Nanoleaf lighting products have been around for nearly a decade. However, its newest creation, Nanoleaf Lines, is perhaps its most daring and unique yet. Instead of panels like the company's previous products, including its most recent, the Nanoleaf Elements, Nanoleaf Lines are modular backlit light bars that connect at 60-degree angles. Once the light bars are powered, you can create light effects to match your mood, create an atmosphere, interact with your music, and more.
There's much to love about Nanoleaf Lines starting with the easy installation, feature sets, integrations, and more. I've been using Nanoleaf Lines in my home for about a month, and here's a look at what I like (and don't like) about this new smart lighting product.
Nanoleaf Lines: Price and availability
You can currently pre-order a Nanoleaf Lines starter kit with nine LED Lines and mounting connectors and caps. Each package comes with a power supply, processor and power connection, mounting plates and tape, and a required controller. There's also a quick start guide that offers enough information to help get your Nanoleaf Lines installed. You need to use the free Nanoleaf app for mobile, PC, or Mac for more advanced setup instructions and tricks. A 3-line expansion pack is also available. In early 2022, the company will also offer skins that make it possible to change the physical color of the Lines.
Nanoleaf Lines will soon be available at various retailers like Best Buy and Amazon. However, for now, pre-ordering is only possible through the Nanoleaf website.
Nanoleaf Lines: What you'll like
With the Nanoleaf Lines, there are now seven different Nanoleaf light sets in my home, and that doesn't include the many Nanoleaf Elements light bulbs and other HomeKit lights scattered throughout. The Nanoleaf Lines set is the easiest to install to date. Where some of the earlier Nanoleaf sets tended to require a lot of force to stick to the wall, these do not. Better still, the connector mechanisms are about as user-friendly as one can get. You'll spend more time trying to decide how to position your Nanoleaf Lines than you will on the installation itself.
Ideally, it would help if you had a friend or family member around to help you place the Nanoleaf Lines on the wall. Having four hands instead of two goes a long way in ensuring the installation is centered and level and the connectors are correctly attached. Each line is just 11 inches long with a height of 0.31 inches. The relatively tiny size of each unit is another reason installation is relatively pain-free.
You'll spend more time trying to decide how to position your Nanoleaf Lines than you will on the installation itself.
After setting up your Lines, the real fun begins. Using the Nanoleaf app, you can select from a growing list of built-in light scenes or create your own. Each scene offers unlimited RGBW animations with two vibrant color zones per line. The names of the scenes are as beautiful as their names which include Raspberry Lemonade, Tuscany Sunset, Jalapeno Heat, and many more.
I'm also impressed with two familiar Nanoleaf features: Screen Mirror and the Rhythm Music Visualizer. The former, exclusive to the Nanoleaf Windows and Mac apps, allows the colors on the Nanoleaf Lines to automatically match what's happening on your computer screen. Ideally suited for gaming situations, the feature provides an immersive experience like no other. The latter makes it possible for the Nanoleaf Lines to react to the music playing on your mobile device or computer.
Finally, let's discuss compatibility. Nanoleaf products have always supported Apple HomeKit. Over time, they have also gained support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Razer Chroma, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings. Nanoleaf Lines also offers Thread integration by acting as a border router for other Thread-enabled devices. The Apple HomePod mini and Apple TV 4K can also serve as border routers in a home.
We're going to hear a lot about Thread in the coming months and years as companies begin adopting the hub-free wireless mesh networking protocol into new products. Knowing Nanoleaf supports this has the potential of being a big deal, at least eventually.
Nanoleaf Lines: What you won't like
My biggest criticism about the Nanoleaf Lines has absolutely nothing to do with the product itself, as from a design standpoint, it's probably the company's best product to date. Rather, I feel Nanoleaf needs to do something about the official mobile app. The app is packed almost too full of features in its current state because it serves as a centralized app for every Nanoleaf product in your home. It's also where you can control other lights on your home network, when applicable, and can find further resources about all things Nanoleaf.
The company is no longer a one- or two-trick pony as it now has a basket-full of great smart lighting products, each more unique than the last. By their very nature, Nanoleaf masterpieces are cutting-edge, quirky, and fresh. However, as Nanoleaf's customer ranks go beyond first-adopters and heavy techies, it should spend some time making the mobile app easier to use. This means stripping away the app's sales sections and rethinking how users select and create light scenes. Right now, the navigation is often confusing, and the steps to perform tasks are too long.
Beyond this, we must also discuss the price. Nanoleaf products have never been inexpensive, and the same goes for the Nanoleaf Lines. Ideally, you should see the product up close in person before making a purchase. Unfortunately, that's probably not possible for most folks, and it's nearly impossible to remove Nanoleaf installations. Therefore, before shelling out big bucks for the starter pack, at least visit the Nanoleaf website to see sample installations.
Nanoleaf Lines: Competition
There's no product in the same category as Nanoleaf Lines. The Philips Hue Play Light Bar comes closest, however they're designed to provide light from behind objects in your home, so the comparison doesn't really work.
This brings us to other Nanoleaf products. Though nothing in Nanoleaf's arsenal looks like Nanoleaf Lines, they do provide similar lighting features. Perhaps instead of Nanoleaf Lines, you might be more interested in what Nanoleaf Canvas or Nanoleaf Shapes provide, for example. It all comes down to what light design best matches your tastes.
Nanoleaf Lines: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You like the look
- Price isn't a factor
- You're already impressed with Nanoleaf
You shouldn't buy this if...
- Price is a concern
- You don't have time to learn to design
You're either going to love the look of the Nanoleaf Lines, or you will not. It's as simple as that.
Nanoleaf Lines is the company's boldest light product yet and comes very recommended. Each Line is simple to attach and place on a wall. The learning curve presents itself via the official Nanoleaf app. It's confusing at times and will feel like overkill for some users. And yet, if you take the time to learn how to use the app, you will be fine.
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