What's the best Nanoleaf setup for you? Smart light panels explored - MrLiambi's blog


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Friday, 25 February 2022

What's the best Nanoleaf setup for you? Smart light panels explored

If you want to know more about Nanoleaf lighting, what it is, how it works and why you need it, then you've come to the right place.

Nanoleaf light panels are an interesting way to add light to your room over and above the standard light bulbs. They're a great way to create your own designs and provide a talking point or just a new light source in a space in your home. 

With the simple use of small linkers, you can snap the panels together to create a circuit which can then be powered by the control box which is plugged into the mains. The lighting panels can be connected to each other on any side, meaning you can create a variety of different patterns of all shapes and sizes.

They're also not only customisable in pattern, but in lighting too. Capable of supporting up to 16.7 million colours, the Nanoleaf light panels can be set to a range of different shades and hues throughout the day and changed on a whim too.

We've explored Nanoleaf's smart lighting in the past and love how customisable it is. We've also used it to great effect when combined with a rhythm module to sync lighting with games and music (the newer panels have this built-in). There are plenty of reasons to invite Nanoleaf into your home, but what is it really capable of?

Nanoleaf gear is also compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa meaning you can control the lights with your voice via your favourite assistant. Turning lights on and off, adjusting brightness, colours and more. We particularly like setting up Google Home routines to change the lights with a single word or phrase. 

Nanoleaf is also integrated with Apple HomeKit, meaning you can choose to manage them using the iOS/iPadOS/macOS Home app. Again you can create scenes for this and it's all fully customisable. 

Newer Nanoleaf gear is also compatible with Thread, a connected home tech we're going to hear a lot more about over the next couple of years. 

Nanoleaf Lines


Nanoleaf Lines are a curious and nicely customisable offering from Nanoleaf where you have a number of "lines" that can be clipped together in all manner of layouts. You can use these lines to create shapes on your wall and add some intriguing accent lighting to any space. 

These lines work by bouncing light back off the wall, offering a nice diffused lighting that isn't harsh on the eyes. There are two packs available with either nine or 15 lines included and these are then clipped together and stuck to the wall with sticky tape. It's easy to install and fun to play around with. 

We particularly like screen mirroring with these for cool effects while we game. 

Nanoleaf Elements


Elements offers a slightly more toned-down appearance with a wood-like finish to make the panels blend in a bit better when they're not turned on. You don't get colour options, so it's just about the intensity and tone of white light, but they're a nice new direction.

There aren't as many shapes available right now compared to Nanoleaf's other lines, limited to just hexagons at present, but it's a great option for anyone who doesn't think Nanoleaf's standard panels will really fit into their decor.

The setup and control systems are largely the same as the panels below, so we won't go over everything twice - keep reading to find out more about installing and making use of your light panels!

Nanoleaf Shapes


Nanoleaf Shapes are a stunning range of panels from Nanoleaf. They come in different, er, shapes but they all work together. So far there are three different Shapes - hexagons, triangles and mini triangles. All are compatible with the latest-generation Thread technology.

A separate control panel enables physical control (on-off, cycling through scenes) although as with all Nanoleaf gear you'll mostly use your phone. 

In case you are confused about which Nanoleaf setup to go for, the Shapes series is the best bet if you want forwards compatibility and the potential to expand your setup in future. 

The new shapes boast 16 million colour combinations, screen mirroring (see below for more details on this) as well as all the standard Nanoleaf features such as compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit depending on what you want.

The key enhancement that Nanoleaf has made with Shapes is that it has updated the mounting system so the adhesive no longer damages your walls if you need to move them. Yes, this is a problem with the earlier generations below. 


Nanoleaf Shapes can be asked to react to sounds in the room - unlike previous generations below they don't need a separate module to enable this. 

Once again as well as Shapes starter packs, you can also expand your setup with more panels. 

Nanoleaf Canvas


Nanoleaf Canvas takes all the funky lighting fun of the classic lighting panels to a new and more interactive level. Canvas is made up of edge-to-edge light squares rather than triangles. Like the standard light panels, they're fully modular and customisable. 

Nanoleaf Canvas allows you to connect a multitude of panels to create any pattern you can imagine in any room of your home. The standard pack comes with nine six-inch square light panels but is expandable. In fact, a single control square is capable of supporting up to 500 Canvas panels (though you need an extra power supply for each additional 25 squares in the setup). If you have the money and space you could fill an entire wall with colourful light. 

Nanoleaf Canvas has buttons built right into the control panel which allows you to change the settings with a quick and easy press.

Where the original Nanoleaf light panels had a separate power module, Canvas has a dedicated control square instead. This control square still lights up the same way as the others but offers easy access to the controls too. You can use it to cycle through your scenes.

The control square also has the power to sense sounds in the surroundings. This allows Nanoleaf Canvas to make use of Rhythm mode - reacting to music playing in the room. This makes for a much more engaging lighting experience and a fantastic talking point at parties if nothing else. 

Canvas also reacts to gestures - double taps, swipes up, down, left and right will all react in different ways. These can be customised within the settings in the app and assigned to a variety of actions. 

The Nanoleaf app

Nanoleaf products are app-controlled via Apple or Android smartphones and connect to your home Wi-Fi easily. From the app, you can then change colours, adjust brightness, set a static colour or select a theme and much more besides. 

As we mentioned, if you're an Apple user everything can also be installed and controlled using Apple HomeKit and the Home app.

Users are a big part of the Nanoleaf experience and other owners regularly submit new colour palettes that can download and try for free from within the app.  

Free palettes are also downloadable within the app or you can customise the colours just the way you want them. You can press to shuffle between random scenes and the control panel will remember the last five that were loaded too - enabling you to go back if you found one you liked but accidentally skipped onto the next. 

Diving into the app settings further allows you to play around with other colour options in the scene creator where you can "paint" individual panels with a static colour or create dynamic and rhythm scenes until your heart is content.

Pairing is pain-free. Loading up the app and selecting to add a new device you're given clear instructions on pairing with the Canvas that includes simply tapping your phone to the control panel when it's plugged in and turned on. We found this took a matter of seconds, then you can fully control the lights from your phone with ease. 

Plugging in during mounting is a good idea too, so you can ensure each panel is connected properly to create a circuit and light every square. 

Light sync with games and movies

An update to the Nanoleaf software included the rollout of a desktop app. That app can not only be used to control the lights from your PC or laptop but also to sync the colours of the panels to match what's on your screen. 

This results in a beautiful and immersive light show that makes games, films and anything else on your screen more interesting in a flash. We've written about how to set this up and it's an ace addition to your entertainment whether you're watching Netflix or diving into some great PC games. 

Syncing with Razer peripherals

If you're a PC gamer and a Razer fan, then there's more good news as Nanoleaf also works with Razer mice, keyboards, headsets and more.

It's possible to integrate your Nanoleaf lights into Razer's Synapse software and then sync the lights with the RGB goodness of your favourite gaming gizmos. You can even program Nanoleaf's touch compatible panels with macros, key presses and more. 

Installing Nanoleaf panels

We'd highly recommend a spirit level and plenty of planning before installing.

The manual recommends trying out different layouts on a table so you can not only ensure everything is working but get an idea of what the layout will look like when it's installed on the wall. Taking into account things like where you're going to run the power cable will ensure the end result is neat, tidy and beautiful too. 

If you have access to a printer we'd also recommend using the Augmented Reality layout assistant within the app. This enables you to point your phone at a QR code on the wall and get a pattern painted for you to visualise the design(s) before you even start putting the panels up.

Actually installing the wall panels is a breeze once you've worked out the arrangement. The panels are lightweight and on standard (non-porous) surfaces they can be easily held in place with the included adhesive pads. These have been improved significantly for Nanoleaf Shapes as they're now a lot less likely to tear a hole in your wall if you remove them.

The linkers between the panels are a simple plug-and-play affair. They slot into each light square and allow you to easily to snap them together. Each panel has a recessed slot for the linkers which keeps them out of sight when they're mounted on the wall. 

A screw mounting kit is available for wood and brick if you want a more permanent fitting. 

You can also purchase various mounting accessories to account for your designs too. There are even flexible linkers that can be bent to allow for angled mounting, meaning you can take your designs from wall to wall.

Source : https://www.pocket-lint.com/smart-home/news/146407-what-is-nanoleaf-aurora-canvas-and-rhythm-modules-explored

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