Reviews

Review: Loewe bild i.77 DR+ OLED TV

Review: Loewe bild i.77 DR+ OLED TV. Discover a 77-inch OLED TV, supplemented with a Klang Bar5 and Sub5, two Klang MR5 speakers at the front, and two Klang MR3 speakers at the back

Anyone looking for a cinema experience knows that a big screen is a commitment. But genuine surround is also essential. You get that combination from the Loewe bild i.77 DR+, a 77-inch OLED TV, supplemented with a Klang Bar5 and Sub5, two Klang MR5 speakers at the front, and two Klang MR3 speakers at the back. We visited Loewe in Antwerp to test this extensive set.

Specifications

What Ultra HD OLED-tv
Screen size 77 inch (195 cm), train
Connections 4x HDMI (4x V2.1 eARC/ARC, ALLM, VRR, 4K120), 1x optical digital out, 1x minijack stereo out, 4x USB, 2x antenna, Bluetooth
Extra’s Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10, HLG, WiFi (802.11b/g/n/ac) built-in, Loewe OS7, USB/DLNA media player, DVB-T2/C/S2, CI+ slot
Dimensions 1,731 x 1023 x 84 mm (excl. base)
Weight 34.1 kg (excl. base)
Consumption SDR 97 (E) / HDR 73 watt (C)
Recommended retail price 6,499 euros (bild i.77), 1,949 euros (klang bar5 & sub5), 719 euros (klang mr5), 599 euros (klang mr3)

Design

Design has always been an essential and robust point for Loewe. The bild i.77 cuts a fine figure, although, in terms of appearance, it largely fits in with the long line of available OLED devices. After all, a barely visible frame means you see few design features at the front. The only noticeable things are the iconic Loewe eye at the bottom of the device and the small metal Loewe label at the top right. The back of the case is very nicely finished and covered with magnetically attached covers. The TV comes with a wall mounting bracket. Loewe also offers other mounting options, such as a floor stand and a pole between the floor and ceiling, for a unique setup.

The soundbar, subwoofer, and extra speakers exude a sober tranquility. The dark gray fabric has a neutral finish that fits almost all living rooms. The round subwoofer is very ornate, and we wouldn’t be inclined to hide it somewhere as we usually do with the more angular models.

The surround speakers, two Klang MR5 multi-room speakers at the front and two Klang MR3 multi-room speakers at the back have a beautiful, rounded triangular shape that tapers towards the top. Taste is a personal thing, but we also found this very attractive. They are decorative and look unique without being obtrusive.

Connections

The bild i.77 has four HDMI ports that support ALLM, VRR, and eARC but are limited to 18Gbps, so the maximum resolution is 4K60.

With four USB connections, and two USB 3.0, you have more than enough options for delivering media. The optical digital output is a mini TOSLINK connector that can double as an analog stereo output. There’s Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth for all your wireless connection needs. All connections point to the side, which is helpful for wall mounting.

Ease of use and smart TV

Loewe uses VIDAA U, the smart TV platform we also find on Hisense, but with some minimal changes under the name Loewe OS. If you wish to use user profiles, you can log in with a VIDAA U account, which is optional. If you want to use your smartphone to control the TV, you can choose the VIDAA or My Loewe app.

Loewe OS7 is a slightly modified version of VIDAA U6. This means that you can expect a very smooth interface. At the top of the Home screen are icons for search, inputs, settings, network, notifications, user profile, and voice control. The tiles for your favorite streaming apps are at the center of the screen. Loewe has made it considerably more prominent, and as soon as you select a tile, recommendations appear in the space above it. That is a much better choice than we saw with Hisense, where the tiles are more minor and by selecting a tile you suddenly end up in a different screen layout. It also appears that, other than a discreet mention of the brand name in that space, Loewe does not show sponsored content if the selected service does not provide recommendations. We can only applaud that.

The menus are clear and logically organized. You can easily find the correct settings.

Remote control

The remote still has that classic Loewe look. It is an alloy version with a distinctive black part at the top. It is relatively heavy, but a soft strip on the bottom ensures that the remote does not scratch the coffee table.

The six shortcut keys at the bottom and the color keys lie perfectly flat on the surface of the remote, which we don’t like to see, but it does not bother these keys. The round disk of the d-pad can sometimes cause a wrong touch if your thumb wanders a bit; we would prefer to see a more precise shape there. All other keys are minor but easily identifiable by touch. They have a good, light touch. In addition to the ‘back’ key (centrally above the d-pad), Loewe offers a handy ‘exit menu’ key (left next to the back key). This takes you out of the menus no matter where you are in the menus. This way, you don’t have to press back several times when deep in the settings. In short, a relatively classic and generally useful remote control.

The soundbar has its remote control, simply in black. But you can also perform all its functions with the TV remote, which is unnecessary.

Functions

We now know from VIDAA U that the app range is good unless you want local Belgian apps. Streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and Apple TV are all available, and the local Dutch offering is also excellent. Belgian apps would reportedly come next year, starting with VTM Go.

The TV has a single DVB-T2/C/S2 tuner, one CI+ slot, and a built-in 1TB hard drive. Recording and timeshifting are provided; you do not have to use USB media for it, but remember that you cannot watch and record another channel simultaneously. Streaming and recording are, of course, possible.

Image processing

The Loewe scores very well on most image processing components. Deinterlacing, noise reduction, and upscaling are excellent, so you can watch older images confidently. We see that the processor cuts away 40 pixels in the horizontal direction so that exceptional vertical detail can sometimes show some artifacts. However, this was only visible on test images; the chance you will notice this on natural images is minimal. The measure is part of the pixel shifting to prevent burn-in, and according to Loewe, it is mandatory from the panel manufacturer.

There is still room for improvement in MPEG noise reduction. The processor can only eliminate block formation to a limited extent in highly compressed video files. Stripes of color that appear in soft gradients also remain undiminished. This was obvious in dark scenes like our Game Of Thrones test, but less intense cases remained strikingly visible.

The OLED screen has excellent motion sharpness. The TV offers a ‘Clear Motion’ setting but doesn’t deliver any obvious gains and makes the picture slightly darker. You can remove the annoying judder in film images with’ Ultra Smooth Motion’. The ‘Clear’ mode is already suitable, but we preferred the ‘Standard’ or even the ‘Smooth’ mode for excellent, smooth camera movements. The algorithm causes relatively few image artifacts, and only when the camera moves very quickly can the processor hesitate for a moment.

Main settings

Picture mode settings / OLED light Picture mode settings Picture mode settings Advanced settings
Backlight: 100
Maximum brightness dynamic range: Low-Medium
Light sensor: On/Off
Brightness: 50
Contrast: 80
Color Saturation: 47
Sharpness: 5
Adaptive Contrast: off
Ultra Smooth Motion: Clear-Smooth
Clear Motion: Off
Noise Reduction: Off/Medium
MPEG Noise Reduction: Low
Color Temperature: Warm 1
Overscan: Off
Color Gamut: Auto
Black Level: Auto
Gamma Correction: BT.1886 or 2.2

Loewe-Bildi77-pixels

Image quality

This 77-inch is equipped with a latest generation OLED panel, but without the MLA layer we find on the LG G3 or Panasonic MZW2004.

The screen had excellent uniformity in both dark and bright images. Loewe doesn’t offer Filmmaker mode, but you can switch to Cinema Night or Cinema Day image preset for the most accurate results.

These provided a perfect calibration, with an almost perfectly neutral gray scale, excellent colors, natural skin tones, and excellent black detail. In short, the whole package is needed for natural and beautiful cinema images, especially on this large screen.

Loewe bild i.77 DR+ OLED – HDR

We get the most striking surprise when measuring the peak brightness. The bild i.77 achieves a maximum of 456 nits on the 10% window in HDR Day image mode and 107 nits on the utterly white screen. Those are somewhat low results. On the 2% window, the peak brightness rises to 493 nits. We asked Loewe the question since we had expected something in the same line as other OLEDs (700 / 150 nits), and this was the first 77” we could measure. This was the answer.

After calibration, the bild i.77 dr+ TV shows up to 700 nits in ‘HDR Standard’ mode. In ‘HDR Day’ mode, this is approximately 500-530 nits. The panel is deliberately not set to the highest possible limit for energy efficiency, performance, reliability, and longevity.

This confirms our measurements because, indeed, in HDR Standard, we arrived at approximately 650 nits with a cooler color temperature. Loewe, therefore, seems to be extra careful with the OLED panels. That also explains a remarkable specification. The energy label for SDR is E (with a consumption of 97 watts), and for HDR, even C (with a consumption of 73 watts). These are shallow figures, but it now appears that there is something to counter this: less clarity.

The color range does reach the typical OLED values, 68% Rec.2020 and 94% P3. In any case, the calibration of the HDR day mode is exemplary. The gray scale is perfectly neutral, and the color reproduction is perfect. The processing tries to preserve maximum white detail and starts tone mapping very early in the curve, causing colors to be darker than expected.

In dark areas, the TV has no trouble displaying much detail. But it seems to us that the processor invariably uses a form of dynamic tone mapping, ignoring the metadata. It respects the image’s intention well, at least if the content is mastered at a maximum of 1,000 nits. Then, the HDR images are acceptable, although you will notice the slightly lower brightness. With images mastered at higher values, 2,000 or 4,000 nits, tone mapping has more difficulty in preserving the intention of the image. The image often loses impact, depth, and color intensity by trying to keep as much white detail as possible. The Loewe supports Dolby Vision, and that is an excellent asset. The Dolby Vision images look fantastic; the dynamic metadata is a significant asset for this peak brightness.

Gaming, Reflections, and Viewing Angles

As with all OLED panels, you get a vast viewing angle and decent reflection protection. But with a large screen, avoiding direct incident light is all the more important.

The input lag clocks in at 43.4ms (4K60), and there are no HDMI 2.1 ports with 40Gbps or higher bandwidth. This means you can deliver a maximum of 4K60. There is support for ALLM and VRR (up to 60Hz) but no AMD FreeSync or NVIDIA G-Sync support. This makes the TV good for casual gaming fun, but high-end gamers will almost certainly want more.

Sound quality

In addition to Dolby Atmos, the bild i.77 with sound setup also supports DTS:X, which is excellent news. And that’s not all. We were particularly pleased with the full surround setup. The klang bar5 and sub5 provide an excellent basis with a pleasant neutral sound, which sounds sufficiently detailed and contains intense bass. With the extension of the elegant MR5 loudspeaker at the front and MR3 speakers at the rear, the room suddenly transforms into a theater full of sound. The entire setup works wirelessly.

Our Dolby Atmos demos now really sound as they should. The sound comes from all sides, including from above us. It must be said that although there are TVs on the market with excellent built-in sound, a setup like this makes it clear that nothing beats genuine surround. We could hardly get enough of the sound for music either. Whether we imposed Rush, AC/DC, or Sinéad O’ Connor, the cleat solution gave excellent results. Live music, in particular, gets an extra dimension thanks to the surround setup. But studio music or a classical orchestra also sounds fantastic. The Klang Bar5 and MR3/5 speakers also offer many additional options. There is support for Apple Airplay, Chromecast, DTS Play-Fi, Spotify, and Deezer. The klang bar5 has two HDMI 2.0 inputs with a 4K passthrough.

Conclusion

The OLED screen of the bild i.77 delivers beautiful images, with the usual perfect contrast and beautiful colors, but is slightly disappointing in peak brightness. A conscious choice by Loewe, as it turns out. You get a very energy-efficient device in exchange, but we honestly wonder whether that is a good exchange. This choice also minimizes the risk of burn-in. The screen performs very well in SDR anyway, thanks to the beautiful calibration. In HDR, even though the calibration is perfect, that low peak brightness takes away some impact. Very clearly mastered images lose some depth due to the tone mapping. The Bild i.77 supports Dolby Vision, which means HDR images are at their best. The klang audio configuration we tested the device with provided very impressive audio. It reminded us that nothing beats an actual surround setup, especially for movie fans. Loewe OS7, based on VIDAA U, delivers a pleasant user experience. With the built-in hard drive, you can record live TV quickly. However, we are impatiently looking forward to the Belgian local streaming apps. Finally, there is the price, a significant handicap for Loewe. The device, designed and manufactured in Germany, carries a significant additional cost compared to its main competitors.

Positives

  • Beautiful, timeless design
  • Excellent calibration
  • Good, neutral image processing
  • Excellent movement sharpness
  • Very energy efficient
  • Built-in 1TB hard drive for live TV recording
  • Loewe OS7 is smooth and clear
  • Dolby Vision IQ
  • Excellent audio, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X
Negatives

  • No local apps for Belgium (for now)
  • No higher bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports for gamers
  • Visible color bands in soft transitions
  • Moderate peak brightness and tone mapping
  • Price