Loewe bild 3.55 Oled TV a class act

This elegant model from the German brand boasts superb picture quality and a soundbar that is more powerful than average TV speakers

The bild 3.55 Oled TV exudes the class and sophistication you would expect from German brand Loewe, known for its high-end luxury television sets.

Announced last September at the IFA trade show, the bild 3.55 uses a 55-inch Oled (organic light-emitting display) screen from LG that produces deep blacks and vibrant colours.

By now, you are probably thinking that this TV costs a fortune. It certainly appears expensive at $4,999. But while it is far from affordable for the average consumer, it is, however, priced rather competitively for an Oled TV. After all, it is only $300 more than LG's latest entry-level C8P Oled TV.

Of course, the bild 3.55 also belongs to Loewe's entry-level bild 3 range. Only the 55-inch model and a recently announced 65-inch model use an Oled screen. The smaller 43-and 49-inch models in the series are edge-lit LCD TVs.

I was suitably impressed by its elegant design. Its Oled screen is almost bezel-less, giving the impression of a thin black sheet mounted on a metal table stand. This stand is sturdy and well-built. It can swivel by up to 20 degrees to both left and right.

The back of the TV is thicker near the bottom, though a rear plastic cover maintains the minimalist look by concealing unsightly cables. It comes with the usual four HDMI ports, though only one (HDMI 4) supports high dynamic range (HDR) content, which is available in Ultra-HD Blu-ray discs or from video-streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime.

  • SPECS 

    PRICE: $4,999

    PICTURE FEATURES: Maximum resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision

    AUDIO FEATURES: 80W output, Dolby Digital

    OPERATING SYSTEM: Loewe os

    CONNECTIVITY: 4 x HDMI, 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, Optical output, Ethernet, Wi-Fi

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

In short, reserve this input for your Ultra-HD Blu-ray player or Apple TV 4K media player.

Having just one HDR port is a surprise because other premium TVs usually have two or more HDR-compatible HDMI ports. It is also a hassle - I had to plug and unplug cables to accommodate my multiple HDR-compatible devices.

Underneath the display is a circular LED indicator and a fabric-covered soundbar that sounds richer and more powerful than average TV speakers.

Its picture quality is generally excellent and similar to that of other Oled TVs I have tested. Blacks are truly dark and there is no blooming effect from light sources.

On the other hand, it is not as bright as the best LCD TVs. I also noticed that images appear slightly cooler when seen from the sides.

The TV upscales standard definition content to its 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) resolution very well, though images look a tad over-processed to me.

For instance, the faces of actors appear too smooth, similar to the beautification feature in smartphone cameras. The soap opera effect (unnaturally smooth motion) is noticeable when the feature is enabled. Of course, no upscaling is necessary with native 4K content like Ultra-HD Blu-ray movies, which the TV excels at.

The bild 3.55 has fewer picture settings compared with other high-end smart TVs, which may frustrate some users.

Another source of frustration is the TV's speed. It is terribly slow to start up.

And while I like its minimalist interface, it is clunky and not the most intuitive to use. Its two-tone remote control looks attractive though and feels solid and expensive.

Fans of video-streaming services might be disappointed with the bild 3.55. While it comes preloaded with a Netflix app, it is a browser-based version that does not support 4K or HDR content. Navigation is clunky as you have to move a mouse cursor with the remote control to select your video.

There is also no Amazon Prime app. YouTube and Tidal apps are present, but there is no Spotify.

In short, an Apple TV 4K or an Ultra-HD Blu-ray player is necessary for most users to get the best out of this TV.

• Verdict: The Loewe bild 3.55 brings a touch of class to the living room. Its soundbar sounds great, though the selection of apps and the TV interface could be improved.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2018, with the headline 'Loewe bild 3.55 Oled TV a class act'. Print Edition | Subscribe