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Finally getting into how the Connect 42 performs, the news is mostly good. I should kick off by saying that I did, as suspected, forget a key improvement the new Connect 42 carries versus the old Connect 37. And that's the rather important fact that it uses a newer and apparently more powerful and refined picture processing engine.
This new 'Image+' system makes its presence felt right away too, as the Connect 42's picture looks markedly less troubled by motion blur than its predecessor was. In fact, the fluidity and clarity of moving objects is among the best we've seen, delivering results that reminded me of Philips' HD Natural Motion system - albeit last year's system rather than the one found on the new 9000 Series.
Colours look more natural and refined too, and it also seemed to my eyes that the picture was generally cleaner, with less noise around. Crucially, though, the improved noise reduction talents of the new Connect 42 do not come at the expense of sharpness. In fact, its HD pictures are impressively crisp and detailed, while standard definition pictures look reasonably pure and textured - though there's certainly still room for further improvement.
The Connect 42 also enjoys excellent brightness levels and colour intensity, and absolutely blew me away with its audio. Loewe has long excelled in the sound department, and the power, range, clarity and soundstage width produced seemingly effortlessly by the Connect 42's vast 2 x 40W RMS of amplification makes almost every other TV around sound frankly cruddy in comparison.
The Connect 42‘s awesome audio, unique 'bespoke' nature, stunning design, immense feature count and full installation service certainly have a great go at justifying its truly premium market position. However, I am duty bound to point out that its near-£3,000 price doesn't quite get you picture perfection.
The most obvious problem is that the set's black level response isn't particularly hot. There's definitely a grey look to parts of the picture that should look black, which can hide background detail and make dark scenes look a little flat compared with the depth and accuracy with which the set shows bright scenes.
Also, while the set's motion processing is very potent, there is a price to pay for that potency in the form of some occasionally noticeable artefacts, particularly a slight shimmering halo around some moving objects.
Some people might expect perfect rather than very good pictures for the best part of three grand, I guess. But for me, the Connect 42 as an overall package has the looks, feel, features, unique flexibility and all-round performance quality it needs to more than satisfy the very select market it so assiduously targets.
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