With the ongoing hype for Star Citizen, joysticks would be making a great come back on PC gaming once again. And with Steam’s abundant indie game developers cashing in on the space survival genre, you can hope to see more of these games coming out in the near future. However, these flight simulation games would also need the proper hardware to get maximum enjoyment. Yes, of course you can use a mouse and a keyboard but that is not as nearly as fun as actually using a joystick. Not only does it feel a bit more real, it is also much more accurate and feels a lot more intuitive as opposed to using a typical mouse and keyboard.
And therein lies the problem. What kind of joystick should we use? Well, just like with a mouse and keyboard, it depends on your budget and the type of game you are going to play. It probably does not matter a lot more with a keyboard and mouse since I have been using a typical office Dell keyboard and a typical mouse and still manage to play decently. However, with joysticks the difference between a high end joystick and a cheap one is a lot. With keyboards, the main WASD keys are always on the same position, with joysticks these can be changed depending on the brand you are using. Not to mention joysticks also come in two versions. Do you want a high end flight simulation one with a ton of controls that can be quite complicated to master or a cheap and simple one that has fewer controls but is easier to get into? The cheaper one is also more likely better for simpler games. These are the things you have to keep in mind. But let us say you are going to be playing various types of flight games which means you are going to be touching the flight simulator ones that require a ton of controls but you are also going to play the simpler ones that need less controls. Well, Thrustmaster has something amazing for you and that is the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Hotas Joystick.
I know what you are thinking. Once you look at it, it is obviously a high end joystick that will suit better for much more complicated games that require a lot of controls but bear with me here. The Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Hotas actually uses the T.A.R.G.E.T. software for keybindings it has a large library for various games. The T.A.R.G.E.T. software also allows you to assign your own keybindings as well and lastly even game developers support it by adding their own as well. Besides this software, the obvious build quality is really amazing so enough introduction and let us take a closer look on the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Hotas.
Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Hotas Joystick Review – Whats in the Box?
The Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Hotas comes in an enormous box but despite being in a big box, it is a lot less weighty than the X56 box. The box comes in a dark and orange overall color with the joystick in front of the box.
Once you open the box the joystick, along with the throttle are inside a massive white foam to protect it. First up, like most products we have the manual which you will find at the top. There are two of these manuals because one is for the joystick and the other is for the throttle.
It is a bit tight in taking out the foam protecting it but slowly pulling out the outer box would do it. Now we see the throttle which is quite wide and it has an analog input in front. Usually you will find these on your thumbs but this position actually works. There is a lot more buttons on this but we will go through them later. You can also see that it has its own USB connection. Also once you move the throttle, you can also notice that it does not move at all which is a huge plus since this is a common issue for throttles altogether. One reason for this is Thrustmaster most likely added a lot of weight at the base and less weight at the top making it harder for the user to move the base of the throttle while moving the actual throttle.
Next up is the joystick which has a pretty solid build with its own cables as well. This is an ambidextrous joystick which means you can use it with any of your hands.
Despite the fact that Thrustmaster does give their products names that are easier to remember, they do still have amazing products. The amount of detail the T.16000M FCS and control it has can be quite intimidating but once you do get yourself used to it, you will most likely enjoying and pulling the best dog fights in the game. And speaking of intimidating, one of the biggest reason this could really intimidate a user is its general build design. It has a ton of features cramped onto it that it does not look like any typical joystick controller out there. In fact, it has so much control buttons and features that it actually looks intimidating like the actual plane joystick. However, having a lot controls or buttons can be a good thing provided it is put in the right place that makes it comfortable for the user.
When you look at the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS, you can really tell it has an amazing build quality which is something you can expect from Thrustmaster. The outer parts are made from molded plastic and while you can’t see it, the moving parts are actually made from metal thus making the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS quite heavy. Although being a bit heavy is not exactly always good when it comes to gaming peripherals, for a joystick that does not require to be lifted, this is actually beneficial. The buttons also have a firm tactile feel that gives you enough comfort and response to give you a feeling that you are actually driving a badass plane. Overall, the build quality is a solid one and when you grip it, it indeed feels premium, the texture and feel of the outer plastic is definitely not a cheap one. Another thing to note is the buttons also have braille, so if you are blind then you know what buttons you are pressing which is a nice feature.
Obviously, the most noticeable of this controller is the flight stick. The user is able to rotate it around just like any typical joystick. You can also twist it lightly. However this is not an entire axis. Instead, it is two “on/off” switches which can be used like any other buttons. You also have the control for the thumbs that you are able to rotate 360 degrees. If you look at each side of the joystick, you can see three customizable buttons that can be programmed for whatever feature for the game you are playing. When you take a look at the base, you might notice initially that it is very busy with various designs. However, those are actually programmable buttons that can be assigned various controls. They are 12 buttons and these buttons can also use take macros. You can assign this yourself using these 12 buttons.
The stick is also ambidextrous which means both right handed and left handed people can use it. This also uses Thrustmaster’s 16 bit magnetic sensor (H.E.A.R.T.) that makes the stick avoid friction. The stick has one 8-way-POV hat switch, 4 axes and 16 action buttons which is a lot.
I am pretty sure a lot of you have seen the inside of a cockpit of a plane, if not in real life at least in images or movies. And we all know it has a ton of controls and way more complicated than a land vehicle like a car. There are games that try to make it simple thus making it hard to control your plane. However, the throttle can help you take control. You can easily speed up or slow down just by moving the throttle forward or back and while your hand is on the grip, you can put your pointer on the analog stick which then gives you a second axis for a variety of controls. Towards the right side, you can find a small scroll wheel that can modify the third axis. There are also paddles when you look at the bottom of the controller which gives you a ton of various controls which you can edit to suit your style. Lastly, there is a switch, two digital buttons by the fingers and four on the side. There are some games that are specifically made for this controller which is pretty cool. A lot however, just lets the user to bind custom keys on the buttons. The throttle itself has a ton of controls that any game would be suited for it without lacking enough controls. There is a total of 65,635 various combinations of button presses as well as axis positions that the user can combine for the game. Now, there are also other controllers that have a ton of controls but the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS’ controls are laid out perfectly that the user can use it intuitively. Despite looking intimidating at first glance, once you place your hand on it, you will instantly feel comfortable and get used to the controls in due time which shows the effort Thrustmaster has put in combining function with aesthetics.
A tremendous amount of control but provides little to no comfort is almost useless. This would make using the product discouraging and if the user does use it, they will only find themselves using it for very little time and possibly in due time, they will find a replacement for it. The good news is, the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS is very ergonomic. You will soon realize that ergonomics played a vital part in planning the production of this joystick. There are a lot of cool looking controllers out on the market but when you use it, it just feels awkward. The areas on where the controls are may look like it was rushed or was forced there but once you lay your hands on this fine piece of hardware, you will soon feel at ease and the controls are in the right position as you try to press them. The motion is quite smooth but it does have a bit more resistance compared to other brands. This is not a bad thing. This would make harder for your plane to easily move if you accidentally swiped it. It also helps your movements a lot more accurate and precise. You would actually have to exert a little bit of effort in moving it but it is not too much to the point where it becomes a nuisance. It will probably take a little bit of getting used to but you eventually will. The throttle is also the same. If you use really bad controllers, you might accidentally go increase speed in a matter of seconds as if you are using a hyperdrive. However, if you use the Thrustmaster T.16000M’s throttle, you have ultimate control with the speed increments thus making things easier.
T.16000M FCS Flight Stick
Exclusive precision: H.E.A.R.T* HallEffect AccuRate Technology™! 3D (Hall Effect) magnetic sensors located on the stick (*US patent: US08471815)
Precision levels 256 times greater than current systems (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!
3 removable components allow the joystick to 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 (controlled by rotating the stick)
Ergonomic trigger for brake (civilian flight) or rapid fire (military flight, space simulation) control
Multidirectional hat switch (for panoramic view)
Ergonomic design for optimum comfort
Wide hand rest for reduced stress
Weighted base for enhanced stability
S.M.A.R.T technology: unique system of slide rails for perfectly smooth throttle sliding motion and precision
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
Product Type: Joystick and throttle
Connectivity Technology: wired
Features: 4 axis, H.E.A.R.T. HallEffect AccuRate Technology
Buttons Qty: 17
Control: 14 action buttons, 8-way hat switch
Color Category: black, orange
Compatible Game Consoles: PC
Item model number: T.16000M FCS Hotas
Hardware Platform: PC (Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista)
Operating System: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista
Item Weight: 3 lbs
Product Dimensions: 9 x 10.4 x 10.7 inches
Item Dimensions L x W x H: 9.01 x 10.39 x 10.7 inches
Advanced flight control games are great for these types for joysticks but if you want to play something simple therein lie the common problem. With Thrustmaster, you can use the T.A.R.G.E.T. programming software which connects both the flight stick and the throttle. It makes it like one device. Most of the games will work with this however there are some that you would need to customize first. And if you are too lazy to customize the settings, you can download them online. Theoretically, as long as other users are making their own keybindings for the games they play, you would be able to easily use the Thrustmaster T.16000M which makes this joystick highly compatible in a lot of games. Another thing to note about this is while other keybindings are made by players, there are a few that are actually made by the developers of the game and you can download the settings directly on their website. Such games are the hyped Star Citizen and another is from Elite Dangerous.
Once you buy the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS you also get the T.A.R.G.E.T. software which allows you to configure the various peripherals by Thrustmaster. This software also allows you to run simulations of peripherals like a keyboard and a mouse so you can let your HOTAS do the same thing.
If you have bought and tried various joysticks in the past or even just canvased for joysticks, you will probably realize that throttles tend to classify themselves in two areas. They are either a non-simulation game throttles which is a simplified version that does not have a lot of buttons and extra features. These throttles look a lot more like a toy than a sophisticated simulation controller. And the other is the flight simulation controllers that more or less replicate the sophisticated and complicated look of an actual flight stick. These are quite expensive and have a ton of controls. Now you would think that the Thrustmaster Throttle Controller is classified as the latter because of the industrial grade quality and the amount of controls it has but it also has features that make gaming on non-simulation arcade games fun and less frustrating. The pricing is pretty decent as well.
The Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS is an incredibly high end controller. Thrusmaster has thought and went in-depth in every detail giving this controller every possible button for any game that you throw at it.
People will end up having to choose on whether they want a realistic one with a close to accurate representation or a simplified one that is easy to use although it does not have the extra features. This will be a common problem when it comes with buying joysticks however with the Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS you are able to get the best of both worlds because of the T.A.R.G.E.T. programming software. The Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS is indeed one heck of a universal joystick controller.
The Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS Hotas Joystick is one serious bit of kit that really does kick ass. This is the essential must have item for anyone that is a fan of space or flight sims and those that pilot vehicles in games such as Battlefield.