Hardware Review Virtual Reality

Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X – Hardware Review

What is the Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X?

The Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X is as the name states – a HOTAS. This means ‘hands-on throttle-and-stick’. It could also be described as a flight stick or the combination of a joystick and throttle. They’re great for playing compatible flight games, giving a more realistic and immersive experience when compared to a standard game controller or keyboard.

This is a PlayStation 3 and PC compatible HOTAS. Why am I telling you about it when we’re well into the PlayStation 4 lifecycle? Because it is incredibly cheap! This review is mostly aimed at PC players who want an affordable flight stick to play Elite Dangerous or similar games. HOTAS have gained a new life with the advent of virtual reality too – a lot of flight and space games are adding VR support and allow you to use a flight stick for further immersion. I’ve personally spoken to quite a few people playing these types of games for the first time due to VR.

How is the quality?

Keep in mind that I bought my Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X in 2014. On top of that, I bought it used. Despite this, I cannot see any significant wear or tear on the flight stick. It has held up well, as you can see yourself in the photos. The only reason that I can tell it isn’t new at a glance is the area at the base of the joystick which catches dust and is difficult to clean off. This flight stick was recommended to me at the time and that person’s Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X is still in fine working order too.

Now with that said, it does look cheap and it feels almost as cheap. It’s primarily made of plastic and it is certainly plain looking compared to some others with dozens more buttons, switches, and more. The base is fairly heavy though, which is a plus. It’s a fairly solid unit overall, despite being plastic. The only exception to this is that the throttle does not have much resistance or weight, so it can be easy to overshoot when using it until becoming used to it.

While testing the joystick, I’ve found it to be both comfortable to use for the most part and accurate. The only exception is minor – I have found the little analog thumbstick to be a little awkward at times. With that said, I found it wasn’t often required in games. One nice thing about this HOTAS is how common it is too – there are plenty of remaps of button layouts for popular games.~

Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X

How about the features?

The most noticeable feature of the Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X – it splits into two. You can disconnect the joystick and the thruster to position them better. This is not wireless – a cable runs between them. There’s a groove along the bottom to run the cable in so it sits flat, though it can be a little awkward to make sit in the space correctly.

It is plug and play with PC, as long as you make sure to flick the PC switch. Most HOTAS would be these days, but it’s worth mentioning due to the age. You don’t need to install drivers or anything along those lines. 

The flight stick has an internal memory, which is great if you want to program it. I admit that I’ve mostly just used mapping on the computer though, as this is primarily in use as a PC HOTAS for me.

There are twelve buttons for you to configure and five axis, which is more than many other low-end joysticks. You will not want for buttons in most games, but there have been a couple of exceptions like flight simulators. You can have entire boards of switches for those at the high-end level, so a single joystick will always be lacking. There are some which come closer though.


I mentioned at the start that the Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X is incredibly cheap. Despite this, it feels more like a mid-tier HOTAS in some ways. Certainly not in the material quality, despite how well it holds up. In the features it has though, in the level of comfort and how solid it feels overall – it’s certainly far better than I would expect for the price paid.

I can confidently recommend this flight stick as an entry-level HOTAS. For those who want a true simulator experience, they may wish to find something of a higher quality. For some casual simulator gaming or playing the more arcade-style flight games though, this is more than enough and the best of the flight sticks I’ve tried at around this price point by far.


Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3
Purchase Links: Amazon (US), Amazon (UK)

If you want to take your flight games to the next level, how about considering virtual reality? We have reviewed the Oculus Rift here.

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