Quick ‘n Accurate Review

Sidewinder Precision Pro Info


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Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now


  • Hardware


Quick ‘n Accurate

I’ve always hated bad joysticks. You probably know them.

They’re uncomfortable, inaccurate, two-button, analog pieces of

junk. I was then very glad to be able to try out Microsoft’s

Sidewinder Precision Pro Microsoft has been developing a

reputation for designing high-quality game devices for their

Sidewinder line. I am pleased to say that they are carrying on

that tradition with the Precision Pro.

The Sidewinder Precision Pro is Microsoft’s newest

non-force feedback joystick. It is the successor to the

Sidewinder Pro. The Precision Pro is an all-digital

joystick. This means that you never need to recalibrate the

thing. It used infrared beams of light to ensure accurate

movement and no drift. The Sidewinder’s all-digital nature is a

blessing for those who seek accuracy and quality in their

joystick, but it can also cause problems on

some sound cards.

If you have one of these problem sound cards, you should think

long and hard before you buy this joystick, as you may have major

difficulties when trying to use it.

The Sidewinder has a standard 2-axis stick, plus a rudder control

in the form of a twistable handle, which can be used in some

games. The main stick has 4 buttons, which are placed more

naturally than on the Sidewinder Pro, as well as a hat

switch, which can be used to control the viewing direction. On

the base of the stick, there are 4 other buttons, a throttle

control, and a ‘shift’ key. You might be wondering why you need

all these buttons. After all, most games have actions for 2 or

at most 4 joystick buttons. This is where the Sidewinder’s

software comes in.

The Sidewinder uses profiles to control the

functions of the stick. Each profile allows the user to set

keystroke combinations for each button and each shifted button.

This allows you to use up to 16 combinations per profile. Adding

to the joystick’s flexibility is the fact that you can switch

between profiles by simply calling up the profile manager. 30

profiles for popular games have been included, and it is quite

easy to change them or to make your own. One weakness that I

noticed is that you are unable to assign keystrokes to rudder

control, hat-switch, throttle, or basic movements. This would

have let the user use the Sidewinder even in games which are

keyboard based, or assign the throttle, hat-switch, and rudder

functions to keyboard commands in games which do not use these


Despite these annoyances, I found the Sidewinder Precision

very useful in most games. Its button layout is much

more convenient than the earlier Sidewinder, and its full

complement of buttons and programmability makes it invaluable in

flight sims and fighting games. While I would not recommend the

Sidewinder Precision Pro to current owners of a high quality

joystick, I would recommend it to anyone looking for an accurate,

drift free, programmable joystick. Another joystick to consider

would be the Sidewinder Force-feedback joystick, but it costs

about twice that of the Precision Pro, and can cause

soreness in some users. If you use a joystick a lot, and are

stuck with one of those $10 models, you will wish you had bought

the Sidewinder Precision Pro a long time ago.