CH Jetstick: Beginnerís Joystick
Review by Al Giovetti, 09/24/96
Price: $40
Genre: two (2) button joystick
footprint: 4 ĺ by 4 ĺ inches square
Manufacturer: CH Products
Phone: 619-598-2518
Web site: http://www.chproducts.com:80/CH/chrevs.html#Jetstick
Compatibility: There is a CH Jetstick for the PC and one for the Macinstosh.

Have you been looking for a good joystick to use on your basic flight, racing, arcade or other games? You look around and all you see is the high priced products, for the enthusiast, but you cannot find a low cost product high quality product. You are concerned that the cheap joysticks often break after just a few hours of use. The Jetstick is a high quality, reliable joystick which is designed for the low end simulator market, but without sacrificing the reliability of the other CH Products line. Perhaps this entry level product is just what you have been looking for.

The new CH Jetstick has the same high quality rugged plastic components as the CH Flightstick and the Flightstick PRO. There are two bright red tactile and audio feedback trigger and fire buttons, which both appear on the heavy plastic black contour grip. The joystick buttons are rated at 10 million shots with the associated potentiometers are rated at 2 million life cycles, which exceeds competitively priced models by over 100 times. No buttons appear on the base of the joystick, as seen in the more expensive Gravis Joystick line. Buttons on the base make joysticks more versatile, making some games easier to play.

In some ways the CH Jetstick is easier to use than the larger and bulkier Flightstick models, The footprint of the base is approximately 50 percent smaller mearuring about 4 ĺ inches square (22 square inches) versus 6 x 6.5 inch Flightstick base (39 square inches), conserving desktop space. The base provides a stabile platform for the smaller handle used in the joystick. I have found the stick most useful for playing the Kesmaiís Multiplayer Battletech, since it is smaller and easier to control.

The small size and price do not compromise on the CH quality. The spring suspension system is a smaller version of the one used so effectively on the Flightstick models. I have not had 100 hours to play with the stick yet, but from my preliminary evaluation it appears to keep a precise positive feel while flying or driving, with a full 360 degree range of movement. There is a precise click as the joystick passes through the center which is the mechanism that makes the return to center accurate. One of the most enjoyable and useful qualities of this and other CH products is this ability to return to the exact center position when the joystick is released.

The CH Jetstick has a handy precision manual control adjustment for center and tracking on the joystick. If you are in the middle of a battle with a bad guy and the calibration goes out on the joystick, the joystick trim can still be adjusted manually so that you can continue to play the game without stopping the game to access the software related joystick calibration routine. Many other joysticks do not have manual trim wheels, which means you have to often stop your game at a critical point and lose all progress to leave the program and calibrate the joystick to continue.

There are no programmable button functions available for the CH Jetstick product, even though a temporary and stay resident (TSR) program could be designed by developers to control the buttons, it would be of limited utility on a two button product. Also, the throttle seen on other CH products is conspicuously absent on the Jetstick. A simple one joystick 15-pin port is all that is needed for this simple stick to be compatible with most software on the market. Many new software packages have a need for five buttons and this stick would not hack it for these games if you want to move those functions off the keyboard.

If you are looking for a low cost product that is versatile, easy to use, has a reliable and positive feel, and will not wear out or break easily (The CH Flightstick is the only joystick I have been unable to break with hard use.), then the CH Jetstick may be for you.

CH Jetstick Fact Sheet

Description: "The Jetstick is a basic, low-priced, entry-level joystick that offers the same quality performance that computer gaming enthusiasts have come to expect from CH Products," according to Chuck Hayes, ex-pilot and founder of CH Products. I agree that the manual calibration, and ease-of-use for this simple low price joystick makes it an important addition to the simulator market.

Features:
Contour Jet Grip: Basic, accurate control in jet, helicopter and racing simulations
Tactile and Audio Feedback Trigger and Fire Button let you reach high scores with quick response
Sturdy Base: Jetstick needs no mounting and is sturdy wherever you want it.
Superior Quality trigger fire buttons rated at 10 million shots with pots rated 2 million cycles.
Precise elevator and aileron trim controls for better accuracy and more realism
7 foot cable assembly for greater reach
Full One Year Warranty

Manufacturer: Created by an expert pilot and airplane builder, Jetstick is designed and manuafactured by CH Products, the largest US manufacturer of precision analog joystics for the home and industrial markets.

Use: Flight simulation, racing games, education, and all software Simulation Games: Compatible with all games that support 2 button joystick control.

References:
Gordon Goble, Computer Gaming World, December, 1994.