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Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck review

The Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck is a versatile HOTAS solution for those who don’t mind investing both money and time.

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck - hero card
Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck
4 out of 5 stars
4
Compatibility
Windows 10/11 PCs
Controls
15 axes, 139 programmable buttons
Standout feature
Customisable touchscreen display
Nathan Lawrence
May 13, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read
Quick verdict: Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck

The Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck is a competitively priced HOTAS setup for those who want more from their flight sims. Both joystick and throttle boast solid build quality, with plenty of buttons. The respective screens are also a nice touch for both devices. But there’s a catch. All of those inputs translate to a big patience requirement to configure everything on a per-game basis, and some of the inputs are a bit more of a reach than I’d like.

pro
Pros
pro Great build quality
pro Loads of customisation
pro Touchscreen is a great inclusion
con
Cons
con Tweaks are intimidating
con Needs more configs
con Some of the button placements

Flight sims have come a long way since I dabbled in my childhood, pairing a cheapo Tandy Electronics controller with games like Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Blue Max and Wing Commander. Flight sims are the reason I play games today with an inverted view—it’s not just how planes work, it’s also how your head works—and while the genre isn’t as prevalent as it used to be, it’s making a welcome resurgence. And alongside the niche genre is a growing demand for flight peripherals, including the popular hands-on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) ones.

Turtle Beach recently released the Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck, and I’ve been taking this newest HOTAS contender for a spin. I’m neither a flight-sim nor a HOTAS aficionado, so I was curious to see how the Flightdeck might tempt more casual virtual pilots like me out of retirement.

How much does Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck cost in Australia?

A none-too-cheap investment in flight simulation immersion ($699 RRP).

There’s a lot of money in flight sims. If it’s not the cost of the games—I’m looking at you DCS World, IL-2 Sturmovik and Star Citizen—it’s the cost of the peripherals. You’ll want a beefy PC for starters (with a reliable gaming headset, keyboard and mouse), then if you’re all in, that means a VR headset, a cockpit seat, joystick, throttle and rudder pedals.

You may balk at the $699 RRP, but the Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck is actually competitively priced. If you want something cheaper, there’s the Logitech X52 or X56. Still, the Flightdeck is cheaper than the Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog.

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck design and functionality

Sturdy, versatile and loads of inputs.
Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck - complete

The Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck impresses right from the unboxing. Given the asking price, it’s a relief that the joystick and throttle have a suitably sturdy design. Oh, and loads of buttons, knobs, D-pads and switches. I’m talking 139 programmable functions, which is great news for those seeking to be less reliant on keyboard inputs for more involved flight sims.

There is some very minor assembly required with the joystick: namely, screwing the stick into the base. After that, you’re ready to connect to a Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC. Well, that’s if you haven’t gone all out and don’t want to screw down the joystick and throttle. If you do, the screws are included and there are three holes apiece for each peripheral underneath the respective metal chassis.

I like that there’s a logical layout for most of the inputs on joystick and throttle. Admittedly, some of them are trickier to get to, so those playing in VR will want to spend some time familiarising themselves with the location of everything. There’s also a partially adjustable length on the joystick, which doesn’t feel as secure fully extended. Otherwise, in terms of ports, each peripheral uses a USB-C input for separate detachable USB-C to USB-A cables. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack on the joystick.

Info Box
What is Turtle Beach?
Turtle Beach is a peripherals manufacturer that’s been around since the 1970s. Today, Turtle Beach is known for gaming headsets, flight simulation peripherals and game controllers.

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck configuration software

You’ll want the patience of a pilot to configure these peripherals.

Configuration is the true testing ground of the Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck. While the joystick and throttle are plug-and-play as far as Windows is concerned, that’s the easy part. Plugging the peripherals in for the first time is when you’ll notice the customisable OLED HUD on the joystick and the Flight Touch Display on the throttle, plus some tasteful lighting.

The next step is to download Turtle Beach Velocity One Flight Hangar software. Expect to update the firmware on both devices, which takes a few minutes per device. In the companion software, joystick and throttle have dedicated screens. It’s relatively intuitive to shift the Turtle Beach configs to the ‘Your configs’ row, and then a single click on each one syncs the config with the respective device.

There’s also a ‘Hardware Test’ screen for each device, which offers live feedback for the many, many inputs. That ‘Configs’ screen, though, is where you’ll spend the bulk of your time. Hover over a config of interest, then hit the edit button. You’ll want to have a preferred beverage and possibly some snacks because you can easily spend hours here familiarising and personalising controls to your tastes. And that’s still only half the air battle.

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck gameplay

Your new mantra is “serenity now”.
Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck - up close

The other chunk of the battle is configuring the Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck in games. There are a handful of games listed as compatible with the Flightdeck:

The disclaimer for all of those is control mapping is required, and those two “basic control” games are limited to 32 button inputs max. While that list isn’t exhaustive in terms of what I tested, the ease of configuration depended on the game. Star Wars: Squadrons was the gold standard, which detected basic controls without too much tweaking. And Everspace 2 made key configuration easier, most notably with axis inputs instead of having to manually input multiple axes.

War Thunder proved to be an intimidating pain because it wanted me to use a drop-down menu of axes to determine throttle and movements, instead of just letting me click and adjust an input. Microsoft Flight Simulator, on the other hand, didn’t detect either peripheral until a later in-game update.

For the games I was able to use it in, the Flightdeck absolutely adds to the overall immersion. The main buttons are well thought out in terms of placement for practical use, inputs are responsive, and the joystick offers smooth movement across respective axes.

Is the Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck worth buying?

A worthy investment if you have the patience to configure it.

I don’t pretend to know how easy it is to achieve this, but the Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightdeck would be a whole lot easier to recommend if it included preconfigured control profiles for games. Better yet, much like the Steam Deck, if it let users create, share and upvote configs for games so the many impatient can benefit from the patient few. That said, if you’re the kind of person who wants to up your flight-sim game, chances are you have the patience to get past those initial hurdles. For those looking to dabble, go with something cheaper.

icon-expertise

How we review joysticks

Our joystick reviews are similar to how we review controllers. Depending on the price, a joystick may be standalone and multiplatform or it may be more purpose-built for a particular platform and include a throttle stick. We look at the competition to determine whether a joystick or HOTAS is well priced.

Ideally, a joystick is plug-and-play with easy-to-use companion software. While we can appreciate that personalisation is important, we also like a joystick that makes configurations easier. Bonus points for anything that offers game-specific or downloadable user profiles.

Then it’s time to put the joystick through its practical tests. It should be well-weighted and have rubber feet, plus a straightforward way to fasten it to a hard surface for more dedicated flight-simmers. We check how logically placed the buttons are, then test the joystick in multiple games to see how it performs.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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