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CH Products 200-571 Fighterstick USB, Black
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- Three color mode indicator LED's on base
- Plug and Play driverless USB installation with 7 foot USB cable for both PC and Macintosh
- Compatible with Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 and Mac OSX
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Three axis and 24 buttons: X, Y and Z for aileron, elevator and throttle control / Three traditional push buttons. Three 4-way hat switches, One 8-way POV hat switch and one mode switch button. Total of 128 programmable functions with Control Manager software (included).
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
do a system restore. They say no drivers are needed with this unit but the CH software loaded something in my USB ports that made them choke. Hopefully CH will someday make a new updated software package that will not mess up my ports. Until then I will suffer with the Thrustmaster TWCS and Stick. The Thrustmaster Target software has never hung up my USB ports or anything else. The CH hardware is top notch so if you can use them in your game by just using DX assignments in the game configuration panel then the CH FighterStick and Throttle would be very good as a HOTAS setup.
I'm 28, and I just returned home to CH Products with this stick, the CH Fighterstick.
I'm not going to go over the pro-cons of it all; instead I will go over the individual features and try to stay as objective as possible.
Large base, light weight. The first thing you notice is how beefy and well-built it is.
The buttons are sharp and precise with next to no wobble(check out your Logitech - put your finger on a button, and wiggle it around without activating. That's what I mean.).
The axis movement is sharp with only a small amount of slop. I'm somewhat concerned with the slop in the X axis - I don't recall the Flightstick Pro having it, and it is noticeable. To be fair, it's also much less than the slop found in any Logitech and CERTAINLY any Saitek stick. I have a fair idea of how to fix it, but doing so would void the excellent 2-year warranty. I'm not sure if it's bad enough to send in for warranty work, since it's already worlds better than cheaper sticks.
The light weight will make you wonder how it's going to stay on your desk, until you realize that the throw resistance is very low - you can easily move this joystick through all its ranges of motion with your pinky. This is important since ability to keep the stick in a rested hold can greatly impact accuracy.
The price, good god the price. People say that it's expensive, but if it lasts 4 years(not at all a difficult feat for a CH joystick), you're going to make the money back compared to Logitech or Saitek sticks(which will likely need at least one replacement). So, really, the price is actually quite low for what you get.
The major downside a lot of people see when looking at this stick is the fact that it's not a twist stick. For years and years I was a fan of the twist stick, but my accuracy never was quite as good as I felt it could be. I have since learned that this is due to unintended axis movement, the bane of all twisty sticks. A good set of pedals and a good, solid, non-twist stick will fix that right up.
Compared to other offerings:
Logitech budget-bin sticks: No comparison. More accurate, less fatiguing, more reliable. CH will be less expensive once you factor in replacements. Usually are twisty, so that can be seen as an advantage.
Saitek budget-bin sticks: Same as above.
Logitech G940: Harder. This one has some documented return to center issues, but is otherwise a solid buy. I doubt it is made to the same specs as CH products are, but at least it's somewhat cheaper for throttle+stick+pedals. Still, I had trouble choosing this after going through so many of logitechs cheaper sticks.
Warthog: Expensive. Hall sensors are nice, but the high-quality pots CH uses are just as good. Metal construction is a huge plus. A solid choice, but Thrustmaster has terrible customer support. If you can live with that, and afford the higher price tag, this is the stick for you.
Cougar: Warthog do everything the cougar does, and far better. Defer to the Warthog if you're considering a Thrustmaster stick.
TM16000M: Hall sensors are nice, right up until you use super-cheap methods of locking them in place. Better off using one of the budget-bin offerings from Logitech or Saitek.
Saitek X52: Does not compare. The huge center detent of the X52 is extremely difficult to work with, and since Saitek and Mad Catz got intertwined their QC has plummeted.
Saitek X65f: Does not compare. Gimmick force sensing that Saitek cum Mad Catz will say is military type, but in reality the concept was rejected by the military for good reason. Reduced QC seems to be even more apparent here, with many reports of return-to-zero issues.
But anyway, enough of that. I love this throttle and its cousin, the Pro Throttle. It's got half a million buttons on it and is comfortable, apparently modeled after an F16's control stick. It is certainly not the most sexy looking HOTAS setup out there, but it surely is one of the most durable. Nothing feels cheap on these, the buttons feel solid and the plastic is durable. I've had mine for about 2 years now, playing Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous, and War Thunder (all of them poorly).
The downsides are: the throttle slider on the Fighterstick is pretty basic and its easy to bump the trim of the analog stick out of whack. Unlike other similarly priced competitors (X52), there is no Z-axis twist of the stick that can work as improvised rudder pedals.
So it's ugly and simple, why is it 100 or so bucks?
Because the software is amazing, and it's built to last.
The software allows you to take multiple CH products and tie them together, or to add programming for special functions. One of the simple examples I do, is make it do that in 'mode 1', which is toggled by a button on the throttle, the throttle's analog stick is a makeshift rudder, providing yaw. In 'mode 2', the same analog stick provides up/down/left/right thrusters. The game thinks there are 4 analog axes involved, one (X) used for yaw and 2 (X/Y) used for thrust, but it doesn't know that all three are the same analog thumbstick. The sky's the limit when it comes to the fancy scripting/mapping, and there's a huge community online dedicated to this setup. You can use a special button on the throttle like a "shift" key to enable secondary functions to all your existing buttons and hats, giving you double the functionality as before. It's pretty cool!