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Loewe Individual 40 review

This 40-inch LCD TV is only as limited as your imagination

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Our Verdict

The ultimate style statement, but there are better performers out there

For

  • Bespoke design possibilities

    Excellent Image feature

Against

  • Stingy on connections

    Picture performance could be better

Let's get something straight from the outset. We're convinced by the Loewe Individual 40 - but only in the design department.

The Individual 40 takes TV design to the next level, offering a wealth of bespoke design nips and tucks. This is the closest to a tailor-made flatscreen available at an affordable price - considering the range of choice you are given, the approximate price of £2,800 sounds relatively reasonable.

Firstly, choose your colour, then select your mount, and then decide on the side panel inserts that'll match your living room curtains, and you have your very own individual Individual 40.

This is impressive stuff, but there's always the danger of the novelty wearing thin if the TV's picture performance isn't as flexible as the outer coating.

And connectivity doesn't start things well, as it looks like Eberneezer Scrooge has been charging a consultancy fee.

The 40's solitary HDMI just isn't enough given the growing amount of HDMI-equipped hardware around, especially as the rest of the connections don't set the world on fire. Still, at least the component video input offers hi-def connectivity, and there's a PC VGA input.

In terms of features, the Individual 40 comes with a built-in digital tuner, a selection of picture-in-picture options, and a mode for improving the appearance of rapid motion, and even an optional satellite receiver, capable of showing free-to-air satellite TV channels (but it won't decode Sky's pay-TV channels).

Other key features include an easy-to-use hard disk drive recorder (optional), and Loewe's latest proprietary image processing engine, Image (not optional). Image claims to improve colours, contrast and sharpness of images without the attendant picture artefacting.

Premium pictures

Getting the ball rolling with a Sky HD recording of King Kong, it swiftly becomes clear that Image is a good thing indeed. Once Image is switched on, you're treated to a broad colour palette, with some impressive colour saturations. Colours are subtly blended too, giving the scene where Kong swats the attacking planes an additional 3D effect with much detail and little blurring.

Elsewhere, black levels are on the money, and there are some impressive peak whites too. But, despite a positive start, there are some issues with the Individual 40's picture performance.

Dark areas of the picture can look hollow and suffer from a lack of subtle greyscale detail. And pictures sometimes look grainy - even with hi-def material.

Despite these criticisms, the Individual 40 is capable of delivering a watchable picture, especially with hi-def feeds.

The Individual 40's sonics also get the thumbs up, as the well-designed speaker bar under the screen delivers a soundstage that goes the pictures justice without distortion.

One for the picky

There are better pictures to be had out there on a screen this size, but its hi-def picture performance is always engaging, especially with the imperious sonic accompaniment.

Finding a better-looking TV than the Individual 40 is difficult. If your pockets are deep enough and you've got an artistic side, buy it. But if money is tight, and you prefer content to style, look elsewhere.