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on January 13, 2009
I purchased a Saitek Cyborg X joystick (the name has since been changed to Mad Cats F.L.Y. Stick for PC - though I'm told it also works with Apple computers)for use with the excellent IL-2 Sturmovik 1946 combat flight sim, also purchased from Amazon.com. It's a great joystick, with only a few small shortcomings.

First the good stuff--there are a total of 12 programmable buttons, a programmable rotating trim wheel just below the weapon switches, a rudder control operated by twisting the stick, and a dual throttle lever that can be locked for single engine use. There is an eight-position hat switch in the middle of the four weapon switches at the top of the stick, and two LED's that illuminate the weapon switches, hat switch and trim wheel from above.

On top of all the controls, the Cyborg X is highly adjustable. The top head including the trigger and weapon switches can tilt fore and aft, the length of the stick can be adjusted with the push of a button, and the stick itself can be adjusted fore and aft. A tabbed hex key used for most of the adjustments stows in one of the three joystick supports.

As for smoothness and ease of use, I really like the way Saitek centers this joystick. A spring seats a shallow cone-shaped disk inside another cone when the stick is at center. When the joystick is moved off of center, this makes for very smooth action in all axes, unlike the joysticks used in radio control transmitters. There is about five degrees of slop evident in the stick when it is centered though, due to play between the screw adapter the stick attaches to and the joystick base arm. (The joystick comes disconnected from the base as packaged.) It wouldn't hurt if the manufacturing tolerances were a little tighter here.

All this adjustability comes at a slight price. When you press any of the four weapons switches, the top of the joystick flexes, making them feel somewhat imprecise. The weapons switches also don't close as crisply as the trigger switch does. The last fault I found with it is that, when pushing the joystick far forward, the base can tip forward too. This is because while there is a base leg to the rear of the stick, there are none forward. The two front base legs are mounted laterally.

These are minor quibbles. The Saitek Cyborg X is the best joystick I've ever bought.

Update: After a few years I did have some problems with wires being pulled off of their solder tabs inside the joystick, and two wires broke as well. The wiring inside my Saitek joystick is extremely thin. I don't know if this has been fixed since I bought mine or not. I was able to solder the loose wires back on, and fix the broken wires as well. But I may rewire the joystick with thicker braided wiring in the future if I continue to have problems. It makes no sense to me that Saitek used such tiny wires, since they flex when the joystick is moved. The rest of the joystick is well made.
1313 comments| 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 21, 2009
Shipping:
Shipping was great. I actually got it in exactly 48 hours via UPS.

Packaging:
When you first get the device, it will be easy to set up ( I won't spoil the assembly for you if you haven't seen it before ). I was really impressed with the packaging for starters.

Software:
I installed the drivers ; quick and easy. I didn't install anything additional but that's up to you. I'm using a iMac (2008) with windows vista ( not sure anymore what level ).

Hardware:
I use this stick with Flight Simulator X. At first the stick was uncomfortable for my hand.
I had to adjust it , which it then became a perfect fit. If you're worried about force feedback, don't. My logitech stick's FF motor died after maybe a year of use. The spring which hold it center and provides a force is good enough.

What I was most excited about but a tad bit disappointed by was the throttle ( more so with FS X than the stick it self ) . It's a dual throttle which can also become single throttle isn't able to control individual engines. They both control all engines whether or not you use one or both. There is also a button that will join the two throttles.

You also have lot of options when it comes to buttons. I actually have less use for my keyboard now that I can put those commands on the stick. There are 10 number keys, a "shift" key , a trigger and dual throttles. The book says you can assign them to commands such as the trim and different engines but you'll have to play around with that in the game you're using it with.

The base can be folded and be put behind your monitor if you have a flat screen LCD monitor to save space. The over all texture and stainless steal of the device is very smooth.

There is a light under the hat switch which can become distracting at times when you push the stick forward during flight. The light for some reason is very intense on that angle so don't look directly into it.

Another thing is when you're pushing the stick forward, the base lifts up. I personally do not mind when flying because the only time I'm really pushing the stick forward is when I'm landing. Even then, I don't even push that hard for the stick to really lift. I only notice that when I'm flying freehand. It might bother some but it's fine with me.

Final:
I would suggest this to anyone who is interested in an adjustable stick, great over all feel and style. Of course there are more advanced sticks around but this certainly is worth the buy for what it offers.

Good:
Easy to instal drivers
Great feel ( texture )
Adjustable
Great Style
Lots of buttons
Space saver

Bad:
Intense blue light
Lifts when pushing stick forward
22 comments| 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 15, 2009
i own allot of Cyborg products..but this is my first stick..bought it to play HAWX for PC

the GOOD:
-love the finish on the stick its top notch smooth and soft
-blue LED lit thumb trigger
-fully adjustable to the max
-more buttons then you could of dreamed of
-locking/unlockable dual throttle
-comes with its own built in tool for adjustment
-expandable base
-really does assemble in seconds
-great response in Hawx
-overall looks are very impressive
-controllable dead zones..

the OK:
-stick assembly is a little loose, more play than i would like
-all plastic
-nose down the stick and it comes off the table do to ill support-Velcro required

The Bad:
- its programmable just not with the software...programmable via the game your playing..a Cyborg X SST profile dose not exist for this stick to create custom profiles for it

-is a tad on the sensitive side as once of the censors on mine died in a week..causing the stick to fail to center..i have received another one...
it hasn't died yet..

-while the driver support is good in its own right, it sometimes has an issue with its fellow cyborg products..like the cyborg mouse or keyboard...can, will and has knocked out the driver configs for them..on my end, but problem solved by moving stick to a diff USB bus..its most stable on the primary MB USB bus..it also properly power's off when its on the MB usb bus- expanded shared bus's - at least for my MB cause it to remain powered on..when the machine is off..which is why i think the first one died..

-packaging for stick looks good..but main base unit is just jammed against cardboard-thus jamming the plug connector-that plugs into the main body of the sick..luckily 2 sticks down and no damage

-support for this item is surprising weak, im not sure if its cause its new or its on the verge of being discontinued....
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on March 6, 2015
UPDATE:

I have really tried. I started out with a review of a 3 because the axles of the stick had huge slop areas when I got it, and resulted in about an initial 40% dead-zone allocation to prevent any craft from spazzing out and said that it was adjustable but that was just about all it had going for it.

Let me explain what kind of horrible mistake this company made by selling this pile of crap right quick before I move on. The joystick was a test buy. I'd had a lot of friends that mulled back and forth between "Mad Catz" is better and "Razer" is better. So I figured, before I go all out, I'd buy something from MadCatz and something from Razer. So I got the MadCatz FLY Stick 5, and the Razer Orbweaver gaming pad. I was so horrified at the quality of the joystick, I bough a full set of Razer products and then hated the company for not offering joysticks to replace this pile of crap. When I say I bought the full set, we're talking deathstalker ultimate, oraborus mouse, headset, Vespula, the works -- in total, ole MadCatz gained $60.00, like $40.00 profit, and ole Razer? well they got a nice little $720.00 sum, and likely profited $250 of that. And there in lies Mad Catz grave error.

A few months back, I lowered that rating to a 2. The #2 button popped off and the deadzones increased to around 60%. I'm just fed the hell up at this point as well and order a Thrustmaster HOTAS to replace this steaming pile of crap. And then I have the company send me a PM wanting to know if I would want a replacement (an amazon message sent some 5 months ago) and was SOOO tempted to send them a video, in reply, of me smashing this joystick on a brick with the subject, "No, I don't want another steaming pile of crap". You see, I'm not going to waste my time to simply have them replace this crap with more crap. It makes no difference how many times it is replaced, THIS JOYSTICK IS UTTER, STEAMING, CRAP. I don't ever want another joystick like this. The point of a video game is to provide entertainment. Trust me when I tell you, it is not possible with this joystick. Its not a joystick, its a trollstick.

But I'll continue to explain why. You see, if button 2 falling off wasn't bad enough, the worst part about it was repairing it with some plastic epoxy, I was able to restore functionality to that button. But here is the kicker and that bad part, the button felt a LOT more solid AFTER I fixed it than out of the box. Imagine that, a jimmy rigged fix is more of a solid construction than the original manufactured item. You can't make this crap up! Ok, so then the other button (the one on the other side of the 2) it comes off, I fix that one as well. And, you got it, it works better and feels more sturdy.

*sigh*

So, the last straw was the trim switch you hear folks talking about. I used that in Elite Dangerous as a weapon group cycling "button". However, you would "click" down on the button once, but the joystick may register 0 clicks, or hell, it might even register 20. Like a box of chocolates, you NEVER knew wtf you would get with that button. This prompted me to coin a new word, just for this joystick, "Click and Pray".

Before ditching this Joystick I put a grand total of about 17 gaming hours on this Joystick and its not like I was as pissed as I am recounting the stress this Joystick put me through while playing Elite Dangerous, and I wasn't even PVPing, this joystick just seems to melt in your hand, sorry for the chocolate references. But you know, you don't expect Chocolate to last very long, a joystick for $60.00, no, it better give me a little more than a year or more than a $3.00 mouse.

But what gets this product a rating of 1 today is the sheer comparison of a CHEAPER joystick with included (but detatchable throttle console), has better construction quality, better materials, more buttons, and more precision on its sensors than the con artists at MadCatz could dream of. This newer joystick now feels like a $500.00 rig in comparison. And that prompted me to realize just how badly I had been conned out of $60.00 when this new Joystick was only $40 with a quality that just has no comparison.

If there is a joystick on the market that I would dub "Worlds Worst Joystick", Mad Catz, you get a 9999999 out of 10. You can't possibly get any worse without breaking the damn law. It is definitively impossible.

This company did indeed do one thing positive. I'll never stress again over a Mad Catz product because I will refuse to allow one in my house.

TL:DR: This is the most despicable, pathetic excuse for a $60 joystick I have ever had the misfortune to lay eyes upon. I hope someone finds trade or commerce laws that will burn the hell out of these guys because I'll be damned if they don't deserve every burn they'll get from resulting law suits, I mean that too, this joystick isn't a one-of-a kind defective batch, read the reviews. I kicked myself in the rear hard for not doing exactly what I just asked you to do.

And you know what, for the life of me, I can't understand how anyone having this joystick over a week can rate it more than 3 stars because I just don't buy that they were so incredibly lucky they happened to find some batch that was intended for the developers or investors of the company. I say this because there is no way the buttons didn't pop off or show a LOT of play in a demonstration without additional fortification to that little 1mm strip of flexiplastic that holds the button and provides all the pivot and bares 1/2 of the press pressure. Seriously, that's how bad it is.. 1mm. From what I can tell of the positive reviews, these people rated this joystick right out of the box without plugging it in or have only ever had this joystick and doesn't realize how incredibly low quality it is. When you get 40% slop while the stick is centered, most companies consider this defective, but read the instruction manual, not Mad Catz! They consider 80% slop defective!
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on June 8, 2011
I got this for Christmas a few years ago because I had really gotten into Flight Simming. This thing is THE PERFECT JOYSTICK if you want to get an all-in one, affordable control system.

Features:

TONS of Buttons. On FSX I use them for Throttling, Flap adjustment, landing gear, tailhook, brakes, differential brakes, speedbrakes, lights, and view switching. The twisting function works well as a rudder and if you're like me, you don't even need it that much except for ground steering (I seldom use the rudder when flying).

Easy programming- and if it gets sensitive/sticky you can adjuts it.
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on April 17, 2011
This Joystick was bought for my current deployment overseas. I have used it successfully with Microsoft Flight Sim X with Acceleration, DCS Blackhawk, Falcon 4.0, and Rise of Flight. I have also used it with Battlefield series, however the center null zone issue makes it the difficult to use competitively. By this I mean that if you set the null zone too small then the joystick will jump when you overcome the mechanical centering device. If you set it too large then it takes way too long to change directions in-game. This was not an issue in the Flight Sims, as I just adjusted the null zone to correspond exactly to mechanical center.

The dual throttles DO work in both FSX and DCS. Proper set up of the engine controls in the game menus is needed.

The other reviews about the buttons may affect some buyers. I have been lucky so far (4 Months of play), but the number three button definatly feels loose. There is also very little resistance to abrupt pitch down manuevers due to the arrangment of the feet, causing the joystick to lean foward.

Overall a good joystick (not great)

Pros-

Throttle and Joystick in one unit.
Small and lightwaeight for travel
Can be disassemble for travel.
Can be adjusted to fit your handsize.
Good in game responses

Cons-

Buttons may break if you are not careful.
Software is poor (and not really needed for most newer games.
Joystick feet are poorly designed
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on April 28, 2015
So when the new game elite dangerous came out i decided to finally give in and buy a joystick. this was my choice after some time looking around. I got the item in a nice packaged box and everything. it also work great for the first 22 hours. Then started the long chain of problems. First to come up was the wire inside came off the x axis controller. i can understand trying to save money on it but the quality was a joke. I said fine i upgrade the little hair thin wires with some decent sized ones, then I did what they should have done and glued over the terminals so that they are there for good. It worked for another 30 hours until the drivers decided that they didn't want to work. Went to madcatz site and found the update versions to fix this no problem. Then the final thing that killed it for me, is the fact that it refuses to connect to any of the computer i have in my house ( I have a total of 6 computers running things in my home) i ripped it open again for a 2nd time and found that the resistor just craped out. Soo i give up, you have won. It now rests in my local trash dump. (sorry for the super long story)
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on December 24, 2010
First of all let me say that this product exceeded my expectations, having thought to take a risk by purchasing this product, due to the influence from other "REVIEWERS".

THROTTLE
Twin throttle was just what I was looking for and also the placement of it was very excellent.
They advance very smoothly and there is also a button which locks both of the throttles together.

HAT SWITCH
The hat switch is made of durable rubber

OTHER BUTTONS
They are very durable and will survive for a very long time

PROGRAM
The joystick is programmable by all means

MOVEMENT
The movement of this joystick is very smooth and the axis is very smooth also

All in all this joystick is excellent and an exceptional choice for FLIGHT SIM.
My name is Luke Seecharan.
I'm 14 years.
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on June 22, 2011
I own the Saitek 3D joystick which is 60% metal where the new F.L.Y.5 is 10% metal. Not as durable, but having said that... it has 12 programmable buttons that are much easier to access then the buttons on the Saitek 3D joystick. The stick also feels much more comfortable in your hand. The adjustments are easy and custom fit the stick to your hand. I keep the old Saitek 3D joystick as a trusted back-up, but the F.L.Y.5 is my new favorite. I've only had it a few days, so the durability is still in question, but it is so responsive that rough treatment in a game or simulation would probably be counterproductive. The design is well thought out and although superfluous the blue LED's are cool.
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on March 16, 2015
So this joystick was actually pretty amazing for the few months I was able to use it. After those few months though, the number 2 thumb button broke off while I was in the middle of playing Elite: Dangerous. So I had to abandon the dogfight I was in and quit out of the game. After close inspection I discovered the only thing holding all 4 thumb buttons on is a thin piece of plastic about the thickness of a fingernail and about a quarter inch wide. Apparently the bottom two buttons also have no support under the outer part of the button so if that's where your thumb happens to land every time while wearing an Oculus Rift DK2 then eventually the cheap flexible plastic holding the button on is eventually going to break. I was able to secure it back on by carefully applying brush on nail glue. Have yet to test whether it will hold up while gaming but the real point is as amazing as this joystick is while it's working it's built incredibly cheap. It looks awesome and every other piece of the joystick works well (although I have my doubts about the hair trigger not breaking with time) but the fact that some of it was designed with aesthetics in mind instead of durability I can't honestly suggest that anybody actually spend money on this joystick unless the price goes down to around $20 dollars.
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