B&O BeoVision 11 review

Bang & Olufson's latest TV delivers luxurious looks and performance

Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11-40 review
The 40-inch Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11 has a large sound bar

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Despite our hopes being raised by some of the impressive-sounding picture features noted earlier, we weren't entirely sure what to expect from the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11's pictures.

Sometimes in the past we've found very design-led TVs like this lag behind a little in the performance department due to their extra development time.

It takes mere seconds, though, to discover that the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11's images are anything but dated. In fact, in almost every way we can think of they're as good as anything we've ever seen from an LCD TV. Seriously.

The single most remarkable achievement is the depth of the screen's black level response. There isn't so much as a trace of the usual LCD low-contrast greyness hanging over parts of the picture that should look black - even in the black bars you get above ultra-wide 21:9-ratio films.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

What's especially extraordinary about this is the fact that, provided you keep the backlight and brightness settings sensibly low, the pretty much perfect black level depths remain intact even when a shot contains a mix of bright and dark material. And these bright parts of predominantly dark images retain a remarkable amount of brightness and dynamism considering the amount of blackness that surrounds them.

The extent to which the screen can deliver light on a remarkably localised level without causing greyness, brightness clouding or other luminance inconsistencies is really spectacular, at least rivalling and possibly outgunning Sony's terrific HX853 series in this most important of image performance departments.

The Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11's outstanding light handling is, we suppose, created through a combination of B&O's image processing and a proprietary filter built into the panel that does an exceptional job of soaking up ambient light in your room, making it much easier for you to revel in the TV's explosive contrast.

There's still one more aspect of the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11's black level response we need to rave about. Despite the exceptional profundity of its rendition of dark picture parts, it still manages to deliver a good amount of shadow detail in all but the very blackest of corners, ensuring that dark scenes never look hollow or forced.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

Great black levels usually lead to great colours, and the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11 follows this trend too. As expected, the lack of low-contrast greyness over dark scenes enables deep colour tones to look much more realistic and vivid than they would otherwise, and you can see more subtle tonal shifts too.

Skin tones look strikingly natural, subtle and nuanced (especially using the Movie preset), yet at the same time even the most vibrant, heavily saturated tones also display almost infinite detailing and finesse without losing any of their punch.

As noted in the feature section, some AV enthusiasts will still feel aggrieved at not being able to fine tune colours further. But for the vast majority of people, the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11's colours as they are out of the box go way beyond simply being good enough.

Another string to the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11's image bow is its sharpness. HD images are immaculately judged, containing excellent amounts of clarity of detail without, crucially, making detailing look so extreme that pictures start to look fizzy or harsh.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

There's a trace of motion blur if we really had to be picky, but it really is very minor, and probably wouldn't even register with us were all other parts of the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11 picture experience not so exquisite.

At any rate, the motion resolution reduction is not even close to being a deal breaker - especially since the TV remains impressively free of judder even if you turn the adaptive judder control completely off (as some users will want to, to preserve the integrity of incoming 24p sources).

One other issue is the appearance of minor light pools in the screen's corners plus a little 'light blocking' caused by the local dimming arrangement of the side-mounted LED lights. These inconsistencies show up more often in 3D mode, due to the extra brightness you want the picture to contain to counter the dimming effect of the active shutter glasses.

But even in 3D mode the inconsistencies are only rarely a distraction, and in 2D mode you'll hardly see them at all, provided you keep the TV's backlight and brightness settings sensibly low - or just stick with the adaptive picture mode.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

Having just mentioned 3D, now would seem an appropriate time to analyse other areas of the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11's 3D performance.

The TV's barnstorming contrast proves very handy, for starters, in helping the B&O deliver a hugely convincing sense of depth, full of the sort of subtle lighting cues your brain needs in order to build a convincing on-screen space.

Colours are still very punchy in 3D mode too - maybe a little too much so using the default settings - and detail levels are as high with Full HD 3D Blu-rays as you could hope to see from an active 3D TV.

Crosstalk is extremely well suppressed too, only cropping up very occasionally, and even then sufficiently subtly that it's not really an issue.

Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 11 review

The only thing that is an issue with the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11's 3D performance is its handling of really fast motion. This looks a bit processed and flickery if you use the Adaptive or Full Judder Cancellation settings, but also a touch indistinct and stuttery without it.

However, while we have seen one or two TVs handle 3D motion better, B&O's efforts can still be considered commendable overall.

It's fair to say, then, that overall the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11 has gone even further than we might have hoped for in delivering the sort of premium performance you'd like to see on a 40-inch TV costing upwards of £5,250 (around US$7,972 / AU$7,622).

One last point we should make here concerns input lag, which came in at around 62ms on average. This is touch too high to make the Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 11 a particularly great gaming monitor.

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.