Claiming to be revolutionary the newest stick from saitek after decades of spring, than optical than magnetic moveable joysticks boy do we have a treat for you flight simmers out there.
On the saitek x65f pro flight system the joystick uses force sensing technology for you to rule the skies with. What is force sensing you ask? … Well I happened to ask the same question.
A picture tells a thousand words but just check out the video below! That’s right, the joystick on the x65f pro doesn’t move! Not an inch not a cm.
Nonetheless, for those that prefer the more traditional joystick have a look at the previous offering also from the same company,the saitek x52 pro.
Somehow I cant help feel that the recent technological move to touch pads have something to do with the saitek x65f moving to force sensing, just gotta have this stuff on the control panels as well!
The saitek x65f is a HOTAS controller. HOTAS stands for hands on throttle and stick. This means that when you buy this package you get a joystick for controlling the plane and a separate throttle unit for controlling thrust. In all modern jet aircraft this is how they are controlled.
The special feature of the saitek X65f which sets it apart from other similar HOTAS setups is that the unit is force sensing. That is, when you grip the joystick and apply any pressure on it, the stick will not move at all.
Instead, the stick is programmed to read the force you apply and translate that into movement in your flight simulators. This has both advantages and disadvantages.
The obvious advantage is that there are no moving parts. Which means theoretically this stick should never suffer from wear and tear and thus last a long time. On the other hand, because the stick does not move, it does take a little bit of time to get accustomed to using it.
The Saitek Pro Flight X-65F Combat Control System is the first and only retail HOTAS unit on the market that offers force sensing. All other HOTAS units rely on moving parts such as magnets or springs to detect movement which is set to the flight simulator as commands. Notable examples are,
Saitek X65F Review
The saitek x65f is constructed from high grade metal casing and the weight and durability would most undoubtedly ease any fears that you are buying an nothing more than an expensive plastic toy. It would seem that this thing was engineered to outlive more than just the virtual combat environment as you should have no problems with the saitek x65f breaking as you lug it around to show of to your friends.
Which brings us now to force sensing. The joystick on the x65f does not move, which according to saitek is exactly like the joysticks that you find on real modern fighter jets. Instead what the joystick on the saitek x-65f does is respond to the pressure you place on the stick and translates that to movement in your flight sims.
What you should get is a much more accurate and realistic response than you could get with traditional joysticks that require movement and suffer invariable from things like dead-zones and lag.
As the joystick is not a moving part and is fashioned out of high grade steel this is one bit of the HOTAS system on the joystick control that you don’t have to worry about breaking down. Neither do you ever have to worry about the joystick wearing out and of worrying about having to clean contacts etc… all the mundane stuff that takes time from what you prefer to be doing, that is flying.
Claims from saitek are that the product will work right out of the box with the following games,
- Flight Sim X
- Flight Sim 2004
- Lock on & Lock on: Flaming Cliffs
- Falcon 4 Allied Force
- DSC Black Shark
- IL2 and add on’s
- Rise of Flight
- Combat Flight Sim 3
The saitek x65f seems to be compatibility with the most popular flight games. Assuring, as it means we can get plugged in and flying in no time, no hassle no fuss is always welcome when something new like a saitek x65f comes out.
- Metal construction for the ultimate in realism and durability
- Unique force sensing stick – all input is detected from how hard you push on the stick, just like in real modern day jet fighters. This includes a force-sensing twist rudder control
- Features on-the-fly adjustment of the force settings for the stick – including separate adjustments for each axis of the stick for the ultimate in stick response configuration.
- 3 x 8-way hats, 1 x 8-way thumb hat, 1 x trigger, 2 x buttons, 2 x pinkie switches
- To buy the saitek x65f, you can find them here at Amazon
Flight combat throttle:
- Metal construction for the ultimate in realism and durability
- Dual throttle for finer control over twin engine jets, or lock the two throttles together for single engine fighters
- 3 x buttons, 1 x mouse hat, 1 x left mouse button, 4 x 8-way hats, 1 x 2 way ‘K’ switch, 1 x scroll selector
- 1 x 4 position mode switch
- 1 x Throttle Lock
Pro combat panel:
- 4 x control buttons, 1 x safe button
- 4 x force Sensing Settings
- 4 x mode light indicators
- Dimensions: 5 x 7.2 x 4 inches
- Weight: 4 pounds
The saitek x65f is a serious option for those that want force sensing. It is the only option actually. It is priced around the $300 mark which is almost double the price of the more traditional saitek x52 pro HOTAS setup, which itself is a capable controller.
On the other hand if you were to go with the well known CH Products line, you can snap up a fighterstick and a pro throttle unit for almost the same price. CH products is well known for its quality and reliability, unfortunately you will not get a dual split throttle unit. However if you are not so sure about force sensing the fighterstick is a more traditional spring and pot joystick.
Its a hard choice, but if you prefer the traditional feel you should look elsewhere. If you have some cash to spare and want to give a try the saitek x65f has all the onboard controls and buttons that you will never be lacking no matter what combat sim you fly. It is a capable HOTAS setup.
- The saitek is easy to setup, you just plug in the controller into a standard USB port.
- Works on all versions of windows.
- Dual rotaries on the throttle allows easy mid flight changes to trim on a plane. This is literally a life saving feature as it allows you to fly a plane so much easier and with less energy pushing the stick around continually. Attaining level flight can be done with moving your hand away from the controller.
- Made out of heavy duty metal.
- Take it or leave. Force sensing will take some time to get use to. Some will love it immediately but those that have become accustomed to old school spring joysticks will need to readjust.
- Stick does not move, in the beginning it is common to apply to much pressure and have the entire joystick lift of the base or move around the table. A simple fix is to velcro or mount the joystick, unfortunately it is not so portable then.
- Not so plug-n-play as you will have to assign all your buttons and axis to really make the best use of the joystick and throttle.
Check out what this user had to say about the saitek x65f :
dbaker, (reprahased for word count)
This is my second HOTAS and coming from a X52, I was impressed by the additional number hats, buttons, and modes.
The control stick could be very massive, and I have small hands. It’s virtually unimaginable for me to control the higher right hand hat that is on the stick with out lifting my wrist off of the rest. The left hat on the stick may be manipulated without adjusting, but it’s a stretch.