Posted 29 February 2012 - 01:38 PM
I've owned or used basically most of the HOTAS out there right now.
I've owned a TM Cougar, Logitech G940, Saitek X65, Saitek X52, Saitek X52-Pro, Saitek X45, Microsoft Sidewinder Pro (not technically a HOTAS, but here for comparison), CH Figherstick + Throttle.
I've used (borrowed from friends who have them) a TM Warthog, TM T-flight, Saitek Cyborg.
Basically the Sidewinder, and the CH sticks are the only ones that stand up to time and abuse. The Thrustmaster sticks aren't bad, but are overly priced. The warthog is a terror right now for the price, but one assumes they'll work the kinks out of it in the next year or so (or at least I would hope so). Either way, the controls on it aren't as conducive to "arcade" games like MW or space flight games as the other ones. If you have a cougar, and it's holding up, then there's no reason to replace it. But I wouldn't go out of my way to buy one when you can just get the CH stuff for cheaper/easier.
If you want to spend more than $100, I strongly suggest the CH figherstick and CH throttle. Quality is top notch, they last for ever. It's about $150-200 online for the pair.
Saitek's quality control is TERRIBLE. I went through 3 X52-Pros before I bought the X65, and it sucked too. And by going through, I mean major failure. I've had to take each of them apart and resolder broke connections, re-wire the stick wires that sheer at the gimbles, etc. They look cool, and they're cheap, but they break, often. That said, I've had good luck with the Pro Combat Pedals, but then again they're almost $200 on their own.
If you want to spend less than $100, I'd say get the Thrustmaster T-Flight. It's cheap as hell, and when it breaks, you can just toss it out and not be out that much. That said, the friend I have with one, it's still going strong. He went through an untold number of cyborgs before I got him to buy the T-flight. Seriously, like double digit numbers of them.
CH, looks terrible, but it's comfy, it lasts, and if it doesn't, they're good about support (not that mine have ever broken, but I've read about it on the CH forums).