A review by Nigel C
Put Your Head In The
Have you ever seen a product and thought, yup nice idea,
but not taken it further, well I have to admit this
little device falls into this category, for me.
I had a lot of reservations, not least, adding to the
already gathering collection of wires, from the
headphones, X52 joystick and throttle, and, to put it
bluntly, is it worth the effort? Well, only one way to
So, one transparent plastic blister pack, a lovely
picture of the key areas of games most applicable to use
with the TrackIR, namely Flight, Driving, Combat. And in
the top left I noticed that the package includes S70
Game bundle, to you and me, Battle of Britain 11 (Wings
of Victory) and Factor. (Motor racing game)
So upon opening the pack you will find the two
complimentary games, ( as mentioned above) a TrackClip
PRO quick start guide and CD, a transmutation device
which is clipped onto your headphones, and the reception
device which sits on the top of your monitor.
Follow the THREE easy steps, YES! ONLY THREE EASY steps
and you are almost ready. Before we move on, I want to
focus on the setting up.
I have a pair of Logitech headphones with a boom mic
mounted on the left, affixing the TrackClip Pro device
was simple, position it open the clip, and by adding
pressure the clip closes very firmly. (The clip allows
for two thickness settings so you should not experience
any locating issues) A rather nice idea around each of
wires there is a small retaining Velcro strip, which
once connected, allows you to attach to your mic lead..
This Velcro, albeit a good idea, was not enough, so I
used some tape at regular spacing to hold all the wire
firmly to my headphone lead, making a neater and more
Before plugging into a spare USB port on your computer,
you will notice a spare lead, this allows you to plug
the Receiver unit into the same connector, thus, only
ONE USB port is used. A great feature, saving those all
too precious USB ports on your computer.
The receiving unit has three adjustable legs that swivel
and with a soft rubber at each end, allows for a
positive and non slip mounting. I positioned mine on top
my monitor, roughly inline with the transmitter mounted
on my head phones.
Right all connected, let’s pop the Installation disc in
and get cracking. My disc did not auto-run so seek it
via My Computer, and double click, off it goes, follow
the simple instructions and you will be ready.
You will notice a shortcut icon on the desktop, remember
to activate the system double click on the icon, then
minimize (or use the run minimised option to do this
automatically) before opening your game choice. There are
LOADS of default pre programmed games your route into
true 3D space will be fast one.
Right all set up, and actually, with the unit in
position on my head phones, I did not feel too self
conscious, of potentially looking a alien, or some high
tech Ariel strapped to my head! I did not jump up and
shout ‘’Take me to your leader’’ so it must be subtle,
and it is..
Ok, you have to be a little careful how you handle the
headphones, but this is not a hindrance, and in fact
I fired up my ACOF, selected my favorite 737 300, hit
the F9 button to activate the TrackIR Ultra unit, a few
very subtle LEDs illuminated on the receiving unit on
the monitor, I noticed the view was way off, so holding
my head at a natural position looking forward to the
monitor hit F12, this immediately gave the correct
forward view (this process you use in any new
aircraft/vehicle, to get the correct view).
I selected VC mode in the usual way, WOW, there we go
right left up down, behind you got the view you wanted
by the use of your head movement.
Right, got clearance, new Squawk code, given, I moved
forward and moved slightly to my right, the panel became
magnified, and was able to adjust the Squawk
effortlessly. This goes for the Coms radios as well.
A rather ‘natty’ feature was in my 172 Skylane, on
finals I was able to sit high in my seat and look ‘over’
the nose, providing me with a clear view of my
threshold. I like this facility.
With the amazing ability of moving forward and
magnifying the panel, you can ensure more accurate
fights. Well at least you do not have to select View,
Instrument…Etc… Simply move forward and hew presto that
Flight Director Instrument almost fills the screen! Move
back and in a ‘nanno’ second you have full screen again.
This does not totally irradiate the need for the
occasional instrument selection, ie coms panel, but in
most cases I found the selection via use of the TrackIR
You can of course select VC which triggers the TRACKIR
or select the non VC mode for full instrument view. And
of course there are the usual external views.
Taxiing is very realistic with this device, especially
if you are visiting an airfield, taxi navigation sign
identification I found easy.
One of favorite aircraft is the classic Tiger Moth, so,
with my leather helmet, scarf and gloves on, and my
TrackIR Ultra activated, I fired up Gipsy major engine
and went for a spin. In this rather ‘simple’ or should I
say basic layout the ability of looking around moving in
closer, and generally having a good old tour of the
cockpit, and the exterior, utilizing the TrackIR Ultra
is really great fun.
Seeing as I have mentioned the Taxing, in a ‘tail
dragger’ the ability to scan realistically is frankly a
God send. Actually Take off and landing the TrackIR
Ultra came into it’s own.
Did I get any frame rate drop, NO, not a bit of it! It
runs when activated effortlessly and (so far) reliably.
It has been active for some 10 hours thus far, with no
As I have previously
mentioned, I was not that bothered about purchasing such
a device, but now I love it, all right it takes a little
to get used too, ie, if you move forward to magnify a
instrument, and you intend to adjust it, you have to
hold your head very still, otherwise the process of
adjusting is a little difficult. Once mastered not a big
a issue. Temporally deactivating the unit say for a
quick more conventional Coms adjustment can be done by
simply pressing the F9 button, and visa versa.
I am very impressed with this unit, it really is not too
intrusive, OK, there is a piece of plastic rod attached
to your headphones (see pictures) but I have not found
this to an issue.
I mentioned about the unit has a Velcro strip attached
to each of the leads, frankly you need at least 8 or 9
to make a neat and practical solution to holding the
headphone and TrackIR Ultra transmitter leads together.
I used adhesive tape which is not the best solution but
at least practical.
I must confess to have installed the complimentary motor
racing game and had a lot of fun with it in the VC mode,
some lovely sounds and effects, so if you want something
different have a ‘bat’ around a track or go off-road, go
I do not posses a combat based game, so I cannot
comment, but the capability of looking round a corner
before proceeding sounds good to me. I am sure there
will be a myriad of other possibilities with in the
combat arena that I can not offer comment, but
appreciate the possibilities the TrackIR Ultra has to
I attempted to get the complementary Battle of Britain
game installed, but for some reason had some
difficulties, of my doing I am sure, so, I cannot
comment in this area either. But again in a Arial combat
situation, the ability to scan very quickly around has
very obvious advantages!
I have to mention the speed in which you can track in
all axis, is fast responsive, and no interruption. Very
slick, visual action.
It has convinced me, and will now be a permanent
feature, adding that little bit extra to the wonderful
experiences we all get when immersed in the world of
If you have Motor racing and Combat games, your
experience will that much more.
The hardware is not large and imposing, in fact just the
opposite, what you are buying is the advanced technology
and build quality. OK it can be described by most as
expensive, for any peripheral piece of kit.
As a testament, I mentioned in the review that this will
sit permanently on my headphones, they will.
Nicely engineered, innovative practical and it works!
Windows PC Running Windows XP or VISTA
(32 or 64-bit)
Onwards and Upwards..
Nigel C Martin