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CH fighter stick and saitek X52 into the thunderdome!!


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I came into temporary possecion of the CH setup in the last few days and I though about giving you guys my impressions and comparison evaluation of the 2 HOTAS systems.

 

Let the contest beggin!

 

mbt05.jpg

 

Being an user of the saitek X52, I was in high expectation of the CH's shear number of buttons. The X52 has considerable amount of them but I always found them to be slighly in lower number than what I would find ideal.

 

- Installation:

Although CH states that in win XP there is no longer full driver support, thing is that, the controll manager utility avaiable at their site install EVERYTHING you need to make it work fully. You will need only to press "automatic intallation" in the wizzard after you execute the file. Saitek combo needs seprate driver install and STT programing utility wich are a no brainer to install either.

 

- utility usage:

Im a bit confused why CH chose not to integrate everything in a single program because here you are required edit your profiles in one program and load them up with another that doesnt start with windows. Reviews often said that it takes a while to learn to program it but its only true if you want to use scripts. otherwise it works much the same basic way as the X52 profile editor. Press the 2D picture of the stick button, Unselect Directx Mode and then, then right click on the empty space slot for record key sequences. You can assign a different function at the release of each key also.Pretty simple.

Saitek's STT programing software is targeted for fast a simple programing and lacks some of the possibilities of the CH such as giving a second command for a second button push.

 

-Buttons and commands:

Man, saying that the CH setup has lots of buttons is an understatement. I had difficulty to assign commands to every button and thats on ONE mode!!

Add that to the script advanced commands and the possibilities are 100% evil!!

 

Saitek preferred to put some buttons at the base of the stick and on the throttle with MFD wich I would gladely trade for aditional push buttons (thumb and indicator positions for example) or a hat.

 

- Design & ergonomics:

 

The CH stick is HUGE. I thought my X52 was large, but both the CH stick and throttle gives me a hard time to get space to keep it aside when Im not playing. Although all in plastic the CH is built like a tank. Large bulky and STRONG! Not too heavy though, but then it doesnt need to be. It wont move with your imputs.

HOWEVER, I came across 2 gripes here:

1)The top hat and the red missile button are VERY hard to reach in the middle of a fight, because you have to leave the hand from the rest to press them.

2)The axis transition is very pronounced, I mean Very pronounced indeed. Its like hitting a wall going past the center and then pulling both X and Y axis gives a much different force than just pulling a single axis with the same amount of deflection.

 

By comparison the X52 wins in this area IMHO. The saitek stick feels silky smooth, and if you use the MOD I made shown on the pic below, its considerably easier to predictability point the nose where you want it to.

The CH return to center force is heavier than the stock X52 (about the same with the MOD on the X52), so those that complain about the stock X52 loosness wont have an issue with the fighterstick. Its about the same kind of feeling as other traditional analogue sticks in the old days. CH is an old school spring system.

Its nowhere as heavy like the cougar (I dont own it but I had other heavy Thrustmaster stuff in the past with heavy springs), IMHO its friendlier if you want to quickly make snap manuevers.

The CH throttle doesnt have afterburner detent but after a while you will know where the AB is engaged at a given throtle placement.

 

X52 has a problem with the vertical rotary wich does not turn but with a rather embarassing effort of an extra finger or two to help.

Saitek could have just used a more robust easy to use rotary design, or in lack of better, just replace them for a single hat on the throttle.

 

-In combat:

 

The Saitek X52 is okay, But theres slighly less buttons than I would like it to have forcing me to swich modes and shift buttons. The CH gives me almost unlimited commands at my fingertips. My only gripes were those enumerated above. The heavy axis transition differential spoils the controlability of the CH stick a bit for guns attacks. I think X52 owners have an edge here.

BVR work is for the CH. It blows the saitek away completely. You can be searching for your enemy and at the same time do several other comands, like countermeasures script commands,views, or even if you want it to, scripts for telling your team mates "budy spike" "frindly fire" in a blink of an eye without resorting to complicated shift combos, like in the X52. Situation wich could have been avoided if saitek traded off some of the barely usefull features it has for others that would make a better, more sober design for the same value put on the product.

 

CH pros:

-Lots of buttons

-Sturdy hardware

-Dedicated pedals

-Precise

-No deadzone needed!

-Tremendous programing ptotential

 

CH cons:

-Axis transition and centering snap.

-some button placements (stick is too tall).

 

Saitek Pros:

-Silky smooth control and no axis transition. (better with the MOD below on the pic)

-Precise (hall sensors)

-Easier to program

-Cheaper than CH

 

Saitek cons

-Spring Loosness (eliminated with the MOD)

-Less buttons than Ideal

-Unreliable throttle detention

-hard to use vertical rotary.

 

Veredict:

If your previously owned traditional analogue sticks (or any trustmaster stuff) then the CH axis transition wont be much of a problem and you might consider it the winner in this contest.

 

If you owned "vanguard" sticks such as the saitek cyborg examples, and look for easy controlability then the CH will feel awkward for you somewhat. the CH's price puts me away from getting one myself and then the axis feeling and excessive stick height kinda blows how it shines in the other areas.

mbt09.jpg

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My PC specs below:

Case: Corsair 400C

PSU: SEASONIC SS-760XP2 760W Platinum

CPU: AMD RYZEN 3900X (12C/24T)

RAM: 32 GB 4266Mhz (two 2x8 kits) of trident Z RGB @3600Mhz CL 14 CR=1T

MOBO: ASUS CROSSHAIR HERO VI AM4

GFX: GTX 1080Ti MSI Gaming X

Cooler: NXZT Kraken X62 280mm AIO

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2+6GB WD 6Gb red

HOTAS: Thrustmaster Warthog + CH pro pedals

Monitor: Gigabyte AORUS AD27QD Freesync HDR400 1440P

 

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Hi Pilotasso,

 

Thanks for the review. I myself transitioned from an x52 to CH Fighterstick and Pro Throttle (already had pedals). I agree with almost all points made in your review except for one....the axis transition on the stick.

 

Like you, the first few weeks of using the Fighterstick I thought to myself "OMG, this stick sucks, its so hard to hold a steady diving or climbing turn..." because YES, you're right, the axis mechanism works quite a bit different from Saitek. Dunno how to describe it really, but you kinda get odd resistance when applying force to the other axis (i.e. if you climbing and then apply left or right stick, you get a 'odd' resistance).

 

As I said, it took me weeks (dunno how many flying hours that was...call it 10 hours a week).

 

However, having got used to its idiosynchrasies I now find it much more precise than the x52 stick....I exclusively fly the Frog (mainly T but sometimes the vanilla) and my experiences with CH over Saitek are now I can actually hit stuff on a cannon run...and cannon runs in a Frog have to be much more precise than a Hog (dons flame and Hog-driver retardent suit)

 

In summary, I agree with most of your review (thanks for doing that, reviews always better from a virtual pilot in a game we all play, than from a hack working for XYZ magazine or e-zine), but would encourage those considering CH gear to not be deterred by the CH axis mechanism working slightly different to what they might be used to. Sure, it feels really odd when you first get your hands on it BUT, once you've got used to it you wont go back...I know I won't, my flying is now far more precise.

 

Anyways, thats my two cents to add to yours...see you on the 504th server I'm sure :D

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

487th Helicopter Attack Regiment, of the

VVS504 Red Hammers

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That is exactly what annoyed me with the CH fighterstick. I used a MS Sidewinder P Pro stick which has served me well for over six years in various sims. Going to CH took a little getting used to. For one the long stick throw, the CH stick moves about 3 times further than my old stick which only moves about 2 inches each way, I prefare a shorter stick throw and it really effected my flying.

 

The other was the axis issue. It's like the stick used to sets of springs, one for the x axis and one for the y axis. When you go from only one to the two and then back there is a little very slight resistance that flees a little odd to the hand at first but you get used to it. I must admit that I went back to using my old stick a number of times as I found it hard to adjust.

 

It is as accurate a my old stick but it started to generate a little centre play after a few days use, it took my Sidewinder two years to do that. For my hands all the buttons are in easy reach. But for the sheer number of buttons and features on the stick, it's an overall winner across the board. Having said that, I've yet to try a Cougar which I know I would like also because of it small throw but I'm happy with my CH gear.

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Nice comparison, I've not tried the X52 (although i have owned other Saitek gear) so I can't comment on that but I thought your comment:

 

the Axis transition is very pronounced, I mean Very pronounced indeed. Its like hitting a wall going past the center

 

A huge exageration IMO, there is a transition between the one spring off-loading and the other loading but 'hitting a wall' is overstating it quite someway.

 

Installation:

Although CH states that in win XP there is no longer full driver support, thing is that, the controll manager utility avaiable at their site install EVERYTHING you need to make it work fully. You will need only to press "automatic intallation" in the wizzard after you execute the file.

 

I'm not aware of CH saying there is no full driver support for WinXP, they fully support Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000 and XP as well as having a very stable open BETA for Windows XP 64 Bit which I am using now. As far as i'm aware only Thrustmaster are yet to release 64 Bit support with CH, Saitek and Logitech having drivers. CH have gameport drivers for Windows XP but the gameport programmign software - Speedkeys does not work due to Microsoft changing the way the sticks interacted with the keyboard input apparently.

 

utility usage:

Im a bit confused why CH chose not to integrate everything in a single program because here you are required edit your profiles in one program and load them up with another that doesnt start with windows. Reviews often said that it takes a while to learn to program it but its only true if you want to use scripts. otherwise it works much the same basic way as the X52 profile editor. Press the 2D picture of the stick button, Unselect Directx Mode and then, then right click on the empty space slot for record key sequences. You can assign a different function at the release of each key also.Pretty simple.

 

Not sure what you are trying to do here, you can create, edit and load profiles in one program - Control Manager, however there is the optional CMCC program which you can run on startup that will give you a tool tray icon to give you quick access to load profiles as well as makign sure the same profile you had loaded before rebotting is still loaded after you re-boot Windows. I agree with you on the GUI, I like CH's and Saitek's more graphical interface for programming.

 

I did like my old Saitek gear but CH has the edge for me, that said though if CH dissappeared and I had to choose a new stick it would probably be Saitek.

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Well, I dont know if this is due to the stick being brand new (2 months old and only occasionaly used) but when I go past the center I feel the impact of the springs. I owned many sticks with transitions like this, but this one is considerably more pronounced. Probably I would get used to it but I wont have the time. It will be taken to the AF next week. :(

[sigpic]http://forums.eagle.ru/signaturepics/sigpic4448_29.gif[/sigpic]

My PC specs below:

Case: Corsair 400C

PSU: SEASONIC SS-760XP2 760W Platinum

CPU: AMD RYZEN 3900X (12C/24T)

RAM: 32 GB 4266Mhz (two 2x8 kits) of trident Z RGB @3600Mhz CL 14 CR=1T

MOBO: ASUS CROSSHAIR HERO VI AM4

GFX: GTX 1080Ti MSI Gaming X

Cooler: NXZT Kraken X62 280mm AIO

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2+6GB WD 6Gb red

HOTAS: Thrustmaster Warthog + CH pro pedals

Monitor: Gigabyte AORUS AD27QD Freesync HDR400 1440P

 

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  • 3 months later...
Im a bit confused why CH chose not to integrate everything in a single program because here you are required edit your profiles in one program and load them up with another that doesnt start with windows.

 

Yes you are a bit confused.

 

This stick is HUGE.

It's normal size of a real stick

 

 

The CH return to center force is heavier than the stock X52

and also you can feel the aileron center even if you're pulling or pushing, in CH you feel only TOTAL stick center.. hard to do levelled wings loop if you use no nullzone..

 

 

CH cons:

-Axis transition and centering snap.

it depends duude, for me it's a pros

 

Another Saitek cons:

no possible to edit curve from the profile editor.

Robbie.

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Yes you are a bit confused.

It's normal size of a real stick

 

Nope, I've sat in the pit of the real thing. The F-16 HOTAS is easely reachable to every button. I could sat my thumb on the missile button without any effort. The CH has problems with this. Ill post some pics here soon.

[sigpic]http://forums.eagle.ru/signaturepics/sigpic4448_29.gif[/sigpic]

My PC specs below:

Case: Corsair 400C

PSU: SEASONIC SS-760XP2 760W Platinum

CPU: AMD RYZEN 3900X (12C/24T)

RAM: 32 GB 4266Mhz (two 2x8 kits) of trident Z RGB @3600Mhz CL 14 CR=1T

MOBO: ASUS CROSSHAIR HERO VI AM4

GFX: GTX 1080Ti MSI Gaming X

Cooler: NXZT Kraken X62 280mm AIO

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2+6GB WD 6Gb red

HOTAS: Thrustmaster Warthog + CH pro pedals

Monitor: Gigabyte AORUS AD27QD Freesync HDR400 1440P

 

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heres a visual comparison:

 

1)maximum thumb reach, you can clearly see my hand siting on the rest and I am unable to reach the top buttons.

 

2)I am able to reach the buttons like this. Leaving the hand from the rest and strech it upwards, and with the problem I might accidentaly press the hat under the bumb.

 

3)The contrast with the X52--its adjustable.

 

4) side by side direct comparison, note how far down is the CH's rest compared to the Saitek's.

 

5) the entire setup I have at hand is exposed here.

[sigpic]http://forums.eagle.ru/signaturepics/sigpic4448_29.gif[/sigpic]

My PC specs below:

Case: Corsair 400C

PSU: SEASONIC SS-760XP2 760W Platinum

CPU: AMD RYZEN 3900X (12C/24T)

RAM: 32 GB 4266Mhz (two 2x8 kits) of trident Z RGB @3600Mhz CL 14 CR=1T

MOBO: ASUS CROSSHAIR HERO VI AM4

GFX: GTX 1080Ti MSI Gaming X

Cooler: NXZT Kraken X62 280mm AIO

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2+6GB WD 6Gb red

HOTAS: Thrustmaster Warthog + CH pro pedals

Monitor: Gigabyte AORUS AD27QD Freesync HDR400 1440P

 

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Well, if the Fighterstick at least you can reach at least 3 pots and there are one more on top (that's 4 pots oin total), in saitek you can reach them all but they're only 2 pots It's like a CH where you can't reach 3 more posts even moving up your hand.

 

By the way I think your hand has some problem, as you can see from my pic I can freely reach any buttons or povs with no problems

finger.jpg.ed4512acd36050166683db30f6ec4c2c.jpg

Robbie.

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Well, if the Fighterstick at least you can reach at least 3 pots and there are one more on top (that's 5 pots oin total), in saitek you can reach them all but they're only 2 pots It's like a CH where you can't reach 3 more posts even moving up your hand.

 

By the way I think your hand has some problem, as you can see from my pic I can freely reach any buttons or povs with no problems

 

LMAO WTF HAAHAHAHH GIVE THIS GUY A BEER :megalol:

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Agree 100% with Rugg...I switched from an x52 to the CH Fighterstick (and throttle...already had pedals...which are a bit close together :() and was initially concerned by the feel of the centre "snap" as Rugg puts it....and now (ahem) 12 months or so later, I actually really appreciate it.

 

For me, and obviously this is subjective, my cannon runs in the Frog improved dramatically with this stick...you get just enough positive feedback from the stick when you're putting an additional bit of (either) axis that it stops you from under or over-correcting...I just don't get that fromt the x52, or the x45 I owned before that.

 

I must say though, I rue the day I sold my MS FF2 stick....I sooooo wish I still had that for IL2/AEP/PF.

 

I guess to really appreciate the CH products you need to use them for a while. I saw in another thread an observation that the CH throttle (compared to x52) was a straight slide and that you couldn't make fine throttle adjustments...well, bollox is all I can say to that...as we (504) fly in formation all the time (25Ts, 25s and 27 occasionally).

 

All in all though, joysticks, like so many things in life, are a very personal thing. My advice:

 

(1) If you're on a budget and new to HOTAS...get an x52 for size

 

(2) If you've had an x45 and/or x52 and considering an upgrade, go for CH...yes, they're not cheap (more expensive than stock Cougar) but they are quality (precise and reliable).

 

(3) I've got a stock Cougar sitting on my shelf...I've cleaned the pots etc etc and its still got nothing on my CH Fighterstick. I even considered getting the FFB2 mod for £300 and you know what...screw it, I'd get better value for money from another 7900GT and SLi for my other games....or a bigger touchscreen for Touchbuddy.

 

Ok, essay complete, fingers worn out, peace be with you in the search for better HIDs.

 

PS. If you don't have a TrackIR you MUST get one, its the biggest improvement for immersion you'll ever buy!

 

 

You make a good point about the reach Pilotasso. All of that went away with my CH FS when I stopped using it on my desktop. Now that it's down in my pit in the proper position that a pilot would use it in, there's no problem reaching the controls. The FS is the same size as an F16 stick. You don't notice the reach cuz the '16 stick isn't up at HUD level like yours is on your desk.

 

As for the gimbals on the FS, head to airliners.net and take a look at some of the fighter cockpits. The gimbal in the F15's is very similar, it has 2 separate axis just like the FS does. I too was a bit concerned about the center "snap" when I first got my FS, but I don't even feel it any more. Once you fly w/the FS you'll find it's accuracy amazing.

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[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

487th Helicopter Attack Regiment, of the

VVS504 Red Hammers

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Thats the trouble with replica sticks, the F16 HOTAS was designed to have the stick and throttle mounted low alongside the pilot so when you sit in the cockpit of course you can reach it all and you would if you placed the Fighterstick or Cougar in that position but up on your desk with your wrist angled like it is in the pictures its not hard to understand why you can't reach the POV. All it takes is for the user to either raise their seat or lower the stick position - I have mine mounted on a speaker stand so I can stand it next to my computer desk when not in use and move it so it sits between my legs to fly.

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Just leting you know that i have nothing against the CH, if it was mine I would use it, since it is not I prefer to keep the X52 as I unable to get enough time with the CH for habituation.

[sigpic]http://forums.eagle.ru/signaturepics/sigpic4448_29.gif[/sigpic]

My PC specs below:

Case: Corsair 400C

PSU: SEASONIC SS-760XP2 760W Platinum

CPU: AMD RYZEN 3900X (12C/24T)

RAM: 32 GB 4266Mhz (two 2x8 kits) of trident Z RGB @3600Mhz CL 14 CR=1T

MOBO: ASUS CROSSHAIR HERO VI AM4

GFX: GTX 1080Ti MSI Gaming X

Cooler: NXZT Kraken X62 280mm AIO

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2+6GB WD 6Gb red

HOTAS: Thrustmaster Warthog + CH pro pedals

Monitor: Gigabyte AORUS AD27QD Freesync HDR400 1440P

 

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excellent review pilotasso.

after recently aquiring a CH combatstick i too found the button reach to be an issue, even if only slight. agreed it is probably the stick on the desk causing half of it, but i do find that top button is awkward even down in the pit position, for me anyway.

now maybe i have small hands and we all know what that means,

small gloves:thumbup:,

but i would consider myself average in size, all round:music_whistling:

i found the same grip size issue with the suncom f-15e talon joystick but overcame this with a slice of 1/4" rubber, contoured to match the original, glued between the grips hand support and my hand, glue on the grip, not the hand.:smartass:

this fixed everything for the talon, making accessing the top buttons a breeze.

maybe something similar for the ch hand support would resolve this for us, its my next mod, if its worthy of being called that:)

 

secondly i tend to agree with the axis transition comments to a degree, both for and against.

anyone that has used a talon will know its axis resistance is constant thanks to its single vertical spring design, much the same as saitek but on steroids, giving an even feel thru-out the entire range of the sticks movement.

the CH has a internal spring for each axis independant of the other, so when you apply both x and y axis you are moving twice the spring pressure.

 

ultimately i would like the spring feel of the talon with the accuracy of the CH, life is all about compromise...

people will nearly always be biasone way or another, thats life.

all in all a great review, well done.

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Heee HAaaa

 

:megalol:

 

When I was a kid we made fun of that song because my Dad Loved "Top Gun" he flew f-4s and f-105s.

 

But I made up my own words to the song.

 

Shi*ing through your AS* sitting on the publick jon"

 

Waiten for the splash hopen it the only one"

 

Wipen your under zone, gona chafe it, wipen your from under zone yaaa.

 

 

Please remember drums, guitar and sing it on the beat.

 

:music_whistling:

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what are both of you smoking? :D

[sigpic]http://forums.eagle.ru/signaturepics/sigpic4448_29.gif[/sigpic]

My PC specs below:

Case: Corsair 400C

PSU: SEASONIC SS-760XP2 760W Platinum

CPU: AMD RYZEN 3900X (12C/24T)

RAM: 32 GB 4266Mhz (two 2x8 kits) of trident Z RGB @3600Mhz CL 14 CR=1T

MOBO: ASUS CROSSHAIR HERO VI AM4

GFX: GTX 1080Ti MSI Gaming X

Cooler: NXZT Kraken X62 280mm AIO

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2+6GB WD 6Gb red

HOTAS: Thrustmaster Warthog + CH pro pedals

Monitor: Gigabyte AORUS AD27QD Freesync HDR400 1440P

 

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Im wating with some impatience what the announced next controlers from CH will be like. Saitek is about to launch the X 52 pro, but having the original one already I feel little encouragement to go after another with the exact same ergonomics and buttons.

[sigpic]http://forums.eagle.ru/signaturepics/sigpic4448_29.gif[/sigpic]

My PC specs below:

Case: Corsair 400C

PSU: SEASONIC SS-760XP2 760W Platinum

CPU: AMD RYZEN 3900X (12C/24T)

RAM: 32 GB 4266Mhz (two 2x8 kits) of trident Z RGB @3600Mhz CL 14 CR=1T

MOBO: ASUS CROSSHAIR HERO VI AM4

GFX: GTX 1080Ti MSI Gaming X

Cooler: NXZT Kraken X62 280mm AIO

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2+6GB WD 6Gb red

HOTAS: Thrustmaster Warthog + CH pro pedals

Monitor: Gigabyte AORUS AD27QD Freesync HDR400 1440P

 

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  • 5 months later...

As for the gimbals on the FS, head to airliners.net and take a look at some of the fighter cockpits. The gimbal in the F15's is very similar, it has 2 separate axis just like the FS does.

 

Do yo have a link for that?

ED have been taking my money since 1995. :P

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