I bought the X52 Pro mainly to play Elite Dangerous but would also be using for getting back into Warthunder and indulging in the X series and the old X-wing games. But 99.99% of the reason was E:D, I was not looking for stick fidelity to play Flight Sims but an affordable HOTAS.
I did take a few months getting around to buying the HOTAS, looking around at different options and watching numerous YouTube video’s on different products. The Warthog was just out of my price range and also didn’t have a twist stick for yaw. Although it looks very nice, I also removed the X56 Rhino from my list purely on build quality. There are/where numerous reports of the build quality for the X56 and I was not willing to take the risk on an item that costs over £200. At this price point I expect to be getting a quality product.
The HOTAS is big, I’m over six foot/184 cm and have hands in proportion to my size and still find the stick to be large. You can alter the hand rest up to make it comfy for long-term use. The resistance on the stick feels good, the balance between effort/resistance was spot on for me when moving in the cardinal directions. The twist is a little stiff but stops you accidentally yawing in a turn.
The throttle base is a little light, if you just try to push it forward it can lift itself off the table. But if you have the throttle in a firm grip applying a slight pressure downwards this can be overcome.
When you have the HOTAS plugged in it lights up like a christmas tree with an eerie green light, everything from the LCD to buttons lights up. The base plugs via USB directly into the computer but the stick is daisy chained with a mini-din plug. You only need to use one USB 2.0 port but also means the stick is no use without the throttle unit. The length on the cables allows me to pass the lead from the throttle to stick out-of-the-way behind my monitor and does not use any premium real estate on usable desk. I have my computer set up on the left side of my desk so the lead does not have far to travel to the throttle unit on the left side. But if you have your base on the right set further away from your desk or on the floor a USB extension could be in order.
There is nothing wrong with the software, but I feel it could have been presented better the old Microsoft sidewinder pro software looked better and that was on Windows 98. When your programming the X52PRO it looks like your messing around in a spreadsheet, you can do everything you want but simple things like resizing to fit the window are non-existent. Which can be a pain if you trying to integrate a number of control schemes together. The software does allow you to mess around with LED’s colour and strength but I found if I dimmer the backlight on the LCD display I could distinguish a flicker. But I found it easy to use the LCD to tell me what the button did that I had just pressed, which can be useful for debugging and reminding you where you hid the cargo scoop option…
With the X52 been a popular HOTAS many programs will have the stick usable as is, but using the software it will allow you to get access to the mode switch on the stick allowing you to triple the amount of available buttons. I found that reprogramming the stick for use in E:D allowed me to integrate VoiceAttack and Rocat Power grid. All the immersion!! By remapping button’s to keys this meant that I could easily access functions from other programs. I could also use the software spreadsheet as my reference sheet as I programmed voice attack instead of writing them all down.
The throttle has 2 détente’s so if you want depending on the game you can have it setup at the lower end for reverse thrust and the top end for emergency power/afterburner etc. I have it setup as a full range forward throttle and I press a button to switch to a reverse throttle range. The lower end détente can interfere with my low-speed settings as I come into land as I have come ‘over the hill’ of the détente as I’m finalizing my landing pad approach. The resistance as you push/pull the throttle can be tuned to your personal preference by a screw type fitting on the base. Once this is done it just feels good pushing the throttle all the way forward rotating the throttle over the top and pushing downwards, which is where the problem of the base lifting up in use occurs. You can add suckers to the bottom of the throttle but as I have limited desk real estate and a very large mouse mat I can’t apply these to keep my throttle in position.
The buttons on the stick are well laid out, the two stage finger trigger is noticeable enough to be used but does not get in the way for normal use. The positioning of buttons and HAT switches for the thumb are easily accessible as long as you have altered the hand rest to the correct position for your hand size. The button fire safety cover I could see as fun if you are unleashing missiles… (Swarm missiles in X3 for example.)
The X52 Pro is a great stick and am really glad I bought it and it really takes E:D to the next level, well worth all the money.
See you on the other side…