First Impressions: PMDG 737-700 for MSFS

PMDG is a renowned development group that has been around for almost two decades, though still many newcomers to the community don’t recognise them. PMDG was always more focused on older simulators, most dominantly, Prepar3D.

However, with their latest release, the group has officially entered the Microsoft Flight Simulator’s jetliner market and thus has gained a much bigger recognition even among new community members. Speaking of their new addon for Microsoft Flight Simulator, I got a chance to take a look and try their 737-700 for MSFS.

First of all, I want to make clear that I have received a free press copy from PMDG, nonetheless, will remain impartial in the article.

Installation & Operations Center

PMDG 737 is installed through the provided installer. The installation process was very quick and straightforward. The addon is managed through the PMDG Operations Center, which is a nice utility that PMDG has been making use of for many years, unfortunately without any significant changes to the interface.

For an addon released in 2022, it would have been a nice touch if the developers revised the Operations Center as it does not meet current visual standards. It works sufficient and does the job, but I initially found it hard to navigate around and some parts even confusing.

737-700 for MSFS

Once loaded up in the simulator, I had my standard issues with binding various axes and buttons, but that’s not an issue of PMDG. After a very tiring process of binding everything, I was ready to start the aircraft up and take it for a spin around the airport.

At the very beginning, I already had very nice feelings about the aircraft. I did not see any low-resolution textures or low-poly modelling that would make the immersion much less authentic. As someone anticipating the release since the initial announcement, only thinking that we finally have a “proper” 737 in MSFS was a bit overwhelming after the long two-year-long wait.

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Missing EFB

It is important to note that the PMDG 737-700 for MSFS does not feature, yet, an EFB (Electronic Flight Bag). Consequently, everything related to the aircraft has to be controlled through the MCDU. This can, for many, including me, be quite hard to navigate through as it is not frankly organized well.

After all, having to browse through nine different pages of settings to get to the one I need is not what I call intuitive. I don’t see how this could be in any form comparable to having a proper EFB, but you can get somewhat used to it in a few flights.

The team has, however, promised to deliver en EFB in one of the future free updates, so presumably, this is only a temporary solution. I hope to see a proper EFB included soon for the experience to be even better.

Ground services

Along with other settings, the ground services are also controlled through the MCDU. All the various ground services have very nice models and textures that do not, in any way, affect the performance.

Thus, to conclude, as far as you don’t take in mind the more challenging management, the ground service models are really well done. It is, clearly, a very nice touch to have a custom ground handling set included in the price, not having to purchase a separate addon.

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Flight dynamics

I have to admit I am not a real-world 737-700 pilot, like many other flight simmers, hence I could only review the flight dynamic based on my own assumptions of how the aircraft should behave. Without saying whether it is realistic or not, the aircraft handles very nicely both on the ground and during the flight.

Night lighting

This part of the addon deserves a separate section in this article. The PMDG 737 for MSFS features custom night lighting done to a very realistic level. Every light has its own modelled behaviour and range, making the night flying almost more immersive and fun than flying during the daytime. I have to admit that I have not seen many addons with even comparable night lighting depth. Good job PMDG on this one!

3-in-1

Within the one addon, you get three various variants each with its own ground handling equipment, flight characteristics and systems. The business jet variant (BBJ), the cargo variant (BCDF), and the passenger variant. All of them are recreated to high fidelity.

The team at Volanta recently shared a pie chart showcasing the percentage of flight simmers flying these variants which can be seen below. The passenger variant is a clear winner.

Pricing model

The price of the 737-700 for MSFS is $69.99 until the 737-600 is released. Once that happens, the price will rise to $74.99. Every variant of the 737 will be sold separately, thus if you want to fly only the -800, for example, you will only pay for that one, however, if you want to fly all of the variants, you will have to pay for all of them individually roughly 70$ for each (280$ in total).

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This, of course, puts to benefit those who only want to fly one model, but if you’re one of those who want to enjoy them all, you are certainly not in luck, despite PMDG stating they want to make the addon more accessible from their previous 737NGXu for Prepar3D, which sold for $185 with all the variants included, versus the $280 for MSFS variants.

The conclusion from my first impressions

So, based on what I’ve experienced up-to-date, I have to admit the PMDG 737-700 for MSFS is a very nice addon very much worth the hype. It has been developed to high fidelity and I am having excellent feelings about exploring the rest of what it has to offer.

The pricing is, however, something I truly do not understand and is undermining the whole idea of making MSFS addons more accessible.

I am going to work on a full in-depth review of the PMDG 737-700 for MSFS after some more flights and testing sessions so that I make sure all information is relevant. This is also the reason why I did not go in-depth about the systems and various other aspects of the addon I do not have yet enough experience with.

You can purchase the 737-700 for MSFS for $69.99, until the -600 is released, through the PMDG website.

George Read more

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