- Gorgeous build quality and design options
- Excellent built-in HDD recorder
- Brilliant audio and good picture quality
- Minor 3D 'shadow' crosstalk
- Backlight consistency issues
- Only for the deep of pocket
- Review Price: £4100.00
- 46in Edge LED TV
- active 3D built in
- built-in Smart TV functionality
- Built-in hard disk recorder
- ‘Bespoke’ design options
The bottom line is that if you even have to ask how much the Individual 46 Compose 3D costs, it isn’t really for you. Loewe (pronounced lerver, not lowy) makes unique, feature-packed, design-led prestige home entertainment systems, complete with matching speaker options and a multitude of different mounting ‘scenarios’, and it installs everything for you without you having to lift a finger. In other words, like BMW or Mercedes, Loewe sells an experience at least as much as it is selling a product. And it’s this experience, not the price, that matters.
To underline this fact, rather than just review the 46in Individual 46 Compose 3D in isolation, we actually have in a whole Loewe ‘package’ comprising the brand’s new £765 BluTech Vision 3D Blu-ray player, a matching £275 ‘Stereospeaker’ that attaches beneath the screen (and in this setup functions as a centre speaker), a £1,995 pair of Stand Speaker SL electrostatic (‘flat’, in less technical language!) floorstanding speakers, and a meaty £1,555 Highline subwoofer to deliver the deep bass that the electrostatic speakers cannot.
The gorgeous slenderness of the electrostatic speakers together with their stunning metallic finish and the swish high-gloss look of the subwoofer provides a sensational-looking ‘stage’ for the TV itself – which is, of course, as easy on the eye as a Hot Spot-era Jennifer Connelly.
Our TV arrived dressed in high-gloss black, with the matching black speaker ‘bar’ to fasten beneath it. It also arrived with one of Loewe’s sumptuous floor-standing mounts, comprising a chrome pole attached to an elegant cross-shaped platform.
All this, though, is just one of an almost infinite variety of ‘looks’ we could have gone for with our Individual 46 Compose 3D. For starters, the TV and Stereospeaker can be had in white or silver rather than black. Also, the TV can be mounted in any number of ways, including matching furniture installations.
Even the side panels of the speaker and TV can be changed to suit your tastes; just choose the look and colour you want from Loewe’s range (which includes Ebony Wood, Light Oak, Chrome ‘ribbed’, and high gloss black), and your new side panels simply adhere magnetically to the TV and speaker’s recessed sides. You can even have bespoke inserts made if you’re channeling your inner Laurence Llewelyn Bowen.
This level of choice over the look of your TV is currently unique in the AV world, and it’s a USP perfectly suited to Loewe’s premium target market.
Tearing ourselves away from simply ogling Loewe’s integrated design strategy in action, it soon transpires that the Individual 46 Compose 3D is much more than just a pretty face.
Obviously the headline feature is the new active 3D system. The set can handle both alternate frame and side-by-side 3D, and there’s also a 2D to 3D conversion system. No glasses are included for free though. These will cost you an extra £130 a pair.
Another unique-to-Loewe feature is a large (500GB) built-in hard disk recorder, which can store hundreds of hours of TV programmes from the integrated Freeview HD (or satellite HD) tuner. This system records immaculately, and features a nicely-presented interface. Excellent.
The Individual 46 Compose 3D is also extremely multimedia savvy, offering playback of a bewilderingly large variety of photo, music and video file formats, and allowing you to stream in files from DLNA-enabled PCs. The set has built-in Wi-Fi if you’d rather use this than the TV’s LAN port.
Hooking the TV into your network also lets you access Loewe’s Media Net ‘smart TV’ functionality. Highlights of this include Napster’s music service, which is currently unique to Loewe, and a well-organised system for accessing the huge world of Internet radio.
Other services of interest include the Viewster, iConcerts, CineTrailer, Box Office 365, HiT Entertainment, Discovery Channel Videocast and Cartoon Network video platforms, the Picasa and MyAlbum.com photo sites, a weather site, and a variety of utility, game and ‘service’ apps – including pizza.co.uk…
While this is all OK as far as it goes, though, and the presentation of the service is excellent, the set could do with more high-profile video services such as LoveFilm and the BBC iPlayer. Especially as much of the video content currently provided is subscription only.
Other key findings on the Individual 46 Compose 3D’s huge spec sheet include a ‘400Hz’ processing engine, an impressive new Active Filter screen for reducing reflections and thus boosting contrast, and all sorts of optional video processing, including Loewe’s Image system, various motion settings, and plenty of noise reduction tools. Loewe doesn’t offer colour management or gamma fine-tuning, but Loewe claims each TV has been individually calibrated before leaving the factory.
The Individual 46 Compose 3D’s operating system is a bit fiddly, due to Loewe’s insistence on keeping all menus and submenus tucked close to the bottom of the screen. But the remote control is beautifully designed, with a swish metallic finish, and the onscreen menus are bolstered by the presence of an onscreen, interactive instructions manual.
Kicking off our tests with the Individual 46’s new 3D capabilities, first impressions are outstanding. For a start, 3D pictures lose less brightness and colour intensity via Loewe’s active shutter glasses than expected, meaning 3D images still enjoy considerable ‘pop’ and dynamism. They also look remarkably sharp and detailed if you’re watching a full-HD 3D Blu-ray, reminding us why active 3D was invented.
The single most startling thing about the Individual 46 Compose’s 3D images, though, is their exceptional sense of depth and stability. Indeed, we can’t think of another 3D TV that delivers a more palpable and accurate sense of 3D space.
After being seduced by the above 3D qualities, though, we did also detect a few issues – two related to 3D specifically, the others repeated in 2D mode.
The 3D ones find one or two green colour tones looking slightly off (presumably because the screen hasn’t been calibrated to colour correct for the impact of the active shutter glasses), and traces of the double-ghosting issue known as crosstalk.
Thankfully the colour concerns very rarely materialise, and the crosstalk is fairly minor since it only appears sporadically, and even when it does it takes the form of suppressed dark ‘shadows’ rather than the overt object repetition witnessed on screens where crosstalk is a real problem.
The other, general issues are some backlight inconsistency and, on our initial review sample, the very occasional appearance of a subtle vertical banding structure over mid-to-dark parts of the picture. Having investigated this issue, though, Loewe discovered that it was being caused by the panels used in the first Compose 3D sets; we have since being sent an updated model where this banding issue is no longer there.
The Loewe Individual 46 Compose 3D’s backlight issues find little jets of light appearing in each top corner of the image during dark scenes, and a couple of other areas of extra brightness a couple of inches below the central area of the top edge.
These ‘clouds’ aren’t visible during bright scenes and are extremely faint if you have got a fair bit of light in your room. Plus you can reduce their stridency without eliminating too much shadow detail by setting the backlight output to around its 8 level. But these sort of clouding issues continue to be something edge LED makers really need to sort out if the technology is to realise its full potential.
Aside from the backlight concerns, the Individual 46 Compose 3D’s 2D pictures are a resounding success. Colours are superb, combining extremely rich saturations with effortless subtlety and impeccable naturalism (making the lack of colour management much easier to bear).
Detail levels are immense with HD sources too, leaving images looking crisp and pure, yet as with the colour response, detailing and sharpness never look forced or exaggerated.
Motion, meanwhile, is handled superbly well in terms of both judder and ‘blur’, even without the provided Digital Motion Control processing in play. In fact we’d suggest you don’t bother with this processing, as it tends to make pictures look unnatural.
The set’s black level response is very good for an edge LED TV too, aside from the clouding issues already noted. What’s especially satisfying about the Loewe’s contrast range is that you can get really credible black colours without having to take out too much brightness, leaving scenes combining deep blacks and bright colours – such as the Mother Knows Best sequence in Tangled – looking explosively brilliant.
The only word of caution to add is that you should treat many of Loewe’s processing features – the motion processing and noise reduction systems in particular – with extreme care, as they can actually damage rather than improve the picture. For the most part the only thing we left on was the Image system. Though some people might even prefer to leave this off, especially as it seems to further reduce the backlight clouding problem.
You also need to make sure that absolutely every bit of processing is turned off if you happen to be console or PC gaming on the Individual 46 Compose 3D. Thankfully, although it’s hard to find within the TV’s onscreen menus, the set carries a Game mode that turns off as much processing as possible to deliver a respectable 40ms of input lag compared with around 100ms if you don’t set the game mode on. If you’re an avid gamer who’s buying an Individual 3D, we’d suggest getting your installer to set up the gaming mode for the right input for you before he leaves.
When it comes to sound, the speaker package we were supplied with is ridiculously good. The electrostatic speakers deliver a performance of such finesse, openness, detail, clarity and effortless power that you instantly fall in love with them, while the subwoofer harmonises with them perfectly to deliver the bass the floorstander’s can’t. The Stereospeaker ‘bar’ is also excellent, doing its centre channel duties with a combination of clarity, power and openness that easily holds its own against the electrostatic models.
Basically the system produces sound that at least rivals that of a high quality separate audio surround system, and looks mighty fine while it does it.
The Individual 46 Compose 3D is more than just a TV. It’s an objet d’art, a premium lifestyle AV solution designed to make you love it far more than is probably healthy. Especially given the extent to which you can personalise its look to suit your tastes or decor, and all the equally gorgeous peripheral equipment you can surround it with.
Crucially, though, the latest Individual TV is not just a triumph of design. It’s also packed with features, and capable of producing some terrific pictures and easily the best sound we’ve heard from a TV (irrespective of which audio solution you ultimately plump for).
The minor 3D crosstalk and slightly more aggressive backlight clouding issues stop us from ultimately being able to give the set a score higher than 8 from a purely AV perspective, but as an overall package, to its target market it’s probably nigh-on irresistible.
Score in detail
3D Quality 8
2D Quality 8
Sound Quality 10
|Full HD 1080p||Yes|
|Refresh Rate (Hertz)||400Hz|