August 17, 2022



Nanoleaf Shapes evaluate: a decade within the making

9 min read

Nanoleaf Shapes

MSRP $159.00

“Stylish, polished, and feature-rich. Just a few efficiency hiccups do little to damage the shine on the Nanoleaf Shapes gentle tiles.”


  • A great deal of animations to seek out
  • Vastly improved PC sync
  • Clean app experience
  • Straightforward arrange


  • Thread border routing nonetheless lackluster

Nanoleaf is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a restricted model black mannequin of its triangular Shapes LED mild tiles. I’ve been having enjoyable with their sq. Canvas merchandise for a while now, and have since tacked on quite a few Necessities. Reasonably rather a lot has modified throughout the Nanoleaf ecosystem since then. Let’s take an in depth check out how the pre-eminent mannequin in wall tile lighting has developed.


Arrange of Nanoleaf Shapes was a large enhance from my ultimate run with its Canvas tiles. Mounting plates permit you to take away the tiles from the wall so that you’ll have the ability to deal with the adhesive pull-tab individually. The Shapes mounting plates are moreover a little bit of recessed, so the sticky pads maintain flush with the {{hardware}}. The Canvas tiles had ugly tabs protruding the side, and there have been widespread evaluations that the included adhesives didn’t ultimate. I’m feeling further assured in regards to the wider, better adhesives that the Shapes tiles ship with. Beside my Shapes array, the earlier pock-marks left behind by a lot much less kind adhesives hammered home my appreciation for the current customary.

The instruction booklet was laid out favor it bought right here out of an Ikea discipline, primarily using illustrations. The app has a Structure Assistant to help work out your design, along with a shuffle mode that takes the number of tiles you’ve and locations them proper right into a working configuration. The iOS mannequin has an augmented actuality viewer that initiatives the construction at scale onto your wall so that you’ll have the ability to work out measurements and match. Although a significantly superior attribute like that has various potential to go awry, I found it pretty appropriate. Too unhealthy it was nowhere to be seen on Android. For anyone who has already organize mild tiles before now, it’s simple to breeze through the tactic, nevertheless the app really desires a wizard for arrange. As an example, Govee will endure all of the issues step-by-step: First, measure your own home, now put your linkers in, now put the adhesive sticker on, now press and preserve the tile on the wall, and so forth. With out some hand-holding, it’s simple to consider a novice forgetting to position a linker in sooner than making use of a tile on the wall.

Simon Sage / Digital Developments

As soon as the lights are on the wall and the power is plugged in, the app will get involved with pairing. NFC pairing allows you to merely faucet your phone to the panel to kick points off. After that, there’s a little bit of communication to feed the lights your Wi-Fi password. I’ve found NFC pairing inconsistent before now, nevertheless glad to have it working simply with the Shapes panels. In any other case having to dig spherical for pairing codes is just a little little bit of a hassle.

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Since I’m earlier and boring, a single diagonal line is about as thrilling as my design sensibilities get, nevertheless the alternatives are literally astounding. A number of connection components provide help to assemble and delay your Nanoleaf assortment extraordinarily merely with a wide range of Nanoleaf Shapes extension kits. That acknowledged, the connector kind on the Shapes was completely completely different than my Canvas tiles. This new Join+ format was a little bit of less complicated for arrange, nevertheless it’s a strike in opposition to the massive selling degree of the platform’s modularity. Potential shoppers may wish to marvel if will in all probability be worth investing throughout the ecosystem if the connectors usually tend to change in quite a few years. Should you do end up getting industrious collectively along with your extensions, you’ll have to pay attention to the power present, as a result of the packaged one can solely take care of so many lights.


Screenshots from the Nanoleaf app.
Simon Sage / Digital Developments

Nanoleaf Shapes tick the whole packing containers you’ll anticipate from a recent smart mild. You may set them to a bewildering differ of colors. You may set schedules in order that they flip on and off at positive events of the day. You need to use voice directions by means of Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa to handle them. A microphone throughout the administration module lets the lights react to music in precise time. Third occasions like IFTTT, SmartThings, and Razer have plug-ins that give rather more utilities. Nanoleaf gives a rich assortment of user-generated mild recipes to peruse and the devices to arrange dinner up a number of of your particular person. These differ in varieties from secure colors to music syncing to set animation cycles. This catalog is markedly richer than what you see with Philips Hue, though Govee’s DIY half is about on par.

In phrases of lighting prime quality, Nanoleaf Shapes ship even colors with sufficient brightness. Saturation is versatile ample to cowl muted tones and wacky neons equally properly. Nanoleaf Shapes earn notably extreme marks for simple transitions between colors. My experience with Govee lights produced barely further jagged outcomes, and Philips Hue lights don’t even current animations out of the sphere. The provision of sunshine is de facto clear throughout the Nanoleaf Shapes on the tip of each triangle degree. These LEDs have been greater hidden of their Canvas tiles. Govee’s Hexa Glide gentle panels had been in a position to diffuse the sunshine higher as effectively.

Nanoleaf Shapes tiles mounted on wall, shining a pattern of red colors.
Simon Sage / Digital Developments

One of many greater issues I used to be wanting ahead to with the Shapes tiles was lastly having a Thread border router in the home. Thread guarantees to be the inspiration for the following technology of good residence networks, with elevated responsiveness throughout the board. Matter might be a wider normal constructed on prime of it which ought to enable for interoperability with a spread of manufacturers. And not using a border router just like the one included in Shapes to behave as their hub, my Nanoleaf Necessities bulbs and lightweight strips have been a little bit of a nuisance to work with. They’ve mainly simply been Bluetooth lights that should be commanded individually from every thing else. Not lengthy after putting in the Shapes, the Necessities had been all robotically tossed onto the brand new Thread community. This meant the Necessities might lastly be included with Google House administration, and PC sync. Sadly, Google House instructions nonetheless aren’t making their approach to these Necessities although they’re acknowledged as current. That’s a step in the appropriate course and all, however the Thread implementation continues to be not all the way in which there but. Hopefully, future software program patches will shut the hole.

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My outdated Canvas tiles are all operating alongside the ceiling, so the contact options hadn’t bought lots of use. With my new Shapes structure reaching down proper subsequent to my desk, I used to be in a position to spend a bit extra time with the contact choices. Swiping within the 4 cardinal instructions may be mapped to fundamental controls. This implies you may swipe left and proper on a tile to undergo your saved music scenes, or up and right down to undergo the conventional coloration scenes. That’s useful, if just a little redundant when the management module has {hardware} buttons that accomplish a lot of the identical. It doesn’t assist that there’s a constant bug that prompts these contact instructions even whenever you’re not touching the tiles. The Interactive part of the sunshine recipes goals to leverage the contact sensitivity of the tiles with formidable premises like Whack a Mole, PacMan, and Simon video games. They haven’t confirmed tremendous intuitive to make use of, however even the truth that regular gentle recipes have a level of responsiveness to the touch stays a singular providing within the grand scheme of wall gentle tiles. The black body on this explicit mannequin is a definite break from the remainder of the Nanoleaf lineup and lends itself to mixing in with different darker furnishings. It’s simple to think about setting them up in correctly darkish areas to allow them to blip to life seemingly out of nowhere. The one draw back right here is that with the darkish coloration mixed with the contact interactions and the matte end, fingerprints can develop into fairly seen.

Nanoleaf Shapes light tiles mirroring a video on a screen.
Simon Sage / Digital Developments

PC sync is one among my main use instances for good lights. Nothing is kind of like watching a nature documentary and having your complete front room awash in greens whereas exploring a rainforest. Gaming is further immersive when explosions fill the room with a flash of crimson and orange. I’ve been in a position to take pleasure in this type of stuff going all the way in which again to a TV backlight system known as Lightpack, and prolonged it additional with my Philips Hue bulbs. My early makes an attempt at doing the identical with Nanoleaf Canvas tiles had lengthy been a powerful failure. The PC app had a great deal of hassle pairing with my lights, so I merely made do with the opposite lights I already had arrange. It was nice to present this characteristic one other go as a result of Nanoleaf has squashed a great deal of bugs. Although the Thread community did not get my Necessities onto Google House, the PC app was in a position so as to add them to the syncing combine.

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The Nanoleaf desktop app offers all the instruments that you must take what’s occurring in your PC and venture it onto Nanoleaf lights. You may place your entire lights relative to the show throughout the app in order that they react appropriately. For instance, a light-weight to the appropriate of the TV blooms with yellows and reds whereas a film is displaying a dawn on that facet of the display screen. It’s particularly good having the ability to rotate this structure because you’ll doubtless wish to flip the mirroring if the Nanoleaf lights are behind you. 4 completely different mirroring modes present lots of versatility. 4D is successfully a 1:1 copy of what’s occurring in your display screen. This makes for fast gentle modifications and is usually a little overstimulating if there’s lots of motion happening. Chameleon is the softest of the mirroring profiles and my favourite of the batch. It casually samples the colour palette of the display screen and flitters it throughout the tiles at a leisurely tempo. This helps add ambiance with out distracting you from the principle occasion. Once more, it’s nice to see the Nanoleaf PC app working correctly.

Our take

The fruits of 10 years of labor actually reveals within the newest technology of Nanoleaf’s flagship gentle tiles. Clean transitions, a great deal of animation choices, all the proper third-party plug-ins, and a clean app with little muddle all quantity to an ideal general expertise. Small hiccups right here and there aren’t dealbreakers, and the continuous assist of merchandise buys me lots of persistence with Nanoleaf.

How lengthy will they final?

LEDs have a protracted life, and the Nanoleaf Shapes tiles have a stable body. It’s extra doubtless that the app will cease assist earlier than the lights die out. Nanoleaf gives a two-year guarantee on faulty elements ought to yours cack out early. You will get a way of the longevity of Nanoleaf merchandise with our follow-up have a look at the Strains lights.

Is there a greater possibility?

There are many different gentle tiles on the market, however Nanoleaf could be very a lot the unique. Govee is available in a detailed second, nevertheless it has solely simply added PC sync, and its lighting transitions aren’t as clean. The one saving grace is that Govee is cheaper. Seven tiles within the Nanoleaf starter package go for $160, whereas Govee offers 10 Glide Triangles for roughly the identical worth.

Must you purchase them?

Nanoleaf Shapes are enjoyable, colourful, and add a load of ambiance to your private home. They’re costly decorations, however ones that afford years’ price of novelty. Choose them up if you wish to add an attention-grabbing accent to your private home.

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