One of my favourite things about home automation is the ability to control my lights. I am already heavily invested in the Philips Hue ecosystem, with Hue bulbs populating my living room, bedroom and study. Controlling these using the Amazon Echo has been a huge convenience and delight. I often wondered if there was room in the market for another lighting system. I happened to stumble upon the Nanoleaf lights on Amazon and a few YouTube videos, and was immediately intrigued. At a first glance, they are very attractive, and one cannot but help to be drawn to them. So, what exactly are these lights?
The Nanoleaf Aurora lights consist of individual triangular panels. They can be mounted to your wall using the (included) 3M double-sided sticky tabs, and connect to each other through interlocking chips. The panels are made entirely from plastic and fairly light in weight, yet have a solid and premium feel.
Inside the starter pack you will find the following:
-9 Aurora panels
-9 panel connectors
-Power adapters (UK and US)
I purchased the Aurora from Amazon, and this shipped in Amazon’s ‘frustration-free packaging’. This is simply a way for Amazon to package items in a minimalistic amount of packaging. It is probably better for the environment to reduce excess waste, and was easier to unbox, but admittedly I was curious to see how this differs from the original packaging. But I digress. Everything was included and that is ultimately what matters.
Setting-up the lights was incredibly easy. I had seen a few YouTube videos prior to this, so had some idea on what to expect. You really just need to follow the following simple instructions and are good to go. Before doing any of this thought, it is a very good idea to decide where exactly you want to mount the panels. There are 9 paper templates included so you can put these on your wall to see how they look before you mount the actual panels.
-Attach the included 3M sticky tabs to the back of the panels.
-Use a level gauge (I used my iPhone for this) to position the first panel straight on the wall.
-Once the first panel is straight, insert a connecting chip to it.
-From this point, you can rest assured that all other panels will be aligned, as they fit neatly together.
-Simply inset a connecting pin where you want the next panel to be position, and follow through.
The final step involves inserting the connector unit into any of the panels. I have mine positioned in the lowest one, which is closest to a power supply. Overall, the final result was very neat, with no wires (apart from the main connector unit) and a seamless design. From this point on, you can use the control unit to turn the lights on and off, and toggle between the various light modes. The light emitted is incredibly bright, and far too much at 100%. I have mine set to around 40%, which is far bright enough.
The magic however really is by connecting the Aurora lights to home kit! I have downloaded the Nanoleaf app, which allows control over the brightness, individual panel colour, automation, voice control, etc. Just like my Philips hue bulbs, I can control the Aurora lights in a number of ways, and it is particularly useful to do so away from home. There is no compatibility yet with the Amazon Echo, but this is coming in early 2017. There is actually a countdown time on the Nanoleaf website, which claims that it should be here just in time for the New Year.
Overall, I think that the Aurora lights are incredible. I have got them set-up in both my living room and home study, and am very impressed with eh ambiance they have added. Guests have also been equally in awe. However, they are costly at a rrp of £180 for the starter pack with 9 panels and a controller unit. Additional panels can also be purchased if you wish to extend your set-up later. I would definitely recommend the Aurora lights, despite the cost. Easy installation, flawless compatibility with home kit and great ambiance.
PS: I will be uploading a video of the Nanoleaf Aurora lights, so stay tuned for that!