Joysticks have been a very important piece of equipment to gamers for a very long time. Saitek has been a leader in the joystick industry. They were first to offer a fully adjustable joystick. They were first to offer a joystick with an ambidextrous design. Now they are first to offer those features with force feedback. The Cyborg Evo Force Feedback is poised to be an excellent joystick.
- Rapid-fire trigger
- 5 fire buttons
- 8-way ‘point-of-view’ hat switch
- 3D twist for rudder control
- Lever throttle
- 2 shift buttons
- 4 base buttons
- Single spring gimbal mechanism
- 3 position handle adjustment to suit all hand sizes
- Single spring action for use with non-Force Feedback games
Among the other things that Saitek has done well with this joystick, the setup process is very easy and straignt forward. As with the other Saitek devices I have tested, all you need to do is pop in the install cd and follow the simple instructions. When it asks, plug in the joystick and you are ready to go. In order to get the force feedback you will need to plug a separate power cord into the wall. Unfortunately, this is one of those hated brick plugs that I wish they would get rid of.
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 force effects.
This Saitek Cyborg evo Force joystick is designed exactly like its older brother, the Saitek Cyborg evo Wireless joystick. Except for some color changes and the addition of force feedback, you would not be able to tell them apart.
The Cyborg evo Force stick itself has one trigger, eleven buttons, a throttle, and an eight-way POV hat switch. Five of the eleven buttons, the hat switch and the trigger are located at the top of the joystick. The other six buttons and the throttle are in the base. Two of the six buttons on the base can also be used as shift buttons in order to give you more buttons.
Also Located on the top of the joystick are two steel knobs. With these knobs you are able to adjust the position of some of the buttons. The row of buttons below the hat switch can be adjusted up and down by twisting one knob, by twisting the other knob you can adjust the entire head of the joystick to the left or right. The knobs are kindof tight so it takes a little effort to move them.
About two-thirds the way down the Force stick, there is a platform for resting your hand. This platform is also fully adjustable. This time though, you must remove the screw before you can adjust the hand rest. With the screw removed you can move the rest up or down and even change sides on the joystick if you are left handed.
The base itself has six buttons, three on either side of the center. You can program all of these buttons, which adds a lot more options while playing. You can also use the top button on each side as a shift button which effectivly doubles the number of buttons that you can program and use. On the very back of the base is the throttle, which is centered, so it works for right and left handed people. It rotates up and down just as you would expect.
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. Even though you loose three buttons, we didn’t find this to be an extremely negative feature.
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. Despite its large size it is fairly light and can be lifted and moved with ease. Also, there are several rubber feet on the bottom that do a good job preventing the joystick from slipping.
As far as lights on the joystick are concerned, Saitek has become a lot more conservative. There are lights on each of the base buttons to let you know they are being pressed and there is one light on the top of the joystick to let you know the force feedback is working. These lights do not provide any help to the gamer. You really won’t notice any of them while you are playing because you will be concentrating on the game.
The force effects really do a good job of adding a sense of realism to games. When the force stick takes off it really gives you a shake, so you will hear some noise. The movement is strong enough that if you let go it could shake itself right off your desk. You will want to watch this around your children because it can hurt them. My kids love to play with the joystick in the setup mode because each button makes a different sound and movement. One time my son had the joystick backwards, don’t ask me why, and he pressed the button for the monster stomp. The handle of the stick came forward and wacked him in the head. It hurt him, but didn’t cause any damage and he was back to playing with it in a couple minutes.
As you use the joystick you will notice the LED light on the top of the handle, which lights up when the force feedback is active; it gets brighter as the forces get stronger. Not that you need a visual confirmation about force feedback, because you will get plenty of physical confirmation as you feel the stick and the forces.
I downloaded several flight simulator demos and tried playing around with them. The force effects were more prevalent in some games, but all around those that used forces worked well with the joystick. The throttle responded to all my pushes and pulls. The movement of the joystick was very smooth, quick and precise. I didn’t have any trouble making sharp turns or quick dives. All the buttons responded quickly and there was a nice solid click when the buttons were pressed, letting me know I pressed hard enough.
The software that comes with the Saitek Cyborg joystick provides several tools that can be used to adjust the center of the stick, make sure the throttle and rudder are calibrated, and adjust the forces intensity, and that’s just in simple mode. If you opt for the more advanced mode you can do all that plus download and import maps for the buttons or create your own maps for your favorite games. So for those games that don’t let you remap the buttons, you can use the hardware to get the games to behave. The possibilities are endless and exciting.
Even though there are less expensive joysticks, you won’t find one that offers the same amount of features for the same price. If you can afford the $39.99, then go for it. This is a fantastic joystick and will provide you or your children with hours upon hours of entertainment. Now you may be thinking if I loved the joystick so much then why did I knock down the score? Well there were two reasons. The first is because I really dislike brick wall plugs and any device that uses them will never get a perfect 10 from me. Second, the warranty of 2 years is decent but I think companies should provide at least a 5 year, or even better a life time warranty against defects.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|