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The funkiest smart lights get cooler, better

The funkiest smart lights get cooler, better

Over the previous couple of years, Nanoleaf has made a reputation for itself because the model for cool, funky, uncommon, and colourful smart lights. I dubbed its Aurora panels “the coolest and most extravagant smart lights you can own” once I reviewed them, they usually’re nonetheless simply as superior as they have been again in 2017. However you possibly can’t sit nonetheless whereas the world strikes on, so Nanoleaf is again once more with the Canvas.

Sq. tiles with a number of connection factors substitute the triangle ones, however the actual benefit is within the contact reactivity and built-in Rhythm mode that follows your music. The Canvas are better than the Aurora in virtually each approach, however they’re additionally costlier. Learn on for my full assessment.

Left: Discovering Nemo. Center & proper: Christmas tree animation.

Hardware, design, what’s within the field

With the Canvas, Nanoleaf supplies a special design and attainable configurations than its earlier Aurora Mild Panels. The sq. form is probably much less funky than the triangle, and results in extra inflexible layouts. It is also a bit smaller: with both sides measuring 15cm (5.9″), a tile’s surface is 225 cm², whereas the Aurora’s triangle had 24cm sides (9.4″) for a floor of 250cm².

These tiny setbacks apart, the whole lot else concerning the Canvas is improved. The complete sq. is lit versus the Aurora’s plastic corners which created empty areas. The again of every panel gives 4 connection factors for the linkers, permitting you to completely align two panels or shift them so solely half their sides are related. The app offers a format maker that helps you in determining whether or not a design is feasible or invalid and the place to put in the linkers so that each one panels have are related.

One other welcome change is the much less cumbersome cable setup. Just one wall adapter is required, as an alternative of the Aurora’s controller + adapter + plug, so there’s much less to cover when the Canvas goes on the wall.

The most vital enhancements although are the addition of three options: buttons on one panel, contact reactivity on all, and Rhythm performance inbuilt. Thanks to those, you need not open the app to toggle the Canvas, change the brightness, or change scenes. You can even play some interactive video games like whack-a-mole and reminiscence. And the lights will have the ability to react to music with no separate module.

Within the Canvas field, you will discover one primary management sq. (with the buttons), eight common squares, 9 linkers, 28 mounting tapes, and an influence provide. Enlargement units of four squares can be found to buy individually.

Set up and setup

Putting in the Canvas is a simple however time-consuming course of. The app guides you thru the steps, and you may seek the advice of the web guide and tutorial movies if it is advisable. The gist is that it is best to select the format within the app, arrange your panels on a floor and ensure all linkers are of their place, then switch the whole lot to the wall through the use of the included mounting tapes (three per sq.).

Merely join the adapter to one of many squares and the Canvas will mild up and put together for setup, then use the app to get them in your WiFi community and begin controlling them.

Nanoleaf Smarter Series
Nanoleaf Smarter Series

Infinite Prospects

Two years on, I nonetheless assume Nanoleaf makes probably the most spectacular and feature-full smart residence apps. The format is daunting at first and it takes a little bit of time to determine how every little thing works, however the prospects are actually countless with it.

Colours and animations

You possibly can decide a primary static shade for your complete setup or mild up every sq. as you would like utilizing a number of palettes, mixtures, and brightness ranges.


You can even select an animated and touch-reactive colour setup, with a number of colours and types (fade, splash, burst, and so forth…). The Uncover part within the app is filled with user-contributed presets which are straightforward to preview and obtain.


Above: Seashore wave scene. Under: Dawn scene.

Above: Sweet scene. Under: Northern Lights scene.

Above: Forest Inexperienced scene.

Dancing lights

With the built-in Rhythm perform and a number of preset (and downloadable) scenes, animations, and movement results, there are hours of enjoyable available making an attempt the varied methods the lights can react to the music. My favourite is often the soundbar, however I simply found there are 23 extra motions to be tried and if I begin enjoying with them now, I am positive this evaluation will not be completed in time. I am making an attempt to regulate myself.

Interactive panels

One of many Canvas’ squares comes with contact buttons to toggle it on/off, increase/decrease the brightness, activate the Rhythm performance, shuffle via lots of of preloaded scenes (not yours), and cycle by way of your personal scenes. The buttons additionally cover further performance, like the choice so as to add a shuffled scene to your assortment, activate numerous temperature white modes, and even activate the Hotspot mode that lets your telephone join on to the Aurora with out utilizing a house WiFi community.

However there’s greater than the buttons. The panels are touch-enabled too, so you possibly can double faucet them to toggle them on/off, swipe as much as increase the brightness, right down to decrease it, and program these gestures (and extra) to do what you need. The colour scenes are additionally touch-enabled, so merely tapping a sq. will set off it to vary colour inside the chosen palette.

After which there are the video games. Because of the contact perform and a few downloadable interactive scenes, you possibly can play video games like Pacman, Reminiscence, Whack-a-mole, Simon, and extra. It isn’t one thing I might discover myself doing typically, however if in case you have youngsters, I am positive they will dig this to no finish.

Making it your personal

Whereas the Canvas comes with its personal shufflable scenes, and the app is full to the brim with preset scenes to obtain, you may also (simply) make your personal. It takes some getting used to, however there’s every thing you want from making your personal colour palette (with shade wheel, RGB, and Hex pickers!), selecting any animation fashion you need, and modifying its velocity, delay, and different options to go well with you.

Taking preset scenes and modifying them to your liking can also be potential, so there is no want to start out from scratch.


If you wish to automate your lights, the app permits you to set schedules for the Canvas to activate/off, decide a shade or scene, set its brightness, and select how shortly it fades in/out.

Smart residence integrations

Like most of Nanoleaf’s merchandise, Canvas works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, and there is a developer portal with an open API and SDK.


I examined the Google Assistant integration, which is fortunately a lot much less cumbersome than final time I checked my Aurora. Solely the Canvas will present within the House app (versus each scene you’ve got added), and you may flip it on/off and management brightness with the app, but in addition use voice instructions (record) to take action, plus set a shade, ask concerning the state, and activate any scene you need. Merely saying “Hey Google, turn on Beach Waves” triggers the scene on the Canvas, with out me having to specify the system or room identify.

IFTTT integration can also be as highly effective as ever. Decide any set off you need (from time of day to your Nest digital camera) and you may set the Canvas to inform you with a selected shade, activate/off, change to a selected scene, brighten or dim, and extra.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, when you can afford it. I am beneath no phantasm that the Canvas are costly and doubtless not the primary — and even tenth — smart mild you may contemplate on your residence. However when you consider them as digital wall artwork, and examine them to the extreme costs of a static portray, they develop into rather less loopy costly. I am not saying they’re in the identical class as work, removed from that, however they do fulfill the identical(ish) want for adorning a wall.

Plus, they’re so, so, so, so cool.

Identical to the Aurora, the Canvas are mesmerizing and show-stealers regardless of the place you put in them in your home. I spent a few hours tinkering with the format creator within the app, looking for all of the attainable designs I might obtain with my 13 squares (unique field + one enlargement package), emulating shapes and concepts. I even dreamed of the chances a 25-square setup would permit, then quickly got here again to actuality and remembered we do not have that type of cash or area to spare. Once I selected a format, I spent one other few hours testing numerous colour and animation layouts, seeing what could possibly be finished, and choosing some favorites.

Then I turned on the Rhythm and all was misplaced… Between selecting music and corresponding scenes, my husband and I had a whole night making an attempt issues, liking some, dismissing others, and simply sitting there wanting on the lights dance and change with extensive eyes and a foolish smile. As for the video games, I will be trustworthy. I had an hour of enjoyable enjoying them, however they are not one thing I might hunt down once more. Youngsters would love them, although, and also you’re better off putting in the Canvas excessive on a wall if you don’t need your youngsters to take a seat there all day enjoying whack-a-mole.

For me, the Canvas’ solely downsides are technical limitations greater than actual points. First, shiny colours are straightforward to get, however darker ones (particularly black) are achieved by dimming and thus look pale and fewer vivid. Second, the designs are semi-permanent as soon as they’re in your wall. You possibly can’t simply change them, until you determine to take away the tapes (and hope they do not depart a hint) and get new ones to connect the squares in one other place. My go-to answer is to get a white board to hold the Canvas on, to keep away from the scary permanency of sticking them on my house’s partitions.

My ultimate takeaway is that there isn’t any query whether or not the Canvas are enjoyable and superior. Nevertheless, I feel the one query you need to ask your self is whether or not to shell the $250 for it or go for the marginally cheaper Aurora Mild Panels — Rhythm Version for $230. In my thoughts, some great benefits of the Canvas (much less cumbersome cables, contact, buttons) greater than justify the $20 distinction, however the layouts allowed by the sq. design are much less dynamic than those afforded by the triangles. All of it comes right down to what you need your design to appear to be.

Purchase if:

  • You’ve got the cash for a cool, cool smart mild.
  • You already personal the Aurora however need to improve to a extra interactive setup.
  • There’s an empty wall in your home that wants some artwork, and you do not actually like work.

Do not buy if:

  • You assume even common smart lights are a superfluous luxurious.
  • You desire to some much less sq., extra dynamic designs — verify the Aurora Mild Panels as an alternative.

The place to purchase