The German brand Loewe returns to France with a range of premium products. We tested its OLED TV which focuses on the design, as well as the picture.
The Loewe brand disappeared from the French market in 2019, much to the chagrin of lovers of beautiful products that can produce beautiful images and provide good sound quality. In 2022 this German pioneer – born in 1923, almost a century ago – returns with models still at the top of the range.
We were able to test the bild i television, available in three sizes: 48, 55 and 65 inches. The price list is high (starting from 2,699 euros), justified by the famous “Deutsche Qualität”. In addition to a premium design, the bild i relies on an OLED panel provided by LG, which is already a big topic.
A very nice television
If we look at the television market, even at the high-end, few offer a truly distinctive design. LG like Samsung, the two brands that come to mind first, tend to use the same silhouettes from generation to generation. To impress, Loewe is trying another bet: adding a lot of elegance to a product that doesn’t necessarily need it, as long as the image is beautiful. After unpacking, we understand that Loewe wants to offer another experience. Everything is carefully packaged – and protected – as if it were designed to give satisfaction even before the first ignition. The company knows that some people are sensitive to packaging. And we must admit that the effort is there with regards to the picture.
Bild i is therefore a very, very nice TV lifestyle, full of small details that make the difference. The small label protruding from the side frame, the circle surrounding the indicator light (which takes the shape of a bar), the removable soundbar covered with a graphite gray acoustic fabric (which adds texture to the whole), the presence of magnetic covers easy to install to hide the back, the adjustable basalt foot that allows you to hide them… We think Loewe has thought of everything. The quality of the assembly is in tune, with a real impression of durability (the materials are well chosen). We imagine that the picture will inevitably provoke positive reactions from your visitors, who wonder about the identity of the brand.
The care is also found on the metal remote control, which combines the colors black and silver for a combination with the most beautiful effect. Very long and capable of driving an external amplifier (it immediately recognized my Marantz model), it has direct access to certain applications: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Deezer or even YouTube. It’s just a shame it’s so heavy and doesn’t have a backlight.
OLED technology is necessarily a good choice
And the soundbar?
As an option, the picture i can be combined with a € 300 soundbar, called klang bar i, compatible with Dolby Atmos and which fits perfectly with the design. It lacks a hint of presence (especially horizontal), but it has a nice reserve of power.
Loewe logically contacted LG for the OLED technology of its bild i television, which forms a good basis for obtaining an appreciable visual rendering. The German company adds its internal calibration, which requires a few small adjustments to offer satisfaction. Standard mode appears to be the most versatile. Just make sure you turn off all tricks (motion compensation, noise reduction, etc.) and play with the colors to adjust as needed. Outside the box, some competitors do better (Sony, Panasonic, the latest LG models).
On the other hand, we will not sulk our pleasure. Armed with a state-of-the-art panel, the bild i gives a show just as we like it: solid and accurate colors, because they are natural, combined with truly blacks, for dizzying contrasts. The image is vibrant, with high sharpness, albeit a little too sharp at times (the internal algorithm lacks a hint of restraint, but we’re picky). In HDR, compatibility with the Dolby Vision standard is reassuring for the future, knowing that peak light – voluntarily limited to 800 nits to ensure better longevity – is enough to impress, with some balance.
However, we believe that Loewe has a little room for progress to do – a little – better. The wonderful OLED technology gives it an environment in which to thrive. For a return to business, the effort is substantial and you won’t be really disappointed with the performance.
If the picture i has a Game mode designed for gaming, it must be recognized that it is not the best TV to associate with a PS5, an Xbox Series S or an Xbox Series X. The manufacturer has forgotten to integrate at least one HDMI 2.1 port, an interface that offers all the ad hoc functionalities (including 4K at 120 fps). It doesn’t matter, we still liked the dizzying graphics of Strength Horizon 5 on picture i, which offers low enough latency to be imperceptible and good image dynamics (we repeat: the colors are truly prodigious). Is gaming your first purchase criterion? Get an LG TV instead.
An extraordinary interface, perfectible ergonomics
Unlike some competitors, such as Sony and Philips, Loewe did not turn to Google for the bild i operating system. It prefers to trust its internal ecosystem. There was everything to fear from this choice, when we know that some recognized players continue to suffer from it by dint of insisting in this way (hello Panasonic). But the reality is surprising: the interface of picture i is very pleasant, both sober and modern. Better, it offers everything the user needs in terms of streaming applications (from Netflix to Amazon Prime, via MyCanal). Note that Loewe promises long-term software monitoring to positively evolve the TV, hoping it will deliver on its promises.
Ergonomics, on the other hand, would benefit from being better. For example, the shortcut that provides quick access to image settings isn’t very obvious. The remote control key is symbolized by three lines surrounded by a rectangle, and located just above the Home button (also giving access to settings…). We believe Loewe doesn’t want us to spend too much time on menus – a healthy intention, except for those and those who like to personalize their experience.
We liked it
- The ultra graceful and versatile design
- The OLED image provides a good foundation
- Amazing interface
We liked it less
- No HDMI 2.1 ports in 2022
- Ergonomics could be improved
- The price, of course (except for design lovers)
With the bild i model, Loewe makes an important return to France. The German brand has lost none of its high-end positioning, as evidenced by a very successful lifestyle design, which gives it a real argument over others. In addition to the build quality, there are the strengths of the OLED technology, which provides an excellent image base.
In terms of pure performance, the Loewe bild i excels in nothing. Not the best calibrated out of the box. Not the best choice for video games. But its foundations are solid enough to convince a maximum of users. Especially since the home interface, pleasant and modern, guarantees an excellent experience.
Then you have to accept the high price. Match the emphasis on luxury materials.