Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One Flight Stick review

If you're looking to upgrade your flight simulation gaming experience, check out our Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One flight stick review.

Thrustmaster Hotas review image showing the controller face on.

Our Verdict

The Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS controller is a first-class flight stick which offers an authentic and ergonomic design suitable for various flight scenarios, providing both control and comfort. It features a dual rudder mechanism for precise control and can be paired with the T.Flight Rudder Pedals for enhanced performance. The controller boasts 15 labelled buttons, an eight-way hat stick, and a twist-action. While initially overwhelming, its fluid motion and adjustable tension make it versatile for various flight games, offering immersive gameplay experiences.

Reasons to buy
  • Reasonably priced at $99.99
  • Enhances flight gaming experience
  • Ergonomic design
Reasons to avoid
  • Odd Y button placement
  • Limited buttons
  • Short cable

The Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One flight stick allows you to mimic authentic piloting conditions as you fly through the skies of your favorite videogames. Its throttle enables easy aircraft acceleration control, meanwhile, a joystick provides position and control over subtler movements. These aspects enhance the flight simulation gaming experience tenfold.

For all fans of flying, the Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One flight stick is a must. I’d say it not only deserves to be considered among the best PC joysticks, but even the best PC controllers overall.

I’ve explored the benefits and drawbacks of this controller from a number of different angles. Jump ahead to the different sections of the review below:

Thrustmaster HOTAS flight stick review image showing the controller from behind.

Specs

Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One specs:

Connection USB
Power USB
Buttons 15
Layout Xbox

Thrustmaster HOTAS flight stick review image showing the throttle.

Features

The joystick’s authentic and ergonomic design seamlessly caters to various flight scenarios, whether it’s aerial combat, space exploration, or civilian flights. The joystick has a handrest that ensures control and comfort. The base is weighted for added stability. The cable length is a slight disappointment, and I’d have preferred wireless capability, but it’s good for what it is.

The Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS seamlessly integrates with PCs, offering plug-and-play functionality. While button remapping is possible, it is fiddly on the PC platform. This review is based on the Xbox version of the controller (which is fully compatible with PC), though there is a PlayStation version available too (which is also PC-compatible).

The controller has a dual rudder mechanism. This allows the plane to pivot around its vertical axis, making it turn left or right. This rudder function is accessible by rotating the joystick’s handle (with integrated locking system), or via the progressive tilting lever. This enhances the gaming experience for me.

You can expand your setup with additional hardware options. The T.Flight HOTAS One is just the beginning of Thrustmaster’s flight simulation range. It pairs seamlessly with the T.Flight Rudder Pedals, featuring the innovative S.M.A.R.T (Sliding Motion Advanced Rail Tracks) slide rails system. These pedals guarantee smoother and more precise turns, which feel a thousand times better than just using an ordinary controller.

Thrustmaster HOTAS review image showing the joystick resistance portion of the controller.

Design

Visually, the Thrustmaster T. Flight HOTAS boasts an authentic design that resembles a real flight stick. While it’s not an exact replica, the similarities contribute to an immersive gaming experience. Although, since it’s so big, I do find it a bit cumbersome to store. That being said, the controller can be easily split into two parts using a stored hex key located beneath it. This feature allows for customization, accommodating both left-handed and right-handed users. Whether for space-saving or personal preference, splitting the controller adds versatility. Plus, it’s reminiscent of piloting an Airbus A380 Neo. This feature ensures that sessions in the best flying games can be tailored to your individual needs.

The flight stick controller collectively features 15 buttons, all of which are numbered. As Xbox compatible, you’ll find your usual buttons like X, A, B, the menu button, and the Xbox button. It took me a little while to get used to the placement of the Y button, but its position does make it easy to press with the base of your thumb – though this might not be ideal for everyone. The stick boasts an eight-way hat stick– which has a wonderful click– three base buttons and a twist action. Meanwhile, the throttle includes six buttons on the handle and a rocker switch with three additional buttons on the base.

Despite what may seem a lot of buttons the most notable drawback is, in fact, the lack of buttons. In short, it’s a great entry-level controller as it’s quite limited compared to others on the market. For instance, the wireless Xbox controller has 18 buttons. I just wish it had more so that, for example, I could activate afterburners while playing fighter jets in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Thrustmaster HOTAS flight stick review image showing a close up of the trigger.

Performance and functionality

Initially, I thought the controller was a bit overwhelming. I quickly got used to it though, after some experimentation with the buttons, and it soon started to feel quite intuitive. The familiar Xbox button layout aids in this process. In games like Elite Dangerous, the user interface recognizes the T.Flight HOTAS and appropriately labels the buttons, such as assigning the F1 key for entry along with a corresponding image. This feature makes it a lot easier to get to grips with the layout – but it’s not universal. I didn’t see it in Flight Simulator, for example.

The smooth movement of the joystick proves invaluable when navigating games like Vampire Survivor, because yes, you can play this with the HOTAS One! This demonstrates the versatility of the T.Flight HOTAS beyond traditional flight simulation games. Sadly Lovely Planet did not work when I tested it, so it’s hit and miss if your game will be compatible. It’s important to note that the HOTAS One’s compatibility with flight games on PC is robust, however, its functionality on Xbox platforms is somewhat limited.

During our testing, we also put the T.Flight HOTAS One to the test with Flight Simulator. One notable feature is the ability to adjust the joystick’s tension for added resistance, easily done via a dial located underneath the controller, which I thought made it more immersive. However, it’s disappointing that the throttle lacks a similar tension adjustment feature, resulting in a somewhat loose feel. Nevertheless, the throttle does offer a satisfying click with each movement.

Thrustmaster HOTAS flight stick review image showing a close up of the buttons.

Should you buy a Thrustmaster HOTAS One Flight Stick?

• Yes: If you want an affordable flight stick
• Yes: If you want an entry-level controller
• No: If you want a more comprehensive controller

Thrustmaster Hotas flight stick review image showing the joystick alone.

If the Thrustmaster HOTAS One Flight Stick isn’t for you

Looking for more traditional controller options? Read our Xbox Wireless Controller review and our PowerA Moga XP-Ultra Wireless Controller review for other recommendations.