Getting back to the ‘core’ R 37 we’re looking at, key feature discoveries are HD Ready specification (with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768), and a built-in digital tuner. This digital tuner is one of the two key improvements over the original R 37 we mentioned earlier, with the other being a little something called Image+. This is Loewe’s latest and most sophisticated picture processing engine, offering numerous tweaks for boosting sharpness, contrast, noise levels, colour tone and colour vibrancy – among other more or less pertinent things.
The R 37’s connectivity is slightly disappointing for a 37in LCD TV costing three grand. There’s just a single HDMI socket when we’d have liked two, and just two SCARTs when we’d have liked three. Darn. It’s not all bad news, though, since at least you get a D-Sub PC interface, component video inputs, and a slot for adding subscription digital TV services.
Actually trying to use the R 37 leads to more disappointment, though, as you inevitably fall foul of one of the most fiddly remote controls ever. To navigate the onscreen menus (which are themselves tortuously organised) you have to use a rocker-style joystick in the remote’s upper half – a joystick so finicky that you’ll accidentally select an option you didn’t mean to time after time after time, leading to outbursts of language you probably didn’t even realise you knew…
Let loose on a variety of HD and SD sources, the Spheros R 37 impresses in all kinds of ways – but lets itself down with one rather heavy-duty flaw.
Starting off the impressive stuff is its enjoyably aggressive approach to colours. Bright, colour-rich stuff like standard definition Sky News feeds or Kameo in high definition via an Xbox 360 looks dazzlingly vivid. What’s more, this outstanding vibrancy is not achieved at the expense of an enjoyably natural colour tone, as trickier, subtler fare like the actors’ skin tones during The Fellowship of the Ring’s Mines of Moria sequence are handled with unusual deftness.