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Loewe bild 3.55 review: The most stylish OLED TV yet

Vincent Teoh
27 Mar 2018
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
2,799
inc VAT

Premium styling, great sound and jaw-dropping OLED images – but they don't come cheap

Pros 
Stunning OLED image quality
Strong HDR performance
Rich, full-bodied audio
Cons 
More expensive than the competition
Colours not the most natural-looking
Input lag is a little high
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Outside of Germany, Loewe is not a well-known household TV brand. And even those that have heard of the company probably aren’t aware that it has the biggest range of OLED TVs apart from LG themselves. There's the bild 9 designer TV, the bild 7 with motorised stand, the bild 5, the bild 4, and the bild 3.55 which we're reviewing today.

Loewe's bild 3 family actually comprises both OLED and LED LCDs, but where the 49-inch and 43-inch versions are edge-lit LED LCD TVs, the 55-inch model is OLED. If you’re wondering why OLED technology only features on the 55-inch model, then the answer is simple: smaller OLED panels don’t exist.

The bild 3.55 might sit towards the bottom of Loewe family, but it touts all the headline features you’d expect at the rather considerable price. It has a UHD (ultra high-definition) resolution; HDR support for the open-standard HDR10, broadcast HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and proprietary Dolby Vision formats; and it runs on the company's own Loewe operating system.

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Loewe Bild 3.55 review: Design & Connections

At £2800, the Loewe bild 3.55 is pricier than most other 55in OLEDs, but it’s easy to see where the extra money has gone. The OLED panel itself is supremely thin, and is stylishly encased in a gunmetal grey trim, with the trademark Loewe tag clipping onto the top-right of the screen.

The table-top stand is entirely constructed from metal, which gives it the kind of solid, hefty feel you’d all but expect from a premium display. All-round build quality is superb, and there are a number of thoughtful design touches. There’s a slick swivelling stand; a door to conceal the various ports and connections that's elegantly held closed by magnets; and the rear cover maintains a clean look from any angle, which makes it perfect for an open-plan living space.

Underneath the panel there’s an integrated, fabric-covered soundbar, with a circular LED indicator in the middle. As the stereo speakers within use a bass reflex port design with 40 watts of amplification per channel, it’s no surprise to find that the Loewe’s audio is substantially richer and clearer than most rival TVs.

The connections are positioned on the left rear of the TV, with some facing downwards and some facing to the sides. There are four HDMI ports, but only HDMI input 4 is a full-bandwidth HDMI 2.0 port, so you’ll need to ensure that you connect your HDR or Dolby Vision sources to HDMI 4.

The supplied two-tone remote is typically swanky, with a weighty feel, a brushed metallic silver front and buttons which provide a lovely, tactile feel. It’s also good to see that Netflix, Amazon and Youtube apps are available within the Loewe OS Smart TV portal, even if you are restricted to 4K non–HDR material.

Loewe Bild 3.55 review: Picture Quality

There’s still nothing quite like OLED. As the technology allows every pixel to be turned on and off independently of each other, the Loewe bild 3.55 is able to deliver the holy trinity of perfect blacks, vibrant colours, and wide viewing angles which prevent colours washing out when viewed from the sides.

However, as the Loewe bild OLED TVs are pitched as lifestyle products rather than the last word in picture quality, there are no white balance controls nor a colour management system in the user menu. In its most accurate out-of-the-box picture mode, there's a distinct creamy tint, causing skin tones to look unnatural and clay-like with all the processing that's going on. Thankfully, disabling most of the Bild 3.55’s picture processing makes things look more natural, but colour accuracy and near-black gradation are still less refined than Panasonic or Sony’s OLED TVs.

Scaling quality is excellent, with the Bild 3.55 displaying crisp detail retrieval from standard-definition content. With the esoterically-named [Film quality improvement DMM] setting disabled, motion resolution is pretty low – we measured it at the sample-and-hold baseline of 300 lines. Engaging DMM does improve motion clarity, but inevitably introduces interpolation artefacts and soap opera effect (an overly smooth, floaty feel) to 24fps movies. Thankfully, though, the bild 3.55 handles slow panning shots in 24p films natively without any of the tell-tale judder found on lesser sets, so we’d advise prospective owners to leave [Film quality improvement DMM] off for watching movies.

Loewe Bild 3.55 review: HDR performance and gaming responsiveness

The Loewe puts in a solid performance in other areas, too. HDR performance is good – at least by the standards of other OLED TVs. We measured peak brightness at 650cd/m2 on a 10% window once calibrated to D65 white point, and DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage was 99%. With the correct HDR picture mode selected, the Loewe bild 3.55's tone-mapping algorithm worked very well, and did a great job of attempting to maintain overall brightness and specular highlight detail depending on the content metadata.

Of course, the Loewe also supports HLG and Dolby Vision. We played some iTunes movies and Netflix shows in Dolby Vision from an Apple TV 4K box, and they looked as spectacular as on any Dolby Vision-capable OLED TV, with a richness and precision that's a sight to behold.

Gaming isn’t one of the Loewe’s strongest points, however. With [Gaming mode] engaged, input lag measured 40ms in 1080p SDR, but went up to 66ms with a 4K signal, so 4K games from the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X may feel a bit sluggish.

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Loewe Bild 3.55 review: Verdict

If you’re looking for an alternative to LG’s excellent OLED models, and Dolby Vision support is a must, the Loewe bild 3.55 needs to be on your shortlist. Its colour reproduction isn’t as accurate as the competition, but its exquisite styling, German build quality and strong sound output combine to create a TV that is definitely out of the ordinary.

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