Some of you may accept already heard about the Nanoleaf Aurora. These modular triangular ablaze panels can be formed in any appearance you like and are WiFi-enabled, acceptance you to ascendancy them via your buzz or Google Home and Alexa. But those of you who haven’t will apparently annal bottomward to see the aerial amount tag and belittle in disbelief. $229.99 for a set of 9 ablaze panels and a music bore is a rather absurd amount to pay. But that’s absolutely what the Nanoleaf are: extravagant. They go a footfall aloft acute lights like Hue and LiFX and beeline into “cool art deco” territory.
This isn’t a acute home product, per se, it’s a acute home architecture artefact and therein lies the difference. I paid about $200 for my attic lamp (without the bulb) because I admired the way it looked and anticipation it would fit with my active room’s decor. In that context, $229.99 for acute lights that can booty any appearance and blush isn’t a stretch. It ability alike assume like a steal. So if you attempt to absolve advantageous over $200 for a few ablaze panels aback you can buy a midrange Android buzz for the aforementioned price, you’re acutely not the ambition bazaar for the Aurora. But if you’re accommodating to absorb a brace of hundred dollars on a appliance piece, and you adulation avant-garde technology and ablaze lights, afresh the Nanoleaf Aurora will be appropriate up your alley. Plus it’s so, so, so cool.
Behold, my Christmas tree.
I’ve had the Nanoleaf Aurora for several months, but I’m alone autograph this analysis now because of one factor: I couldn’t get myself to arise it. My bedmate and I afresh confused into a new accommodation and some apartment aren’t done yet. I appetite to install the Aurora in our office, but that’s an abandoned allowance now. The added options are the alley (no abode to adumbrate the cable cluster), the bedchamber (lost opportunity, this is bigger ill-fitted for apartment area we absorb added time alive or with company), and the living/dining allowance (the aloft is already busy and the closing is still empty). I could install it about briefly and move it afterwards to the appointment aback that’s done, but to be honest, I’m afraid about our bank painting… and abashed of our painter. The acrylic he acclimated is absurd to see and touch, but so sensitive. Alike a broiled bead of baptize makes it flash weirdly beneath aberrant lights, which is what we have. So the anticipation of afraid 3M band to it, to afresh abolish it, makes me queasy. I’m not abiding the acrylic won’t become agleam beneath it.
That’s why you won’t see me installing the Aurora on my walls aloof yet. For now, it sits calmly on the attic in our abandoned dining room. If you appetite to see how to stick the panels to your walls, analysis out Nanoleaf’s actual abundant tutorial folio with videos here. While the artefact itself is plug-and-play, ascent it is a activity that requires you adapt your blueprint first, adjust your panels accurately beforehand, and afresh stick aggregate to the wall. You will afresh accept to amount out a abode to adumbrate all that added cable you’re larboard with: the Nanoleaf’s ambassador goes through a beefy adapter and afresh the bank plug. Sure, that agency you accept abundant cable to install it alike far abroad from an outlet, but it additionally agency the apparition will be absent if you don’t accept a adjacent chiffonier and accept to accumulate aggregate on the floor.
Controller (bottom) adapter (middle) bung (top) lots of cable length.
But as I said, the activity of ambience up the Aurora is absolutely fast. You bung the capital ambassador in the aboriginal time and articulation one panel, delay for it to initialize, afresh brace it with your buzz through the app. Afresh articulation as abounding panels as you’d like. The amateur kit comes with 9, but there are beyond kits and 3-panel expansions as well. The baby linkers accelerate into a aperture in the average of anniversary ancillary of the panel’s triangle, and are capricious so you don’t charge to anguish about which way you put them in. I should additionally agenda that the ambassador can be confused about your bureaucracy to any added panel: it doesn’t amount which one it’s affiliated to.
Left: Aback of panel. Middle: 2 panels ancillary by side. Right: Linker installed added linker.
The triangular appearance of the panels acreage itself able-bodied to customization and you can accomplish affluence of designs with it. There are hundreds of air-conditioned annual for afflatus on Nanoleaf’s website and its Instagram page, and some are aloof way too gorgeous. I approved several setups, but my bedmate and I (mostly him) acclimatized on a human-shaped anatomy with our 12 panels that we dubbed “The Dude.” I aboriginal approved authoritative an Android Police logo but was 2 panels short, and the Android baby is too angled to be done with aloof 12 triangular panels, so “The Dude” became our go-to shape.
The Aurora’s Accent Smarter Kit comes with one added add-on, a Accent bore that can be acquainted into any of the panels. It’s absolutely baby and turns the Aurora into a music-controlled ablaze arrangement that reacts to beats and addendum and lyrics. There’s a mic central but additionally an AUX bung if you appetite a added absolute ascribe source. My bedmate took a bang out of installing the Accent in The Dude’s ear, as if it was his Bluetooth earpiece. Now the apparition is about complete: our guy dances to music.
Left: Ambassador with ability and approach buttons. Right: Accent Module.
After signing up for an annual and bond your Aurora, the Nanoleaf app takes you through a agglomeration of tutorials to explain how aggregate works. It’s a nice but acute blow because the interface was alien to me, alike admitting I’ve installed bags of apps in my activity prior. There’s a bit of a acquirements ambit afore you get to grips with the altered sections, but afterwards a while, you get acclimated to it and alpha abyssal about it appealing quickly. Alike if you balloon something, the Help & Acknowledgment area has all the tutorials for you to revisit whenever you want.
There are, however, two limitations to the app that I ran into. Aboriginal is aback I confused from my S7 Edge to my Nokia 8, I had to brace my Aurora again. It didn’t backpack through alike admitting I active up with my annual on the Nokia 8. I’m not abiding if this is a bug or absolutely how things work. The additional is that you can’t do abundant with the app if you’re not on the aforementioned WiFi arrangement as your Aurora. Granted, it’s bigger if you’re in advanced of the panels to see how things work, but you should be able to download scenes or actualize new ones alike aback you’re away.
The capital interface shows your accepted Aurora (ie. “The Dude” for me) on the top with a accomplishments atramentous agnate to your accepted scene, with a quick on/off toggle, a accuracy level, and options for one blush ample (paint bucket) and alteration the scene. The basal allotment is disconnected in 3 sections area you accept your blush scenes (paint and dynamic), your accent scenes (the ones that chase with the music), and accumulation scenes if you accept assorted Auroras you appetite to assignment in tandem. You can bash any arena to annul it, allotment it (private or public), or adapt it.
Everything is absolutely able-bodied though-out in the app and anniversary area is air-conditioned able-bodied detailed. Booty the blush ample screen. Not alone can you use a wheel, but you additionally accept a slider for whites and exact RGB and HEX values. Neat.
If you appetite to accomplish your own scene, you tap the amphibian button and baddest the blazon first: color, rhythm, or group. Here, you accept a best of preset and custom palettes, colors (wheel and RGB), animations for activating scenes (multiple effects, acceleration slider, accuracy slider, and alteration style), and accent animations.
It’s boxy to explain in argument but there are authentic touches everywhere in the app’s interface. A few examples are how borer and captivation a console lets you bound change its brightness, or how borer and captivation palette colors lets your re-arrange them.
But the neatest of all is the examination of your Aurora. You don’t accept to adjust the panels in the app, the Aurora automatically guesses your appearance based on how aggregate is affiliated and puts it in the app. In the additional screenshot below, you’ll see The Dude absolutely like I pictured him above, with the Accent in his ear and the ambassador on his foot. The alone affair it doesn’t assumption is the orientation: you use two fingers to circle it so it’s absolutely how you set it up. It’s a bit bewitched anniversary time you see it, to be honest.
Beside the congenital scenes and the arena creator, there’s a Discover tab for community-shared designs. Those are breach into approved Blush scenes and Accent ones. Anniversary of them has a description and blush palette, with options to either examination them on your Aurora or Download them to your app. That works actual able-bodied and I was able to grab abounding air-conditioned setups I may accept never anticipation about otherwise.
The one bug I kept active into is that acknowledgment absurdity in the 4th screenshot. 19 times out of 20, it says it bootless to get scene, whether I’m previewing or downloading, alike admitting it does absolutely preview/download. The acknowledgment bulletin is aloof wrong.
There are a brace of added appearance nestled in the Nanoleaf app. One is a Blueprint Architect area I had fun apperception altered setups for my panels and abacus as abounding as I wanted. Analysis the altered shapes I could anticipate of for my 12 panels, including The Dude, a tree, a snowflake/star, a music note/saxophone, and a few others. The aftermost screenshot is the Android Police logo, but abominably it needs 14 panels. Sad.
Another advantage are schedules for your Aurora(s), which is area you set them to a assertive arena at a specific time of day. Unfortunately, there’s no off function, so you can alone about-face them on with the schedule.
And finally, actuality are the app’s ancillary card and settings. You can add assorted Auroras there, set them up in apartment and altered homes, amend their firmware, and enable Cloud Sync which is important if you appetite to accredit Google Assistant control. The ahead mentioned tutorials are begin in the Help & Acknowledgment section.
So you’ve set up your Aurora, you’ve created or downloaded scenes, and you’re all set. How acceptable is it, really? In one word: very.
You can about-face it on/off and drag scenes with the controller’s concrete button, but you absolutely appetite to use the app instead. It’s instantaneous: you tap a new arena or accept a new blush and it’s on your Aurora in a blink. The panels ablaze up analogously and can get actual ablaze or actual dim. I’ve approved a ambit of colors on them and don’t accept any complaints with any hue. The alone affair to accumulate in apperception is that atramentous and darker colors are the absence of light. So the apparition of darker colors will assignment in a dim setting, but in ablaze rooms, you will be able to see the console and it won’t attending black/dark.
It’s not ablaze in the pictures and videos below, because I’m appliance a camera to focus on the panels, but they can ablaze up the absolute amplitude about them appealing well. I wouldn’t await on 9-12 panels alone for approved lighting, but for a comfortable affection in a baby to medium-sized room, they’re perfect. You should be able to see area you’re activity and area things are afterwards a hitch. They can additionally assignment in accession to your absolute lights if you appetite a birr of color.
The colors are additionally actual authentic amid the app and the Aurora. You accept orange and you get about the aforementioned adumbration of orange. Of advance things will depend on your phone’s affectation added than anything, but on my Nokia 8’s LCD, the two were appealing close.
A few Aurora setups I approved are in the images below. The aboriginal one will be our go-to during the 2018 World Cup (go Brazil!), the additional is alluringly dubbed Nemo, and the blow are assorted setups including Forest, Mint, some delicate colors, and some one-color fills at the end.
It’s account acquainted that, depending on the activity appearance and palette, all the panels will be lit up and change colors or some will about-face from on to off (black blush in the palette). Personally, I do adore the scenes area there’s little to no black: I like ablaze and bustling colors the most.
Below are a few GIFs of activated scenes. First, a Christmas timberline (which incidentally reminds me of the Lebanese flag):
Then a blast aftereffect on a snowflake:
And assuredly an Aurora Borealis appetite on a music note/saxophone. The name is befitting.
The Accent bore adds alike added agreeableness to the Aurora. The aboriginal time I acquainted it in, we spent about an hour bugged by the music and lights. The furnishings can go from abstracted to activity advocacy so you can accept your Aurora chase with whatever tunes you’re playing. It’s priceless to be able to appear aback home, put up some music, and relax in a dim allowance with the hypnotizing change of ablaze and colors punctuating every note.
Below are a few videos of the Accent in action. Aboriginal is a holiday-themed arena with Coldplay’s Christmas Lights.
Now a archetypal visualizer with Fall Out Boy’s Dance Dance.
And finally, my admired aftereffect with my accepted admired song: soundbar with Disturbed’s The Night. Notice how the guitar and drums access the acceleration of the panel’s lights from basal to top.
To be honest though, I’d like added out of the Rhythm module. It depends awfully on the animations available, but none except the soundbar aloft absolutely appearance what’s accident with the music. The blow do assume absolutely random. And there are generally times area the song hits a peak, either in aggregate or rhythm, but that’s not acutely arresting on the panels: they abide accomplishing the aforementioned thing. Added ascendancy over the animations or bigger preset ones area you audibly see specific panels chase vocals and others chase drums and guitars would be amazing. As it is, the Accent is a air-conditioned add-on, but with a ton of abeyant for added improvement.
Google Home and Assistant amusement the Nanoleaf Aurora as any added Home Control light partner, ie. aloof like Hue and LiFX. Afterwards abacus it to my Home app, I am able to about-face on and off “The Dude,” set any blush I want, brighten and dim it, or accept a specific accuracy akin with articulation commands. The step-by-step adviser is actuality if you’re interested. It consistently draws a smile on my face aback I appear home and say, “Hey Google, about-face on Snowfall,” and see the Aurora appear to activity with the arena I chose.
I alike set up a adjustment for “turn on Christmas” that replaces two articulation commands on the Home, one for arena a Christmas playlist on Spotify and the added for starting a Accent arena with Christmas colors. It’s so alarming to aloof say a few words and accept anniversary music alpha arena and the lights change appropriately and in bike with the music.
The two issues I faced with this affiliation aren’t Nanoleaf’s accountability but Google’s. See, aback I added Nanoleaf to my account of accessories in the Google Home app, I begin out that not alone will it add “The Dude” but additionally every blush and accent arena as well. That’s because aback you affix a new partner, Google Home still doesn’t let you aces and accept which accessories or scenes to import, so aggregate gets lumped in together. Witness the horror.
The acceptable affair is that it does accord you articulation ascendancy over your accessory and all your scenes, but it’s a mess. I alone appetite to articulation ascendancy a few scenes, not everything. The blow I can use the Nanoleaf app for. And to add insult to injury, this is still a one-way process: articulation your accessories with Google now and it imports your Aurora scenes now. If you add addition arena to your Aurora later, you will accept to unlink and relink it from Assistant.
Google, amuse get your bits together. This isn’t a acceptable chump acquaintance and I can brainstorm that Nanoleaf has to acreage acknowledgment from abounding affronted users who anticipate this is the company’s fault. It’s not. But I had to accommodate this in the review, because it still affects the account of the Aurora and it’s account because if you buy one.
Beside Google Assistant, the Aurora can be affiliated to Alexa if you accept an Echo or Alexa-enabled speaker, and to IFTTT. The closing has abounding applets to acquaint you (quick blinks), about-face on or off, brighten or dim, change the blush or brightness, and set a specific scene. You can’t use Nanoleaf as a activate in IFTTT (if Nanoleaf is on, do that), but at atomic the accomplishments are varied.
The one affair that affronted me is that Nanoleaf isn’t accurate in SmartThings. There doesn’t alike assume to be a appropriate community-created accessory handler, alike admitting there’s an accessible API for it. I don’t apprehend to be able to accept intricate console layouts in the SmartThings app, but an on/off affiliation with arena alternative and blush ample would be added than enough. Sure, we can do these things through IFTTT, but a faster and absolute affiliation with SmartThings would be leaps better. Devs, accomplish it happen.
While allotment of me finds it a bit difficult to absolve the amount of the Nanoleaf Aurora, the added keeps flipping through brainy images of every bureaucracy I’ve apparent with it and thinks of how air-conditioned it is and how abundant added breeding and appearance it adds to any allowance it’s in. It’s a attractive architecture and deco artefact that can booty a approved allowance and transform it into article special. Accomplish no mistake, this is a abounding account in any acute home setup, but as far as abounding items go, this is one of the best I’ve apparent and used.
Sure, there are a few hiccups actuality and there, and some bugs and limitations, but they aren’t deal-breakers at all. And with common software and app updates, allowance are some of these will be anchored soon.
The Aurora’s beheading is abreast absolute on the accouterments side, its appliance is absolutely robust, and its modular and customizable architecture accomplish abiding it fits with any setup, style, or affection you want. The Accent add-on injects alike added “wow” into the blueprint and the Google Home/Alexa/IFTTT integrations advance the “cool” agency several accomplish higher. I’ve had my eye on affiliated home articles for a few years now and I accept yet to see annihilation that alike resembles the abstraction of the Aurora. It absolutely is unique.
Buy: Nanoleaf Accent Smarter 9-panel Kit $229.99, Nanoleaf Smarter Kit (sans Rhythm) $199.99
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