Nanoleaf’s latest light panels may not have the most captivating name, Shapes (more like hexagons), but the name means a major step for the company – a step towards unification. The shapes are the first in the line to incorporate a new connector that allows interoperability between today’s Hexagons and tomorrow’s circles or rectangles, finally putting the commitment to a single style.
In recent weeks I have been testing the newest shapes in my house and I liked to see not only the magical light scenes, but also the refinements they offer compared to the previous panels. While Hexagons are not exactly my favorite shape, they are my favorite features and are the ones I recommend to anyone who wants to start with the lights of the future.
Forms of the future
Bottom line: With an improved installation method that makes it easier than ever to lift them to the wall and access to millions of colors and scenes, Nanoleaf shapes are a fantastic way to bring life to any space.
- Easy installation
- Attributable tactile actions
- Integrated music viewer
- Supports up to 16 million colors
- Works with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant
- Permanent wall mounting hardware is not included
- The light does not completely cover the shape of the Hexagon
Six wonderful sides
Nanoleaf Forms: features
The latest hexagon shapes feature a mostly white plastic construction that stretches 9 inches wide and just over 7.5 inches high. The lights have a small rear window in each corner, which gives the shapes a slightly round look when lit and look darker when turned off. Each light panel is capable of displaying up to 16 million different colors and shades of white, with color temperatures between 1,200K and 6500K. The panels have a maximum brightness of 100 lumens that consume only two watts of power each and are equal for up to 25,000 hours of use.
At the back of each panel is a new removable snap-on mount, which is where the included double-sided tape is attached for wall mounting. The new design allows the panel to be removed from the bracket for minor adjustments or sliding into an extension connector and does so without removing the tape. The panels can be permanently mounted on the wall, if desired, but Nanoleaf does not include the necessary hardware in the box.
As with previous Nanoleaf light panels, Hexagon Shapes is connected to other panels via a small piece of connector, although this time it is made of a rigid plastic that attaches. Although the new connector is only used for Hexagons at the moment, Nanoleaf claims that it allows interoperability with future forms, making the latest panels the first truly modular lighting system in the line. The new connector is also how the included power supply and controller attach to the light panels, which work with all available slots on the lights. Up to 500 hexagons can be added to the controller, although the standard power supply can only power 21 hexagons, and each part of the hexagons has a compatible slot.
The control unit follows the flat edges of the Hexagons, giving it a more perfect look compared to the Nanoleaf Aurora triangles. The controller has a total of six buttons: one for switching and starting, two dedicated to brightness adjustments and three for going on stage. Shapes panels also include touch capabilities, with each light having the ability to recognize swipes, taps and long presses.
Smart applications and voice controls are enabled via 2.4gHz Wi-Fi, which doesn’t require a separate dedicated hub. The panels work with the Nanoleaf Smarter Series app, which provides access to downloadable scenes on both iOS and Android and allows connections to various platforms such as HomeKit, Alexa, Google Assistant and Razer Synapse, just to name a few. Hexagons also work with Nanoleaf’s hardware, which offers a total of 12 controls and can adjust brightness levels by rotating.
Tap the HomeKit buttons
Nanoleaf Forms: What I like
Compared to Aurora and Canvas Nanoleaf, installing Hexagons was a much faster and easier experience. I really like the way the Hexagons come with the wall mount already attached and the way the linkers give a satisfying click when I put them in place. The best part of the revamped design, however, is how the panel can be separated from the stand without the need to remove the tape, which makes it easy to add additional panels.
Turning to the lights themselves, the colors of the Hexagons are bright and vibrant, filling a dark room with almost every combination or shade you can think of. The Nanoleaf application offers an amazing amount of customization and scenes, each bringing the life of the panels through fades, impulses and, of course, solid colors. I especially like the scenes that have a “breathing” effect, which seems so pleasant in the background in all the rooms in my house.
The Nanoleaf app offers an amazing amount of customization and scenes, each of which transforms the panels into fades, pulses and, of course, solid colors.
Another favorite feature of mine is that Hexagons can be controlled directly on the device, in more ways than one. The physical controller, although small, is a universal way for everyone to check everything the Hexagons have to offer, which is great for kids. The panels themselves also react to touch and gestures, so you can swipe up and down to adjust the brightness or you can quickly tap for a ripple-like effect with certain scenes.
Speaking of touch, Hexagon panels, like the Canvas line, can be used as buttons for launching scenes through the Nanoleaf app and Apple’s HomeKit. Now, when I say panels, I mean that each individual panel can be assigned unique touch actions. So, in my case, I immediately received 10 buttons to use in the Home application. Each panel also supports several tap actions: single tap, double tap and long tap, which allows a crazy amount of possibilities.
There is not enough edge
Nanoleaf Forms: What I do not like
Despite the fact that the Hexagons are very close to full edge lighting, there is still a small piece of plastic on each corner, which gives the lights a rounded look when lit. The look isn’t bad in any way, but I’d definitely prefer straighter edges, as the rounded corners look a little less clean compared to the company’s Aurora triangles.
Rounded corners are also more evident in the fact that the Hexagons have uneven lighting on each panel. Depending on the colors displayed, the Hexagons suffer from light spots that are darker or lighter in each corner, and the unevenness actually creates a whirlwind. With three different shapes under the belt, I expected Nanoleaf to refine its designs so far to eliminate the need for a bezel and definitely reduce uneven stains, but it looks like we’re not quite there yet.
W-Fi connectivity, although fast and responsive in most cases, was not perfect enough, as I experienced a single “No Answer” game in both the Apple Home and Nanoleaf applications during my testing. This problem happened apparently at random, appearing after days of working well and without changes in the house. The only solution in this case was to disconnect the panels for a few seconds, then connect them back, nothing important, but it was a little inconvenient.
Fill in the list of complaints is the lack of permanent mounting hardware in the box. Sure, the two-sided mounting tape can lift the panels up and down the wall quickly and without tools, but as we all know, these types of strips can and will fail at some point. When the tape hits, expect to see damage to the wall and possibly the panel itself, which is certainly not something you want to see with a product that comes at a relatively premium price.
Forms of the future
Nanoleaf Forms: Bottom line
While Nanoleaf’s Hexagons may look like another shape in a growing line of smart lighting, they offer the absolute best lighting experience the company has to offer today, while laying the groundwork for tomorrow’s projects. . Improvements to the way the panels are mounted make installation much faster and easier, plus the extra brightness compared to previous Canvas panels allows them to truly fill a room with spectacular color.
Along with Nanoleaf staples, such as the massive assortment of scenes available, the integration of rhythm and the ability to use each panel as a HomeKit button, the Hexagons offer the best combination of features in today’s line. If you are just entering the world of smart, colorful lighting that you can shape, then the Hexagon Nanoleaf Shapes are a great place to start and, with an interoperable design, they will definitely lead to even more amazing creations in the future.
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