Great news for luxury TV fans, as Loewe returns to the worldwide market, bringing its new bild i OLED TV and klang bar 5 Dolby Atmos soundbar to the UK.
The bild i will be available in 48-inch, 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, though remains stubbornly uncapitalised no matter how large you go. Loewe (pronounced 'Lurv-uh') promises that it has a "first-class" OLED panel – we've asked whether that will be an 'OLED evo' panel as seen on the LG G1, Sony A90J and Philips OLED+936, and will update when we hear back.
It's an important question, because the Loewe bild i's price starts from £2,699, which puts it deeply into the realm of the very best OLED TVs. Loewe won't be able to rely on stylish German design alone here, because the likes of Philips and LG have upped their game on product design massively since Loewe took its break from selling TVs widely.
The Loewe does have more than looks going for it though – just as it always used to, Loewe has included a 1TB drive in the TV for recording live shows over Freeview, which is something that's fallen out of favour with other makers, but that a lot of people may still find useful.
There's also a personalised sound feature that's very cool – it's called Mimi Defined, and it uses a series of tones to test your hearing, and customises the TV audio so that you get a profile that's clearer and more audible to you.
For a smart platform it uses VIDAA, which is also seen on Hisense TVs. It's a perfectly good platform, with solid app support (though we'd have rather seen it license LG's webOS platform).
There's also a soundbar that's exclusively designed to work with the bild i. It's called the klang bar 1, and upgrades the 20W rear-firing speakers to a beefier 80W forward-firing system for £299.
The klang bar 5 is the product that interests me most from the new range, and not just because it's an extremely cool name (but it doesn't hurt). Available in a package with the klang sub 5, this Dolby Atmos soundbar and sub combo delivers 800W of speaker power in total.
The klang bar 5 features upfiring and side-firing drivers for Dolby Atmos 3D sound, and is equipped with a generous three HDMI inputs to pass through to your TV, so with Loewe's general audio know-how, it could be one of the best soundbars overall – but especially one of the best soundbars for Samsung TVs, which don't include full Dolby Atmos support of their own.
The sub promises a vibration-free deep-sound experience, with two force-opposed drivers and four bass radiators.
The bar and sub combo will cost £1,359, which again is clearly premium, but isn't wildly out of line with other high-end soundbars.
Loewe was one of the original pioneers of TV technology, and I readily admit that it's just nice to see it staying in the market – it'll have to earn a spot at the high table though, because the TV market has never been more competitive.