Loewe Modus L 37 £1700

18th Jul 2007 | 23:00

Loewe Modus L 37

Self-consciously stylish TV maker works its magic again

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

Sparse connections and average performance mean the L 37 just isn't worth the high asking price

Like:

<p>Decent image processing</p>

Dislike:

<p>Poor connectivity</p><p>Limited picture quality</p><p>Expensive</p>

Loewe's 'design first, worry about price later' policy means it currently has the most to offer anyone who's style-conscious with a reasonably large wallet (short of really busting the budget with something from B&O).

And the 37in Modus L 37 LCD TV fits the Loewe bill perfectly, combining an achingly swish minimalist design, available in platinum or anthracite, with a build quality so good you want to kiss it. But it costs £1,700 - roughly double and then some what you'd expect to pay for a typical 37in LCD TV nowadays. So here's hoping a sweet design isn't all it's got going for it.

The early signs aren't good, as exhaustive hunting turns up just a single HDMI socket. This is simply not enough on a premium TV these days, even when the set also includes a PC VGA port and a component video option alongside the usual lesser-quality options.

Features aren't as common as we'd like for £1,700 either. In fact, aside from a digital tuner, Virtual Dolby processing and interactive onscreen instructions, the only feature of significance is Image Plus, Loewe's picture processor targeting colours, contrast and sharpness among other, subtler things.

The L 37 sports a 1366 x 768 pixel count (not a full HD array), and a contrast ratio of 800:1 that doesn't sound much compared with the thousands to one now claimed by many competitors. Here's hoping Loewe is just being honest with its measuring.

Hues that stun

A viewing of Revenge of the Sith Sky HD suggests that the 800:1 is conservative - but only a little. For while nighttime shots across Coruscant's cities enjoy perfectly decent black levels by LCD standards, there's still more low-contrast grey mist than there should be. What's more, the picture loses considerable contrast and colour if watched from the side; an LCD issue other cheaper brands are now tackling with considerable success.

Thankfully most other things about the Loewe's picture are impressive. Colours, for instance, enjoy a winning combination of bright, vibrant saturations and unusually natural colour tones - talents which are all abundantly visible in the crowd scenes where Palpatine returns to Coruscant after being rescued near the film's start.

Detailed scenes in Revenge of the Sith, meanwhile, like those in the hangar of General Grievous' ship as R2D2 helps Obi-Wan and Annakin get to the imprisoned Palapatine, look superbly clean, crisp and textured on the L 37. In fact, the set portrays hi-def's extra detail as well as any 37in TV we've ever seen.

The L 37 doesn't just love hi-def, though. Image also proves slicker than most rival systems at handling standard-def, making it look cleaner and sharper than usual. This does no harm in this regard, either, that the L 37 handles motion with less resolution loss than most LCD TVs suffer.

The L 37 is a solid audio performer - fair enough, perhaps, but it's hard not to recall that many previous Loewe flat TVs have enjoyed near-hi-fi audio standards.

Paying a premium

If we judged the L 37 on performance alone, we'd have no problem with it. Sadly, though, its high price immediately pretty much demands that it be at the very top of the pile in terms of performance and features. And it just isn't!

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