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Nanoleaf Light Panels Rhythm Edition Smarter Kit Review

By Christopher Coke on March 31, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Nanoleaf Light Panels Rhythm Edition Smarter Kit Review

So you’ve built your computer: it looks good, runs better, and you’re happy. Now you can begin looking at the rest of your setup. That’s where Nanoleaf comes in. Today, we’re looking at the Nanoleaf Light Panels Rhythm Edition Smarter Kit. They’re modern, RGB customizable and can enhance the look of any game den. At $199, they don’t come cheap but are they the right fit for you? Join us as we find out.

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Specifications

  • Current Pricing: $199.99 (reg. $229.99 - Nanoleaf Store)
  • Color Temperature: 1200K - 6500K
  • Max Power Supply Power: 60w
  • Max Panels / PSU: 30 panels
  • Voltage: 100 v - 240 v
  • Dimmability: Dimmable via app or voice control
  • Control Framework: Apple Homekit, Android, Amazon Echo
  • Color Rendering Index (CRI): 80
  • Color Channel Configuration: RGBW
  • Communication Protocol: WiFi (2.4 GHz b/g/n)
  • Lifetime: 25,000 hours
  • Max Colors: 16.7 million
  • Weight / Panel: 210 grams
  • Height of Panel: 21 cm
  • Length of Panel: 24 cm

The Nanoleaf Light Panels have been on the market for a while now and if you’ve been in Best Buy lately, you’ve probably seen a pair for yourself. If you’ve never seen them before, these triangular panels snap together into custom configurations and light up with vibrant, bright RGB lighting that’s nothing if not eye-catching. The Smarter Kit we’re looking at today can integrate with your Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, or Android ecosystem, which brings mobile and voice commands to the mix and seamless integration with other smart devices you might own. The particular model we received also includes the Rhythm module which allows the lights to react to sound and beat and pulse with your music.

Inside the box, you’ll find 9 triangular light panels, 9 connection strips, 27 3M adhesive strips, the control module, rhythm module, and the power supply. Figuring out a pattern is the hardest part of the entire setup. Thankfully, the Nanoleaf app has an applet that allows you to try out different configurations. I decided to buy an additional expansion kit to bring my total to twelve and came up with this:

After figuring out your arrangement, you’ll need to plot out the space on the wall. I used a level and tape measure to make sure it was centered, then it’s really as simply as sticking the adhesive on and putting it together piece by piece. It’s not hard, though is a bit tedious peeling all of those pieces on your own. I do wish there was a way to make the cable more conspicuous though, without having to drill into the wall and run the wires behind. The dangling wire is a bit of an eyesore on an otherwise very cool look.

One of the reasons the Nanoleaf panels look so good is that the lighting manages to be smooth across the whole surface, no hotspotting where you can see the individual LEDs. They’re house in small units in each triangle’s corner to make sure the lighting is evenly diffused across the whole surface.

After your pattern is set, you slot the control module and can begin connecting it to your phone. The set comes with a good amount of preset patterns to cycle through, but you’ll definitely want to be operating it from the app in the beginning. Inside, you’ll easily be able to control brightness, set a basic color temperature when using it as a normal daylight or soft white light, and even download from thousands of community made presets. The picture below is from the Canvas but works exactly the same for the Light Panel kit, excepting the Interactive tab as these are not touch sensitive.

The community aspect to the Nanoleaf panels really is one of the coolest parts. Inside the app, you can see which schemes are the most popular by download and find others that have been intricately created to match a certain theme, such as the World Cup. I love this kind of shared creativity because it makes me feel like I’m taking part in something larger than just a few lights in my office.

Without question, these things are very cool, but they’re also very expensive. They have a “modern decor” premium attached to them with nine panels costing nearly $200 on sale. For that price, I would really like to see Nanoleaf bump the base package up to a solid twelve just to increase the pattern options. I spent a good day trying to settle on something I was happy with and in the end just couldn’t without adding another few panels. Likewise, if you’d like to wrap these around a corner, you’ll need to spend another $10 to pick up a pair of flexible linkers.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, I really do like the Nanoleaf Light Panels Rhythm Edition Smarter Kit. They’re much bigger than the Canvas panels and make a beautiful display on the wall by my desk. They also look better in real life than they do in pictures, with colors that are vibrant and bright. At $199, they feel a bit too expensive, but as with all modern RGB lighting, there’s a premium to enter the ecosystem. If you can afford it, these are a great way to spice up any room.

Pros

  • Bright, vibrant colors
  • Easy, if time consuming, to set up
  • Tons of customization
  • Polished app with community sharing features

Cons

  • Feels expensive for only 9 panels

The base kit described in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purchases.

Christopher Coke / Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight