The time has come where I finally got my hands on what is most certainly the best flight stick I’ve ever owned, The X-55 Rhino from Saitek. The Hands on Throttle and Stick (H.O.T.A.S.) is incredibly solid to touch and features more buttons than I can count. Ok, so actually I can count all the buttons, but it does have more buttons than what I’m used to! It’s obviously heavily catered to hardcore flight sim fans.
As you may know I’ve spent a lot of time lately in a world full of warplanes. That’s right! I’ve been playing a lot of War Thunder. I’ve experimented with an older joystick that did the job just fine, the AV8R. I’ve also played a lot of multiplayer matches with the keyboard and mouse where I found the aiming to be much more ideal. And now I’ve finally experienced the game with the X-55 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. which makes the game feel that much more natural to anyone who loves to fly.
The quality build of the X-55 Rhino is very apparent from the beginning, but especially when I’m advancing from the AV8R. The Rhino is incredibly sturdy and comes with four changeable springs that feature different levels of resistance. I’ve actually been very happy with the resistance spring that comes pre-installed. I’m able to move the stick just right to feel the exact amount of control I want when flying an aircraft.
The throttle is also excellent and feels great for when adjusting the power back and forth. It’s very easy to make sure us virtual aviators are able to increase or decrease to the right percentage of power to our engines. Additionally, the main throttle can actually unhook and become two throttles for powering a dual engine aircraft. It’s pretty darn cool!
The X-55 Rhino is the best stick I’ve used, though some of the buttons are rather sensitive to the touch. A few times while in the heat of battle I’ve pressed a button I didn’t intend to at that moment. But besides that, I haven’t had any issues with it. So whether players are enjoying some online multiplayer action or going through a few campaign missions, the Rhino has been a great stick for doing so.
I’ve also enjoyed using the X-55 Rhino in the short time I’ve had with Elite: Dangerous. I plan to dive in to that game a lot more here in the coming weeks. I also need to play one of the more hardcore sims and make use of the many buttons available on the Rhino. But for now, I’ll continue to enjoy the fine flying that the stick presents me with and the rather cool looks it spouts off while playing these games.
I’ll certainly have more impressions of the stick here in the coming weeks as well, especially as I live stream a lot of gameplay sessions while using the stick during my ‘Sky Sessions” streaming series on Twitch, which you can find every Wednesday. Be sure to check it out!