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David Roch

Captain Sim 757X - initial impressions

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People seem to be getting such different experiences from these suppliers that I thought I'd give them a go. Here's what I've found so far:Plus points:1. Installation: a couple of false starts having tried the Demo first, but fine now (I think).2. Visually excellent. This is a big plus. The VC really is superb: even better than the PMDG 747X and significantly better than the Level-D 767X. The product also ships with lots of liveries. I haven't inspected them closely but the BA one is of very good quality: a nice, well-used, grubby aeroplane. It may also have a few more animated parts but these don't interest me so I haven't checked carefully.3. Framerates pretty good: a little better than the Level-D 767X; significantly better than the PMDG 747X.4. Another big plus: weather radar.5. Functionality: FMS and radios seem as complete as the Level-D and PMDG.6. Documentation: if you're familiar with the Boeing products then you probably won't need it - except to learn the new keystrokes etc. What comes with the product seems OK.Minus points:1. Navdata: sadly, out of date and apparently not supported by Navigraph.2. Terminal procedures: none provided, although Terry Yingling has some for the UK on his planepath.com website.3. Big minus: I'm not completely confident in its stability. It's thrown me out more than once with a couple of unexpected system crashes.4. Inconsistent and difficult mouse inputs: sometimes you need both left and right mouse buttons to turn a knob in different directions, sometimes just the left button; and buttons/dials don't react consistently to the scroll wheel. 5. Support and website: I've not tried the support in earnest yet, but the website generally seems unnecessarily elaborate: you can't request support without logging in and choosing your order and then filling in a long questionnaire. The website does not seem to be well-attended.6. Customisation: so far as I can tell so far, this product does not have a meaningful menu of its own: the menu that comes up just takes you to a website or an external load manager application. So you cannot (for example) control whether to bother with IRS alignment before a flight, or even (so far as I can tell) save a panel state. Nor can you choose the (?) second generation MFD, with speed and altitude tapes (instead of just a fast/slow indicator).7. No altitude call outs.8. Seems to use FSUIPC: at least, FSX wanted authority to run this DLL once I'd installed the 757X. Nothing against FSUIPC: but it really shouldn't be necessary for an up-to-date add-on and in the past it has given me trouble.9. No system failure options that I can see, but perhaps it uses FSX's built-in ones.Overall: shows promise but not a fully mature product in my view. It would be a pity for these people to let themselves down by providing bad or arrogant support. The 757X is very good looking, but even so I do think the price is a little high, particularly as the product still seems to have stability issues and lacks features found in more established products from the Level-D and PMDG stables.Verdict: I'll persist with the 757X for a while but I suspect I'll end up sticking mainly with Level-D and PMDG.Tim

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