."   -WouterSmitssm

Hard Light Productions:
"...this conversation is pointlessly confrontational."

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
its a suck machine. i had one, after only 2 years it developed a deadzone the size of hades' mom. its only redeeming factor was its really comfortable grips. but i always hated their single spring mechanism. i prefer independent spring tension on the x and y, gives you a better feel for your position.
I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

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Offline BritishShivans

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
hey nuke

I heard Hade's mother is a SJ Sathanas.

 

Offline redsniper

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Well, I meant the resolution actually. If the X52 only has an 8-bit resolution, then I don't think I'll be any worse off with a CH stick, provided I can make it fit my hand well enough.
"Think about nice things not unhappy things.
The future makes happy, if you make it yourself.
No war; think about happy things."   -WouterSmitssm

Hard Light Productions:
"...this conversation is pointlessly confrontational."

 

Offline Mikes

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
I ve recently had the chance to fondle a Thrustmaster "Warthog" Hotas Combo in the local store... and lemme tell you... this thing is something else.

Anyone know how the Warthhogs electronics are by chance? (Hopefully better than the Cougar). Because... going by pure "feel" the Warthog goes above and beyond anything that I even thought possible.
Heck in the store I must have looked like an idiot with that huge grin on my face while I simply couldn't leave that joystick alone for several minutes - even when it wasn't hooked up to anything LOL.
Next to the Warthog all the other sticks (they had the top line Logitech and Saitek HOTAS right next to it) looked - and especially felt - like cheap Toys.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 08:18:24 am by Mikes »

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Well, I meant the resolution actually. If the X52 only has an 8-bit resolution, then I don't think I'll be any worse off with a CH stick, provided I can make it fit my hand well enough.

i would assume its 8. because when the pro version came out 10-bit was touted as a premium feature.

I ve recently had the chance to fondle a Thrustmaster "Warthog" Hotas Combo in the local store... and lemme tell you... this thing is something else.

Anyone know how the Warthhogs electronics are by chance? (Hopefully better than the Cougar). Because... going by pure "feel" the Warthog goes above and beyond anything that I even thought possible.
Heck in the store I must have looked like an idiot with that huge grin on my face while I simply couldn't leave that joystick alone for several minutes - even when it wasn't hooked up to anything LOL.
Next to the Warthog all the other sticks (they had the top line Logitech and Saitek HOTAS right next to it) looked - and especially felt - like cheap Toys.

the warthog is something else. its resolution is 16-bit on the stick, 14 bit on the throttle! and with all metal construction. so yea, its the ****ing ****.

that is if you want to pay $450+ for a joystick :D
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 02:56:55 pm by Nuke »
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Online Mongoose

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Holy crap, that's a nice chunk of change.

Has there been any consensus on that new Saitek X-65 (think that's the number) with the pressure-sensing axis?  It sounds like something that could take some getting used to, but I hadn't heard if it wound up any good or not.

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
really now that i think about it, thats what my ch setup costed. prices seemed to have dropped since then, probibly because newer advanced sticks have been coming out from saitek and thrustmaster.
I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Holy crap, that's a nice chunk of change.

Has there been any consensus on that new Saitek X-65 (think that's the number) with the pressure-sensing axis?  It sounds like something that could take some getting used to, but I hadn't heard if it wound up any good or not.

SimHQ did a pretty in-depth review of it.  Their conclusion was that it is certainly a well-built and well-featured piece of equipment, but the force-sensing stick can be very disorienting since it can be unclear exactly which direction you're pushing, and that the throttle is too sticky.  To get enough force to use the throttle properly, you need to give it a permanent mounting.  They suggested that giving the stick a little bit of motion like the real F-16* controls do would go a long way to mitigating the control issues, but noted that fine adjustments in flight are a breeze.  I imagine the X-65F would make it easier to, say, nail those beam turrets in Delenda Est from 3 km more easily, but dogfights could be a complete pain in the ass.

*It and the F-22 are the only planes to use non/little-moving force-sensing sticks AFAICT.

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Premium joystick recommendations
i read both the simhq reviews for the warthog, and it seems its the stick to get. the first review actually gives actual empirical data about joystick precision of the warthog and competitor sticks, including ch and saitek sticks. i figure if my ch stick ever broke, this would be what id replace it with.
I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

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