What is for a lot of people a leisurely pastime, or a hobby of sorts, is an obsession for so many others. We are, of course, talking about the decade defining simulation extravaganza that everyone is losing their minds over. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is a technical masterpiece. Rife with detail, and packed to the brim with content, it’s not hard to see how people have sunk thousands of hours into Flight Simulator already. One of the game’s big selling points, aside from it’s amazing visuals, is its gameplay. The developers at Microsoft and Asobo have clearly put day and night together into making sure that controlling the aircraft in MSFS 2020 is as accurate to flying a real-life plane as possible. Definitely some killer programming, physics and mathematics going on under the hood with the game engine to enforce this kind of realism.
But the experience only goes so far using traditional gaming equipment. Yeah sure, you could use a supported controller on your Xbox Series S or X consoles (or your PC) and that’s kind of ok? We wouldn’t really call it immersive or anything though. It’s an extremely basic and conventional way to play a game that is anything but basic and conventional. Playing this with a keyboard is a little intimidating. There are hundreds of button combinations to remember, and well, if you take one look at a keyboard there’s like a bajillion keys to begin with. A bajillion keys times a few hundred key combinations will equal out to a gigaton of ways to maneuver your plane. So, you tell us, are you going to remember all of that? Probably not. Surely, there’s got to be a more innovative, realistic, immersive and an arguably more fun way to play MSFS, right? As it turns out, there’s a plethora of gaming peripherals designed specifically to enhance your MSFS 2020 gameplay experience. This article, however, will focus on yokes. But what is a yoke? And why should you buy a yoke over, say, a joystick? Ok I know what a yoke is, but which ones should I buy for all my Flight Sim shenanigans? We’re going to answer all of that and more, so keep on reading and you might just walk away with something that will totally change the way you play Flight Simulator, forever.
What is a Yoke for Flight Simulator?
If you’re not familiar with the term, it’ll probably hit when you see what a yoke looks like. It’s basically a steering wheel for an airplane. In real life, a pilot uses a yoke to control the altitude, ailerons, and the roll axis of their aircraft. This translates to gaming pretty well, as you’d imagine. It’s a lot like when you use a steering wheel for racing games, which have become incredibly popular in their own right. Given the incredible popularity of racing games, and the enormous selection available, especially in contrast to flight simulation titles, a yoke becomes a lot more of a niche product.
Why should I use a yoke for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?
Why does one prefer to use a mouse over a controller for first person shooter games? The answer is easy, better accuracy. It’s the same deal with a yoke and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. A yoke offers a lot more precision than your standard keyboard, plus it’s a lot more realistic than using a keyboard. Have you ever seen a pilot use their WASD keys to steer their plane? Thought not.
But there’s also the option of a joystick. Why wouldn’t you get one of those? They usually run for less too. Joysticks might be cheaper than yokes, but if you’re going to buy one for MSFS, they might not be very good value. For one, joystick paddles look a lot like the side stick controllers you’d find on a fighter jet. MSFS 2020, however, is a flight simulation for non-military, mostly commercial, aircrafts. One of the reasons you’re buying an appliance like a yoke, or a joystick is to improve the immersion in your gameplay experience. A yoke, simply put, does that a lot better than a joystick does. It’s more akin to something you’d find on a commercial plane, and the fact that it’s built much like a steering wheel makes it a familiar and more welcoming purchase to newcomers and enthusiasts alike.
4 Best Yokes for MSFS 2020
At this point, we don’t need to convince you of the merits of buying yokes for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. Or maybe you didn’t need to be convinced to begin with. Whatever the case, you’re still a little unsure about what yoke is best for your needs. That’s why you’re here, and we appreciate your visit a whole lot. We’ve been hard at work trying to find an assortment of quality, functional yokes that address a wide range of customer demands and price points. Through our research, we have concluded that the following 4 yokes will do just that.
1. Logitech G PRO Flight Yoke System
Best Budget Yoke for Flight Simulator
- Brand: Logitech
- Model Name: Logitech G PRO Flight Yoke System
- Compatible Devices: PC, Windows
- Controller Type: Throttle Quadrant, Yoke
- Connectivity Technology: USB
Logitech are industry leaders in the world of gaming peripherals. Decades of consistency and quality have heightened their repute such that buying a Logitech product without even doing an ounce of research is still likely to be a banger purchase. Despite Logitech’s excellent track record with their offerings, we reckon some research doesn’t hurt. And that’s exactly what we’ve done for you, for the off chance a Logitech product does not quite cater to your needs.
The G PRO is marketed as a professional simulation yoke and throttle quadrant. The design elements certainly reflect their intentions too. Before anything else, we certainly want to get a word in about the yoke, which is the core component of the system. Just by itself, it looks remarkably well-designed, especially for the price. While the handle is unmistakably plastic, the shaft is made from stainless steel, and it does look like it’s built to last. That’s not to say the handle isn’t built well, it actually is, but the contrast is quite noticeable. Still, you won’t have too many complaints with the build quality of the yoke itself. The handle is pretty solid, you’ll find an assortment of some programmable buttons (more on that later) along with a dial / display for everyone wanting to see the numbers front and center. The buttons are nice and tactile, plus they’re very reachable, so that’s an A for the ergonomics for sure.
Ok so now you’re probably thinking, “Hey, this sounds like the real deal, is there even anything wrong with it?”. And unfortunately, we have a few gripes with the design. The G PRO is a yoke system. Meaning the yoke isn’t the only thing you’re getting here. You also get a throttle quadrant. Let’s address the elephant in the room: it straight up looks like a toy. It probably couldn’t look more like a toy if they wanted it to. The red and blue knobs are something I’d probably find on my nephew’s construction set. It inherits little of the robustness of the yoke. Both the yoke and the throttle quadrant can be clamped to surfaces using the included mounts.
The Logitech G PRO Flight Yoke System earns a lot of points for its functionality. For starters, you don’t need to install any drivers for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. It’s plug and play, works right out of the box, it’s a total charm to use. If you want to ever use it for other flight simulation software like Flight Simulator X, X-Plane 10 or Prepar3D, all you need to do is install a small little plug-in from the support page.
So, we’ve gone over how incredibly easy this thing is to set up. But how well does it work? We’re happy to report that it works great. The yoke incorporates a stopwatch feature for all your timed events in game. And if your PC or laptop doesn’t have enough I/O, you best believe that the integrated USB Hub will help you connect additional supported hardware. While we’ve established that we’re not huge fans of the build on the throttle quadrant, it’s actually quite functional. The levers are programmable and offer precise control over your virtual aircraft. Now we are not sure if this was a problem with the unit in question, but the controls, at times, can be stiff. This is likely due to a lack of lubrication. Speaking of programmability, Logitech proudly speak of the G PRO Flight’s customizability options. Advertising 75 programmable options, you can actually set up to 3 custom profiles and switch between them using the three-position switch on the yoke depending on what you’re flying or what you’re doing.
Lack of Xbox Series S or X support is a total bummer though. We understand that Logitech are a PC Gaming Gear company through and through but consider that a very large number of people enjoy MSFS on their Xbox consoles. Coupled with the fact that you need a reasonably powerful PC to handle Flight Simulator to begin with. This might be the biggest turn off about the Logitech G PRO and for many will be the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you do not play Flight Simulator on your Xbox, however, then consider the Logitech’s merits and you may find that it’s the right yoke for you.
2. Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight Universal Control System
Best Xbox Compatible Yoke for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
Chances are, you know Turtle Beach for their excellent over ear Gaming Headphone offerings. Their products have won over both casual and enthusiast gamers, and they’ve been a longstanding force in the industry. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t know they did a whole lot more than make good headphones. So, when I found out they’ve got a product that addresses a key issue we had with the Logitech G PRO, I was gassed, and I knew we had to check it out immediately. So, can Turtle Beach deliver the same quality standards with a yoke as they do with their headphones? Is the yoke worth your consideration for all your MSFS needs? Let’s find out.
Honest opinion: the Turtle Beach VelocityOne is a considerably better looking peripheral than the Logitech G PRO Flight System. One of the reasons it’s that way is because of the VelocityOne’s use of lighting. Firstly, it looks pretty cool. Like VERY cool. This will look even better if you’ve set up your Gaming PC in a dimly lit room. Totally adds to the aesthetics and the vibe of the place, and since it obviously is functional enough, that might be enough to convince you to buy it. You’ll find another array of lights that function as status indicators. You can easily swap out status indicator panels to your choosing too. The yoke is supposed to flash different colors like blue or green depending on in-game conditions or stipulations. Key word: SUPPOSED to. Often times we found that the lights just stayed static despite in-game conditions possibly warranting a change in color. Cause if it’s not changing color when it presumably needs to, is the lighting just for the sake of it? Did they literally only include the lighting so it looks cool? Probably not, if you ask us. It definitely looks like a bug that should be addressed in a firmware update soon. There’s an adjustable clamping mechanism for you to securely mount it to a surface.
Like the Logitech G PRO, you also get a flight management display front and center. The difference is this is a much, much better display. It’s a full color display for one. Compared to the calculator looking display on the Logitech, this looks like it’s from a whole different generation of tech altogether.
The throttle quadrant is better looking too. It attaches to the side of the yoke and is almost cylindrical in shape. It doesn’t really look like a children’s toy either, with the lever markings colored, detailed, and stretching all the way down.
One of the standout features of the Turtle Beach VelocityOne is support for the Xbox Series S and X consoles. It instantly becomes twice as versatile as the Logitech. The yoke works out of the box for Microsoft Flight Simulator on both PC and Xbox, meaning there’s no need to wait for plugins or drivers to install first.
Since it is compatible with the Xbox Series S and Series X, and Turtle Beach use this compatibility as a big selling point for the device, they’ve thought to include the Xbox branding on the yoke itself. You’ve got the usual ABXY, left and right trigger buttons, along with the Xbox button in the center surrounded by the view, menu, and share buttons. It’s clearly intended to be a replacement for your Xbox controller while you’re playing MSFS 2020, but we still found ourselves returning to the controller while navigating the menu. The fact that it is so Xbox heavy on the design is still a fine design choice for Windows since the OS has the ability to recognize Xbox interfaces. Once you’re in the actual flight simulation though, you do not need to take your hands off the controller at all, probably like you’d expect. The yoke is a little stiff to boot. It’s not going to be the most comfortable thing to use until you’ve worn it out a little. A concern that should fix itself overtime but is worth noting regardless.
The throttle quadrant is versatile. With programmable buttons, vernier controls and custom experiences for both heavy and light aircrafts, it’s a step above the Logitech offering. Remember the display? It incorporates real time data visuals right on your yoke too. An aux port on the side invites you to plug in your own headphones or earbuds directly into your yoke, so you won’t be missing that feature from your Xbox controller.
3. Thrustmaster TCA Yoke PACK Boeing Edition
Best High-End Yoke for Flight Simulator 2020
Some people really like to go all out with their hobbies. If you’re one of those of people, you should honestly look no further than the Thrustmaster TCA Yoke PACK Boeing Edition. In what will indubitably satisfy both the hardcore aviation enthusiast and a diehard MSFS fan, both the gamer and the collector, this yoke is pretty much the perfect buy for people who enjoy these things more than most. This does not belong on your desk if you’re a casual fan looking for something that will do no more than add to the experience. There’s a lot of boxes you’ll have to check off if you want to really justify this purchase. Keep reading to find out if this is the right yoke for you, or if you’re the right customer for this yoke!
At first, you might find the design language of the Thrustmaster TCA to be quite muted. After all, you’re reading this after being introduced to a yoke that extensively makes use of lighting, everything’s going to look a little bland after that. Do we mind? No, not at ALL. For what the TCA is trying to be, the design is virtually PERFECT. Thrustmaster have partnered with Boeing to bring you a 1:1 style replica of a yoke inspired by the Boeing 787 jet airliner, perhaps the most famous plane in the world. There are various shades of grey going around the entire set. This is reinforced by the fact that the whole frame is metal, which really adds to the robustness of the product. It feels premium, solid, and made to last; a stark contrast from some of the other offerings on this list. It’s almost like they lifted this out of a Boeing plane!
The only thing that may look out of place is the Xbox branding, but that too, is handled in the most tasteful way possible. None of the ABXY buttons are colored, and they blend in amazingly. You get all of your other Xbox buttons too, including view, menu, and share. Aside from the variety of buttons, you also get a bunch of levers and switches on the yoke and the throttle quadrant. The axes are built into the yoke for standalone utility. This may be a bummer, but Thrustmaster had to do away with the inbuilt displays you’d find on the Logitech and the Turtle Beach yokes. We presume this may have been done to achieve that extra grade of realism, but it is a gaming peripheral at the end of the day, and that would have been a nice inclusion. You’ll find that the internal springs can be adjusted for count, thereby allowing you to finetune the resistance to your liking. The levers on the quadrant are also swappable. There are more design features we want to get into, but they’re also kind of coupled with the functionality, so let’s just head there.
Before anything else, we want to get something out of the way. Yes, this is an incredibly functional piece of tech. The experience of using this yoke is unparalleled. With no other yoke possibly matching up to the comfort and smoothness of the Thrustmaster TCA, it offers the realest, most immersive experience on Microsoft Flight Simulator, by far. The two inbuilt axes we talked about also support some extra features. For example, you no longer need to use the throttle quadrant to take off, you can just do it directly on the yoke. They’ve gone the extra mile with the use of magnets on the yoke and the throttle quadrant axes. This adds to how precise they are, and according to Thrustmaster the yoke system supports 16-bit resolution precision through use of this magnetic technology. Everything here is purpose built to make sure it looks, operates, and feels like the real deal.
One of the yoke’s most impressive features is the inclusion of Boeing’s autopilot feature. Look towards the dial on the throttle quadrant and you’ll find you can use the feature to control the aircraft’s altitude, heading and airspeed. The only real issue we have with the performance of the yoke system is the throttle. Since it has no 4th axis, you cannot have both flap and spoiler controls on at once. Admittedly, the range on the throttle is pretty impressive and its smooth like everything else here. All of this functionality and design wows do come at a cost though, and Thrustmaster certainly demand a pretty penny for their yoke offering. If Flight Simulator and aviation is something you absolutely adore, this is the yoke for you.
4. Honeycomb Aeronautical Alpha Flight Controls Yoke & Switch Panel
Best Value Yoke for MSFS 2020
Ok so you want a yoke. You know that much. Maybe the Logitech G PRO isn’t for you. Maybe you don’t have an Xbox and are also not looking to spend as much as the Thrustmaster and the Turtle Beach. Enter Honeycomb Aeronautical. While they’re definitely not the biggest name in the gaming peripherals industry, they’ve built a dedicated following in the Flight Sim community for reliable peripherals. Does their Alpha Flight Controls Yoke continue that tradition? Let’s find out.
If the name of the company is anything to go by, the fact that the yoke sports a honeycomb design should come as no surprise at all. The cockpit is backlit, and you can adjust the amount of backlighting to your content. There’s a bit to be said about the build quality as well. With a sleek matte black finish, you’ll find that it’s plastic, but it’s good plastic. They did not cheap out on this at all, it’s incredibly solid and while you shouldn’t drop test it for gags, it will surely last you a very long time with normal use. The yoke can also be mounted using clamps or a suction cup.
It’s an incredibly simple, no nonsense, straight to the point design that does not beat around the bush with fancy gimmicks. You open the box, and you find something unashamedly true to itself, something that is unmistakably a yoke for Flight Simulation software.
The reason this yoke made the list at all was because of how functional it is, especially for the money. Operation is smooth, with the yoke rotating a full 180 degrees and with better travel than the Logitech G PRO, which is its closest competitor in the price bracket. There’s also zero center detent or dead zone, making all the more operable.
You also get a whole lot of switches right on the front of the yoke. These include the master switches, avionics, light switches, and a 5-position ignition switch. 13 of the switches on the yoke are programmable for added customizability. While we love how responsive the yoke is in general, the pitch is something we have our reservations with. It’s tight and pitch movement is strong. This is also non-adjustable, meaning the only hope you have of it loosening up is time itself. It’s not that big of an issue though and should not taint the experience much. What may be a red flag for you is, again, a lack of support for Xbox Series S and X consoles. That’s our biggest gripe with what is otherwise an excellent, all-rounder yoke.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Do I need a yoke to play Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?
No, you do not. You can use a mouse & keyboard combo or a supported controller to play Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 too. They don’t quite offer the realism and immersion that comes with a yoke, but you’re not forced to splash the cash on an additional piece of equipment if you do not want to.
Does the Xbox Series S or X support a yoke for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?
Yes! The Xbox Series S and X consoles both support certain makes of yokes for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. Not all yokes are compatible with the Xbox though, so make sure you check if it supports your console before you buy one.
How do you control a yoke in Flight Simulator?
You maneuver it as a pilot would on a real plane. The yokes coming out today are some seriously impressive pieces of tech designed for maximum realism.
Does Logitech flight yoke work on Xbox Series S or X?
Unfortunately, the Logitech G PRO does not support Xbox consoles at the moment.
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