Review: Nanoleaf's Infinitely Entertaining Smart Light Show

Sometimes an accessory shows up at iPhone Life that doesn't meet any particular need; but once you see it, you have to have it. Technically, you don't need the Nanoleaf Light Panels - Rhythm Edition (starting at $229.99), but they are so cool that you will want to play with them all day. And you could, since the programmable light panels can be arranged in dozens of patterns and then each panel can be illuminated in assorted colors and animated. Plus, if you add the Rhythm sensor, the panels can respond to music and light up accordingly.

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The individual triangular panels connect to each other through slim "Flex Linkers" and can mount to the wall using 3M Command Strips (included) or an optional Screw Mount Kit (in particular for ceiling use.) They also have a very cool remote control that is basically a baseball-sized 12-sided die. It lights up and based on the side turned up, displays a specific pattern and you can rotate it to control brightness. You use the free companion app to design your own patterns or borrow from others. And since you can create so many combinations, the app can use AR (Augmented Reality) to map your design! It's a clever use of AR.

The Light Panels support IFTTT as well as Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant for voice control. They are also expandable so you can start with 9, 15, or 30 panels per controller.

Pros

  • Infinitely customizable
  • Share designs and patterns
  • Supports HomeKit, Alexa, IFTTT and Google Assistant
  • Expandable
  • Rhythm adds music sensitivity

Cons

  • Expensive

Final Verdict

The Nanoleaf Light Panels aren't cheap, but when you consider how much a nice piece of framed artwork would cost, they are a lot more affordable and make a much better conversation piece!

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.