I'd like to join here. I was on the fence of stopping flight simming completely because of different situations I have with other simulators but AFS4 does it right for me exactly in the fields where others fail.
- Clouds look great. They are crisp and beautiful and overall a joy to looak at. The so called volumetric clouds others offer did not impress me at all because they are blurry and don't look right, I think the computing power is just not there yet to make so called volumetric clouds look right which would require to render them in much higher resolution grids. So far, I prefer well done billboard clouds because they just look better.
- Overall image quality is excellent, no blurry rendering at all, everything is crisp and clear and looks just right (obviously I don't like blurry stuff in any aspect)
- High resolution ortho imagery looks stunning in this sim, other sims using the same or even higher resolution imagery don't render the imagery this good.
- Helicopter flying is excellent, feels slightly better than in X-Plane for me.
- Aircraft sounds are good, partially amazing (X-Plane's fmod just sounds dull to me, there is just no fidelity in the sounds and I tried a lot of aicraft there).
- Performance is great.
- Forests look great, billboard trees never looked so good in any simulator, the way how the engine handles the transparency is excellent (X-Plane is very weak in handling this kind of transparent textures, it can't really fade them out so you see hard edges).
- The High Quality Antialias is phenomenal, removes flickering almost completely on my 1080p screen.
I definitely agree with all the positives you listed. There are a number of things AeroFly does *extremely* well compared to the competition, especially in VR which is the only way I use flight sims. The crispness of visuals and whatever anti-aliasing magic they use is way ahead of the competition. I think that's one of the reasons I wish the sim was more fully-featured, though. It feels like it's right on the verge of being truly excellent, but it needs a few more things to get there, and I really want to see this sim reach its full potential.