What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 12 Sep 2008, 11:00am

Loewe Individual 26 S

Tested at £1545
60100
3

It was going to be a challenge for Loewe to justify that price; it hasn’t quite done it

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For

  • Richness, detail and sharpness to pictures
  • easily the best sound in this class
  • loads of customisation options

Against

  • Far cheaper sets such as the Sony KDL-26V4500 have a better picture

What if you've got limited space, but want the best performance available and are happy to pay for it? This £1545 Loewe is aimed at you.

If weight meant quality, the Individual 26 S would be running away with five stars; this set is chunky. Loewe has used high-quality materials here, and this set is exceptionally well put together.

There are loads of options, from different bezel colours and stands. The panels at either end of the TV are also interchangeable – and if you send Loewe your own pattern, they can even make panels to match.

Loewe suppliers tend to arrange delivery and initial installation of your screen, but if you do want to have a tinker with the picture settings, it's worth knowing that the menus and settings are perfectly straightforward.

Pop in the Transformers DVD and the Individual immediately impresses. The upscaled image is perfectly clean and stable, and the vibrant colour palette lends itself well to the primary colours of Optimus Prime's paintjob. It's a warm, rich picture, but in a good way, adding extra vitality to skin tones.

A fine HD picture
Move up to the 21 Blu-ray and the picture jumps several notches in terms of detail and sharpness. The set won't accept a 24fps signal (or 1080p for that matter), but motion is smooth and smear-free.

It doesn't quite have the fine detail recovery or black or white performance of class leaders, but it's not far off, and it's certainly a fine HD picture.

The Freeview tuner is similar to the DVD performance: rich, detailed and extremely clean and stable. Loewe could do some more work on the somewhat confusing EPG, though.

It's with sound that the Individual is miles ahead of the competition. By the prevailing standards of flatscreen TVs, this is weighty, clear and dynamic.

The Loewe is a great telly, but it's just not a-grand-and-a-half's worth.

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