Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS Review
Published: 6th December 2016 | Source: Thrustmaster | Price: £175 |
If you're even mildly interested in driving games then you'll either already own a wheel, or know the benefits that having the right controller can bring to your gaming prowess. Flight simulation games have exactly the same possibilities opened up when you have the correct control method beneath your fingertips, but somehow the thought of owning a HOTAS - Hands On Throttle And Stick - hasn't got the same public perception as owning a wheel and pedals. Perhaps it's because there is still a pervading public belief that all flight sims are about piloting 747s methodically and only for the extremely nerdy. Well forget that straight away. Just as racing games come in a multitude of flavours and disciplines, so the majority of flight sims are all about combat, and indeed the resurgence of the genre has been helped by the incredibly authentic DCS World, and the introduction of Space Sims to the options with Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen.
HOTAS themselves do fall into two distinct types. The cheap and cheerful that are basically an old school joystick, or the extremely expensive. Much like you can buy a wheel from Argos or get one specially built by Fanatec. Thrustmaster tick both ends of the pricing spectrum. On the one hand you have the HOTAS-X. A stick around the £40 that has a throttle and just enough buttons for you to dip your toe in the water. It's a stick I've put thousands of flight hours into. At the other end of their price range is their Warthog stick, an all-metal behemoth for the most dedicated simulation enthusiast. We looked at one about 4 years ago, and you can read about that here.
Somewhere in between these two price points we have today's review of the T.16000M FCS. It takes the T16000M joystick that's been around for a little while and updates it, whilst adding a throttle portion to give a full HOTAS setup for only £110. Extremely affordable. So if you've been eyeing the latest wave of space sims, or just want to expand your flying prowess with a proper controller, then the T.16000M FCS could be just the thing. Let's find out how it stacks up to the competition.
The Joystick portion is an updated take upon the T.16000M Joystick, keeping the many good points whilst hopefully eliminating the bad. With any HOTAS you need lots of buttons and axes to control these complicated flight systems without having to take your hands off the controls to fumble about with a keyboard. The FCS has two 8 way HAT switches, two 4 way switches, 19 buttons, an analogue stick with an R3 style button, a twist rudder as well as a paddle rudder axis, a throttle style axis on the base of the joystick and a dial on the edge of the actual throttle. That is in addition to the throttle axis and the regular x and y joystick axes. In short, unless you're piloting a complicated modern jet fighter or fly combat prop planes at maximum realism settings you've got enough to assign all the major features onto the T.16000M FCS.
Exclusive precision: H.E.A.R.T* HallEffect AccuRate Technology™! 3D sensors located on the stick (*US patent: US08471815)
Precision levels; 16-bit resolution: 16000 x 16000 values
Magnets ensure friction-free action for razor-sharp precision that won’t decrease over time
Helical spring (0.1” / 2.8 mm in diameter) inside the stick providing firm, linear and smooth tension
Fully ambidextrous joystick
Joystick can be perfectly tailored for left-handed or right-handed use
Piloting with a joystick in each hand is now possible in all games compatible with two joysticks
16 action buttons with “braille”-style physical button identification
12 on the base and 4 on the stick + one 8-way Point of View hat switch
Switch allowing users to configure the 12 buttons located on the base in a left- or right-handed position
4 independent axes, including twist rudder
Ergonomic trigger for brake or rapid fire control
Multidirectional hat switch
Ergonomic design for optimum comfort
Wide hand rest for reduced stress
Weighted base for enhanced stability
S.M.A.R.T technology: Unique slide rails for perfectly smooth throttle sliding motion and precision
5 (+3) axes: 1 throttle (16-bit = 65635 values) + 2-axis mini-stick + 1 toggle rudder + 1 rotary antenna + connector for optional external 3-axis TFRP rudder (1024 values per axis)
14 action buttons + 8-way PoV hat: two 4-way switches + 3 buttons + one 2-position slider + 1 push mini-stick + one 8-way Point of View hat switch