by: Eric Christiansen
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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Joysticks are one of those nifty input devices for a computer that can give more precise control to players, typically when flying is involved. The Logitech Extreme 3D Pro is one of many joysticks available on the market, and one of several from Logitech. Given the features of this device and the price, the Extreme 3D Pro is one of the better joysticks currently on the market.
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Logitech Extreme 3D Pro
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Extreme 3D Pro's Features
Among the capabilities of the joystick are its twelve buttons, slider tab, eight-way "hat-switch", and most notably, the twist-handle. The joystick itself is extended a little on the right side to provide support for players' hands. Six of the buttons are mapped to the top of the joystick, including the trigger button, and the other six are on the left side of the base. Its more than likely that not all 12 buttons will be mapped to the controller, but it is a convenience to know that most people will have more than enough available. The slider tab is located in front of the joystick and provides sensitivity for aspects like speed. It placement gets in the way of the right forearm at times, but is something that can be worked around after a little while. The advantage of this tab is that the speed of a vehicle can be keep at a specific speed without having to constantly accelerate or slow down, meaning that more concentration can be spent targeting.
At the top of the joystick is the "hat-switch" button, which is a small button that can be rotated in eight different directions, and looks similar to the top of an analog stick. It may take some getting used to because the switch button is so tiny that players will have to feel the clicking in their thumb to know when it is at a specific position. Once this is worked out, this switch becomes quite useful in switching views quickly while flying.
The twist handle is the feature that stands out the most above all. Unlike most joysticks that only provide the 360 circle on an X and Y axis, the ability to twist the joystick left and right adds a third axis, or Z-axis. The benefit of having this axis allows for additional freedom of movement in aircraft, particularly in helicopters. Turning left or right, for example, becomes possible without having to dip or raise the nose of the chopper. In firefights with enemies on the ground, pilots can move the reticule left and right quickly without having to move the whole helicopter.
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Logitech additionally sells three other joysticks that are similar, but have more or less features than the Extreme 3D Pro. The less expensive model, the Attack 3, costs about $10 less than the Extreme 3D and is also ambidextrous for left-handers. While the Extreme 3D is for right-handers only, the Attack 3 lacks the twist handle, has less buttons, and no switch button. Depending on your use of the joystick, some may see this as saving money, but giving the added features, it's better to spend a little more for a joystick with more capabilities. The Force 3D Pro has the same features as the Extreme 3D, but with an additional rumble feature. The major drawback is that it costs more than double, retailing from $60-$70. Whether or not a rumble feature is that important is up to the player, though it seems to be quite a lot more for a feature that adds no additional mobility or wireless features.
Additional companies have competitively priced joysticks, such as the Saitek Aviator, but as a moderately priced input device with many useful qualities, the Extreme 3D Pro is a good buy for players wanting to increase their gaming abilities. Logitech sells the product from their website for $29.99, but other stores and online retailers might be a little bit less. Its minor setbacks aren't very noticeable, and it works well for games with helicopters and fighter jets.