The following is a review of Thrustmasters’ new peripheral controller, the T.Flight Hotas One, officially licensed by Microsoft for Xbox One and Windows.
- The ergonomic design of the T.Flight features adjustable stick resistance with a large hand rest for comfort.
- A full sized detachable throttle control for easy manoeuvrability in VR.
- Duel rudder system.
- Weighted base for enhanced stability.
- 5 axis + 14 action buttons + 1 rapid fire trigger + 1 multidirectional hat switch.
- Built in official buttons for the Xbox One console.
- Recognized in compatible games as a real joystick for optimum flight precision.
Note: A list of compatible Xbox One games will be available on the Thrustmaster website.
As this is my first Hotas (acronym for Hands On Throttle And Stick, I was confused too) I cannot compare quality to others on the market, but as this is currently the only one available for the Xbox One that fact is a non issue. For the purpose of this review I played the game Elite: Dangerous. Which, coincidentally, happens to be the only game that currently supports the T.Flight.
The right hand Stick control feels really comfortable in my hand. I have average sized man hands so someone with thicker fingers than I may have a problem wrapping their hands around it, but it should be okay for most folks. The buttons on the stick are smartly accessible by the thumb and first finger. Included on the stick is a tiny joystick used for menu navigation and when used in conjunction with what I call the knuckle button, located just above the trigger, to look around your cockpit. Rudder yaw is controlled with a convenient twist of the wrist. The proprietary Xbox buttons are located just below the stick for easy access to the Guide, Menu, and Share buttons. Located underneath the stick on the bottom side of the controller is the resistance adjustment knob. Personally, I felt that at its tightest setting was just fine for for me. Some may prefer it a little looser but at its loosest i found the stick to wander a little bit. Also under the stick is a handy dandy little Allen key for taking the two controller components (throttle and stick) apart or to put them back together again.
The left hand Throttle control doesn’t feel as comfortable to me as the stick. Push forward to throttle up and backwards to throttle down. There is a little hitch when you get to the center position which is obviously where zero throttle is. Its more something you need to feel than have to look for. Button locations on the throttle felt a little awkward for me. A,B,and X were fine but the Y button is so far away it doesn’t feel natural under my thumb. It sits closer to the first knuckle of my thumb which just feels weird to me. On the front side of the throttle where your fingers wrap around are two buttons and a toggle lever. The default setting for the toggle is to strafe left and right but can also be configured for rudder yaw if you prefer. the two buttons control vertical thrust straight up or straight down. all in all it works well but feels a little bit small in range of motion and just doesn’t feel like it was designed for the same size hand as the stick.
Okay, here is where I think Thrustmaster may have messed up a bit. Yes you can separate the two components and yes they are weighted somewhat but not weighted enough that you wont be moving them around on your table top or TV tray or lap desk or whatever. They really need some kind of suction cup or clamping device or straps or something to hold it in place. Most people (I think) would prefer to have it mounted on the armrests of their chair and I’m sure the more hardcore gamers will devise a way to do so but (yes there is another but) the cable connecting the two components is not extendable and is just too short to go under your chair meaning the wire will be sitting in your lap. I’ve discovered that it is much more stable of you leave the too pieces attached rather than separate. I would suggest to Thrustmaster to maybe come up with some kind of extendable device to bridge the gap between the two. Only five inches or so. It’s comfortable enough in one piece sitting in your lap but feels just a bit too close together. The USB that plugs into your console is also a bit on the short side. Not a problem if you are a desktop gamer but if you plan on sitting on the sofa you better move it closer to the TV. Unfortunately there’s no vibration feedback, which shaves away a layer of gameplay immersion. There’s also isn’t a headset jack present, but there is however a port on the back for optional rudder pedals (sold separately of course) and a switch to change from Xbox mode to PC mode for ease of access.
Long story short, the T.Flight Hotas One seems to be a good entry level flight stick. I thoroughly am enjoying flying with it despite the few minor problems I highlighted and the price is well worth the investment. On a scale of 1 to 10 based on price and fun factor I give it a 7.5.
This hardware was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.