AS I mentioned in my review for the Nanoleaf Essentials Bulb and Lightstrip, I’ve recently taken an interest in Smart Lighting. It initially started out as a fun and colourful way to liven up areas of the house, before selfishly becoming a way to make my home office/stream room look as visually pleasing as possible. I’d long seen the Nanoleaf Shapes line of light panels placed proudly on the walls of plenty of streamers I followed, but when I got recently got ahold of the Nanoleaf Shapes Triangle Starter Kit, it was finally my turn to mess about with the brilliant and bright smart lighting panels.
Although the term ‘Starter Kit’ is likely going to make you think that you aren’t getting a great deal, the reality of that belief largely hinges on which Starter Kit you actually get, as the Nanoleaf Shapes Triangles come in a pack of four, nine, and 15. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the nine pack, which I feel is almost too many to warrant the Starter Pack moniker, but I digress.
Alongside the nine light panels in the Starter Kit are mounting plates, adhesive mounting tape to secure the panels to a surface of your choice, linkers that connect each panel together, as well as a physical controller and the trusty power supply to bring the panels to life.
The light panels and the included controller attachment, which can be used to freely adjust brightness and colours at the press of a button, are both simple and sleek, sporting a very thin design that sees panels protrude very little from the walls you attach them to.
The process of attaching your panels to the wall is also insanely easy, as the adhesive mounting tape securely fits panels to walls, saving you from the hassle and permanence of needing to drill holes in your walls. This easy installation not only saves you from having to drill, but also makes the process of setting up your panels a quick and easy affair, so long as you’ve decided on a design. It also ensures that if you ever change your and want to set up your panels a little differently, that you’ll only need to get more adhesive tape.
If you find yourself deliberating as to which shape formation you want to commit to, and find yourself needing inspiration, Nanoleaf and the internet at large have various layout options for you to take a look at. Seeing as my gamertag is “grumpygoron” I decided to make a lowercase ‘G’ out of my panels, which I quickly adorned in my beloved colour pairing of purple and green, which also appears across the various RGB fans present in my PC.
Akin to the physical setup, the process of connecting the Nanoleaf Shapes Triangles to software like the Nanoleaf desktop and mobile app is also quick and easy. The Nanoleaf Shapes line of products connect via Wi-Fi (2.4GHz networks only) and once connected, provides the ability to efficiently customise the lighting with little to no delay.
The reason for the near seamless control is largely due to the Thread connectivity present on the Nanoleaf Shapes. Thread, for those unaware of the technology, is a low latency connection that is more efficient and responsive than traditional connection methods such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Thread sees the Nanoleaf Shapes Triangles play the role of the network, allowing for a noticeably more reliable experience. Another cool thing about the Nanoleaf Shapes being Thread enabled devices is the fact that they serve as a Thread Border Router, which means other Nanoleaf devices such as the Essentials products can benefit from the faster connection.
Having previously connected my Nanoleaf Essentials Lightbulb and Lightstrip via Bluetooth, the transition to connecting them via Thread was a welcome difference that made using them and tinkering with their colours far more enjoyable. Changes that took seconds to translate via Bluetooth happen almost instantly through a Thread connection. The power of Thread is awesome to see when messing about with colour schemes, and its ability to incorporate other Nanoleaf products whether you have them or not is a worthwhile feature to have.
As mentioned previously, you can use the physical controller to adjust the lighting present on the panels, but making use of the Nanoleaf app on your PC or your phone is the best way to go if you want to properly customise the lighting, with over 16 million colours to choose from.
Basic lighting options exist to allow you to cover your panels in a solid colour, while scenes allow you to create dynamic scenes that cycle through colours. Those who desire ready made scenes can simply download them to the Nanoleaf Shapes and display them within a matter of seconds. Rhythm scenes can also be found within the Discover section of the application, and see the panels light up in accordance to the music present in the surroundings.
Lights can also be controlled with Google Assistant or Siri through Apple HomeKit, with voice commands allowing you to do things such as turn lights and off, or change their colour and brightness. Panels can even be controlled through Touch Gestures, however those aren’t enabled by default and must be configured through the app.
In short, the Nanoleaf Shapes Triangles provide millions of colours and combinations to tinker with, alongside a multitude of different ways to interact with and manipulate them, whether it be through touch, voice, sound, or simply just the mobile or desktop app.
They also look absolutely gorgeous throughout, exhibiting vibrant colour that can get particularly bright depending on your settings.
While setting up the Nanoleaf Shapes to display a variety of colours is cool and all, perhaps the coolest feature present on the device is screen mirroring. As its name suggests, the feature allows the panels to mirror the colours present on your PC’s monitor, making for a more immersive experience, whether you’re simply watching a movie or perhaps playing games.
Keen to try the feature out for myself, I downloaded the Nanoleaf Desktop app and attempted to make use of the feature, but to my dismay, I just couldn’t get screen mirroring to work. I was however able to use the Thread connectivity present on the Shapes to enable screen mirroring on my Nanoleaf Lightstrip and Lightbulb, which was an awesome experience, despite the hassle required in order to get it working in the first place. Only after hours of trial and error was I finally able to get screen mirroring to work, and when I did almost all of my frustrations went away.
It truly is a thing of beauty, with four different modes to choose from, some more subtle than others. My favourite mode by far was the 4D mode (the least subtle), which sees the Nanoleaf Shapes panels shift between colours almost as quickly as they appear on your monitor. I found this mode especially awesome to have while gaming, but even found myself enjoying the constantly shifting light while watching youtube videos or simply browsing through other programs on my computer. Although restricted to the Nanoleaf Desktop application, the screen mirroring feature is truly special, and is a must have in any gaming room with a PC involved.
Other than having to troubleshoot my way through the cumbersome process of getting screen mirroring to work on my PC, I don’t really have anything else negative to say about the Nanoleaf Shapes Triangles Starter Kit. They are fairly pricey, with the 9 pack setting you back roughly $350 AUD, but what you’re getting is pretty decent, with nine panels making for a sizeable wall feature that can really enhance the aesthetic of a room, whether it be a common living space or a RGB ridden nerd den like my office.
If you’re in the market for smart lighting that is easy to set up, looks great, and is packed in with handy features such as Thread connectivity and Screen Mirroring to name a few, the Nanoleaf Shapes Triangles Starter Kit serves as an excellent option.
Written by: @GrumpyGoron