Thrustmaster T.16000m review

by on November 12, 2020

Not being much of a flight sim gamer, I have always been fairly content to just jump into most games with a standard control pad or mouse and keyboard on PC. But having recently reviewed Star Wars Squadrons, I found myself hankering after something that felt a little more authentic, especially in the awesome VR mode.

T.16000mI’ll admit I wasn’t overly sure what to expect from the Thrustmaster T.16000m FCS HOTAS (that’s Hands-On Throttle And Stick) when it arrived. Hooking it up to my PC via USB was simple enough, and it was ready to use right out of the box without needing any updates or downloads. For those considering a flight stick for the first time, this is an excellent entry-level device. There’s nothing quite like the feeling when you and the stick “click”, and you begin to get the hang of how nuanced and simple the control schemes are.

The stick itself is a nice-looking piece of hardware, finished in hard black plastic with orange livery, and an orange LED that lights up around the base of the stick when it’s in use. That this particular stick was designed with Elite: Dangerous in mind is hardly surprising, and in fact it works superbly with that game, too. It boasts 12 buttons in a bank of six on either side of the stick, which took me a while to get used to.

Thankfully they feel pretty good to press, and their large design makes them fairly easy to tell apart. The numerical order for them is something I’ve always found a little weird in HOTAS devices, but those with a little experience will have no such issues and, really, anyone can can alter the configuration in a specific game anyway. Up top there’s a standard single-stage trigger and thumbstick, as well as two should buttons on either side. On the base, a single slider allows you to alter the throttle in most games.

Rubber feet keep the T.16000m in place on a desk, and combine with the overall weight to ensure that it doesn’t move with you. The stick itself feels great in-hand, too, smooth and responsive, with a hand rest to maintain your comfort even during long sessions – and you can switch the orientation for lefties with some fairly simple alterations and a few bits and bobs included with the stick.

A satisfying springiness snaps the stick back to centre with little effort from you, and whether you’re twisting it horizontally to make your craft bank or slamming it left and right to avoid enemy fire, it feels responsive and satisfying. It comes bundled with T.A.R.G.E.T software, which allows you to configure the buttons permanently, fiddle with the sensitivity and assign macros, among other things, but I found it to be harder to get my head around than simply configuring the buttons in-game.

Having ploughed through a good few hours of Star Wars: Squadrons multiplayer and Elite Dangerous’ new Horizons update, I’ve had no complaints with the T.16000m, though I would recommend a separate throttle if you can get one (the TWCS in particular was designed to compliment this flightstick, so it may be worth starting there), purely because not only will a throttle accessory add a few more mappable buttons, it’ll also reduce the need to have both hands on the flightstick at the same time.

For such a competetively-priced piece of equipment, the T.16000m is a great option for newcomers and veterans alike. There’s a ton of configurable buttons, and the stick itself feels more expensive than it is. It’s built to last, looks great, and works wonderfully well with the best games around – even if you don’t pay much attention to the in-the-box software.