In The Cart

We went fishing for new goodies by the main manufacturers of PC gamepads, i.e. Logitech, Saitek and Thrustmaster, and found six products of interest. First, there are two new joysticks: Logitech Extreme 3D Pro and Saitek Cyborg Evo. Logitech also has Attack 3 and Saitek has ST 220 and ST 90, but these are entry-level ones with no rudder rotation or throttle. Now we reckon that, if you're going to buy a joystick, it should have all the proper functionality, especially when that only makes a difference of about ten dollars.

Then there are two new pads - the Saitek P3000, a democratically-priced rechargeable wireless pad, and the Logitech Dual Action, which is like a PS2 but not so expensive.

As for wheels, we really had to search. Thrustmaster has the Enzo, a new Ferrari-licensed replica, and Saitek has refreshed its R440.

Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick

Logitech delighted us last year when it released the first wireless joystick which really does have no lag. However, the Freedom is not exactly cheap - wireless still comes expensive at $93 (80 euros). Now there are a lot of folk who would like a good joystick but don't want to shell out an additional $47 (40 euros) just to dispense with the wires. Logitech has got the message and now does a wired version of the Freedom, the Extreme 3D Pro. It is designed pretty much on the same very successful plastic and metal lines as its big brother with a clean angular futuristic look very much in the current trend. The Extreme 3D Pro has an extra foot and its substantial weight makes it perfectly stable.

If you are right-handed, you'll find the stick fits nicely into your hand and make you feel at ease from the start. Likewise, the perfect ergonomics let the fingers of the right hand find the buttons immediately. The trigger feels natural, as do the buttons round the hat, which is a definite improvement on the Freedom. It is rounded and easier to grasp, so more precise when you use it. Like the six extra buttons, the throttle is nicely placed on the base in front of you. For ergonomics and handling, Logitech has done a clear round.