I've been researching flight sticks for a while now but haven't been able to find any definitive answers for what the best one within my budget is. Currently I'm leaning towards the Logitech 3D Extreme, but I had one of those before but it had a problem and wasn't under warranty. From what I've been reading it sounds like the problem I had has been fixed now, but I'm still unsure.
I recently bought one and I haven't had any issues. Logitech is also usually very good about warranty coverage. They replaced my Logitech Momo wheel even though the problem was mostly my fault. --- Proud owner of an '88 Peugeot. http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e14/frisco557/103_0809.jpg
The problem I had was one of the, actuators I think they're called, was broken and so the computer constantly recognized the input as leaning to the right. Apparently it was a fairly common problem back when I originally got mine but from what I've read they seem to have fixed that weakness in them now.
It wasn't covered under warranty because I got it second-hand(for free) and it broke not too long after that.
I have an old Logitech force feedback stick, but since most games no longer support real force feedback I wanted something that could center itself correctly. I purchased a Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X http://amzn.com/B001CXYMFS
It's currently $50 on Amazon, so it's right at the top of your budget but I've seen it go for around $35 if you don't mind waiting for it. Thrustmaster also makes just a normal T-Flight X which just has a lever for the throttle which retails for $30. This stick design is alot closer to the Logitech 3d Extreme's.
The biggest issue I have with buying a flight stick is the same I have with a keyboard or mouse. Most local stores don't really have stock of a very wide variety so you can't easily test how they feel to you. And that is the most important part of any input device.
That Hotas does look nice, might be worth spending a little extra. How is it in terms of build quality and performance? I find it hard to take a company named "Thrustmaster" seriously, but if they make good products who am I to judge.
There's one local computer shot that might have different flight-sticks I could try out but even that is unlikely. It used to be a really good computer shop when I was a kid, my dad and I would go there all the time to find cool new things(this was in the days before the internet so we couldn't check online to see the latest new stuff), but from what I hear now it's mostly turned into a Mac Store and Computer Repairs only.
Thrustmaster makes fantastic flight sticks and racing wheels. They're just more specialized than logutech, so most havn't heard of them. --- Proud owner of an '88 Peugeot. http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e14/frisco557/103_0809.jpg
I've heard the name Thrustmaster quite a bit, it's hard not to when researching peripherals, but because of the name and the look of some of the products I generally dismissed them. That was probably wrong to do, the only thing of theirs I took seriously was that Warthog stick or whatever it is, I think it's the $400 one that doesn't actually move(like real modern aircraft), but I'm not going spend as much on a flight-stick as I did on half my entire PC.
I've found an online store that has it for about $45 after tax with free shipping, but I would like to have some personal opinions about this stick.