Awww Yeah, it's all mine! Time to put away the flight sims and actually write up a review!

Now this was purchased to replace my aging Logitech Attack 3, which had decided to stop working as it should (Potentiometers were shot). My first thought was "Holy Cow... That is huge!". Sure it's not the biggest stick I've seen...

But those were in actual Aircraft. And it LIGHTS UP!


Specs:


Joystick



Throttle




My Feelings:


Price


This Stick RRP is $420 NZD, and that price seems heavily inflated [By "Down Under" Tax which makes it 3.28 times more expensive (As of 29/8/2103)]... it really makes Macs look cheap. Although I did get it while it was on special and at a significantly lower price.

Design


The Design of the X52 Pro is just amazing! It's definitely a Right handed Joystick. The base of the stick is solid, with a lovely brushed metal surround. The 3 Bi-directional Toggle buttons have metal bars on the end that just grip to your finger, which allow very easy, and rapid toggling of the buttons. Nearly all of the buttons have controllable LED colors, they can be Red, Amber, Green, the only exceptions are Fire, POV1, and the Clutch button.

And there is so much metal on this stick, the Trigger, the mode selection button, the POV hat and Pinkie Switch are all metal! It's so nice! Although they didn't take that message to the throttle section which only has metal as a part of the base, and has a garish Blue-green shiny plastic on the left end, rotation knobs and Throttle hat where the same Brushed metal as the base would have fitted better and to be honest at the price it's being sold at, I would have expected that. Although the rubberized plastic on the grip section is a nice touch.

The attention to detail is amazing, with the Fire switch cover, which makes the Fire button illuminate red when lifted, and the Throttle detents at 25% and 75%. At 75% the color changes to red, which is amazing, AND you are able to feel roughly where your throttle quadrant is! Plus its adjustable Friction control allows for it to suit you. Although, the 75% detent is a tad bit strong, and does at times pull the suction cups off the table rather than let the throttle go past it.

The integrated MFD is brilliant, it has 3 clocks, 2 of which can be set into a timezone of your choice, the remaining one can either be in UTC +0 or your local time; it also has a stopwatch function, and a 48 character screen (3 Lines with 16 Characters a line) which allows it to display any information sent from a game.

The mouse pointer works, and is insanely sensitive making it almost impossible to use in a game, and any changes to the sensitivity doesn't seem to stick, but it is also rotated 90 Degrees from what you expect (Push your thumb forward and the cursor goes right, push your thumb left, cursor goes up etc.).

The only design flaw that I have run into is that the Palm rest screw has almost no grip on it, which makes unscrewing it a pain. Which just portrays how amazingly well constructed this stick is!

Software


Well... the Software is poor to say the least... Which makes Saitek sit in the same box as ASUS and HTC. Great hardware, and just painfully poor software.



The configuration utility looks bad, and has a whole pile of UI issues [Is the window in the screenshot windowed or maximised?] and it has a minimum height, which is larger than my 720p screen... For absolutely no reason! And want to configure a profile without needing the Joystick plugged in? Forget it. For some reason it requires the joystick plugged in, and not because it saves the profiles to the Joystick, cos it saves them to the Hard Drive. And it gets better, plug the device into a different USB port, and it changes all the settings, the Clocks, LEDs, Sensitivities... everything! Which is just poor... My mouse doesn't do that!

It's just poor software design, how hard is it to put a EPROM with the serial number on it (Which probably is already present in the device. If not 4K EPROMs are only $0.41 NZD and can store 500 chars) and just when a device is connected, ask it for it's serial number, see if there is a configuration for that device, and if there is, use it! Otherwise, you're screwed if you use it at a LAN party and plug it into the wrong port.

It comes with SDK that has next to no documentation, and Example code that doesn't even compile when I tried it [A missing Header and mismatch of Header and Code declarations]. Which shows just how much attention to detail they have put into the software. It comes as no surprise that very few games support the extra features, as far as I know only Flight Simulator and IL-2 supports it . To top it all off the Windows Media Player plugin it comes with doesn't work at all.

Use


The best part is when you use the stick, since it uses Hall Effect Sensors on the X and Y Axis so it's insanely accurate, allowing for the minute adjustments that you need when you are landing aircraft, to the rapid changes that you need when dogfighting. Although with modern fighter jets, you don't exactly need that anymore! The best part is that it's a non-contact, low latency sensor compared to my Attack 3, which means it won't wear down over time!

Although the 75% Detent does make the top 25% of the throttle unusable at times, as it sometimes requires quite a bit of force to overcome [And routinely pulls itself off the desk], but it will wear down with time.
If I had to give this an subjective score I would give it a 7 of 10.
This is one brilliant Joystick with a great build quality. Although I don't agree with some of the color and material choices. And for a $420 NZD I would have expected to have seen Blue LEDs integrated into the buttons [Complementing the Red and Green LEDs], but it doesn't degrade the stick in anyway shape or form.

If it wasn't for the appalling mess of software and documentation that comes with it, this would easily get a 10 .

So if you're a serious flier, get this stick! You won't ever go wrong with it. If your not a serious flier... Still get this stick because it will let you really get the edge over other players.