Saitek, the makers of many computer peripherals, is launching a new series of PC accessories this fall that are mainly aimed at PC gamers. We here at GameCore took a look to see if these products are really worth your hard earned dollars.
Pro Flight Rudder Pedals
If you ever wanted to add more realism to your flight experience, a set of rudder pedals is the way to go. Saitek has thrown its hat into the race with its release of the Pro Flight Rudder Pedals. Made with a one-size-fits-all structure, these pedals are very easily customizable to allow more comfort to gaming usage. It features 3-axis pedal, and is self-centering with adjustable damping. These rudder pedals are highly responsive to any foot movement by the user and are fully adjustable so you can specify flying style. Likewise, Saitek has added small foot rests to place your feet while the pedals are not in use.
The Pro Flight Rudder Pedals are set to compete with CH Products' own Pro Pedals. I can tell you that the Saitek Rudder pedals give CH products a run for their money. The easy installation and programming make Saitek's version that much sweeter.
Coupled with the Saitek X-52 Flight Stick and Throttle it will create an enjoyable flight-sim experience. One drawback to the Pro Flight Rudder Pedals is the price. To more experienced and committed gamers, the $149.95 retail price is no worry, but to your average flight-sim user, that might seem a bit steep. To be able to connect the Pro Flight Rudder Pedals, you need a USB 2.0 and either Windows 2000, XP or XP64. All necessary drivers for the rudder pedals are included in an enclosed disc with the packaging,
Eclipse II keyboard
Here is a product that at first glance seems to be made for PC gamers, but is technically not limited to gaming. The Eclipse II keyboard by Saitek is a general use keyboard, but its added flare makes it especially suited for gamers. Building on the same foundation as the original Saitek Eclipse keyboard, the Eclipse II now features backlighting, which shines through laser-etched keys. The original Eclipse only came in a blue lighting scheme, but the Eclipse II now allows users to switch between blue, red and purple.
It features a standard 104-key layout with the space bar key noticeably shorter, but it shouldn't effect your typing. It also adds multimedia buttons for volume control, play, pause, next and previous tracks, which works great with Windows Media. There is also a knob that allows you to dim the lighting of the keyboard. Eclipse II keyboard is great in any lighting environment but it really earns it money in dark environments, where you can greatly appreciated the lighting. Also, you can turn lighting off if you don't want it on. The keyboard is also adjustable to two different heights, and comes with a wrist rest at the front that can be detached. For all you wireless freaks out there, the Eclipse II is not wireless. The keyboard is available for $69.
My Spkr A-100
This is by far one of the coolest audio products I have ever seen. The My Spkr A-100 is essentially a small mini-speaker that can connect to numerous mobile devices using either 3.5 mm or 2.5 mm audio ports. The My Spkr can be used by most mobile devices such MP3-playing mobile phones, iPods and other MP3 players - and even your laptop - to deliver true stereo system quality sound
Basically, it primarily amplifies sound to devices that lack sound and allows for the sharing of sound. So you can have more than one person listen to music without having to split your headphones with your friends. There is nothing to install, so it is literally a plug and play mini speaker. The My Spkr also gets fairly decent battery mileage. On 4 AAA batteries you get 12 hours of use. To save battery energy, the My Spkr has an auto power-down system built in. It's portable and it has a small speaker stand so you can position it on a flat surface. I hooked it into a Sony PlayStation Portable, and it delivers greatly.
I can't say enough about it. It delivers an impressive sound quality, plus it's sleek, small, and very powerful. The My Spkr can easily fill a room with great sound to imitate a full stereo system. It's a great alternative to bulky big audio systems that require tons of installation. The My Spkr is also very simple, there are no controls on the actual device, and volume is controlled via the linked device. The only downside to the My Spkr is the wire. Although it features a foot and a half of wire, you still have to keep the My Spkr close to your connecting peripheral, which in today's age of wireless devices makes the My Spkr seem old fashioned. The packaging contains all necessary 3.5 mm and 2.5 mm cables. The My Spkr A-100 available now at a retail price of $69.99
The Aviator (also spelled AV8R) is a small, low cost PC gaming flight stick with a sleek and retro WWII era design. At first glance you do notice the militarized look and feel that the Aviator offers. The good folks over at Saitek actually researched various WWII era cockpit designs to come up with the look of the Aviator. Moreover, you notice the toggle buttons with up and down switching functions at the base of the joystick. These switches can be programmed for different flight functions.
Also at the base of the joystick is a cool mode-selector switch that allows you to toggle between different game modes. An innovative feature to the Aviator is a front-mounted dual throttle control. The throttles can be locked together or used for two separate functions. As far as firing buttons, an illuminated fire button with safety cover is located at the top. Also at the top is an eight-way hat switch that is great for programming multiple views for in-game use. Included with the Aviator is Saitek's programmable software, which is fairly easy to install and program the various switches and buttons.
Given its WWII inspired design, its great for propeller driven simulators such as Aces High II. Officials at Saitek have also stated that the Aviator works extremely well with the latest trial releases of Flight Simulator X, and Windows Vista.
One of the few downsides to the Saitek Aviator is the relatively lightweight. It's fairly easy to lift the entire joystick up if you don't have it properly anchored down while playing.
The Aviator is rugged, has a military-style design, and is listed at a decent price. The Saitek Aviator retails for about $39.95, which is great because it won't hurt the wallet. I truly enjoyed the Saitek Aviator as a low cost flight controller.
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