saitek x45 review part 1

Discussion in 'General' started by Shadowdean, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. Shadowdean

    Shadowdean Well-Known Member

    Well, thought I'd drop a little preview/review of this great product. I say preview first because the sge sofware is not yet fully compatable with winxp...I've been told march the xp version should be out and then full programmability be usefull for xp/2k users..all others, the sge (programming/profile software).
    Let me preface this that I am grading this product from the mindset of a hardcore simmer. I've been in to simming since Battle of Britain and Fighter Dual on the Amiga. My first serious joystick was the MS sidewinder, then the thrustmaster f22 (its a crying shame that that company died...the f22 flcs (stick/throttle) combo is still the best thing going, I am just not technically inclined enough to use it fully and to repair mine..)...But, Saitek has to be, overall, one of the best combo products I've ever bought, and definatly the best value.
    THe x45 is a slight upgrade from the x36 HOTAS (hands on throttle and stick) combo. The first obviouse change is the color...the x36 is all black, while the x45 now has a blue base, though on the base, it gives a quick reference map for all the buttons/toggle switches. The stick has a *slightly* lighter feel than the x36, though it has not bothered me much at all. The tension is good (could be stiffer imho) in the stick (you can adjust the tension in the throttle, wish they let you do that for the stick...). The up and down movements seem to have a bit less tension than the left and right movements, which does take a little adjusting to, but then again, there is very, very little descrepency.
    Before I continue, let me give a quick run down on the numerous buttons.
    Stick:
    2 4(8) way programmable hat switches. You can program the joystick to make them either 4 way (up, down, left, right motions only) or to include the diagonals to make them 8 way, so you can really layer on the programming.
    3 top fire buttons, (a, b, and flap switch covered fire button - think of it as a "saftey" switch...it can be removed if it bugs you)
    main trigger
    pinky trigger
    forward button (on the front of the throttle, top of stick - fire c button)
    Throttle:
    2 rotary switches (multi-position, you turn them left and right and have a gradient - great, for example, radar settings where you might have to set tqs, mrm mode, azureth..etc)
    D fire button
    1 - 4 way hat switch
    rudder swivel
    mouse cursor control (a little nobe that can be programmed to act as a mouse)
    mouse fire button (a single function button, can be programmed to do anything)
    3 setting mode switch - this is the gem of the stick - it allows EVERY button to be programmed 3 TIMES over, giving, I think, over 122 functions (single, you can program multiple button combos to the hat switches, firebuttons, you can also program time based keys..say you have to hold something down for 3 seconds, then release, or you want cntrl to be held down, and b, then c hit, you can tell it to do that also...but more on that later)
    3 way aux. switch...think of this as a in game mode switch...for example, in Falcon 4.0 - I use it to switch the plane from A-A mode, a-g mode, and navigation mode.
    While this may be a bit overwhelming at first, it becomes second nature. The stick is more comfertable if you have average to larger sized hands. I think I have average sized hands (don't like the xbox controller cause I find it to bulkly) but I am fine with this stick...I sometimes feel as if I have to reach abit for the rudder switches, but again, thats only if I am really thinking about it.
    Programming. The SGE is really, really, really powerfull. Its a bit tricky at first, but after 30 min with the software, you can generally program the entire stick and throttle in under a hour, if you have already planned out what you want each button to do. In simple mode, you select the button, select new command input, then put in the key strokes you want. IN advance mode, you can do such things as tell it when to have the key pressed, then depressed, and do that for multiple buttons. Say you want ONE button to go to dogfight mode, switch radar modes, then arm medium range missles, it can do that, with ease.
    When I used this in win 98, I never had a problem with the profile loading up the right game (though, to be fair, I only used this for my sim games falcon 4.0 and mechwarrior series). I don't anticipate it being a problem at all.
    The x45 is ONLY usb, but nowadays, it should not be a problem. It is both mac and pc compatable, so you only need this one stick for both systems. If you have more than one person using the stick, you can program profiles for each person.
    Overall, I have to say that this is an awesome product, if SLIGHTLY less solid feel than the x36...Color is subjective, but I actually forgive the switch to blue on the base because they added the key lay out on the bottom. I would not hesitate to recomend this stick to anybody.
    Steet price - 69-79.99
    website - www.saitek.com
    -Shadowdean





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