Reviewed: August 16, 2004
What's in the box
It's been 13 months since I reviewed Saitek's Cyborg 3D Force and since that review I haven't found another joystick worthy of replace it. I bet you thought I was going to say "until now", didn't you? Actually, the new Cyborg Evo joystick makes a valiant attempt to dethrone last year's stick, but there is some give and take that ultimately makes both sticks achieve equal footing for several different reasons.
The biggest difference is that the Evo does not have force feedback, but it makes up for that deficiency in so many other ways, namely in adjustability. Whether you are left-handed or right, ten years old with the hands of a tot or 40 with the hands of an NBA all-star, you can configure this stick to fit your hand for ultimate comfort and maximum functionality.
Installation - 10
Ah, yes. USB. Install software, plug in device when prompted and watch the drivers load. Reboot and play. Need I say more? Need you do more? I think not. Using the Saitek Smart Technology you can install the basic drivers to get the stick up and running or you can install the more complicated programs that let you customize and program the buttons. You can always go back and install the hardcore programs later if you are just wanting to get the joystick going for that hot new game you’re itching to play.
Aesthetics - 10
The Cyborg Evo is one slick stick. The adjustable wrist rest can be raised or lowered so your palm grips the stick just right while eliminating nearly all fatigue normally associated with prolonged joystick use. The buttons are all perfectly placed and if for some reason you don't like the configuration at the top of the stick you can adjust the angle using the knobs.
The throttle is now located at the back of the base and is more stylishly integrated into the design. It also has a much smoother movement allowing for more precise control. The buttons on the base and the stick are now labeled so you know which button is #2. The stick itself twists, giving you full rotational rudder control on games that support that.
The black and silver design with blue highlights is an attractive combination, and the overall design is quite futuristic while remaining functional. Even the silver spring at the base of the stick seems to add that extra "something" to the design.
Durability - 9
The Cyborg Evo is a solid stick that is surprisingly responsive to the slightest touch. The stick has smooth movement and a natural return-to-center that doesn't feel artificial like some force feedback sticks. The base has a metal plate that gives the stick some added weight but I am forced to admit the stick is a bit too light and can slip and move around during intense gameplay. Suction cups, velcro, or some other means to anchor this stick to your desk might be in order.
The buttons all have a very nice feel and defined click and the trigger is easy to pull but not fragile enough to break off during intense combat. The throttle lever has a very smooth 90-degree travel with just enough resistance to give you impeccable control over your speed.
Performance - 9
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight and Lock On: Modern Air Combat were the two titles I chose to test this stick and both offered excellent experiences with flawless results from the joystick. The throttle provided accurate speed control and the joystick offered precise adjustments to my control surfaces. Twisting the stick allowed me that extra level of control only available with a true rudder system, but as previously mentioned, the light base caused the entire stick to slip when twisting or moving the stick to any extreme position.
With nine buttons and an 8-way POV hat there were more than enough available inputs to control most all of the functions for any plane without ever having to reach for the keyboard. The added level of configurability for both left and right-handed gamers is just another bonus and proof that Saitek is committed to delivering the very best controllers.
Value - 9
You can spend a lot of money these days on a joystick, but the $40 you’ll spend on the Cyborg Evo is perhaps the best $40 you can spend if you are in the market for an entry-level joystick. Not only are you getting a quality joystick that looks extremely cool, but it’s also fully programmable and the symmetrical design with multiple adjustments makes this the perfect stick for left-handed gamers.
Overall – 9.0
The Cyborg Evo is easily the most comfortable joystick currently in my collection. The wrist rest alone has shown me just how uncomfortable those other sticks are, and I doubt I could ever go back to another stick that didn't have this feature. The only reason you wouldn't want the Evo is if you absolutely insist on having force feedback, otherwise, peel a pair of twenties out of your wallet and head for the nearest store that sells Saitek products.