Loewe’s products are sometimes confusing to use and tricky to install, but that’s not entirely the case here. Installation is simplified by a very clear main menu that groups the options into three main areas, using large graphics and bold text. Under settings, you’ll find a long list of parameters to tweak, from speaker settings through to HDMI output resolutions. All of these are clearly structured, and many of the submenus provide dialogue boxes that give handy hints about the options you’re choosing.
But it’s not all plain sailing. It’s sluggish when navigating around the setup menu, and some elements of the remote are counter intuitive – who’d have guessed that the ‘text’ button would double as ‘return’? – while its ability to also control a Loewe TV, recorder and radio means that the extra buttons and misleading labels can muddle things up. It is, however, well-made and elegantly designed, finished in brushed aluminium with buttons that give a satisfying click when you press them.
One of the options in the setup menu is Quick Start, which enables the deck to boot up much quicker than usual, but it does use more power in standby – ecologically-minded users might want to disable this feature. The only other deck with this feature is the Sharp BD-HP20H, which arouses suspicions that this might be the same player in different clothes – the feature list and menu design are also similar.
When loading up our ”Spider-Man 3” test disc in Quick Start mode, the disc started playing after about 35 seconds, compared to one minute and 49 seconds with the function turned off. But as the disc’s main menu started to play, it stumbled over the Java-heavy content and movement was severely jerky, only smoothing itself out after a couple runs through the menu sequence. On one occasion, the unit simply turned itself off after pressing ‘Play Movie’ with no sound when it started back up, which meant it had to be unplugged at the mains, and on another occasion it froze up during playback. These glitches may be peculiar to our sample, but it hardly fills us with confidence.