AVSIM Commercial Hardware Review

Saitek X45 Digital Joystick and Throttle

Rating Guide

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Publisher: Saitek
The latest release of the HOTAS (Hand on Throttle and Stick) system
Download Size:
Auto install w/ gaming extensions
Hardware Type:
USB Joystick & throttle combo
Reviewed by: Eric Bishop, AVSIM Staff Reviewer

Possible Commercial Rating Score: 1 to 5 stars with
5 stars being exceptional

Saitek has always been known for its top-notch joysticks and game pads for the PC and other gaming machines. Their latest release is the Saitek X45 HOTAS (Hand on Throttle and Stick) system. The X45 is the upgrade release of the X36 HOTAS system that was released some time ago. The stick features four fire buttons, missile launcher, two 8-way hat switches and a removable pinkie switch. The throttle rudder system comes with two fire buttons, 4-way hat switch, throttle control with detents, rudder control, two rotary controls, mouse controller with 8-way hat switch and LED for hot key display. It also features a new version of their Smart Technology program interface. This program utility allows you to completely program every button, rotary knob and hat switch with an easy GUI interface. No more hard core programming languages needed. This interface is easy enough for anyone; yet sophisticated enough for the hard-core simulation pilot to program multiple complex commands.

Reader Survey

This survey is intended for those that have used this product or add-on. If you have used it, please let your fellow simulation enthusiasts know how you rate it by taking this survey. Please, if you have not used this product, do not take this poll (you can view the poll from the "Results" link below).

- Review Poll -
Have you used the Saitek X45 HOTAS?

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Taking it off my system


Installation is a breeze! The X-45 is a USB device and installing it is a snap. Make sure you load the drivers before you plug the device in or you might run into a bit of a hassle. But if you install as directed, your system will find the device and within minutes, your up and running. After the device is found the Saitek gaming extensions will search your computer for and games. Once found you have the option of using the default program or you can create your own. Another option is to download them from the Saitek web site.

Documentation of the programming interface is weak and the novice user might find themselves a little lost. I feel this could have been done a little better and an actual demo could have been written for new users of this HOTAS system. However, with that said, the interface really is simple and after tooling around with it, you can write some pretty basic programs. The interface is user friendly and with a point and click simplicity; you assign keyboard strokes to individual buttons and knobs by simply clicking on them and typing in the command.

The feel of the X45 is very nice and the buttons and knobs are ergonomically laid out for comfort and access. The Combat simulator fan will find the rotary knobs great for assigning radar modes and ranges to. The missile launcher button in redesigned this time from the X36 to actually have a safety switch on it that works. The X36 always seemed backwards to me. If there were any part of the X45 that takes a bit of getting used to, it would be the rudder rocker switch located on the throttle. It works very well but does take some getting used to.

I tested the X45 with several simulators, FS2000, FS2002, Falcon 4.0, Enemy Engaged: Commanche vs. Hokum just to name a few and it worked flawlessly. It looks like Saitek listened to its customers and took the best of the X36 and changed what needed to be changed to make a really fantastic simulation HOTAS system. Another great point about the X45 is the price. Why anyone would spend over $100 on a joystick is beyond me and the X45 does what the competition does for $79 USD. So if you're looking for a new joystick or are looking for a HOTAS system to complement your Flight Yoke, I would definitely recommend the Saitek X45.

This product will be shipping the end of October; check the Saitek Store website.


What I Like About the Saitek X45
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Simple to program
  • Realistically priced

What I Don't Like About the Saitek X45
  • Manual could be more complete


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The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment. This disclaimer is posted here in order provide you with background information on the reviewer and connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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