When I saw that Thrustmaster was making a more affordable HOTAS paired with and updated version of their fan-favorite T.1600m Flight Stick, I just had to have it. The second it was available for pre-order it was purchased. The Thrustmaster T.16000m FCS was priced at $130USD, which is significantly less than other popular HOTAS setups out there with Thrustmaster’s premium HOTAS, the Warthog coming in at just under $400USD, and Saitek’s (recently purchased by Logitech) X56 is slightly less at $350USD. Right away based on price, this seems like a really good HOTAS to try if you are new to Space/Flight Sims but don’t want to break the bank to get additional immersion while playing.
Right away I noticed a significant weight difference between the T.16000m and the X56 boxes, with the Thrustmaster being much lighter and it was a concern of mine that maybe the build quality of the stick and throttle were compromised to keep the price down. When I opened the box I went right for the throttle, as I expected the stick to be very similar to the original T1.6000m, and wow was I happy with my findings. I immediately tried the throttle to see how smooth it was and if there was any movement on my desk at all when using it. The throttle did not move at all! For me, this is one of the most important things when using a peripheral for anything, they should be solid and not moving all over the place as it makes your movement intended for the stick/throttle to be less accurate. I do have one concern, the first time I moved the throttle and a few times after there was a grinding feel to it and less smooth that you would expect, but the next time I moved it, everything was smooth. They use a really interesting rail system to achive this.
The throttle fit really well in my hand, and it felt very natural. The button layout was really good as well, all of the hats are on the right side of the throttle to be used with your thumb, with only one button, while the all of the analog inputs are on the front side that can be used for more fine controls. There is also a wheel at the top left of the throttle that could be used for many things as it is an analog input. Next would be the size of the throttle, it is much smaller than the other popular HOTAS throttles as there are zero buttons on the base. This is a positive and a negative for me as you get a TON of customization with more inputs, but it also takes up a lot of room. The Thrustmaster throttle takes up much less space and it also is not as tall as other throttles on the market. This allows you to lay your arm on your desk comfortably and in my opinion negates the need to desk/chair mounting for comfort.
As expected, I was not overly surprised by anything with the stick. It is the same old T.1600om that we know and love with some very minor improvements to the buttons on the base having a braille feel, so you know which ones you are pressing. Also, the buttons on the thumb area of the stick are no longer smooth, they are ridged with allows you to grip them better. The complaint about the mushy feel of the buttons is still there tho as I do believe the internals of the stick are exactly the same as the original version. If you want to watch my unboxing of this HOTAS on my YouTube channel click here.
Setting up the peripherals was actually quite easy you just have to download the drivers for the stick and throttle separately from the Thrustmaster website here and here then plug in the stick and or throttle to your USB ports. For Star Citizen, it was a bit more complicated than that, but only a little. When I jumped into a game the stick worked
just fine, but the throttle did not until I chose the Thrustmaster Warthog profile under Options>Keybinding>Advanced Control Options (bottom right)>Choose profile>Import to Joystick in both boxes as one is your stick and one is the throttle.
After the initial setup came the custom profile that we all build to our liking within the game. I had a good time with this and changed quite a bit of the standard profile to what I prefer. If this profile is something you would like to see posted somewhere that you can DL it let me know in the comments and I will find the appropriate place for it.
If you can’t tell by now I am a really big fan of this product. This is a Star Citizen website and I am almost exclusively a Star Citizen content creator so a lot of the reasons that I am giving this a positive review is because of how I feel it works with a Star Citizen setup. While the throttle lacks the number of buttons which I do consider a big negative, it makes up for it in the space it takes up on my desk. If you are going to play a game like Star Citizen which vastly differs from all the Space/Flight simulations out there and you want to use a HOTAS setup, you need a Mouse, Keyboard, Stick, Throttle, Headset/Speakers, and a Mic (optional). When you leave your ship and walk around or engage in FPS combat you simply have to use a M+KB, it is just silly not to. So the sheer amount of desk space the stick and throttle take up compared to my X56 is a huge plus for me.
I was slightly disappointed that we did not see too many changes to the flight stick, but for anyone that uses it, it is a solid stick and very accurate. As a Star Citizen fan, and just not a huge fan of Elite: Dangerous I don’t really like that they themed the stick and throttle directly like the E:D UI. I think they should have found a different, but modern and cool style, even if they stuck with the green instead of trying to appeal to people who play a single game.
The real question is did it improve my gameplay/immersion in Star Citizen? The answer: Yes. The smooth rail system on the throttle is very good and accurate, I can throttle up and down easily changing 1% at a time if I want to be more fine. The button layout on the throttle is also perfect in my opinion, the hats having 3 distinctly different feels allows you quickly find the input you need and use it. I also love the layout on the front of the throttle, especially the analog stick. I use this for strafe up, down, left and right. It also can be pressed in, I am still trying to figure out what I want to use for that, but given your index finger should be on the stick at all times, I am thinking something like countermeasures. The most unique part of the entire system is the rudders that are located on the throttle. I think this is an amazing addition to a HOTAS, especially from Thrustmaster. Mentioned before, the Warthog is their premiere HOTAS setup, but it does not have a twist option. This means if you want to yaw/roll you need pedals. This throttle put the pedals right in your hand! This is also and analog input which allows me to lightly tap, or go full speed holding the rudder down.
Moving on to the stick, I want to start out with something that I have never liked about it. I just have never liked the way it feels in my hand. The exact opposite of a huge plus on the throttle, is that I have to hold my arm/elbow off the table to use it. As a HOTAS, I am not sure how good a T.1600m stick is, it was made as a standalone stick with the buttons and throttle on the base. In a HOTAS situation, those buttons go completely to waste, unless you bind them to non-combat or mechanics that do not require you to have your hand on the stick. At the moment, I cannot think of a single thing to bind to those buttons. Continuing with the buttons the thumb area of the stick could be better. There is a lot of real estate there, but there are only 3 buttons. I think they could totally look at a stick like the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro who has 4 much better laid out buttons and a better hat feel. They also have that same loose feel that the original stick had. Now, the reason I still love this stick even with all those negatives, is the stick control. It’s fantastic, I believe it uses a lot of the internals that the Warthog uses. I am more accurate with this stick than any other that I have used so far. Also, it takes up much less space than my X56.
In conclusion, with the price of this HOTAS and all of the features added with the brand new throttle, I think this is probably the best price to performance HOTAS on the market for Star Citizen right now. All of the switches and hats we lose from the more premium throttles and sticks can be supplemented with Voice Attack, and we also gain a lot more desk room. I highly recommend this setup for you, and really think if anything it will bring much more immersion to your experience playing games like Elite:Dangerous and Star Citizen, but it really could help automate a lot more of the mechanics in those game to improve your combat skills
I did do a video review of this HOTAS as well, if you want to watch it check it out above. Also, if you are interested in picking up one of these for your own setup click the links below and thank you so much for reading. Keep an eye out for reviews like this for all of the peripherals being used for Star Citizen here from some of your favorite [REDACTED] content creators in the near future. If you really like what we are doing here at [Redacted] do consider subscribing to our Patreon as this helps us continue to make content like this and hopefully do some really awesome things in the near future!