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Hardware Review: Thrustmaster T.16000M Joystick

MSRP: $49.99 as standalone
MSRP: $79.99 bundled with Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X


At the core of the Thrustmaster T.16000M is a technology called H.E.A.R.T. (Hall Effect AccuRate Technology), which uses magnetic sensors to boost the flightstick's accuracy to 16,000 x 16,000 DPI resolution. What that means to gamers is that they gain a frictionless controller with unmatched precision and response. Additional features include built-in rudder controls that can be accessed by twisting the stick, programmable side buttons, a four direction hat switch and a throttle slider on the base. To top it all off, the package comes with tools to change over the padding for left-handed users.

The T.16000M can be purchased by itself or bundled with Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X, and in many ways, it seems like this flightstick was practically custom made for this game. This USB controller installs without a hassle. Windows XP and Vista detect it automatically once it's plugged in, and it's already configured to support all H.A.W.X controls. The base has a decent weight to it and the non-slip pads ensured that it didn't slide around, even during some of the most intense moments. Having one hand on the stick and the other on the base to access button controls like flares and the ERS system takes some getting used to, but it's a small issue to overcome.


Our experience with the T.16000M yielded very positive results. The flightstick is tough and sturdy while providing top-notch performance. Response is excellent and there was absolutely no hassle with installation. With all its built-in features, there really isn't much more anyone can ask from a $50 joystick. However, one also has to keep in mind that there aren't as many flight simulators out for the PC as there once were. Even the long-running Microsoft Flight Simulator may see its end, since its development studio closed earlier this year, making H.A.W.X and possibly a small handful of other games the only ones would make full use out of a high-precision flightstick. So, in order to justify the purchase, you'd have to enjoy H.A.W.X very much or play a number of legacy flight/space simulators. The good news for H.A.W.X fans is that the T.16000M makes a tremendous difference in gameplay. Not only does it immerse players in the game, but the device actually improved our game. Our success rate and performance in playing H.A.W.X nearly doubled when compared to using the mouse and keyboard or Xbox 360 gamepad. Whether that kind of performance boost is worth buying a controller for the sake of one game is up to the player.

We recommend the Thrustmaster T.16000M to gamers who want to get the most out of their Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X experience. It provides the precision and control that gives players a definite advantage. However, more casual players may want to stay with what they have.

Pros
  • Excellent precision, response, durability and weight
  • Built in throttle, rudder controls and side buttons
  • Configurable for left-handed use
  • Practically designed to play Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X

Cons
  • May only be useful for one or a small handful of games at best

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