Loewe now has a very wide range of OLED models. From the impressive Bild 9 with its unique Bodo Sperlein design to the Bild 2, Loewe now offers no less than six choices (Bild 9, 7, 5, 4, 3 and 2). The Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED, also available in 65 inch, is equipped with a double TV tuner and a soundbar, and of course oled image quality, a fine combination, it seems to us.
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED – specifications
- : Ultra HD OLED TV
- Screen size: 55 inch (139 cm), flat
- Connections: 4x HDMI (1xARC 4x v2.0a (1x full bandwidth), 1x component video / scart / vga, 1x stereo minijack out , 1x coaxial digital out, 3x USB (1x 3.0), 1x headphones, 3x antenna, Bluetooth (source, speaker, keyboard)
- Extras: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, WiFi (802.11n) built in, Loewe Assist +, USB / DLNA media player, dual DVB-T2 / C / S2, dual CI + lock, Multiroom (Client / server), soundbar
- Dimensions: 1,230 x 792 x 270 mm (including foot)
- Weight: 20, 6 kg (excluding foot)
- Consumption: 148 / 0.5 watt (Energy label B)
- List price: 2.799 euro
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED – design
Also in the Bild 3 the premium design remains approach van Loewe clearly visible. The device has been finished with great precision, and high quality materials have been chosen. The ultra-thin oled panel (like the other manufacturers) has a metal back that bends seamlessly around the screen on the side. The soundbar at the bottom of the screen has the recognizable ‘Loewe eye’ in the middle. The device is available in graphite gray or light gray finishes.
The included table stand is a handsome, all-metal base plate. This is also a swivel base, with a light hand you turn the device to the left or right, a feature that we unfortunately hardly find back with other manufacturers. The neck is particularly robust and the whole feels reassuringly firm.
Loewe also offers optional alternatives to the set-up. There is a freestanding floor stand, or different sizes of a Spectral Rack, with which you can also buy a piece of furniture at once. Wall mounting is of course also possible, and Loewe itself offers three different wall brackets.
The device is equipped with four HDMI connections (two rear and two sides), all of which use HDMI 2.0, but for your Ultra HD HDR sources use your best HDMI 4, since only that connection offers the full bandwidth for the best HDR quality. At the back we find a USB 3.0 connection, three antenna connections, the network connection and the coaxial digital audio output. Since a number of soundbars only have an optical digital input, that is a point of attention.
On the side we find two USB connections, the AV output, a stereo minjack output and a headphone output. There is also a RS-232C connection provided for automation. The side connections are concealed behind a hatch cover that is held magnetically. The Bild 3 also features bluetooth, and not just a wireless keyboard and mouse, or headphones. You can also stream audio from your smartphone or tablet to the television via Bluetooth.
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED – ease of use
Loewe’s settings can be adjusted in two ways. If you press the menu key, depending on which source you watch / listen to, a specific menu will be displayed on the right side of the screen. Among other image and sound settings you can often adjust via this route. If you want the full menus, go to ‘Further settings’ at the bottom of the options menu. Or you can go in one step by holding down the menu key.
The full menus appear on the left side of the screen. As soon as you select an institution, a second column of options unfolds. The navigation is smooth, and you get enough explanation with each institution, so you can make changes in an informed manner.
This menu structure has a disadvantage. The value of each setting is hidden, you must click the setting again to see the value. As a result, you lose the overview easily, and it is extra click work to check whether or not a certain setting has changed.
The Loewe remote has hardly changed for many years. Its satin metal finish gives it a very luxurious appearance. It is excellent in the hand and feels very nice to use. The somewhat small keys do not really disturb because they are well spaced apart. The chance that you accidentally press a wrong key is quite small. The layout is good, with a separate set of playback keys at the bottom. Only the ‘Back’ key deserves a better (somewhat more prominent) place, now it is somewhat lost between three other keys.
The remote control can also be used as a universal remote, something that is clearly visible through the selection keys at the top . However, this does not happen automatically. The functions you want to use have to be ‘taught’ to the Loewe remote using the remote you wish to replace.
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED – features
Smart TV platform
Loewe’s smart tv platform goes under the name Assist +. The Home screen covers the entire screen, giving you clear and easy access to all functions (TV, recordings, sources and apps), and all settings. On the Home screen you can bring apps, and live TV channels together (by marking them as a favorite with the ‘star’ button) so that you can quickly start your favorite activities.
The app offer is quite extensive, but just as we already stated at the Bild 5 there are a few notable absentees. A native Netflix app does not work, according to Loewe, Netflix refuses to certify the platform because Loewe is too small a player on the market. Loewe has therefore made the Netflix web interface available. That is a nice gesture, but it remains the web application. In other words, you have to move the cursor on the screen with the arrow keys on the remote (unless of course you connect a wireless mouse). That is twisted awkwardly. In addition, the Netflix web interface is limited to Full HD resolution, so you do not see Ultra HD or HDR.
On the YouTube and Amazon Prime Video app is no HDR available (for the latter you have to set during the Choose Germany as the country, otherwise it will not appear in the app store). Deezer and Tidal are available as music service, and a part of Dutch catch-up TV services is available (NPO and Uitzending Gemist). Those who want to use their TV as an art frame can start up Lumas and choose from different themes.
The Bild 3 does not have a built-in hard drive, like the Bild 5. You can still record to a external USB hard drive. The Bild 3 is also equipped with a full set of tuners, and with a double CI + lock. With two such cards you can watch and record another channel at the same time.
The video player does not deliver perfect results. He does play our Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG files, but he refuses some Ultra HD (SDR) files. Subtitles (both internal in mkv and external) are missing. The audio player does a great job, it supports all of our test formats including flac and alac.
A very handy energy saving feature is the timed quick start mode. You can specify up to three periods in which the device is in quick start mode. For example, you can save energy at other times of the day, while you can turn on the TV quickly in the evening.
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED – Image quality
The Loewe Bild 3 was introduced in 2017, and uses an LG Display 2017 OLED panel. The difference with the 2018 panels is, as we have emphasized several times, limited (the newest panels are about 10% brighter, a very small improvement).
With the basic settings we have come to the following settings for this TV.
|Image||Image Other …|
|Picture Mode: Personal Mode
|Color Temperature: Soft
Sharpness: 0 or 1
Autom. Dimming: Off / on
Film smoothing (DMM): soft / medium
Digital Noise reduction: Off / soft *
Skin tone: 0
Gamma Brightness correction: 0-15
Deblocking filter: Off / on *
Explanation of main settings
- The most correct preset is the Cinema mode, adjust it with the above suggestions
- Contrast determines the maximum white value of the image. The standard 12 is fairly clear and you should then enable Automatic dimming. Let it sink to 10 for use without a light sensor.
- Image size 16: 9 PC does not have anything to do with computers, but guarantees that you show the entire image without cutting the edges.
- Film smoothing (DMM) is the setting for motion compensation. Purists turn them off, but then you lose some detail. The soft and medium settings give good results.
- Digital noise reduction / Deblocking filter: you can activate to taste at sources with noise or if you want a little more sharpness.
- Gamma Brightness correction: the Loewe is set as standard on a gamma of 2 , 4. If you look a lot in daylight, you can increase this value to 10 to approach a range of 2.2 more
General picture and image processing
The most correct image set is ‘Cinema mode’. This Loewe delivers visual performances that closely match the Bild 5, which means that you can expect excellent results. The device correctly detects all film and video frame rates, even the somewhat exotic ones, so you are spared from moiré effects and jagged edges. Only in some cases it takes one or two seconds for the device to find the right framerate. The noise reduction is quite strong, and we recommend using only the lowest setting (‘soft’). The deblocking filter works away from compression noise (block formation).
Pay attention with the use of the sharpness setting. The difference between positions 1 and 2 is clearly visible, and higher settings resulted in false detail. Even in booth 2, the Loewe sometimes works too enthusiastically, and it is then advisable to keep the noise reduction activated to prevent noise from being sharpened. Sharpness 1 seemed to us the safest choice. Contrast enhancement is included in Loewe’s Image Active +, and although you can opt for the lowest setting in a lot of ambient light, the OLED panel does not really need improved contrast.
We know that oled motion sharpness hides in action scenes, but with ‘Film smoothing (DMM)’ in the ‘soft’ mode you get a lot of extra detail. For fluid pan images you can go to the ‘average’ mode, the image artifacts inherent in motion interpolation remain acceptable.
Loewe provides very few possibilities to calibrate the image, but that turned out on the Bild 3 certainly not necessary. The gray scale is perfectly neutral, with the correct color temperature. The cinema mode uses a gamma of 2.4 and hides a bit of black detail (but less than the Panasonic). This is rarely a problem, but anyone who feels the tendency to tinker with the ‘Clarity’ attitude must be stopped. The steps are so big that even with one step higher (11) you can make the black a little too light. If you want a little more shadow detail, increase the gamma brightness correction to 10, which produces a gamma curve with coefficient 2.2 and makes the image lighter. The calibration is also excellent, with a very nice color reproduction and true-to-life skin colors.
The maximum peak luminance of the Bild 3 is about 676 nits (on a 10% window, with 2% it can reach 783 nits ). That is line with other devices that use a 2017 LG panel, and indeed about a 10% less than the 2018 panels. After some time the peak luminance drops to 130 nits. On a completely white image, the Bild 3 gets a good 151 nits, a very good result. Color performance is identical to other OLED models with a DCI-P3 range of 98% and Rec.2020 range of 71%.
The Loewe provides a good calibration in HDR the best image mode is HDR10 Dark. The brightness curve follows the desired course fairly well, but makes the images a little brighter, especially in the range between 10 and 200 nits. The TV also looks neatly at the metadata, and shows all the white detail, but that can of course result in a darker image. If the metadata, for example, gives 4000 nits as maximum, the midtones become considerably dull.
The HDR10 Bright preset is a possible choice in high ambient light, but it makes the image considerably brighter. The Loewe Bild 3 supports HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision.
Reflections and viewing angles
Excellent viewing angles and a solid anti-reflection film are now used to OLED panels. You can also enjoy it on the Loewe.
In the normal visual modes we measure a high 106 ms. In game mode the lag drops to 40 ms which is a good playable result, but for some critical gamers maybe a lot.
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED – Audio quality
The soundbar at the bottom of the Bild 3 is a bit simpler than at the Bild 5 but the main difference is that the Bild 3 is not equipped with a built-in multichannel decoder and Digital Audiolink. Nevertheless, we are still more than satisfied with the audio performance. The soundbar gives a beautiful, powerful audio performance with an unexpectedly impressive portion of bass. Even with higher volumes, performance remains very good. The TV is equipped with Bluetooth streaming, so it is perfectly possible to listen to your (streaming) music from your smartphone on the Bild 3.
Recently the Loewe platform was also equipped with Mimi Defined sound technology. This allows you to adjust the sound based on limitations in your hearing. For the time being it is only possible to make profiles based on your birth year, or on the basis of the decade in which you were born. Mimi uses more than a million collected hearing tests to create those profiles. By the end of the year it will also be possible to make a profile specifically for your hearing. You use a smartphone app and headphones to test your hearing.
The Mimi profiles clearly improve the reproduction in middle and high tones, bringing a lot of detail out of the audio. Mimi is easy to activate via the option menus and you can also set the strength of the effect.
For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems we use an HDFury Vertex.
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED – Conclusion
The Loewe Bild 3 is a handsome, tightly finished OLED TV with few weak points. The device has very limited calibration options, but that is for many people an obstacle, especially since the calibration from the factory is very good. A somewhat more difficult handicap is the restrictions on streaming services. They do not deliver HDR (and for Netflix also no Ultra HD). Considering the mediaplayer also scores moderately, it seems the best way to have a good Ultra HD Blu-ray player that offers the desired possibilities. And then there is the price tag, German quality clearly costs you a little extra (but not much). With its price, it sits above a Philips 55OLED903 or the Panasonic TX-55FZ950, but under the Sony 55AF9 or LG OLED55E8 (based on listprice at the time of review in any case).
The Loewe Bild 3 does work out with a number of strong points. Class finish, and a nice swivel base for example, and good equipment with dual tuner and double CI + lock. Bluetooth streaming from your smartphone to the great soundbar is a nice extra, especially since you get very good audio quality. The OLED screen provides excellent image quality, with good image processing, great black detail, and vivid yet natural colors. For HDR, in addition to HDR10 and HLG, it is equipped with Dolby Vision. In short, a very nice package of image and sound, and therefore a great choice for your home theater.