The Steps Backwards
It doesn’t take long to figure out that the hardware people at Saitek were way, waaaayyy ahead of the other departments on the project once the unit arrives. It’s as though the hardware developers got their stuff together on making a truly great HOTAS, got the factory humming and filled up the warehouses without first checking to see if the software and documentation people were ready for launch; and since warehousing costs money, the company started filling orders, everyone else be damned and best to be quick to play catch up.
No manual. At all. Three paragraphs of “quick setup” on one sheet of paper, printed front and back in tiny font in order to annoy people in what I’m guessing is fifteen languages.
The pdf files on the CD are the exact same ones that came with my X52, and mention products they no longer make or sell in the SST guide.
The lack of documentation rises to the level of gross incompetence, especially when one considers the sticker price of 179 USD + shipping (from GoGamer). Heck, they could have stuck a regular X52 manual in the box with a note saying that an updated manual for additional features will be released later, but they didn’t bother. If I hadn’t known about the little tab to disable the twisty stick from the X52, it would have been a mystery. Likewise, one of the touted features is the ability to change the color of the LED’s on the unit — but not a darned thing anywhere tells one how to do it, for another example.
I don’t know why, but this really ticked me off. One gets the desire to find out which manager at Saitek decided to leave off any documentation or manual, follow him or her around until they buy a 200 USD piece of electronics (I’m thinking video camera), jump out of the bushes, take the box out of their hands, remove and destroy the manual, and then hand it back to them.
Any protest will be met with three responses: 1) “It’s much like the previous model of video camera you have bought,” 2) “Consult the website for information, updates, and any general questions you may have,” and 3) “What, are you stupid?”
The drivers and programming software as provided are hit and miss — some (probably most) that have purchased a PRO have loaded the driver and SST software without a hitch. I was a miss, as the HOTAS installed and was recognized, but it simply wouldn’t accept a profile. Saitek put up a new set of drivers and SST software on their website, but still no dice. Fortunately — and this is the saving grace of the unit — the tech support folks on the official Saitek forums answered quickly with simple instructions on how to completely remove all references of Saitek from my system for a clean re-install, putting me in business.
And there is one other consideration:
The X52 PRO’s throttle unit will NOT reliably support a cup of coffee, even a small, cheap souvenir one.