For as long as I have been a gamer, flight simulation games have had a special place in my heart; whether it was playing Ace Combat or Microsoft Flight I have always enjoyed them. Not only if flight simulations one of my favorite genres, but the PC peripherals are also some of my favorites. However, while browsing the internet I had found one that really caught my eye: Saitek X52 Pro. I contacted the awesome people over at their parent company Mad Catz about it, and luckily for me they sent out one. This review will be a couple different sections: Installation + Setup / Game Setup, Comfort and finally the conclusion. So let’s get this underway!
Installation + Setup
Installing the X52 Pro is rather easy, it is somewhat of a plug and play device in that you plug it in, and it does recognize it. You are then brought to a menu such as the one below:
What you see here is the very first thing you see after the drivers have been installed. This is actually more important than you would think, this is where you test to make sure everything is working correctly, and if it is not then you have a chance to give Mad Catz support a call and figure out what is going on. Make sure you get familiar with each button, and remember (or try to) the layout of the flight stick.
The next menu option is your dead zones; basically in a nutshell this for you gamers that do not want a full range of motion and want to cut it out at a certain point. So say you only want your X-Axis to only move up to 75%, this is where you would come down and put it down to only 3/4 . I personally did not worry about dead zones, as my thinking was if I wanted it then I should not be playing the games I do.
The next menu is of course your LED options; most buttons offer 4 separate options - except Fire and Throttle – of Off, Red, Green and Amber. To state the obvious, yes these are toggle-enabled to your personal preference; if you do not want your fire button to be red, you have the option to change it!
Finally the last menu option (you need to worry about) is your MFD. What you need to worry about is simple, your time settings and how you want them. Regardless, the picture itself is self-explanatory.
After you run through this whole setup, now it is time to set it up for in game use. The Saitek X52 Pro is compatible with plenty of your flight simulation games, but it is best to use it with Microsoft Flight Simulator X simply because of the plug-in that you have with it. If you have installed your driver, it is easy to use just hit Shift+2 when you are in your plane and you are good to go. However, for the sake of this review I had tested out multiple flight simulator games and here are my results:
|Game||Easy To Setup?||Notes|
|Microsoft Flight (Free)||Medium||You have to custom map each button, and there are a ton of buttons to be matched|
|Jane’s Advanced Strike Fighters||Easy||Button mapping was a lot more simple than I expected|
|Air Conflicts: Secret Wars||Medium||I did not have much of a problem with mapping the buttons, but some sequences did make it very difficult.|
|Take On Helicopters||Easy||This was actually the easiest one to setup… even though this did not seem as a chopper flight stick but I had NO problems|
|Microsoft Flight Simulator X||What setup?||Easiest… just leave it at that|
Let’s face yet another real fact: most flight sticks are the most uncomfortable peripherals to date. Often times the buttons are spread too far apart, and using a secondary fire button can prove to be somewhat painstaking. The Saitek X52 Pro Flight Stick is aiming to change that and is by far one of the most comfortable flight sticks I have ever used. The thing I liked the most is that the secondary fire is set on a glider –lack of a better term- that is completely adjustable making it so easy for you to experience each button and their action. Most of the buttons are easy to reach with the exception of the X-Axis and Y-Axis modifiers. Other than that both the stick, and acceleration control are very comfortable.
Overall, the Saitek X52 Pro Flight Stick is one of the best flight sticks I have, and I really do enjoy using it. However it will set you back $169.95, but for the most part it is worth it.