Joystick system offers realistic feel for flight simulators
In piloting your flight simulator games on the PC, it would be difficult to find a better product than the X36 Flight Control System.
Saitek's $99.95 package comes in two parts, a joystick and a throttle/rudder controller. The joystick is the primary steering device. It also has a safety switch that can be flipped down for launching missiles. The other device is for precise speed control and operating the plane's rudder.
Taken together, the joystick and throttle/rudder controller are among the best available, although becoming comfortable with them might take awhile for novices. Flight simulator aficionados will appreciate the sturdiness of the devices and their realistic feel. With all the switches and buttons on each, though, they'll wish for a few extra fingers. Luckily, the programming software is simple.
Windows 95 computer owners hook up the devices with a standard game port; those with Windows 98 can use USB ports.
Information: www.saitek.com or 800-452-4377.
Olympus binoculars let you take it all in
For a broader view of sporting events or concerts, give Olympus' WideView binoculars a look.
These compact binoculars have a big 70-degree field of view. We tried them out at a park, where we were delighted to find that we could easily keep track of a bicycle race or a softball game without much changing of position. They measure a mere 5-by-4-by-2 inches, weigh just over 15 ounces and have rubber handgrips, making them easy to use for an extended period.
Other details are nice, too. Eyepieces are easily adjustable to correct for vision disparities of each eye. Knobs and dials are logically located.
Here's the technical stuff: The binoculars have multicoated lenses with UV protection and aspherical lens elements for minimal distortion. The high-index BaK 4 prisms are said to provide edge-to-edge clarity and brightness. If all that makes sense to you, cool. But what you really need to know is that the Olympus WideView binoculars are a great way to see more. The WideView 8x25 model we tried costs $145; a 10x25 model is $155.
Information: www.olympus america.com or 877-337-1507.