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Loewe Connect ID 55 DR+ TV Review


German TV manufacturer Loewe is rapidly becoming the go-to brand for high-end TV displays. Immaculately turned out and adventurously specified, they’re the kind of screen that warrants a second glance in even the most premium of pads. The Connect ID line featured here is its most versatile range yet, available in 32-, 40-, 46- and 55-inch screens sizes; they retail for £1,395, £1,595, £1,995 and £2,495 respectively. Our featured sample is the most recently introduced 55-inch model.

ID, incidentally, stands for Individual Design, a moniker more than justified by the wide range of finishes available. You can opt to partner the Connect ID’s thin piano black bezel with white or black back panels, and then mix and match with one of six colour wraparounds (silver, orange, green, beige, black or white). No TV offers interior designers more to play with. Additionally, the set can also be specified with an integrated 500GB recorder, which earns it the DR+ suffix. This typically adds another £300 to the retail price, but greatly adds to the overall functionality of the screen.

Loewe Connect ID 55 DR+: Build and features
Build quality is excellent. There’s nothing insubstantial about the chassis, and the overall appearance is very upmarket. Connectivity includes three HDMIs (one of which is side facing), an AV mini socket (adaptor provided), PC VGA input, Ethernet LAN, two side facing USBs, coaxial digital audio, CI slot and some legacy connectors. Wi-Fi is onboard. The set sports a Freeview HD tuner along with two DVB-S satellite aerial inputs. These can be configured for a single LNB feed, two separate feeds from two different satellites or as many as four satellites inputs via a DiSEqC controller. This versatility makes it a prime candidate for a pro aerial dealer install.

Loewe has optimised the Connect ID TV for life in a networked environment. A dedicated Media button on the substantial remote control offers instant access to networked UPnP devices, local USB, timeshifted recordings and streaming IPTV options. Free services on tap include BBC iPlayer, Daily Motion and Vimeo, but curiously there’s no YouTube client. Subscription offerings include Box Office 365 and Cartoon Network. The TV also boasts a built-in web browser, but it’s not particularly easy to navigate with a standard TV zapper.

File support is top notch. Whether from local USB or networked NAS, we had no problems playing all popular codecs and containers, including AVI, WMV, MKV, MOV, MP3, FLAC, Vorbis, AAC/M4a and WAV.

The integrated PVR module is a seamless and recommended upgrade which allows users to record one channel while watching another. Timeshifted image quality is transparent to the source channel.When multiple Loewe Connect ID screens are installed on the same network, recordings can travel from one to another using the set’s Follow Me feature, a welcome nicety.

Loewe Connect ID 55 DR+: performance
While this TV doesn’t offer a great deal in the way of calibration, it arrives out of the box looking pretty peachy. Colour fidelity is naturalistic rather than candy store and there’s a real punch to its picture. To avoid unwanted edge-enhancement ensure that the Sharpness setting never strays above the minimum setting. Static contrast is rated at 6,000:1, with dynamic contrast pegged at 6,000,000:1. The important thing to note is that while blacks look suitably deep, there’s enough shadow detail and nuance to add extra depth. The LED edge-lighting is not consistent though, sometimes drawing attention to itself in darker scenes.

Curiously the screen’s default 16:9 setting applies overscan; given that most users will presumably be viewing HD content this is unnecessary. The 16:9 PC setting doesn’t overscan.

During our audition, we ran the screen with a wide variety of content from a selection of sources, including satellite and Blu-ray. For the most part it acquitted itself well, however motion clarity was not deemed a particular strength. With a moving test pattern traveling at 6.5ppf, the TV struggles to offer more than 850 lines of horizontal resolution. That said, images are artifact free and look suitably cinematic.

There are two DNC Digital Noise Control Settings, Medium and High, but these tend to rob the image of detail when engaged; for best clarity, keep DNC switched Off. Loewe also provides a DMM Film Quality Improvement processor to smooth out minor horizontal judder, which it does quite successfully, but this also adds motion artefacts to certain moving objects, so it’s also probably best left Off. While this is not a great screen for sports fans, cinephiles will find plenty to relish here. Naturally, the TV is stereoscopic, offering Active Shutter Full HD 3D. USB rechargeable glasses are an optional extra.

Audio quality is considerably better than its main competitors. The forward facing stereo speakers create a crisp, stereophonic soundstage, powered by a 2 x 10w amplifier with additional 20w mid-woofer back-up. A handful of filters (Speech, Classical, Pop, Custom music and Custom film sound) make it relatively easy to optimise.

Loewe Connect ID 55 DR+: Verdict
Loewe’s flagship Connect ID screen is triumphantly upmarket in design and execution. It also lends itself well to custom installation, particularly if you’re looking to use it in conjunction with a satellite dish feed. Image quality is generally high, although there are caveats as noted. Overall, Loewe has nailed a look that’s somewhere between Apple and Bang & Olufsen, and the choice of finishes on offer make this Connect ID model a very unique proposition.



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