The Saitek X52 Pro: is it the flight controller with the best value for money?
Saitek is a manufacturer of gaming accessories. Over the years, they have designed a complete line of products specially designed for flight simulators. One of their most advanced products of this type is the X52 Pro Flight System. The Saitek X52 Pro offers users a very high level of control over games, as well as many other attractive features.
I bought the Saitek X52 over 2 years ago, so when I heard that a new version of the X52 Pro was not available, I initially didn’t show much interest. Who wants the same device in a different color with alternate colored lights? BUT – I had some cash left over from Christmas and was eager to update my flight simulation control system.
On initial inspection, Saitek has replaced the brushed aluminum fascias with metallic-colored ones, and almost all of the hat switches and sliders have been revamped. The end result is something that looks a bit more business-like than the X-52. On closer inspection, the somewhat useless and misleading LCD on the X-52’s throttle unit has been updated and can now be used to reveal valuable information.
The changes that are most valuable to a flight sim enthusiast, like myself, are less obvious. First, Saitek has placed two centering springs on the pole, one inside the other. The result is a stick that has a noticeably stronger spring than the X-52, much better for flight simulators! The other difference is inside the lever, where Saitek has used twice as many position sensors as the old X-52 to produce even better precision. Only these two improvements tell me that the X-52 Pro is worth it. If you load a flight simulator that requires smooth and precise control movements (for example dogfighting in the IL-2 series) you will notice a definite change for the better from the old Saitek X52. Congratulations Saitek!
Is the X-52 Pro worth the extra money? If you are a flight sim enthusiast with money poking a hole in your pocket and looking for a quality controller then you should go for the X-52 Pro. If you are not so concerned with things like centering springs and high controls precision, then you should go for the considerably cheaper X-52, which still gives you 95% of the programming capabilities and a separate throttle and stick combo.