Nanoleaf introduced its latest smart lighting product on Thursday with a slightly different departure from its existing products. The new Nanoleaf Lines are light bars that attach to each other at various angles, leaving wall space between the lights. A starter kit with 9 Lines will cost $199.99, while expansion packs that add 3 Lines are priced at $69.99. Pre-orders begin today.
I’ve been using the two Nanoleaf Lines packs for several days and I like the new shapes, mainly because you can create your lit smart art across a wider canvas. And Nanoleaf has kept useful features and functions from prior products in the Lines, such as scenes, music visualization, and Thread support.
Of course, the Lines work with just about every smart home platform as well including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings, not to mention with IFTTT.
The Lines lightbars, measuring 11 inches long and 0.78 inches wide, can display more than 16 million colors but they’re not limited to a single color per Line. Each is dual-zone, so if you want to show two different colors on one Line, you can. The two colors are split evenly across the length of the bar.
My setup experience was seamless, although I did use beta software for the process. I plugged in the included power cord and wireless module to an outlet and used the Nanoleaf app to find my new lights. They automatically connected to my home’s wireless network using the 2.4GHz WiFi radio without any issues. I was then able to add the Lines to a room in my home.
Although the Lines support Thread, they didn’t appear in my Eve Home app, which has a great interface to view a Thread network. I suspect a software update will address this. Note that because the Nanoleaf lines are plugged into an outlet, they can act as a Thread Border Router. This lets the Nanoleaf Lines be a bridge between other Thread devices and your Wi-Fi network to get smart home device data to and from the internet.
After getting the Lines on my network, I put my creative hat on and designed a few different shapes. To be honest, I’m not that creative. Even so, it was easy to “build” my designs. Nanoleaf includes a connector for each light: Think of these as spokes because each connector can attach up to 6 Lines; one every 60-degrees.
In the Nanoleaf application, you can create a wireframe of your design, which makes it easy to see the end result without snapping and unsnapping Lines to the connectors. Even better, you can use an Augmented Reality function called Layout Assistant to see your work of art on any flat surface of your home.
Since I’m design-challenged, I appreciated that Nanoleaf includes a paper insert with various design options to get you going. And those options tell you how many Lines you’ll need for each design. Each of the connectors has double-sided foam tape to attach the Lines to your wall. As I recently just had my walls painted, I did not mount them for this review.
The end of the power cord is a connector too, so you’ll want to use it at the end of your designed shape nearest an outlet. This connector also has buttons to control your Lines.
You can change brightness, switch between scenes, turn the Lines on or off, and enable music visualizations. I like that no additional microphone module is required for the music feature and that that there are 22 different music genres for the visualizations. Nanoleaf offers a screen mirroring feature for your PC or TV to synchronize the lights with video output; this requires an HDMI connection to your PC.
Here’s a short video of how that works when the music feature is enabled.
The Nanoleaf app makes it very easy to control your Lines, change scenes or colors. I spent more time than I planned just tinkering around with different colors and scenes because when you have more than 16 million color options, why not?
You can also change the included scenes or augment them by downloading others from the community. Plus you can schedule when your Lines go on or off or use automation triggers to light them up. In Apple’s Home app, all of the Nanoleaf scenes appeared as events that I could trigger as well, which is a nice integration. I used an Eve motion sensor to set up an automation to have the Lines light up to a relaxing scene when I enter my office, for example. And using voice control worked great in my usage.
Although I’ve had a great experience with the Nanoleaf Lines as well as the original Nanoleaf lights, I’ve never made the investment after reviewing them. I think the product is great, but spending $200 or more for lights that are more decorative than functional never appealed to our household.
And yet, my wife, who could take or leave our smart home devices, actually expressed interest in the Nanoleaf Lines. That surprised me since she’s seen prior Nanoleaf products and barely paid them any attention. After I demonstrated the features, she started walking around the house to see where she might put these. I think much of the appeal is the broader space where you can display your custom light designs.
If you have the budget and want a customized light experience, the Nanoleaf Lines are definitely worth the purchase, regardless of your smart home ecosystem. You’re getting a Thread Border Router, voice control, and a vast array of scene and color choices. Plus, they’re just plain fun!