E3: Saitek Showcases X52
7:47 AM | Tim Morgan | Comment on this story
Prolific peripheral manufacturer Saitek Corp. wowed attendees at this year's E3 convention with their new high-end HOTAS, the X52. Borrowing a lot from the design of its predecessor, the X45, the X52 shares the same coldly high-tech appearance, but there are plenty of new features to keep gamers drooling until the release.
The first thing one will probably notice is the large LCD screen on the base of the throttle. According to Saitek's press release, the so-called Multi-Function display indicates "profile selection, Mode, control Shift state, as well as time; flight time, standard time, destination time, and set up moves." In addition to the MFD, the X52 offers many other high-end features for demanding flight sim enthusiasts:
- Precision centering mechanism, non-contact technology on X and Y axes and constant spring force reduce free play, improve control and increase durability
- 2-stage metal trigger; 2 primary buttons in 1 convenient position
- 4 fire buttons including missile launcher with spring-loaded safety cover for instant access
- Conveniently positioned metal pinkie switch provides shift functionality to double up on programmable commands
- 2 X 8-way Hat Switches
- 3D rudder twist
- 3-position rotary mode selector switch with LED indicators
- 3 spring-loaded, base-mounted toggle switches for up to 6 programmable flight commands
- 5-position handle adjustment system to suit all hand sizes
- Progressive throttle with tension adjustment, detents for afterburner and idle
- 2 fire buttons
- Scroll wheel with built-in button
- Mouse controller / hat switch with left mouse button
- 8-way hat switch
- 2 x rotary controls
- Smooth-action slider control
- Clutch button initiates ‘safe mode’ to allow on-the-fly profile selection, or to display button functionality without activating
In addition, the entire unit will be partly constructed of metal, with illuminated buttons and displays. A large number of software features will be available, but their functionality on the Mac has yet to be determined.
In addition, Saitek was showing two other joysticks, both based on the Cyborg Evo; one was a wireless version of the Evo, the other, force-feedback enabled. Both joysticks retain the Cyborg Evo's ability to reconfigure its shape and size to suit many gamers.
Saitek offers a large range of USB gaming peripherals for Macintosh and PC. The X52's lineage includes the X45 and X36, both HOTAS systems that are very competitive with much more expensive alternatives. A price for the X52, however, has not yet been announced.
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