Loewe has earned a privileged position in the market for high-end televisions. In 2017 the German brand renewed its screens by launching OLED models. Although it started with the highest ranges in the end this technology reached much more affordable ranges . When the Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED was launched on the market in November, we did the test and found that its better price did not detract from any of the qualities that set the Loewe apart from its competition, in any range.
One of the qualities that distinguishes them is their electronics and operating system. Precisely a year later we have tested the Bild 3.55 OLED again to find the same “hardware” but with several new functions. They are important novelties that in another brand would surely mean a change of model . At Loewe, it is the result of the television updating its “software” at the push of a button… The price of the Bild 3.55 OLED remains at 3,000 euros .
The big news: custom sound
It's sure something we've seen: older people tend to turn up the volume on the television . They do it mainly because it is difficult for them to understand voices, and the cause is progressive hearing loss. Well, Loewe is going to incorporate a system to its televisions that compensates for this loss of hearing acuity. It's called “Mimi Defined” and it's developed by a German company specializing in hearing systems. They have thousands of patient data, and have developed a system that automatically corrects for sound. To get to know it in depth, even make a personalized measurement of our hearing capacity, we recommend visiting its website.
At the top we see the sound, with the logo of the Mimi Defined system.
We saw and heard it in the Beta version but it is about to be released in the update of all current Loewe. So far they have used it in some headphones, but with Loewe this is the first time it has been applied to the “open” sound. It is not a simple equalization, for example raising the treble to compensate for this loss. The system mimics the changes of the inner ear that modify how we listen and in addition to equalizing (frequency) adjusts the dynamics of the sound .
This is how the “Mimi Defined” sound works
The Loewe will have a new menu within the Sound settings , precisely called Mimi Defined. There we can define and save different profiles, personalized, or also profiles of groups of people also customizable. Elegantly, for each profile it does not ask the age but the year of birth (or decade in the case of a group). In addition, we can choose to what extent the sound processing is applied, up to 100 percent. In case it seems excessive and sounds unnatural to us, or instead we need more correction. And it is that although we are the same age, some of us can hear better (or worse) than others ...
Once active, Mimi Defined continuously analyzes the audio input in real time and adapts it to the auditory perception of the “target” age that we have set. The system emphasizes the parts of the audio signal that are less pronounced. Whether using age-based statistical adjustments or performing the Mimi Hearing Test (on the web, and not available for televisions at this time but only for headphone systems), the system modifies the sound to allow us to appreciate every nuance of audio and better understand voices.
The result is as if we remove a "veil" from the sound: it increases its clarity. The announcers understand each other better, although we seem to understand them well before, and the music gains “life”. We are sure that it will be a function highly appreciated by people who are now struggling with volume. In fact, we are sure that this or other similar systems will soon appear in other brands. And is that, if to see better the television we put glasses ... why hadn't anyone thought of the need to correct the sound before?
News in the menus
Since we tested the Loewe Bild 3.55 a year ago there have been several updates to its operating system . Each update has brought some new features and we will highlight the changes in version 4.40 (March 2018) and 4.60 (August 2018). Although the most radical change comes in October with the new version 5, of which we could already see a "Beta" and that brings the above described Mimi Defined.
The spring update brought compatibility with Amazon Alexa devices as a big news . It can be used with mobiles that have the corresponding application or if we have any of the Echo smart speakers in the home network. Basic functions include turning on and off, changing channels, changing volume, selecting input, or controlling media file playback.
There was also an update for the mobile application (Loewe App) that serves as an intelligent remote control… and much more. It allows easy and programmable access to content directly (not just television channels). It also allows you to "mirror" the mobile towards the TV. In other words, watching on TV what we are seeing on the mobile screen. Ideal for YouTube, but also practical in many more cases. And vice versa, let us remember that it is also possible: we can watch a television channel that Loewe receives on our mobile.
More news per update
The summer update added a few more to those updates. Highlights a refined new OLED screen protection mode. Remember that it is one of the few drawbacks of this technology, the retention or "burning" of the image. Since Loewe opted for these screens (of LG origin), it has applied a lot of effort (electronics and programming) to avoid it. They also fixed compatibility issues with 4K Apple TVs , which already offer the highest possible image quality.
New "Favorites" (star) key on Loewe controls: the central one in the second row.
Another interesting novelty are the "favorites" from the remote control. As through the mobile application, now Loewe televisions allow you to select any source or program and mark it. We can be watching a television program, a video source, whatever, and just press the new "star" button on the remote. Like when we mark the star in the Chrome browser, it is marked as a favorite and we will have it available in the main menu. A simple but brilliant idea ...
Another: through the Loewe we can access thousands of radio stations on the internet. But, precisely, there are so many that it is sometimes difficult to find what one wants. For that, a new search seemed great: by interpreter . We introduce who we want to listen to, and stations that have him among their regulars appear, or that are broadcasting something of his at that moment.
Something that also emerged in these updates is the ability to record content on a shared hard drive (local NAS) . The Loewe have their own device, which some higher-end models include as standard (it is optional on the Bild 3.55). It is the Loewe DR + Streaming, a 1TB capacity hard drive that adds various possibilities to the television. In those that did not have it, it activates Bluetooth connectivity, and the recording functions allow you to record programs to watch later, or freeze one and continue watching it later. Being shared, if we have more Loewe televisions in the house, we will be able to see on one television what we start to see on another.
This function for a while could also be done to a USB device connected to the TV. In the Bild 3.55 OLED for example, since it does not have the DR + hard disk as standard, it is the way to record or freeze programs. But from now on, the possibilities increase since it is possible to make those recordings, or access them, on a shared hard drive on our network. Yes, the NAS that could previously be used as content (video) servers now Loewe also lets them use as storage. There is more: from the mobile application we can, from outside the home, send the order to record a program to the television . We execute it from the App and an email is sent that activates the recording of that channel at that chosen time ... useful!
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED
|screen||55 inches 4K UHD 3,840 x 2,160 pixels|
|Technology||OLED (LG panel), Loewe VantaVision processor|
|Sound||Internal DD / DTS decoder, Loewe sound bar (2 speakers and 80W total)|
|HDMI connections||4 x HDCP 2.2 (1 ARC)|
|Other connectivity||3 USB (1 is 3.0), Ethernet, Wifi, Bluetooth|
|Tuners||DVB-T2 / DVB-C / DVB-S2 (double)|
|Recording||Via USB or NAS disk (Optional DR + system: 300 euros with 1TB disk)|
|Antennas||Satellite, Cable, Terrestrial. CI 1.3 slot|
|Dimensions||1,230 x 789 x 55 mm (with table stand)|
Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED, that's right
As we have seen, there are many functions that have been added in a year of updates. And although the most striking is the custom sound setting (the "Mimi Defined") the others are really welcome. Let's now review what this Loewe TV is like and what else it offers, the most affordable of its range with an OLED screen . Introduced in the fall of 2017, it was and is the brand's most economical OLED, priced at 3,000 euros for the 55-inch screen we tested. It is available in a hanging version, with a desktop stand or a floor stand. And it exists in two metallic shades, dark graphite gray or light gray.
Advantages of OLED technology
As we have indicated, that is the bet of the Germans for their television screens since the end of 2016, when they marked this path with the Bild 7. In 2017 the Bild 4, Bild 5 and Bild 9 series arrived with organic panels of LG origin and finally this Bild 3. Coming from the Korean manufacturer but with its own specifications and quality control, these panels are the best for home televisions . That is the case except for specific moments of a lot of ambient light, or looking for a very high brightness. There LCDs still have some advantage.
But when it comes to deep blacks, high contrast, and natural colors, OLEDs dominate. That's why they are the favorite of the fans, as they were before the plasmas: with dimmed light it is the closest thing to the cinema . Recall that this 4K OLED panel consists of 3,840 x 2,160 WRGB pixels that can be turned on or off independently. Therefore, they do not need extra lighting, as with LCDs or LEDs. Another advantage: they can be very thin, a few millimeters thick. The top of the Loewe Bild 3.55 is barely 5mm thick… impressive. The viewing angle is also huge. When an LED screen is viewed from the side, the image is lost, which is not the case with OLEDs.
Loewe is not just using a good "panel" on its screen, they go further. As in previous generations, the Germans manage to extract the best images from the screen thanks to their own electronics, the Vanta Vision. It basically offers sharper and smoother movements, maximizes contrast and brightness, and improves color fidelity. In addition, it also optimizes the gray scales, so that they are reproduced without color casts (green, red or blue). In other words, it works to achieve images equivalent to an optimal calibration.
For the control and management or processing of images, and for interaction with the user. Let's first go over the benefits of Loewe image processing. The first thing is scaling: how lower resolution images, such as DTT, pass to the 4K screen. Loewe uses its own scaling from Full HD or lower resolutions . Then there is the management of moving images, that is, how the intermediate frames are interpolated (invented). This, plus the treatment of moving images scaled to 4K, achieve smooth and fluid images.
The Loewe Bild 3.55, like its older OLED sisters of the German brand, is compatible with all three types of High Dynamic Range . They are the HDR10, the HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and the advanced Dolby Vision. The latter is the most demanding HDR format and guarantees vivid images with very high contrast. It is capable of processing dynamic metadata: it changes the settings of the TV with each frame. With the penultimate update, the Loewe have also already solved problems with the Apple TV 4K in this regard.
As for HDR10, which uses static metadata (the same settings for the entire video stream) it is also fully compatible with Bild 3.55. It is the type of HDR used in UHD Blu-ray movies. And the HLG, which does not use metadata, therefore allows less bandwidth to be used and will be the standard for 4K HDR broadcasts, which for now only Netflix seems to have started on time.
Avoid OLED burnout
Not all are advantages in OLED screens: in addition to a slightly lower peak brightness than LEDs, they have a limited life. After several tens of thousands of hours, they can lose luminosity. And that on a television, if still images are projected, it becomes what is called "burned" or image retention. If something appears on the screen constantly, those pixels accumulate more hours and are used sooner. Loewe includes several measures in its control electronics to alleviate this effect. For starters, when the TV detects a still image, it reduces the brightness after a short time. It is something similar to a computer screen saver: after 1 minute without changes it begins to dim and after 5 minutes it has minimum brightness. Also, the image is periodically shifted a few pixels (in an 8 × 14 area) to avoid fixed positions.
Notice that the TV has not been able to complete its own recalibration to avoid delays.
Another trick: the on-screen menus (white letters on a black background) go dark if they are kept in view. After a few minutes they are transparent. If the screen detects a clock as a still image, it will also periodically scroll a small area. Everything, to avoid always having the same pixels on for a long time. Even the Loewe detects the station logo ("fly") and dims it after a few minutes. It was a typical plasma problem, the latter.
The advantages of Loewe electronics are not only in the images we see. They are also in the facilities to choose a program, make recordings and share content. As standard, the Loewe Bild 3.55 does not have the DR + system with its 1TB internal hard drive, but it is something that can be purchased as an option (for 300 euros). Without the DR + it is enough to connect a USB memory anyway to be able to record programs. And now we can do it on a shared hard drive (NAS) , just select it from the menu.
Making recordings is a breeze thanks to the clarity of the Loewe menus. In fact, anything is simple: next to the available options there is always advice and help. The response of the television to the command is always immediate. The speed in the change of channels stands out . Remember that it has two tuners, so that it is possible to record programs while watching another. The recording and content management possibilities of the Loewe, and from which this Bild 3.55 benefits, are enormous. We can start watching a show, and let it record ("freeze") to do something else. And continue watching it on another Loewe television or on a mobile device, pulling the recorded file on the first television. They call it "Follow Me".
In addition to our recordings, you have access to different sources of content, both video and music . There are Netflix, YouTube or Amazon video, and we can also access Spotify or Tidal. And also access the content that we have shared on our home network, of course.
Sound and connectivity
If the electronics on board is one of the differentiating elements of the Loewe, its sound is another. When televisions were one big piece of furniture years ago, it was easy to mount capable speakers inside. With flat screens this has changed with increasingly minimalist designs, and more so on these ultra-thin OLED screens. Loewe does not give up on offering good sound and this Bild 3.55 mounts a good speaker at the bottom of the screen. It looks like a bar but there are two speakers, with a lower reflex bass system, and 40 W per channel. It is the main difference with the next in the range, the Bild 4.55, which does have a more complete soundbar.
Within the sound menu the most important novelty is or will be the Mimi Defined that we have already explained. There are also different surround sound simulations, which in turn allow for different presets. This is useful if we want to use one mode for concerts or music, another for movies (action, intrigue), and one for TV shows. It works well, as always in Loewe the same menu guides us through the different options (in perfect Spanish).
The Loewe Bild 3.55 has four HDMI inputs that are compatible with UHD 4K signals. In addition, three USB ports and built-in WiFi apart from wired Ethernet connection. It comes with Bluetooth enabled as standard, perfect for connecting a mouse or keyboard, or for headphones.
Every time we sit in front of a Loewe OLED we are surprised by its image quality. It is not something flashy in itself, due to an aggressive fit for example, but the definition and nature of its images are striking . The second thing that stands out is how easy it is to navigate through its menus, how quickly they activate, how well each function is understood. That speed is maintained when we navigate between channels, and it is very welcome because this is not always the case. There are much lazier televisions that make us desperate ...
The sound from the original speaker is good for shows or newscasts, and more correct than usual with music. For action cinema, a screen of this quality deserves a separate dedicated system. We will have to spend more time with the “Mimi Defined” to discover its fine adjustments but it seems like a revolution, especially when thinking about older people .
If we were already convinced in its day when the Loewe Bild 3.55 OLED hit the market, now it is a mature product and even more complete . It's the tangible demonstration of why a better TV is worth investing in - because it can keep up. It is not something that many can boast about and it ratifies us in our recommendation.