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     " Seems to hold them together better than the other sticks I've played with. And boy have I played with a lot of sticks… "

      Title: Saitek X-45 Digital Joystick and Throttle

      Format: PC joystick controller

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: Realistic flying experience, all the controls at your fingertips and much more. This Computer joystick promises to get you off the desk and into the cockpit. Let's fly through the review and find out.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Ergonomics: Man this stick feels really good (insert obligatory jokes here). The joystick and throttle are exceptionally comfortable, fitting really well into the hand. And I have huge hands- so that's saying something. Not to say that you dainty handed girly-men out there won't be able to get a grip on it, it's just nice to see a joystick with universal appeal. The buttons are all easily reached and easily manipulated. 5 out of 5

      Features: The stick itself features two hat switches, three separate fire buttons, including a missile button with a flip cover (for that extra bit of realism, sure it's dorky, but it's fun as hell). Trigger button and pinky button round out the stick. The thruster features rudder control and mode selectors. The entire stick is customizable using Saitek's software. Saitek also has profiles for a good collection of games set up so that you don't have to worry about adjusting. The program is a little weird to use, using a 3D model of your stick to allow you to select what button does what. It may take a little getting used to. 4.5 out of 5

      Performance: The stick performs perfectly well for controlling your games. Reaction speed is perfect and sensitivity is just fine. Saitek's software sometimes has problems recognizing the proper type of stick on some games. This can cause some issues when you try to change the button configuration and some of the defaults desperately need to be changed. The only other issue is how much space it takes up on a desk and that's not really a huge problem. 4.5 out of 5

      How it Compares: This is certainly a top-flight stick (pun most certainly intended). It's got a comparable number of buttons and features to the competition, but seems to hold them together better than the other sticks I've played with. And boy have I played with a lot of sticks… (Well there goes my promise not to make those kinds of jokes). 4.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       If you are a hard-core lover of Flight Games, or even Mechwarrior (my use of choice), this is a great joystick to get. The throttle and flight stick combination really makes you feel like you're in the cockpit of your chosen vehicle. It performs well with a variety of games in default and the ability to download more profiles helps immensely. There are a few configuration problems, but they shouldn't be a big problem.

      The Good: An excellent flight controller that really does deliver on its promise of realism.

      The Bad: Some issues with configuration and customizing button layout.

      The Overall Ugly: If you can spend the money and play enough flight games, get it. It's worth it.

      What it's Worth: Asking Price is 80 and I say do it.

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