Saitek X52 Flight Control System Review-
Didn't he say it glowed?� you ask. Yes it does, and in a number of ways. The highlight of course is the light up display present on the throttle. This handy and attractive element tells you the date, time, profile in use and which mode you are currently utilizing. Mainly though, it just looks fantastic. I haven�t found myself looking at it for the information it displays as much as I have just simply been drawn to looking at the blue glow. The glow is also present in three of the buttons on the throttle and four on the stick. Three switches also show a sliver of blue light on the base of the stick. Between the myriad of lights on the stick and my recently reviewed Saitek Gaming Keyboard, I am starting to get a distinct �wrap around� cockpit feel in the dark.
The X52 even has a little virtual mouse on the front of the throttle in case taking your hand away to use the real mouse would result in a catastrophic Mach 5 collision with a control tower. In BF2 for instance, this was a handy way of using the commo-rose to turn down my commanders� orders while I honed my acrobatic prowess over the rooftops of the Daqing Oilfields. Also on the throttle is a scroll-wheel that will act as your mouse scroll to further lessen your hands off time.
Testing and Conclusion
By the end of the first evening I was enjoying every minute of preying on slow moving choppers and bombing enemy targets. For some reason I found bombing more accurate with this stick but it is probably just from having a better feel due to the fluid (albeit a touch light) movement of the stick and being able to maintain a steady, low altitude for prime bombing.
Speaking of choppers I also found the X52 to be a useful ally in the painful process that is flying a helicopter effectively in BF2. The ability to rotate using the twist grip made for some outright unfair moments where I could temper the throttle and shamelessly mow down soldier after soldier while maintaining a consistent altitude. I wish I was able to ramp up the speed of the twist but was unable to. Dogfights within the chopper are a little more difficult but with practice they are possible. The next game I put the X52 against was Lock-On. Now, I�m not a big fan of this Ubisoft sim but it provided a much better reference as far as the multitude of options needed to play the game. Lock On allowed me to assign every single button and give me a taste of what trying to remember each button�s purpose was. Although it was definitely a stretch to remember so many commands, I can�t say any of the buttons were really difficult to reach or press accurately. Pressing the wrong button almost never happened thanks in large part to the well-spaced and varied buttons.
By the end of the first week I was singing �Highway to the Danger Zone� constantly and referring to my roommate as �Goose�. As you may have guessed I am a fan of the X52 and have very few negative comments. Those few consist of wishing the entire base of both the throttle and stick were made of metal and not a metal/plastic combination. Additionally I would like the ability to turn off all of the fancy blue lights when not needed. I was finding myself constantly dreaming of the Tron when heading to bed after spending countless hours in flight.
Aside from those minor gripes I find myself once again very impressed with a Saitek product and would highly recommend the X52 to all levels of pilots.