Logitech WingMan Interceptor 9-Button Joystick
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We liked the build quality of the Interceptor: at over 2.5 pounds, the Interceptor is hefty, and the entire unit is tightly machined for a solid feel. Unfortunately, the stick is sculpted to conform to a right hand, so lefties are out of luck.
We were impressed with the thought that went into this product after the installation. Logitech ships Wingman Profiler software, which lets users program every button. The great thing is you can establish profiles for each game installed on your system, so you don't have to reprogram the stick every time you play a different game. You can easily print, export, or import profiles as well.
Technically, this stick has 33 programmable buttons, but 24 of those "buttons" are accounted for by the three hat switches on top of the stick. You can press each of these three hats in any of eight directions, and the software allows users to assign any command to any hat direction. The system works well when commands are assigned to the hat switches in logical groups. For example, our standard flight simulator assignment uses one hat for panning the view, one for cycling through targets, and the third for adjusting trim. In space simulations, we used the third hat for cycling through weapons.
The ubiquitous trigger is present, but the Interceptor does it right by adding a separate button directly beneath the trigger. You activate this button by flicking it to the left or right, which makes it nearly impossible to set the button off inadvertently during a frantic trigger-pulling session. Another button rests directly under your thumb, with yet another nestled under your middle fingertip. These last two buttons are a little too sensitive, but serviceable--just don't assign the "Launch Nuke" command to either of them.
The base of the unit holds four more buttons plus the throttle slider. This throttle is better than many other integrated designs we've used, as it never strays from the settings you establish. It's also relatively large, yet positioned so you won't bump it accidentally.
The base is too heavy and wide to rest on your knee, so you're better off planting it on your desk. In our tests, even the most frantic dogfights didn't cause the Interceptor to budge. This is due to the Interceptor's weight and the fact that the stick is designed to provide little leverage.
So how does the Interceptor feel during actual gameplay? In a word, smooth. So many joysticks on the market today are loose and jittery, requiring the skills of a surgeon to use them properly. The play in this stick is tight enough that precise, smooth movements are the norm. Lining up on targets in flight simulators is pure joy with the Interceptor, as it seems to read your mind. The only thing missing is twist action for rudder control.
- Extremely smooth operation
- Plenty of programmable buttons
- Profiler software is excellent
- Superb build quality
- Multiple hat switches can be confusing
- No force feedback
- No twist action for rudder control