The point of a flight simulator is that it should feel realistic, right? So if you try using a simulator like x-plane with an old joystick that was actually meant for ordinary gaming – well, what’s the use, really? To get everything out of the flight simulator experience you need to have proper equipment (like they do in the airplanes, right).
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You can do the X-plane simulator with just about any joystick, but it really makes a difference, if you choose one that’s designed for flight simulators, as the Saitek X52 Pro Flight Control System is. Compared to this one, the other joysticks will seem really toyish. You can get even better mechanics (if you are willing to pay the price) but this one has the most buttons and controls (and so resembles the real aviation controls) and the joystick comes with the throttle as well. The Pro version is an improvement of the original X52. It is definitely better quality and more durable and also has enhanced spring tension for more realistic accuracy. The Saitek X52 Pro is approved for Windows versions including XP, XP64, all versions of Vista and Windows 7 and it’s definitely your best choice if you are using X-plane on a desktop.
The joystick is fully customizable, which might take you some time, but once you are all set with it, it quickly becomes very comfortable and easy to use. The throttle has been developed with maximum comfort in mind for long flights but it also has speedy response for sport or combat flying, so this really is a very versatile kit well suited for all simulation purposes. The overall design has been made for flight simulators so you won’t flop around during maneuvers.
You can also program the X52 Pro for different users which might come in handy if you like to use your simulator with friends or family. The joystick and throttle can be set up as in a fighter plane (throttle on the left, stick on the right) or you can switch them to represent a general plane, where the stick would be on the left. The throttle also has a display screen to check on game play information in real time. There is also the option on the throttle to enter “safe mode”, so you can switch profiles while in flight – or you can just find out which button to press without the action taking place.
The X52 Pro joystick might seem a bit loose at first, but that’s just because it is extremely precise, just as in a real aircraft. It is equipped with a centering mechanism which makes it very smooth to use and provides great accuracy. It has constant spring force which makes the action very smooth. It also makes for a much more durable joystick, so when you’ve invested in this one, you won’t find it drooping its head after only a couple of months.