The Xbox One might not be the first platform you’d look to for flight-simulation titles.
While the genre has long been primarily found on the PC, consoles have been able to enjoy the likes of Elite Dangerous and Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown over the last few years, meaning a flight-stick doesn’t feel as out of the question as it may have done in the last console generation.
Thrustmaster’s T.Flight Hotas One is an ideal first step into console flight-sims, offering a wealth of control options for an entry-level price – and it’ll run on your PC, too.
We tested the stick primarily on Elite Dangerous, with Frontier’s space-sim offering pre-mapped controls to make the Hotas One as close to plug and play as possible.
Between both modules there are 15-buttons, as well as a handy “hat” switch which essentially replaces the D-pad. That means navigating menus (and adjusting power levels on the fly in Elite) is as simple as flicking your thumb.
Of course, one of the most important parts is the trigger, and we’re very pleased to report we felt positively lethal when squeezing it, especially in conjunction with the impressive motion that the stick offers on all axis.
Small movements, like strafing and altitude control can be managed using the buttons on the throttle, while buttons on the base of the unit will swap weapon groups. Considering how much heavy lifting various controller shortcuts have to do on an Xbox One pad, this feels like the way Elite was meant to be played.
There is one minor quirk in the position of the “Y” button. Because as you play, your left hand likely covers the button, it can take some time to remember where it is. In a game where that’s the key button for hitting “supercruise” speed or jumping from star to star, we’d have loved to see it shifted just a few centimetres to the right of where it is now.
The trouble facing prospective customers is how much time they’re likely to spend playing flight-simulators. With Microsoft’s huge reboot of their own simulator title coming this year, the Hotas One is an ideal proposition for prospective pilots.
If you play a lot of Elite Dangerous, or even Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, then you’ll find plenty to like with the Hotas One. You’ll be more accurate, more in control, and in Elite’s case, more likely to save yourself from buying a replacement ship when pirates destroy yours.
For everyone else, though, it’s a great entry-level PC flight stick.
The Verdict – 5/5 (If you have the games for it)
Unparalleled Elite experience
Plenty of customisation
Works on PC
Great build quality…
- Let down slightly by a flimsy throttle
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