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Which HOTAS?


GC1993
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Hi guys,

 

After recently securing myself a summer placement job in my uni break, I can now afford to treat myself to a nice stick. Originally, the X-52 pro caught my eye, because it was mid-range in the price, and had enough HOTAS switches to designate my DMS, TMS, Coolie switch etc etc. However, I'm not sure I like how it looks, and have heard some people have issues with it re-centering itself or something due to the connector cable being fragile. (I've also heard of software issues, but let's leave it here).

Ultimately, I wish to treat myself to the high end, and naturally I have 2 contenders... :

 

The Thrustmaster Warthog, or the Saitek X-65F.

They are both around the same price on amazon (£320 to £350 ish), and both have the HOTAS functionality and quality I'm looking for. Naturally, with DCS A10C existing, I hear of many more people with the TM Hog and I've heard nothing but praise for it's quality and functionality.

 

I've heard less about the X-65F, and the reviews on YouTube don't give away much. In my eyes (and don't hate on me for this), the A10C is on it's way out what with DCS soon (we hope) to release their F/A-18C. I am looking at these sticks in terms of a long-term investment, and to be honest I actually prefer how the X-65F looks in reference to mapping it to an F-18 setup. YES, the fact that it's force sensitive and doesn't move puts me off slightly, but those who have reviewed it say you get used to it quickly and actually end up preferring it due to way more input control.

Does anybody have an X-65F that can recommend me for/against it?

Does/has anybody owned both sticks that can give me an informed view of which to purchase?

 

Remember, I'm looking for long-term quality, authenticity, extensive HOTAS mapping, and one with decent software so I'm not messing about for half the time re-calibrating it like other sticks I've heard about (cough* Logitech G940 *cough).

 

ANY advice/opinions/feedback is very much appreciated.

 

Thanks,

George

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I love my TM Warthog and it is a quality HOTAS. I program in game in DCS but I use TARGET in BMS and it works great. I haven't had to re-calibrate yet and it's a couple years old with heavy use.

 

Aside from the force sensing the other main difference is with the Warthog you also need pedals, whereas I believe the X-65 has a twist stick so no immediate need for pedals. However, if you already have pedals then that will be a moot point.

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If you did go X52 Pro i don't think you would be disappointed i've got one and never had a problem really good in fact and that will leave you with abit of money for something else!

 

 

Had it for four months great stick.

 

Can't give you any advice on the X-65F other than if your into jets then it looks good not so sure what its like with DCS helicopter modules likely fine but works from pressure i've heard.


Edited by TimeKilla

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Another +1 for the Warthog. :)

 

Never touched the Saitek, so I can't say anything about it.

 

The Warthog is just absolutely great, I totally love it.

 

I've had mine for a little over a year now. One of the LEDs in the throttle base has recently died (the one that illuminates IDLE), and the China hat doesn't always spring back to the center position on its own, but in terms of wear, that's it. The rest feels like on the first day. The sound of the switches on the throttle base is simply amazing.

 

A few things I don't like about the Warthog:

  • There is a certain, hard-to-describe, friction in stick movement. You'll find a detailed analysis of it here. It's barely noticeable, it's been there from day one, it doesn't interfere with combat flying, but it's definitely a downside, given the stick's price tag.
  • The throttle base is always lit when the computer starts; TARGET must be used to switch off the lighting. I've gotten used to it, but it's annoying.
  • IMHO, TARGET has a serious flaw because it always combines all configured physical devices into a virtual device. That means I can't switch between BS2 (for which I use a TARGET profile) and A-10C (for which I don't) without restarting DCS World because DCS won't recognize the "new" controller in-game.
  • TARGET takes forever to start.
  • TARGET script editor has many, many, many features, but it feels like programming in f***ing MS Word.
  • TARGET script editor documentation is pretty "dry".

 

As you can see, I'm pretty disappointed by TARGET and I'm thinking about re-building my BS2 profile without it.

 

But in terms of hardware, I love the Warthog. It's way beyond any other HOTAS I've ever had (F-16 FLCS and stock Cougar) and if anything happened to it, I wouldn't hesitate to get another one right away.

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If you want high end then yep the Warthog is the way to go. Value for money though, I have to agree with TimeKilla, the x52 pro is great. In my opinion it is hard to justify all that extra cash for a WH when you compare the two.

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Ive had both. The X65 is a great joystick. You get used to the force sensitive control very quickly and its prob the more useful stick for a fighter. I bought the WH in order to fly the A10 more intuitively (but never got round to learning it)

 

The WH is a better option if you intend to build a home pit/stick extension etc

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Had the X-52, upgraded to the TM Warthog, can't say enough good things about it really, it's just such a nice bit of kit. Only thing I dislike is the slew control on it, although it's hard to see from any images of it it's not a proper hat, it's just a microstick which can be incredibly sensitive, but obviously that can be negated with proper curve setups in-game. If you want to find it a bit cheaper Maplins are currently knocking them out for 279.99 which is a bargain compared to some of the prices I have seen in the UK. Don't think you can really beat the TM with your criteria.

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Just to weigh in, I have both the x52 pro and the x65. Love them both.

The x65 does take a minute to get the hang of but, works good with all of the Dcs modules.

4 extra buttons on the panel in front of the throttle. You can separate the throttle for left and right engines. You can adjust the force pressure required.

You also get a twist rudder joystick but, is hard to control when trying to maneuver.

Pretty good stick , once you get used to it.

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saitek x65F is better looking.

TM Warthog is more practical.

 

i prefer X65F but its useless due to the lack of throw and impossibility to add an extension easily. how can you bank in a warbird without moving the stick?

 

finally your idea that one HOTAS is the best will shock you, there is no perfect HOTAS, they are all money pits and they suddenly develop problems after 7 years use. prepare to spend cash!

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Saitek x65 is amazing if you take your time and get the hang of key assigning... Once its set, its awesome with every DCS module out there and i doubt there will ever be one it cant handle...

 

GL nomatter what HOTAS you decide to go with...

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I have no experience with the X-52, but what I have heared (here), it is a decent device.

 

But - as so many others - I am totally in love with the TM Warthog. Just by the touch you can tell, "THIS is a WEAPON" :o) For the A-10C unbeatable, imho.

 

I also own the X-65F. But I don't like it. The quality and the feel of it is absolutely great. Plastic, yes, but highest quality plastic. Feels even better than the heavy cold metal of the TM Warthog, tbh. BUT! I just can't get accustomed to the force sensing technology. I find it incredibly hard to steer precise with it. I find it unnatural to apply AND HOLD a certain presure in a specific direction in order to produce a constant input. That is way easier with a moving stick - you just have to keep it in position (and you can have a quick glance at it to make sure that it is in position).

If you really want to go for the X-65, try if you can get one for testing first. A quick grab at it in the shop won't do it - better get it for a day or two and try it out at home if you can.

 

Uhm ... I also own a G940. It has it flaws (sloppy centering), but is overall a good stick. I use it for the helos as a force feedback system is essential (trimming) in my eyes. I always had difficulties with that workarounds (central trimmer, etc.) that you have to use with conventional sticks. For helos, I would strongly reccomend the G940 ... or the MS stick (forgot it's name).


Edited by Flagrum
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I would say the warthog. As far as future modules, e.g. the f18 then neither stick is a replica and I imagine both is capable of mapping all the functionality so its probably a moot point with respect to future modules.

 

The force sensing is only really used in one aircraft the anyone regularly flies for sims and no one ever had a problem flying a f16 with a hog, especially as the stick has an identical layout.

 

The WH can be modded, extensions added. It has a much smaller base which can give you much better mounting options especially when it comes to center mounting.

 

The throttle is a nice unit, the x65 throttle looks less so. I have never used an x65.

 

I have used everything else though, all the CH gear, other saiteks, x52, 45 etc. G940 I bought to try it out for BS.

 

The hog is in a different league than those other ones. It's the way to go. As far as future modules it has all the functionality you are going to need.

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Cheers for the replies guys.

 

I forgot to clarify in my original post - I don't have pedals. My current stick is called a Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS or something like that. It's pretty basic, has a few HOTAS buttons but only one multi-directional switch (which I use for slewing, and trimming when I apply a modifier key), but it had a nice rocker switch on the back of the throttle which allowed fairly smooth rudder control.

 

Those of you who have an X-65F are saying it's a beautiful stick and aren't having problems with it (except for finding the force-sensitive input weird), and so that's probably the direction I'm leaning, as I don't want to dish out an extra £150 for some pedals when the X-65F has a twist function.

 

Who knows, maybe TM is secretly developing an F-18 stick for the new DCS title......

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I'm in the same situation you are GC,

 

Had tried and tested the WH and the X-65, and can't justify purchasing the WH as I don't bother with A-10C yet and besides - more moving parts = higher chance for failure. I expect a purchase of the X65F will last much longer than the WH ever could.

 

And yes, the X65F is metal (not plastic) construction with quality plastic buttons in places.

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I'm in the same situation you are GC,

 

Had tried and tested the WH and the X-65, and can't justify purchasing the WH as I don't bother with A-10C yet and besides - more moving parts = higher chance for failure. I expect a purchase of the X65F will last much longer than the WH ever could.

 

And yes, the X65F is metal (not plastic) construction with quality plastic buttons in places.

 

Well I'm an active A10C player - and like I said I'd like a setup that lets me map ALL my HOTAS commands to my devices, rather than having to press, for example, K for 2 seconds in place of DMS long. I will probably get the X-65F, because I'm interested to see how it would work with the F/A-18C setup, though it can't be that different to the A10C's setup surely...

 

I like the idea of that front panel as well, & am thinking about mapping Master Arm and Laser etc to it

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saitek x65F is better looking.

TM Warthog is more practical.

 

i prefer X65F but its useless due to the lack of throw and impossibility to add an extension easily. how can you bank in a warbird without moving the stick?

 

finally your idea that one HOTAS is the best will shock you, there is no perfect HOTAS, they are all money pits and they suddenly develop problems after 7 years use. prepare to spend cash!

 

Although I use CH Products and have no dog in this fight (TM vs MadCatz) I can say that my FighterStick, ProThrottle, ProPedals have held up very well with daily use since 2001. Let's see 2013-2001 = 12 years of fun :thumbup:

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Cheers for the replies guys.

 

Who knows, maybe TM is secretly developing an F-18 stick for the new DCS title......

 

If they do, it wont have a twist stick.

 

Well I'm an active A10C player - and like I said I'd like a setup that lets me map ALL my HOTAS commands to my devices, rather than having to press, for example, K for 2 seconds in place of DMS long. I will probably get the X-65F, because I'm interested to see how it would work with the F/A-18C setup, though it can't be that different to the A10C's setup surely...

 

I like the idea of that front panel as well, & am thinking about mapping Master Arm and Laser etc to it

 

I am confused? The warthog is a replica, you dont have to map anything that isnt how it should be on to the stick or the throttle as far as the a10 is concerned and you are an a10 pilot. The saitek is a compromise all over the place as far as that is concerned.

 

I could not imagine how the x65 could map any better to the f18 than the wh. Neither is a replica of the f18 stick but both should have enough buttons to do it.

 

If it just comes down to the pedals then fair enough but in terms of flying what you do now, the a10, the winner by far is the WH.

 

IMO, if you care enough to want a stick thats going to last you well over half a decade for some serious simulation then you are going to want pedals and at that point you may wish you didnt compromise on the stick to get a stick rudder.

 

A set of cheaper saitek rudder pedals second hand will be a lot better than any stick rudder, more control and you will have brakes too :)

 

 

Still, I dont know everything and would be interested to know why you think the x65 could be the better stick for the f18?


Edited by metalnwood
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Just to weigh in, I have both the x52 pro and the x65. Love them both.

The x65 does take a minute to get the hang of but, works good with all of the Dcs modules.

4 extra buttons on the panel in front of the throttle. You can separate the throttle for left and right engines. You can adjust the force pressure required.

You also get a twist rudder joystick but, is hard to control when trying to maneuver.

Pretty good stick , once you get used to it.

 

I'm back to square one after worrying about a few issues.

Does the X-65F have a two-stage trigger?

Is it true that the throttle is ridiculously stiff out the box so that moving it ends up shifting the whole unit due to lack of rubber grip feet?

 

I was leaning at the X-65 but I can get the TM WH off Ebuyer for £242.... so with a £100 pair of saitek pro pedals it makes it the same investment as an X-65F off of Amazon...

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I'm back to square one after worrying about a few issues.

Does the X-65F have a two-stage trigger?

Is it true that the throttle is ridiculously stiff out the box so that moving it ends up shifting the whole unit due to lack of rubber grip feet?

 

...

 

Concerning the Warthog, although it is heavy enough, along with rubber feet, to stay in place 'fairly well' I would not use it long term without bolting it down (both the throttle and stick).

 

Just my two cents.

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New to DCS. Also new to TM HW.

 

I was using Speedlink Black Widow(awful for DCS) before upgrading to a Warthog. When I did, the whole tutorial made sense.

 

As for Rudder, I am currently using Clubsports Pedals for racing and its doing a fantastic job.

 

The shock factor of how heavy and well built still lingers on after two weeks of owning a TM HW. It was worth the upgrade.

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Were you meaning the saitek throttle, not the WH one?

 

The WH does not move around when using it and has a friction control to change how much pressure is required to push it.

 

Where there is the possibility of the base moving is where you take the throttles past the rear detents, i.e. to shutdown the engine. At this point you need to lift the throttle past the detent. Because this has a lifting action if you do it too aggressively you could lift the throttle quad a little. In general, the throttle quad should not move at all on the WH.

 

If you can get by whatever means a WH and rudder for the same price as the X65 I cannot see any sane reason to pick the x65 over the other combo and would love to know why anyone would.

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YES, the fact that it's force sensitive and doesn't move puts me off slightly

 

This is what TOTALLY puts me off. If they made a version that was moveable, I'd consider it. As you say, the F-18 is coming out soon, and the Saitek throttle is better suited to it.

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I was leaning at the X-65 but I can get the TM WH off Ebuyer for £242.... so with a £100 pair of saitek pro pedals it makes it the same investment as an X-65F off of Amazon...

 

I'd say that regardless of the twist-grip, you'll want rudder pedals because they're just so much more "natural". I won't argue against the X65 because I've never used it, but I would like to make the point that I'd consider its twist-grip a "workaround", a "temporary solution" until you get actual rudder pedals. That's why I wouldn't base the decision on the X65's twist-grip at all.

 

I've had the Saitek Pro Flight pedals and they're pretty good, can't go wrong with them (or the Combat variant).

 

If you can get by whatever means a WH and rudder for the same price as the X65 I cannot see any sane reason to pick the x65 over the other combo and would love to know why anyone would.

 

As I said before, I totally love the Warthog, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the X65. Think of it, one of the most manufactured jet fighters currently in service features a force sensing stick. If the concept sucked so much, we'd see Vipers falling out of the sky on a daily basis.

 

Regarding the actual hardware, I've read a lot of praise about the X65 from its owners. Not as much as Warthog praise from its respective owners, so I'd call the X65 the underdog. But I see no reason to call it an inferior product on a such a level as you seem to do, especially since you say you've never used it.

 

But (as written above) I agree with you that that rudder pedals are pretty much a requirement for long term flight sim commitment and that, given the price tag of both the Warthog and the X65, I wouldn't assign too much value to the twist-grip.

 

Oh, and regarding the Dual Stage Trigger, man does it feel awesome to fire the GAU-8 with the Warthog... :D

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