Ever since the invention of force feedback, all the latest games including: flight, combat, role-playing and action-adventure – all feature the force feedback ability. Force feedback adds an extra dimension of reality to the game that lets the player feel like they are taking part in an actual air or ground combat. With prices constantly dropping there is no reason a gamer shouldn’t be able to enjoy this feature with all their games.
- TouchSence™ Technology
- Rapid Fire Trigger
- 8 Programmable Fire buttons
- Dual Lever Throttle
- 8-way POV Switch
- 3D Rudder Twist Handle
Ease of use
Attaching the joystick is really easy. First, you must install the drivers and during the install process it will ask you to plug in the Joystick. If you don’t follow these steps in the correct order it may cause the rumble effects, or the joystick, not to work correctly.
Once the Joystick is installed you can go to the control panel and access a set of tools that will let you test the Joystick’s throttle, rudder, steering and rumble effects.
If you’re a hardcore gamer, who loves flight sims and you’re looking for a two-piece joystick, then you obviously need something more sophisticated. Similarly, if you’ve never considered playing a flight sim then this joystick will do nothing but gather dust. However, if you are somewhere in between, which is where most gamers are, then the 3D rumble provides a good mix of control and rumble effects for a good price.
The stick itself has one trigger, four buttons, and an eight-way POV hat. The four buttons are a little loose and jiggle a little when in use. The trigger has a nice rubber coating on it and makes it so in the heat of battle, with your sweaty fingers, you don’t accidentally slip and miss your target.
About two-thirds the way down the stick there is a platform for resting your hand. Unlike more expensive Saitek joysticks, this is not adjustable. That is not a problem for people with large hands. My hand rarely touched the platform. When I was using the joystick my hand was usually about half an inch above the platform.
The base itself has four buttons, two on either side of the center. You can program all of these buttons, which adds a lot more options while playing. On the front of the joystick, where you would normally want to see a couple more buttons, is a plastic Saitek badge with a glowing blue light behind it, which serves no purpose except to entertain the little children that my be watching you play.
Saitek has a knack for producing well designed joysticks. Not only are they comfortable, but a lot of them are also ambidextrous, meaning they can be used by right or left handed people. There is a downfall to this ambidextrous design, and that is the loss of two buttons. For a right handed person the two buttons on the right will be useless because the right hand will be on the stick, the same goes for a left handed person and the two buttons on the left. The only semi-negative thing I could find with the throttle is that it’s a little stiff. If you could loosen this control it wouldn’t be an issue. However, it’s permanently mounted and you’re stuck with it. I used it for a few days without it getting any looser. This is a testament to Saitek’s build quality, which is definitely solid, but it left me with a throttle that was too stiff for truly accurate control.
Another excellent design of this particular joystick is there is no need for external power. The Rumble effects are all powered from the USB connection. The design of this joystick is definitely its best feature. This joystick does have a fairly large footprint, because of the motor and other components inside, but I didn’t find that it got in the way. Also, there are several rubber feet on the bottom that do a good job preventing the joystick from slipping.
The rumble effects really do a good job of adding a sense of realism to games. Even though you don’t get all the force effects of a Force Feedback joystick, the rumble provides gun shot, walking and other effects. When the rumble takes off it really gives you a shake, so you will hear some noise. Mainly the noise comes from the buttons on the stick as they shake and jiggle around a little. They don’t depress, so you don’t have to worry about them accidentally triggering events in your game.
I downloaded several flight simulator demos and tried playing around with them. The first thing I noticed was that there were only a few times that the rumble effects actually came on. Some the times it came on were when you were shooting, crashing, and blowing up. Beyond the rumble effects, the stick performed as good as any other that I have used. The throttle, besides being a little stiff, responded to all my pushes and pulls. All the buttons responded quickly and there was a nice solid click when the buttons were pressed, letting me know I pressed hard enough.
If you have a low budget and you are looking for a solid joystick, then this is the one for you. If you can afford a better joystick, then I recommend that you upgrade to the full force feedback version. I know you won’t be sorry.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|