Saitek X52 Flight Control System Review- March 26, 2006
Software and Installation
At first, I was put off by the operating manual. I thought, �What have I got myself into?� as it landed with a resounding thud on my desktop the manual was exactly the same size as the one that came with my Honda Civic. Thankfully, a peak into the quality, hard-spine book informed me that the manual was in five different languages. A quick glance at the 33 pages of English instructions was more than enough to get up and running. In the back of the manual is the install CD, which was a breeze to install. Within one minute I was ready to calibrate the joystick to my liking. The software was very standard and enabled you to calibrate each button and setting accordingly.
When I gripped the joystick I was amazed by the build quality of the device. A nice mix of brushed metal, plastic and rubber gives the user a confident grip and makes for a stable playing position. The suction cups when attached made slippage a complete non-issue but even without them, the X52 barely ever slipped on me. In fact, I found for games that aren�t all cockpit action, the suction cups had to go. I liked having the ability to jump out of a plane and then quickly slide the joystick out of my way slightly to engage in FPS action.
I set the buttons very similar to the way I did with the Top Gun Afterburner 2 that I had used to date and went straight into BF 2. The previous night, my fellow clan member and I had been beat down badly by two spamming pilots on the Wake Island 2007 map. I wanted to display that kind of dominance that I knew wasn�t coming from using a keyboard. Within half an hour I had altered my settings twice and was already getting to a comfort level that I still hadn�t reached with the Afterburner in six months. I found for the first night of use that I would discover a new button every few minutes or each time I changed my grip slightly.
This thing has a ton of buttons, dials, gauges and switches. While donating a paragraph to each button could have you reading until an X53 comes on the market, I can definitely tell you which buttons you will find yourself favoring. As shown in the images, the X52 has a variety. One of the buttons you will notice first is the one that most users will assign to their primary weapon. The thumb switch that even has a nifty cover to prevent any 'misfires' is an awfully gratifying button to squeeze down. I actually found myself flipping the cover back down between dogfights for added effect. The dual triggers are also a nice touch. Users can fire with either their index finger or pinky finger depending on their preference. Both triggers give you the cool, quality feel of metal as you squeeze them which I found to be a significantly more realistic experience than some triggers offer. Nothing takes you out the action quite like squeezing a flimsy plastic trigger reminding you that not only are you not behind the wheel of a 30 million dollar supersonic jet, but sprawled out in a 30 dollar Ikea office chair. The triggers can be adjusted for various hand sizes using a simple dial located on the front of the stick. I found that even with my huge basketball palming mitts I had to dial it down two notches to fit my hand perfectly so the sizing should fit any user this side of Shaquille O'Neal.