May 7, 2023

Thrustmaster TFlight Hotas One Review for Flight Simulator on Xbox (2023)

By Paul William

May 7, 2023

Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links which means I receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through them.

If you’re obsessed with Microsoft Flight Simulator and Ace Combat like me, one of the easiest ways to make your virtual flights feel more immersive is using the right equipment – specifically, joysticks (aka yolks or flight sticks), throttles, and rudder pedals.

But when I started the search for my first joystick and throttle options for Xbox, I quickly found myself overwhelmed with the mixed reviews of the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas One.

This is by far the most popular (and kinda the only) entry level joystick and throttle combo for Xbox, so I really wanted to try it myself to see if some of the poor reviews were true, or just verbalized resentment from people who bought the product in error.

So now, after researching, purchasing, and using the TFlight Hotas One for about 30 hours, here’s my firsthand experience to save you some time and research.

TLDR: If you’re looking for your first ever Xbox Joystick/Throttle for Flight Sim, consider the HOTAS One (what I have). It is the most affordable and entry level stick designed specifically for Xbox flight sims, and is usually around $90-100, while other options are $200-500+. You can use this to play Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 on Xbox Series X and Series S; it’s plug and play.

What is HOTAS?

When you start researching video game joysticks, you’l notice a lot of them contain the word HOTAS. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll have absolutely no idea what that means.

To clear up any confusion, HOTAS stands for Hands-On Throttle and Stick.

The main idea behind HOTAS is to provide pilots or flight sim users with a more efficient and ergonomic control system, which includes the strategic placement of buttons, switches, and other controls directly on the joystick and throttle.

By incorporating these additional controls on the stick and throttle, pilots can perform various functions such as adjusting trim, engaging autopilot, managing weapons systems (in combat aircraft), or looking around the cockpit without having to remove their hands from the main flight controls.

This enables quicker responses than having to use your Xbox controller in addition to the joystick.

Who Can Use the Thrustmaster TFlight HOTAS One with Flight Sim?

If you have the Xbox Series X|S, you can use the Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One to play Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS 2020), Ace Combat 7, and a few other flight games.

If you have an Xbox One, you cannot use the HOTAS One to play MSFS 2020. That is because MSFS 2020 is currently only available via cloud gaming on Xbox One, and cloud gaming currently (as of May 2023) does not support joysticks and other non-standard controllers. You can however use this flight stick for other games like Ace Combat 7 on Xbox One, which is still super fun.

The HOTAS One is also designed for PC, so if you’re a desktop gamer, this should work for you as well.

Addressing the Mixed Reviews

If you’re anything like me, you like to read a lot of Amazon reviews before you purchase a product. I always look at the average rating, then go straight to the one-stars to see what went wrong in the worst of cases.

When I was reading the reviews for this, the three comments that I kept seeing were:

  1. This doesn’t work with my system at all
  2. This feels cheap
  3. It’s broken

After buying and using it myself, here are my responses to those three items:

  1. It’s likely that most people complain about incompatibility with their system didn’t do enough research. The big thing that people seem to be missing is that even though this flight stick is compatible with Xbox One, that doesn’t mean it’s compatible with cloud gaming, which is where Xbox One users play Microsoft Flight Simulator. The listings could do a better job at pointing this out, but if you do enough research that’s just the unfortunate reality for folks using the last-gen consoles.
  2. This flight stick does feel cheaper than the $549 you’d pay for the pure metal combat-replica sticks and throttles like the Warthog for PC. But I really do think the HOTAS One is good enough for your first joystick. I found the cries of “cheapness” to be an over-reaction. The throttle could have a little more tension, but it’s not the end of the world. And the flight stick has an adjustable tension knob that can add resistance if you’d like. Unless you’re an uber-serious enthusiast, the HOTAS One has adequate construction quality out of the box IMO.
  3. Some people were complaining that the throttle thrust lever doesn’t stay in place and slides around under it’s own weight. I have not found this to be the case. I can reliably keep my throttle near the top and bottom of the range (say 3% or 97%) and it will not move. Perhaps this will change with time as the components age, but as of now I have no issue with this.

Do You Need Rudder Pedals?

Thrustmaster also sells compatible rudder pedals that you can purchase separately or as part of a pack with the flight stick and throttle.

While adding rudder pedals to your flight sim setup can significantly enhance immersion and control, I didn’t purchase this because I didn’t find it necessary. Why?

In addition to being able to point the flight stick forward and back to control pitch, and side to side to control roll, the HOTAS One also lets you twist the joystick left to right to control yaw (rudder function). It’s easy and intuitive to use, and is good enough for most gamers in my opinion.

Final Thoughts on the Thrustmaster HOTAS One for Xbox

Incorporating a joystick (HOTAS) and throttle setup into your Microsoft Flight Simulator gaming on Xbox can greatly enhance your virtual flying experience.

Whether you opt for the Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One like I did, or something more expensive like a Turtle Beach VelocityOne, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying more immersive and realistic virtual flights. Happy flying!

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