Hardware & Software
The Saitek is a fairly sensitive stick that doesn't require too much effort but does give feedback. It is obviously far superior to the Microsoft Sidewinder I owned before and makes gentle maneuvers much easier to execute, but it breaks from its centered a little too easily. This would be no problem if my desk had enough room on the keyboard tray for the stick, but it does not. Being used from the lap, a gentle movement of the base can end up tapping the stick to one side or another even if the stick is untouched.
The throttle feels much more solid. It requires enough force to move it that you'll rarely move it accidentally, but it doesn't imbalance the stick when that force is applied. Unfortunately, unlike my old Sidewinder, it's not just a matter of reaching down with the thumb to play with the throttle - it requires active use of the second hand if you wish to maintain any sort of control over the stick itself.
The Evo comes with rudder twist that is surprisingly good but still just rudder twist. The effort that goes into twisting the joystick is considerable enough that you can learn to at least avoid how to use it if you don't want (though most games are configurable enough to disable rudder twist anyway). Getting fine-tuning out of rudder twist takes immense practice and let's just say I'm happy I don't simply crash in IL-2 any longer whenever I try to use it while engaging in combat maneuvers. Of course, there's considerable difference between not crashing, and actually succeeding. Still, as far as the feature goes, the Cyborg Evo does a decent job with it.
The programming software that comes with the Saitek stick is simple and easy to use - buttons can be configured to simulate any number of key combinations - and while the software is small, it installs a ton of unnecessary drivers. Mouse drivers, keyboard drivers and other accessories that aren't connected to the computer apparently need to be updated.
Finally, all things considered, the Cyborg Evo is a really good deal. Accessory prices have generally come down over the years, but considering my junked Sidewinder cost only $10 less when new than the Evo, color me impressed.