On paper the TV industry as it stands today isn’t really suited to Loewe’s business model. For starters, with most people feeling distinctly strapped for cash, the German brand’s premium pricing policy hardly seems likely to win it countless new fans. The other problem is that design-led products from relatively small brands can take a long time to develop, whereas the pace of technological change and product turn over in today’s TV market is best described as frantic.
Happily, though, Loewe’s recently released Connect ID series looks pretty well up to modern speed. In fact, the 55-inch version, the Connect ID 55, looks little short of spectacular, as a gorgeously robust gloss-black bezel around the top, left and right edges runs dramatically into a striking silvery bottom edge and contrasts starkly with a cool white finish on the set’s rear. It’s a true ‘360-degree’ design.
What’s more, the Connect ID 55 looks is available in a bewildering number of colour and styling options. Indeed, the main reason Loewe TVs cost more than most is that the brand offers what is easily the TV industry’s most bespoke solution. For example, you can choose from any combination of two frame colours (high-gloss black or high-gloss white) and six colours (black, white, silver, orange, green and beige) for the strip along the bottom.
Then there are the various stand options available to you. You can mount it on a simple but beautifully made aluminium table-top stand, fit it atop a glinting silver pole floor stand, or fasten it atop some striking furniture Loewe has designed especially to accompany its TV range. If you’re feeling a bit saucy, you can even slide it onto a pole that runs all the way between your ceiling and your floor!
Check out Loewe’s website for all the aesthetic options available (Loewe claims a remarkable 4320 individual design options). From all this you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the 'ID' part of the Connect ID 55’s name stands for Individual Design.
It’s not just the Connect ID 55’s design that's ‘bespoke’, either. You can also customise its features to some extent, choosing, for instance, whether or not you want Loewe’s DR HDD recording system built in. If you do (and you might, since it delivers immaculate recordings from the TV’s built-in HD tuners), you’ll need to add £300 to the Connect ID 55’s £2,495 starting price.
You can also opt to use your Connect ID 55 to drive a Loewe home cinema speaker system, complete with streamlined control over all aspects of the wider package.
By the time you’ve taken into account its design and feature flexibility, it’s fair to say the Connect ID 55 really does deliver on Loewe’s promise of allowing your TV to be pretty much whatever you want it to be. Even so, it will be kind of nice if the set’s design chutzpah can be joined with plenty of performance quality – especially now that the new Connect’s network skills no longer look as cutting edge as those of the original Connect series did back in 2009.
There’s nothing specifically wrong with the Connect ID 55’s connections, with their highlights of three HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, built-in Wi-Fi and two USB ports. The network options support DLNA video, photo and music file streaming as well as access to Loewe’s MediaNet online platform, while the USBs also support playback of all the key file formats. However, there isn’t anything truly out of the ordinary here that justify the TV’s suggestive Connect name.
The Connect ID 55’s screen is – inevitably – a full HD affair driven by edge LED lighting, while picture processing comes courtesy of Loewe’s Individual chip. This facilitates motion compensation (delivering a 200Hz effect), colour, noise reduction, and sharpness boosting elements. Also on offer for those interested in it is 3D playback, of the active, full HD variety.