Loewe Connect 55 review

4K TV gets posh

Loewe Connect 55
4K TV gets posh

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For much of the time, the Connect 55's pictures exude high end quality, thanks primarily to an exceptional picture processing engine.

There has been a tendency in the past for the German brand to be a little too overenthusiastic with their picture processing, but here it's got the balance just about spot on. Especially if you're prepared to put in at least a little legwork to optimise the performance with different source types.

The Image+ system does a great job of enhancing the sense of detail in both 4K UHD and upscaled HD images, for instance, really selling the advantages of the native UHD screen resolution. Image+ also proves a confident handler of motion, doing a strong job of making sure the image's extreme clarity isn't spoiled by serious motion blur or judder.

Yet another reason to keep Image+ switched on (you can turn it off if you really want to) is that it helps the Connect 55 deliver its optimum contrast performance.

Oddly I couldn't manage to achieve manually quite such a winning balance between black level response and shadow detail as the Image+ system delivered. Its results still aren't perfect - as I'll explain later - but with Image+ active the Connect 55 produces an at least very respectable black level performance to underpin its images.

Loewe Connect 55

Good contrast - mostly

These black levels combine with a reasonable amount of brightness to produce a pretty strong contrast performance - though given that you can get Samsung's UE55JS9000 (an extremely bright, HDR-capable model) for around the same price as the Connect 55, I'm duty bound to point out that Loewe's set has to remove quite a bit of brightness from its pictures in order to deliver its best black level performance.

Inevitably this causes some of the subtlest details in dark scenes to disappear from the image, but the Connect 55 is hardly alone in this in the LCD world, and actually it clings on to shadow details better than most non-HDR rivals.

Yet another strength of Loewe's processing is its colour handling.

Tones look natural, as vibrant as they feasibly could given the screen's slight brightness shortcoming, and full of the sort of subtle blends and tones that always distinguish premium TVs from average ones. The tonal accuracy on show underlines the sense of detail in the 4K UHD picture too, as well as creating a lovely sense of solidity and richness.

Dark scene problems

While there are many things to like about the Connect 55's pictures, though, they are let down by one sometimes distracting flaw: backlight clouding.

During dark scenes it's common to spot some areas of the picture that look brighter than others, producing a cloud-like effect. This isn't just restricted to the image's corners either, as it sometimes can be on edge LED TVs; some of the clouds appear in quite central areas too, where their potential for distraction is higher.

Loewe Connect 55

As noted earlier, the Image+ engine does a solid job of minimising the clouding problem, especially if used in conjunction with Loewe's 'OPC' feature, which adjusts the image according to the ambient light levels in your room.

But no setting, or combination of settings, got rid of the clouding quite as fully as I would have liked.

Watching dark scenes on the Connect 55 uncovered another slight irritation too: onscreen reflections. Part of the Connect 55's glamorous design involves a sheet of glass running across the screen, but while this looks great it does have a habit of picking up bright objects in your room with an almost mirror-like intensity.

And as with the backlight clouding, whenever you're aware of any such reflections you'll feel less immersed in what you're watching.

Overall it must be stressed that for the majority of the time the Connect 55 produces gorgeous, hugely watchable UHD pictures that move beyond anything Loewe has shown us before.

But if you're a serious film fan, at least, you may find yourself distracted from some scenes by the Connect 55's slight light control issues.

John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.