VIRPIL Control Panel 2 Review

Are you looking for the ultimate in flight simulation peripherals? If so, your search may lead you to the VIRPIL Control Panel, a product that positions itself as the pinnacle of consumer-grade electronics. In this review, we’ll dive into the details, focusing on the key features, design, build quality, user experience, and the all-important VIRPIL Control Panel price tag.

Design & Build Quality

Aesthetics and durability are often key considerations when choosing flight sim equipment. In terms of design, the Brunner Rudders offer a more compact profile. The Simionic control wheel boasts a greater width, while the Brunner has in chunkier handle thickness. Both yokes feature full metal bases and solid mounting holes for secure attachment to your desk. When closely examined, the Brunner appears to have a slightly superior finish, with finer details that stand out. A notable distinction is the presence of an on/off switch on the Simionic, which the Brunner lacks. This necessitates turning off the entire setup at the wall when not in use, which is not required with the Simionic. Furthermore, the Brunner is notably heavier, providing a robust and stable feel.

Build Quality: Yoke Wheels

The most significant distinction in build quality lies in the yoke wheels. The Simionic’s yoke wheel, while not necessarily problematic, has a less premium feel due to a degree of plastic creakiness. On the other hand, the Brunner’s yoke wheel is impeccable, offering a sturdier and quieter experience. The quality of the buttons on the Brunner is a clear standout, providing a more responsive and satisfying tactile experience. Additionally, the Brunner yoke wheel exhibits less play, contributing to the overall quiet operation and tight feel. In terms of design and build quality, the Brunner Yoke is the clear frontrunner, primarily due to the superior control wheel and button quality.

Features & Software

One of the critical considerations when evaluating these force feedback yokes is the software they rely on. The Simionic yoke relies on XPForce software, while the Brunner Yoke benefits from Brunner’s proprietary CLS to SIM software. This distinction is significant, as Brunner’s software offers a more in-depth and versatile experience. It allows users to finely tune the yoke’s performance to suit their specific simulation needs. XPForce, while simpler to use, has fewer customization options. Both yokes offer 180 degrees of full rotation, replicating a real yoke’s range of motion. However, the Simionic has more linear pitch travel (140mm) compared to the Brunner (90mm), which may be a deciding factor for some users. In terms of rotational force, the Simionic offers 2 Newton meters, while the Brunner provides 1.7 Newton meters. Interestingly, despite the numerical advantage of the Simionic, I find the Brunner to deliver a more convincing force feedback experience.

The Software is the Difference

The importance of software in force feedback yokes cannot be overstated. Brunner’s proprietary software offers a clear advantage over Simionic’s reliance on XPForce. The ability to customize and fine-tune the yoke’s performance based on the type of simulation and desired feel is a significant selling point for the Brunner. It offers a more immersive experience with effects like engine vibration, prop wash, and stick shakers that are superior to the Simionic.

The Feeling of Flying

Both yokes excel at providing a heightened sense of realism to the flight simulation experience. However, the Brunner shines in its responsiveness, sharpness, and overall feeling of authenticity. It delivers a more realistic and immersive sensation compared to the Simionic. The Brunner’s software and yoke wheel quality make it stand out in terms of force feedback and overall flight experience.

Noise Considerations

One notable difference is the noise level. Simionic’s force feedback can be noisier, especially during stick shaking effects and turbulence. In contrast, the Brunner operates in silence, offering a smoother and quieter experience. The tighter control rod in the Brunner contributes to this quiet operation.

Pricing & Value

Both yokes come at a considerable cost, with the Simionic priced at $1,100 USD and the Brunner at approximately $1,320 USD. These price tags make these yokes a choice for dedicated enthusiasts who seek the ultimate immersion in their flight simulation. While the value in both of these yokes is evident, the Brunner’s superior build quality and software enhancements justify the higher price point.

Verdict

In the end, the choice between the Brunner and Simionic Rudders may come down to personal preferences and priorities. For those who demand the utmost in control and immersion, the Brunner is the clear winner. Its advanced software, impressive force feedback effects, exceptional yoke wheel quality, and silent operation set it apart. The Simionic, while commendable in its own right, may appeal to users on a budget or those who prioritize the extended pitch travel.

Ultimately, both yokes contribute significantly to the advancement of force feedback technology in flight simulation, offering users an unparalleled level of immersion. Regardless of your choice, the addition of force feedback to your flight simulation setup will undoubtedly elevate your experience and make virtual flying feel more like the real thing.