"It Can Pulp a Bass! It'll Do Your Dishes! Resistance Is Futile!"
Joysticks are, for PC Gamers, a test of just how serious you are about your hobby. Sure, you can put down fifty bucks for a game or two every other month, but are you willing to spend some serious cash to get the exotic hardware? Are you willing to go all the way to the totally tricked out max? Are you willing to buy a full Thrustmaster F22-Pro with TQS Throttle Control and Rudder Pedals for $350? Probably not. More than likely you don't really need a full throttle/rudder/flighstick set up. You don't need something that costs two hundred dollars and is designed for unquestionably insane flight simulation fanatics.
More likely you need a good, well rounded controller that may be used for any joystick game, but that won't drain your bank account or require a pilots license to operate. That's where joysticks like the Saitek Cyborg 3D Digital come in. What's more, the Cyborg is just about the pick of the litter of these handy home appliances.
The Cyborg 3D is Saitek's first flight controller since their critically acclaimed X36 Flightstick/Throttle system last year. Very fortunately the Cyborg exhibits the same quality of design and construction that made the X-36 so popular. It is also one of the most customizable and well-rounded joysticks ever to be made.
The main stick of the Cyborg is totally symmetrical and has a comfortable rubber grip with two detachable rubber hand-rests. Through the use of the little, supplied hex-wrench, the hand-rests may be moved up or down to fit your hand, or their positions switched so that the Cyborg becomes a left handed flightstick, something you don't often see in a quality joystick anymore.
The precision of the stick is very high. There is only a very small amount of imprecision at the very center of the control rectangle, which is usually engulfed by the dead zone anyway. There is also a very agreeable level of tension in the springs of the stick, giving it a very solid, professional feel. In tests with most current flight sims and space flight sims, the Cyborg preformed admirably, giving nearly flawlessly precise control.
The head of the stick has 3 large buttons, an 8-way directional hat switch, and a trigger. Through the use of the same hex wrench, the tilt of the head may be adjusted to fit you thumb length, and the roll may be shifted to fit the most comfortable hand angle.
One feature included in the Cyborg that is not found too often is a twist-handle function. The 'R-Axis' acts like a rudder set in flight sims. It also helps a lot to make up for there being no buttons on the shaft of the stick itself. Although it would have been possible to put one or two buttons down the front middle of the stick, owing to its customizable and ambidextrous nature no buttons where put on the stick, only on the head and base.
At the base, there are four 'Function Buttons' and two 'Shift Keys.' The function buttons are just like any normal joystick buttons. The shift keys, allow each other key to have two functions, though they require the use of your other hand.
Also at the base it a small throttle, again, which may be shifted from one side to the other to support a left-hand adjustment. The throttle is very dependable, with good tension and a solid feel.
The Cyborg is a digital joystick and as such can only be used with Windows 95 games or DOS games running through a Windows 95 DOS box. It may be set to Analogue mode, though it requires an annoying re-calibration.
Programming the Cyborg is a not terribly difficult through the use of Saitek's Command Center software. But the software does take a good deal of time to learn how to use properly, and more advanced key sets and functions can take a lot of tweaking and testing to get to work properly.
The Cyborg 3D Digital is an excellent midrange joystick. It includes almost every feature available in its class, provides full Throttle/Rudder/Flightstick control all in one, extreme customizability, and top of the line construction with precision control. It comes very close to being the all-things-to-everybody reasonably priced joystick that most less-than-hardcore-games are looking for. If you are one if them, the Cyborg is just about your best bet. Definitely forget about the SideWinder Precision Pro or the Logitech Wingman, this is the full service, home appliance, life improving, miracle wonder product to buy, accept no substitute, it can pulp a bass. If you whack the bass with it hard enough…