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     " This Saitek unit belongs right where you found it, on the shelf next to your copy of The Blair Witch Project... "

   Title: Saitek Stick pad

   Format: PC Controller

   Reviewing Monkey: Strange Bananas

   The Hype: "Saitek's 2-in-1 PC Stick and Pad Combo." Quickly, easily, conveniently change from stick to pad without reconnecting! Change controllers with easy attach-and-release mechanism! We'll see...

      What This Monkey Thought...

   Ergonomics: The game pad module sits nicely in your hands as most Sidewinder game pad wannabes would. A little weirdly balanced, but nothing to write grandma about. Where this unit greatly needs a redesign is when the game pad joins with the stick. The cable that comes out of the top of the game pad is now placed not-so-conveniently on the left side where your hands would normally rest to access the 4 buttons and, on this stick, the point-of-view hat. This handy piece of architecture ingenuity has made a somewhat good idea into one of the most unusable piles of secret sauce this monkey has ever had the unfortunate luck of touching. Having the point-of-view hat located where a high number of gamers rest their hands is another piece of work all together. I only give this unit a point in ergonomics for the game pad - the stick mode is completely useless. 1 out of 5

   Performance: I do enjoy the dynamics of the joystick itself. I've always been one to have a little resistance and the exposed single-spring action makes the stick move like elegant stallion. Everything past that sucks goat. Buttons are mushy, I would rather move my refrigerator than use the throttle, and using a game pad D-axis as a POV hat equals a waste of time. 2 out of 5

   Features: 6 buttons, a throttle, "POV" hat, and a joystick. The game pad has 4 buttons, 2 triggers, and a directional pad. Again, there a many other joysticks out there with those two or three extra buttons that makes all the difference. No Z-axis on the stick makes this a difficult stick to use with space and helicopter simulations. 2 out of 5

   Installation: Standard joystick driver load. No heartaches here. 4 out of 5

   System Compatibility: Worked fine on the two desktops and laptop I tested it on. 4 out of 5

   How it Compares: It just plain doesn't. With the combination of poor design, bad ergonomics, and relatively few buttons, this Saitek unit belongs right where you found it, on the shelf next to your copy of The Blair Witch Project and the towel you used to wipe up cat puke last night. 0 out of 5

   The Verdict:

       Run away, hide the children, and shoot the dog. With Saitek shipping units like this (especially after such landmark successes as the GM2 and Cyborg), my hope for human advancement dissipates.

   The Good: It's got a kind of okay game pad and it transforms.

   The Bad: Just about everything else.

   The Overall Ugly: I'm going to go warm up the incinerator.

   What it's Worth: If you didn't get it for your birthday or Christmas, you paid too much.

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