Saitek Cyborg EVO Joystick Review

by Jonathan Trevisani,Computer Games Online

Flying around in a sleek attack fighter or a nimble scout helicopter requires an extra bit of control that a mouse and keyboard just don't provide. Joysticks are the one true advantage that true flight-simulator gamers have over the rest. Performing barrel rolls or a Split-S shouldn't be a matter of tapping the D key or swirling around your mouse; you need to pull back and twist that joystick for the absolute feel of flying. The Saitek Cyborg EVO provides the high quality look and feel of a solid joystick with several options for gamers to choose from.

The Cyborg EVO is the latest EVO-lution of the popular Cyborg series of joysticks and it has all of the features that gamers want for flight controls. The design has a mix of function and form as the shiny aluminum finish and the matte black surfacing stand out on any desktop. It is fairly large and can accommodate some of the largest gamer hands out there. Where joysticks are concerned, when someone sees it on your desk, they know you are a serious about your flight games. The EVO sits on the desk proudly as the source for all of your control needs.

It has an ambidextrous design that allows every gamer to take control of the joystick with comfort and efficiency. There are several components that are easily adjusted for right- and left-handed use. The main hand rest can be switched to both sides of the joystick and raised or lowered so gamers can enjoy the comfort no matter what their hand preference or size. There are two more adjustable components located near the top of the joystick; one adjusts the level of the back three thumb buttons and the other tilts the head of the joystick to the left or right for easier use. All of these components are adjusted by easy-to-use knobs so there is no tool that you have to worry about losing.

There are a total of 12 programmable buttons on the entire joystick, 6 of which are fire buttons located at the top of the joystick. The almighty trigger has a great click response and feels right for rapid-fire barrages. There are three main thumb buttons that are behind the hat switch and two smaller buttons that are placed beside the switch. The main thumb buttons are a good size and are easily-pressed with excellent effectiveness. The two side buttons are a little smaller and still maintain the good feel, but are harder to reach since you have to reach past the three main buttons and around the hat switch to press them. Since the head of the joystick can be adjusted, this issue can be minimized for easy thumb access. The 8 way 'point-of-view' hat switch performs well and gives players the ability to see in every direction with a flick of the switch.

The base of the joystick contains the rest of the buttons for secondary purposes. There are three on each side which are designed to take advantage of the ambidextrous performance. The two buttons closest to the stick itself are shift buttons that can increase the functionality of the programmable buttons by doubling the programming options. By pushing the shift button, players have access to a new set of programmed uses for each of the other buttons on the joystick. The software program allows players to set up multiple control schemes for the joystick to switch between. At the back of the base lies the large throttle which blends into the border, but will control the thrust of your vehicle. The size and tightness of the throttle prevent it from slipping from its position and potentially ruining a great attack run. It might require too much force for comfortable control, but has a solid feel for steady movement.

The Cyborg EVO utilizes a single spring gimbal mechanism for joystick movement which provide for the solid design quality. The joystick control doesn't have the rigid tightness that would translate to knee-jerk maneuvers and contributes to a loose control. It isn't enough to really affect performance, but goes against the tight design for the rest of the components. The rudder twist control is responsive and sturdy so turning your vehicle becomes second nature after a while. Each movement is smooth and steady which keeps the flight experience at a comfortable level. The texture of the joystick itself provides a firm grip with no slippage. The high build quality lends itself to the feeling that you have your hands around more than just a plastic stick.

The Saitek Cyborg EVO gives you the freedom to control vehicles with a multitude of options along with comfort and customization. The high build quality provides a solid joystick that will last through hours and hours of game play with quick response times. The loose control and bulky button pattern sometimes take away from the ease of use, but it still pulls through. For $29.95, the Cyborg EVO brings players to the next level for an entry level price. Start maneuvering through your favorite games with a quality joystick.

Overall score: 4 out of 5.

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