Wait, How Old?
Yes, Thrustmster released the T-Flight HOTAS X Joystick way back in 2008, over 10 years ago. By technology’s standards, this thing is a relic! But can the HOTAS X stand up to the true test of time? Well… it seems it can. The fact that this thing is still readily available is a testament to how much staying power this hardware has.
The build quality of this joystick is impressive for its price range. For $50 (even less if you can find it on sale) you get a great entry level stick and throttle. At first, the sheer number of buttons overwhelmed me. As a casual gamer, I’m only used to about 4-6 buttons and a D-pad. However, once I counted the sort of “secret” buttons like R3 and L3, I had 11 buttons plus a D-pad. So the 12 buttons on the HOTAS X isn’t THAT much different. I suppose the brand new hand placement takes a bit of getting used to.
Having the ability to manually configure the buttons however you want is awesome. There are a few default configurations that come built into the firmware which is convenient. That makes it super convenient for certain game titles. Unfortunately, there is no default configuration for X-Plane 11. Not a deal-breaker, but an X-Plane 11 default would have been nice. That would have made playing X-Plane 11 a breeze out-of-the-box. Regardless, I would likely be setting my own custom configuration anyway.
From the moment I first put my hand on the stick, it felt great. I purchased the Thrustmaster HOTAS X joystick with the intention to log many hours in X-Plane 11. That said, I need my stick and throttle to be as comfortable as possible for when I settle in to those long flights. And the same level of comfort goes for the throttle as does the main flight stick. Both elements are a pleasure to operate and my fingers fall perfectly where they need to in order to reach all the buttons. Another great feature is that the HOTAS has the ability to be separated or joined. Depending on your desk size and comfort level, you can operate the throttle and joystick up to a shoulder’s length apart, or even farther. Please note this flight stick is designed for right-handed players.
Full disclosure: I’ve only put 17 hours on this joystick and this has been my first experience with a HOTAS setup. However, in that 17 hours, I’ve had absolutely no problems with this stick and throttle. I love the fact that you can attach the throttle to the stick for small desktops and pull them apart for when you have more space. The throttle and stick even comes with its own Alan key built into the base so you can quickly and easily combine and separate the stick and throttle. I look forward to putting more hours on the Thrustmaster HOTAS X Joystick as it is a superbly built piece of hardware.