Nanoleaf unveiled its new Wood Look Hexagons elements in June, which move away from all previous light panels that Nanoleaf has designed. Nanoleaf elements have a textured, wood-like material that can be illuminated with cold or warm white light and, when extinguished, appear to be simple wooden panels, giving a more natural look than white plastic in previous versions.
Nanoleaf Elements panels are not real wood and are still made of a plastic, but there is a veneer similar to wood. When not lit, Nanoleaf elements look reasonable enough like remote wood and are certainly a different aesthetic than the simple plastic of other Nanoleaf light panels.
Whenever I do a Nanoleaf review, there are always comments about what the white plastic looks like when it is not activated, so people who find it sticky may prefer this more subtle wood look that blends better in the house when the lights they are not lit. It is softer, calmer and less attractive than the bright colors of other Nanoleaf options.
Because Nanoleaf elements have a wood finish, Nanoleaf limited them to shades of white light. Unlike other Nanoleaf products, they can only be set at temperatures between 1500K (warm yellow light) and 4000K (cold blue light). There is no option to choose colors, which makes them a much more subtle lighting option than standard Hexagons and other bright panels.
I like the color, so I’m a big fan of Nanoleaf’s standard light panels, which can be set to millions of colors, but I appreciate the soft lighting look of the Nanoleaf elements. Because there is a wood-patterned veneer over the lights, these panels do not become as bright as standard panels and are best for accent lighting. They provide enough light to replace a lamp that is on the weaker side, but you will not be able to use them for any task lighting.
Nanoleaf elements have a true hexagonal shape with an LED in each corner and each LED can be individually controlled in scenes and patterns, which is a deviation from other Nanoleaf light panels. Because each LED can be controlled, you can make one part of a panel brighter than another, which adds another dimension of interest to simple warm / cold lighting schemes.
I have trouble noticing this feature when I only create a standard static lighting scene, but it is more obvious when I try to make different effects, such as a fire light or a flickering candle-like light. Makes the lighting patterns of Nanoleaf elements very different from standard Nanoleaf panels.
In terms of design, Nanoleaf Elements Hexagons are identical to the Nanoleaf Hexagon and Triangle light panels launched last year, offering a simple connection and removable mounting plate, which makes it much easier to remove them from the wall. The hexagons come with the mounting plate already in place, so you just need to remove the adhesive backing and glue them to the wall in the desired pattern. If you don’t know what you want, the Nanoleaf application has a useful Layout Assistant for model generation.
Nanoleaf Elements connects to a home via a 2.4 GHz WiFi connection and uses HomeKit, so setting up is as simple as scanning a HomeKit code. All the panels work the same, but there is a power connector that you need to plug somewhere and a control module, which also has some touch-based control options.
Apart from the different veneers and white light color options, the Elements are otherwise identical to other Nanoleaf products. These are controlled via the Nanoleaf app (although they can be turned on / off via HomeKit and you can use them in HomeKit scenes) and there are features like touch responsiveness, rhythmic music syncing to get them activated while the music is playing and more A lot.
They are designed to use element-specific scenes, but Nanoleaf has a wide range of community-based scenes for its other panels, so there is a built-in function to convert any standard scene into an Elements scene that works well. It’s just white light, so sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between scenes, but the scenes created by Nanoleaf are unique.
I have been using Nanoleaf panels since the first Aurora triangles appeared years ago and they are still some of my favorite HomeKit compatible lights. There are occasional connectivity issues with most HomeKit products, but even my original panels still work like new years, and my Nanoleaf experience has always been seamless. The Nanoleaf elements are no exception and worked well in the weeks I tested them.
Nanoleaf recently added Thread border router support to its Elements panels, offering improved connectivity compared to Bluetooth and WiFi. Thread is a low-power mesh network for smart devices that communicates with other Thread-enabled devices and stimulates signals between them. Many modern smart home devices add Thread integration, so it’s great to see Nanoleaf adopting the technology.
Nanoleaf elements are quite different from previous Nanoleaf products and can attract a new audience – those who are looking for a more subtle ambient lighting solution that looks good on or off.
The design of the wood panels looks attractive even if the Nanoleaf elements are not activated, and the individual LED control offers unique functionality that you will not get with other Nanoleaf products. That being said, they will not appeal to those who love the vibrant colors of standard Nanoleaf products and consider the cost prohibitive at $ 300 for seven panels. In comparison, Hexagons cost $ 200, so Nanoleaf’s more refined and larger lighting panels will cost you more money.
How to buy
A set of seven Nanoleaf Elements panels can be purchased from the Nanoleaf website for $ 299.99. Three panel expansion packs can be purchased for $ 99.99.
Note: Nanoleaf provided MacRumors with a set of Nanoleaf items for this review. No other compensation was received.
Article link: Review: Nanoleaf’s wooden hexagons add attractive lighting to the accent in any room