The Loewe brand disappeared from the French market in 2019, to the chagrin of lovers of pretty products capable of producing beautiful images and providing good sound quality. In 2022, this German pioneer – born in 1923, almost a century ago – is making a comeback with models that are still 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 (from €2,699), 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 argument.
A very nice TV
If we look at the TV market, even 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 one generation to another. To make an impression, 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. Upon unpacking, we understand that Loewe wants to offer another experience. Everything is carefully packaged – and protected – as if thought to give satisfaction even before the first lighting. The company knows that some people are sensitive to packaging. And we must admit that the effort is there concerning the bild i.
The bild i is therefore a very, very nice television lifestyle, steeped in small details that make the difference. The small label protruding from the frame on the side, the circle surrounding the indicator light (which takes the form of a bar), the removable sound bar covered with an acoustic fabric in graphite gray (which adds texture to the whole), the presence of easy-to-install magnetic covers to hide the back, the adjustable basalt foot which allows them to be concealed… We feel that Loewe has thought of everything. The assembly quality is in tune, with a real impression of durability (the materials are well chosen). We imagine that the bild i will inevitably provoke positive reactions from your visitors, who will wonder about the identity of the brand.
The care is also found on the metal remote control, combining black and silver colors for a marriage of 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 that it’s so heavy and doesn’t have a backlight.
OLED technology is necessarily a good choice
What about the soundbar?
As an option, the bild i can be combined with a €300 soundbar, called klang bar i, compatible with Dolby Atmos and which blends in perfectly with the design. It lacks a hint of presence (especially horizontal), but has a nice reserve of power.
Loewe has logically approached LG for the OLED technology of its bild i television – which constitutes a good basis for obtaining an appreciable visual rendering. The German firm adds its in-house calibration, which requires a few minor adjustments to deliver satisfaction. Standard mode seems to be the most versatile. Just be sure to deactivate all the tricks (motion compensation, noise reduction, etc.) and play with the colors to adjust as needed. Out of 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 latest-generation panel, the bild i delivers a show as we like it: solid and accurate colors, because they are natural, combined with really black blacks, for vertiginous contrasts. The image is vibrant, with a high-flying sharpness, although a little too strong at times (the in-house algorithm lacks a hint of restraint, but we nitpick). In HDR, compatibility with the Dolby Vision standard is reassuring for the future, knowing that the light peak – voluntarily limited to 800 nits to guarantee better longevity – is enough to impress, with a certain balance.
We feel in any case that Loewe has a small margin of progress to do – a little – better. The marvelous OLED technology gives it a setting in which to flourish. For a return to business, the effort is remarkable, and you really won’t be disappointed with the performance.
If the bild i has a Game mode designed for gaming, it must be recognized that it is not the best television 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 ad hoc features (including 4K at 120 fps). Never mind, we still enjoyed the dizzying graphics of Forza Horizon 5 on the bild i, which offers sufficiently low latency to be imperceptible and good image dynamics (we repeat: the colors are truly prodigious). Gaming is your first purchase criterion? Take an LG TV instead.
An amazing interface, perfectible ergonomics
Unlike some competitors, such as Sony and Philips, Loewe has not approached Google for the bild i operating system. He prefers to trust his own in-house ecosystem. There was everything to fear from this choice, when we know that certain recognized players continue to suffer from it by dint of persisting in this way (hello Panasonic). But the reality is surprising: the interface of the bild 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 make the TV evolve positively – hoping that it keeps its promise.
Ergonomics, on the other hand, would benefit from being better. For example, the shortcut providing quick access to image settings is not 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 the settings…). We feel that Loewe does not want us to spend too much time in the menus – a healthy intention, except for those and those who love to personalize their experience.
- The ultra-pretty and versatile design
- The OLED image provides a good basis
- Amazing interface
We liked less
- No HDMI 2.1 port in 2022
- Ergonomics could be improved
- The price, of course (except for design lovers)
On pure performance, the Loewe bild i does not excel in anything. It is not the best calibrated out of the box. It is not the best choice for video games. But its bases are solid enough to convince a maximum of users. Especially since the home interface, pleasant and modern, ensures an excellent experience.
Then you have to accept the high price. It matches the emphasis on luxurious materials.