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Popular home lighting company Nanoleaf today introduced its latest product, Smart Multicolor Outdoor String Lights that bring HomeKit-compatible decorative lighting to decks, porches, backyards, gardens, pool areas, and more.

nanoleaf-outdoor-lights-1.jpg

Nanoleaf is known for unique light designs, and the Outdoor String Lights aren't an exception. The bulbs have an angular five-sided shape that makes them more geometric than soft. They're made from a hard, clear plastic material and they look like they're made from crystal or ice. If you want cozy, romantic-style lighting, Nanoleaf's lights might not be the right vibe because of the shape, but if you want lights that are fun and eye-catching, these are perfect.

There are multicolor LEDs in each bulb, so you can control the lights individually and set them to any color, including shades of white. If you unscrew one of the bulbs, there's actually a second protective plastic dome inside that further diffuses the light. The bulb shape might not have a cozy feel, but the lights can be soft yellows and whites, or any other shade of the rainbow, plus there are dimming controls. The colors are accurate and it does well with blues, purples, and greens, shades that can sometimes be off with LED lighting.

The Outdoor String Lights are meant for ambient lighting, and even at 100 percent brightness, they're on the dimmer side depending on the colors used. Nanoleaf says they're 55 lumens per bulb, so a 15-meter strand is 1100 lumens total. These are available in 15-meter (49ft) and 30-meter lengths (98ft), with the 15-meter version offering 20 bulbs and the 30-meter version offering 40 bulbs.

nanoleaf-outdoor-lights-2.jpg

Strands can be connected together, but the maximum length is 45 meters or 147 feet, equivalent to one 30-meter strand and one 15-meter expansion. For anything longer, you'll need separate sets with multiple power supplies. The lights have thick black cabling for weather protection, so these are probably not string lights you're going to want to use indoors unless you have a room where an industrial look works.

There's 6.5 feet of cord between the power supply and the controller and then another foot or so between the controller and the first light. The bulbs are spaced about two feet apart, and they hang down four inches, so they look best when draped down across beams or using outdoor light poles.

The lights have IP65 water resistance and the controller is IP67 rated, so they can be used outdoors in the rain and elements without protection all year. Nanoleaf offers a two-year warranty on the lights.

nanoleaf-outdoor-lights-3.jpg

In terms of aesthetics, the Nanoleaf Outdoor Lights are great, but connectivity needs improvement. These connect to HomeKit through Matter, and Matter devices continue to face issues on Apple's platform. I think it's more of an Apple issue than a Nanoleaf issue because I see these same Matter problems regardless of device, but it's a problem any potential buyer needs to be aware of.

The Outdoor String Lights have randomly disconnected or become unreachable for no particular reason a handful of times. Sometimes unplugging them fixes it, and sometimes they just start working again after being unreachable. As a caveat, I don't know if the Matter/HomeKit interoperability issue I have is exacerbated by my Wi-Fi network or other factors. I have an Orbi mesh Wi-Fi 6E network, and while my standard HomeKit products seem to generally be reliable (especially those with hubs), Matter is not. The Outdoor String Lights are mostly functional and the disconnects aren't constant, but it is worth noting that the lights may not always work seamlessly for HomeKit users.

I would have preferred native HomeKit support to Matter for the lights, but these are Matter only. There is no Thread support, and as with other Nanoleaf products, you can only use a 2.4GHz network.

On a more positive note, Nanoleaf has one of the better smart home apps. There are built-in scenes available in the app for the Outdoor String Lights, but I can also create my own or use scenes created by other Nanoleaf users. Nanoleaf also has an AI feature where you can type in any phrase like "tropical sunset" or "ocean waves" to get a custom scene in colors that match what you're aiming for.

nanoleaf-outdoor-lights-4.jpg

The AI works with a fairly wide range of suggestions, and I get a good range of colors. The only downside is that it appears to have a single color-shifting pattern, but Nanoleaf does support other patterns when you create your own scenes or download them. As these are able to connect to HomeKit via Matter, you can use Siri commands and turn them on and off with the Home app.

The Home app also supports automations for turning the Outdoor Lights on and off at select times or pairing them with other HomeKit devices.

Bottom Line

The Nanoleaf Outdoor String Lights are some of the neatest outdoor lights that I've seen, and the multicolored LEDs pair well with the geometric shape. These are expensive and are not cost efficient if you have a large area to cover in lights, but one or two strands will elevate any outdoor setup.

I have not seen flawless operation from the Outdoor String Lights, and have had to deal with some disconnects, so that's something to be aware of. I am hopeful that Apple and Nanoleaf updates in the future will fix any of the lingering issues that Matter-enabled devices are still experiencing.

How to Buy

Nanoleaf's Outdoor String Lights can be purchased from the Nanoleaf website. A 15-meter strand is priced at $100, and a 30-meter strand is priced at $180. Additional 15-meter expansion packs are available for $70.

Note: Nanoleaf provided MacRumors with a set of Outdoor String Lights for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Article Link: Review: Nanoleaf Debuts New Matter-Connected Outdoor String Lights
 

macduke

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,197
19,812
I'm surprised these don't use Thread, as I thought that was a primary technology used in conjunction with Matter? The few Matter devices I've used such as my Eve power switches and Aqua are way faster than many of my older HomeKit devices and also stay consistently connected. But Eve is also a great company.

I wonder if these issues are because NanoLeaf cheaped out by not using Thread? Seems a bit ridiculous for a company that already over charges for their lighting accessories. For that reason alone I will be passing on these, and I am actually in the market for these as I'm in the planning stages for a sweet patio and fire pit area under my high mounted deck that I'm going to build this autumn and want a cool, integrated, outdoor lighting solution for parties and events. Up above on my deck several years ago I installed some simple LED string lights and then connected them to a Meross outdoor HomeKit compatible dimmer that works really well. It's more of a classic look. Want something a bit more fun.
 

Rychiar

macrumors 68030
May 16, 2006
2,577
5,672
Waterbury, CT
much more interested in the permanent outdoor house lighting they announced at CES . those were supposed to be out spring weren't they?
 

braket

macrumors newbie
Feb 9, 2021
24
29
much more interested in the permanent outdoor house lighting they announced at CES . those were supposed to be out spring weren't they?
And I’m more interested in the Sense+ light switches they announced last year at CES that still aren’t out yet.
 

dragoon2745

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2017
153
573
Minneapolis, MN
I'm surprised these don't use Thread, as I thought that was a primary technology used in conjunction with Matter? The few Matter devices I've used such as my Eve power switches and Aqua are way faster than many of my older HomeKit devices and also stay consistently connected. But Eve is also a great company.

I wonder if these issues are because NanoLeaf cheaped out by not using Thread? Seems a bit ridiculous for a company that already over charges for their lighting accessories. For that reason alone I will be passing on these, and I am actually in the market for these as I'm in the planning stages for a sweet patio and fire pit area under my high mounted deck that I'm going to build this autumn and want a cool, integrated, outdoor lighting solution for parties and events. Up above on my deck several years ago I installed some simple LED string lights and then connected them to a Meross outdoor HomeKit compatible dimmer that works really well. It's more of a classic look. Want something a bit more fun.
If I had to guess on why they didn't include Thread support, it would be due to range. If the lights act as a node only, doesn't it have to be within range of another node or border router? Maybe they were worried with outdoor lights, it's less likely the lights could connect to an existing Thread network in the home.
 
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javanate

macrumors regular
May 13, 2005
158
563
I bought 4 nanoleaf bulbs and a year later none of them work correctly. Some were already sent back under warranty. I thought it was a premium product but i think its just premium marketing
 

Whats-a-computer?

macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2024
9
22
If I had to guess on why they didn't include Thread support, it would be due to range. If the lights act as a node only, doesn't it have to be within range of another node or border router? Maybe they were worried with outdoor lights, it's less likely the lights could connect to an existing Thread network in the home.
Thats the great thing about thread. You can just expand your Network with powered devices like a light bulb or a power outlet like eve Energy.
No Thread support is a deal breaker for me.
 
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MedRed

macrumors 6502
Jun 9, 2007
331
1,092
I'm still waiting on hue to make a nice set of outdoor string lights that hopefully can do a decent brightness.
 

wanha

macrumors 68000
Oct 30, 2020
1,526
4,469
I'd be curious to know why Matter products have been rolling out soooooo slllllooooowwwllyyyy?

There just aren't that many options out on the market and those that exist, are often rather over-priced. What gives?
 

Lazlow

macrumors regular
Sep 6, 2007
106
104
I bought Nanoleaf's Matter light strip 6 months ago, and it was a complete mess with HomeKit. Ended up returning it and getting the non-Matter version, which works like a charm. Sad to hear it's still an issue 6 months later.
 

Eggtastic

macrumors 65816
Jun 9, 2009
1,032
686
NJ
I have several LIFX bulbs and would like to stay in that ecosystem but seems other companies have caught up / surpassed the offerings (e.g. govee).
 
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MozMan68

macrumors demi-god
Jun 29, 2010
6,074
5,162
South Cackalacky
As a HUGE supporter of Apple, I had to be part of the Google ecosystem because of the Nest products in my house. I bought 150 ft. of standard string lights (the lights look identical to these except for the basic soft while bulbs) and use a smart wifi double out door outlet that controls them. I could use the app that comes with the outdoor power unit (enbrighten outdoor plug-n 2-outlet WIFI), but Google Home controls it for me and automatically turns the lights on an hour before sunset no matter what time of year it is and then I have them go off at 11:30 pm. I also have them automatically go on in the morning for an hour or so just so I can see when taking the dogs out.
 
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