For $50 this flight stick well worth the purchase for any budget conscious gamer who isn't looking to sacrifice responsiveness or options for price.
I recently bought into the beta of Frontier’s remake of their classic space simulator, a little game called Elite: Dangerous. Getting into this game I knew from the start that I would want a flight stick and throttle if, for nothing else, to get a more lifelike feel of flying a spacecraft. That lead me on a little journey.
Doing a little research pulled up a lot of big names and bigger prices. I had heard of the Saitek X52 Pro prior to this and even the developers of the game do suggest this flight stick/throttle combination in a video they created (that and a CH flight stick), but I did not want to turn a $75 game into a $300 plus game. Digging even deeper, I found many in the Frontier forums that suggested the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight Stick. I decided at $50 this was the stick for me.
The stick is well weighted and made of a high quality, hard black plastic that seems to stand up well to abuse, at least the standard abuse your average pilot would put it through. It also helps that it looks nice sitting on my desk, especially since it matches my keyboard, mouse and monitor so well.
The base can be locked together or separated with two allen head screws located under the system. As an added bonus, the system ships with an allen wrench tucked away underneath the base. Once separated, the flight stick and throttle are held together with an about one and a half foot cord — just long enough to fit a keyboard in between which is how I had it.
The flight stick has a total of seven buttons: the main trigger and side switch on the front, two rear buttons with an eight position hat switch, and the mapping and preset buttons on the base (which can not be programmed). The great thing about the flight stick is the addition of a tension knob on the bottom so you can loosen or tighten the resistance as you see fit.
The throttle has a total of ten buttons: four on the back near your thumb, two on the front plus a two way toggle, and three buttons on the base — a home button, start and select. There is an omission of a tension knob on the throttle which I would have loved to have seen in order to give the throttle a feeling of resistance — like you are actually fighting the ships engines for more power. Also missing is a hat switch. I would have loved a four position hat switch on the thumb so I could set the vertical and horizontal thrusters for quick access. The way it is now, I have to use the toggle on the front for the horizontal thrusters and two buttons on the back for the vertical thrusters. It’s not a huge loss, but it could be better.
Overall, for the price of $50 I’m not sweating it — the pros far outweigh the cons. If you are budget conscious like I am and in need of a flight stick with throttle, the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight Stick is definitely right up your alley. I highly recommend it.