Nanoleaf's New Smart Lights Are Less Sci-Fi, More HGTV

Illustration for article titled Nanoleaf's New Smart Lights Are Less Sci-Fi, More HGTV
Image: Nanoleaf

With their vibrant hues and designs inspired by science fiction, it’s often hard to make smart lights fit in with more traditional furniture. That’s exactly what Nanoleaf is trying to fix with its new line of Elements smart lights.

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Nanoleaf is expanding upon previous products, like its range of Shapes and Canvas light panels, except instead a design featuring cold whites and grays, every light panel in the Elements line sports a wood grain pattern created to deliver a warmer, more organic look.

Illustration for article titled Nanoleaf's New Smart Lights Are Less Sci-Fi, More HGTV
Image: Nanoleaf

As with Nanoleaf’s other light panels, the Elements Wood Look Hexagons can easily be mounted on a wall and daisy-chained together to create custom patterns or designs. Each kit syncs with Nanoleaf’s app, giving you total control over the color of the lights, lighting schedules, and more. The Elements line also comes with support for Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Alexa, and SmartThings integration, so you should be able to easily sync it up with the rest of the smart lights in your home.

For the Elements line, Nanoleaf says users will even be able set a specific color temperature (from 1500 to 4000K) in order to better evoke the warmer tones and mood you tend to get from natural wood. And if that’s not enough, Nanoleaf also added new “Organic” motion scenes that attempt to replicate things like a fireplace or a calming waterfall using colored light. And if you can’t think up your own scenes, you can select from thousands of existing scenes using Nanoleaf’s app, which automatically adjusts light colors to better match the Elements line’s darker panels.

Here’s how the faux wood grain finish on the Elements line compares to actual wood.
Here’s how the faux wood grain finish on the Elements line compares to actual wood.
Photo: Sam Rutherford

Now admittedly, replacing white plastic with tan plastic featuring a faux woodgrain finish isn’t exactly a prize-winning idea, given the fact that so many new gadgets—especially smart lights—often seem like they are intended strictly for use in a new Star Trek or Blade Runner movie, it’s nice to see at least one company go the other direction. Nanoleaf is trying to bridge the gap between sleek and futuristic and more popular interior design trends like modern farmhouse and whatever the hell people think “transitional” design is supposed to be.

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The actual engineering of the Elements line is pretty straightforward, too. On the back of each panel, there’s a pre-installed 3M adhesive strip for sticking the lights on your wall, with each side of the hexagon featuring a connector for power or attaching itself to an adjacent panel. The panels are plastic, not genuine wood, with sort of a light oak finish and textured faux wood-grain finish on top.

The design on the back of the Elements Hex panel makes it easy to stick on a wall and connect each panel to an adjacent panel to create custom patterns.
The design on the back of the Elements Hex panel makes it easy to stick on a wall and connect each panel to an adjacent panel to create custom patterns.
Photo: Sam Rutherford
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The one major downside to the Elements line is that, similarly to Nanoleaf’s other light panels, they aren’t exactly cheap. A starter kit with seven panels and a control module costs $300, with additional three-panel expansion packs costing $100 each. Depending on your tastes, that’s a decent chunk of money to drop on something that’s really just a lighting accessory. But then again, for all the people who have been stuck at home for the past year, spending some money to make your home feel a bit more cozy could make a big difference.

Unfortunately, because our review unit just recently arrived, I haven’t had a chance to set up and test out the new Elements line properly, so stay tuned for a full review coming soon.

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Nanoleaf’s new Elements line is available today on Nanoleaf’s website, with wider availability from Best Buy and Apple’s online store to come later this year.

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

DISCUSSION

charlesengasser
Charles Engasser

100% don’t bother to use the tape mounts. For the elements line, they include hardware mounts, use them.

They are too heavy to use 3m command strips and even if the included tape is stronger than command strips (which is what the Rhythm kits come with), no one wants that on their walls because it will never come off...OR...as what happened to me on more than one occasion, the panel and the command strip literally pulled the paint off the wall after a couple of weeks.

I will also say that the mounts are a pain in the ass to use no matter what you do. Each panel needs to line up exactly or it will look like shit once hung. What you really need to do is setup everything on the floor first in the layout you want (upside down....with the hardware mounts attached), and with a large sheet of paper (or more than one) create a hole template, so you can pre-attach all the mounts on the wall.

Be prepared for frustration, but once you’re done, AND you’ve consumed some calming beverage afterwards, you can relax to something like this (NOT Elements...this is Rhythm: