Review: Nanoleaf's 'Aurora Smarter Kit' Offers Awesome HomeKit-Enabled Mood Lighting for $200

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]


    Nanoleaf started out in 2013 as small company offering a Kickstarter project for an energy efficient light bulb, which led to the launch of the HomeKit-enabled Nanoleaf Smarter Kit, a set of three standard-style bulbs connected by a hub.

    Nanoleaf's first HomeKit accessory worked well but was rather ordinary, something that can't be said about its newest product, the Aurora Smarter Kit. Inspired by the aurora borealis phenomena, the Aurora is like no other HomeKit product -- or lighting product -- on the market.


    Priced at $199, the Aurora Smarter Kit is a set of modular mood lights that can be arranged in hundreds of ways. Each triangle-shaped light can be set to a different color using the Aurora app, and movement patterns are used to create a dynamic lighting setup that's essentially interactive art.

    Design and Setup

    The Aurora Smarter Kit includes nine plastic triangles with LEDs in each corner, a main connector that plugs into one of the triangles and into a standard wall socket, adhesive strips, and connectors to connect and power each triangle.

    [​IMG]

    While one triangle needs to be attached to the power source (which can power up to 30 triangles), the others triangles draw power through the main triangle using small plastic connector tabs that can be placed on any side of each individual triangle. That means the triangles can be arranged in an endless number of patterns, and triangles beyond the additional nine can be added to the design.


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    Article Link: Review: Nanoleaf's 'Aurora Smarter Kit' Offers Awesome HomeKit-Enabled Mood Lighting for $200
     
  2. Zorn macrumors 65816

    Zorn

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    #2
    I really want this, but my living room has brick walls in any of the places I would want to put it. Sucks that there's not really a solution for attaching this to brick.
     
  3. Return Zero macrumors 6502a

    Return Zero

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    #3
    I'd be all over this if it were a tad brighter/bigger so that it might be more feasible to replace area lighting. Looks pretty sweet. Guess I'll wait for v2.0!
     
  4. justperry macrumors G3

    justperry

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    I think the uneven light coming from this at this price point is just horrible.
    I have a $50 flatpanel without seeing the leds at all.

    Make a wooden template and place it behind the led panels, that would work I guess.
     
  5. az431 macrumors 65816

    az431

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    #5
    It sticks just fine to brick using the included adhesive strips. I tried it for about a week before returning it.

    What I didn't like is that it looks cheap during the day when powered off (large white hunk of plastic on the wall). Also the colors tend to change and wash out when the lights are dimmed (red turns light pink). At medium intensity the colors are very inconsistent across the panels. It really needs to be 100% brightness to look decent.

    This is the sort of thing that would work great in a bar, restaurant, or a college dorm, but looks cheap and out of place in a home.
     
  6. justperry macrumors G3

    justperry

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    A brick wall is not always straight or is uneven, that could be a problem I think.
     
  7. adamjackson macrumors 68000

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    #7
    If I was rich and had a kid, I'd get this for them.

    Not really seeing the appeal of this. Then again, every light in my house is Phillips Hue and I only have the white bulbs, not the ones that put out color. Turning a room red or blue has zero appeal.
     
  8. jclo Editor

    jclo

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    #8
    I agree -- it definitely does not look good when turned off. I leave mine on most of the time, even during the day (they're in my office, so I'm in here all day). I haven't noticed inconsistent colors at medium intensity at all, but I tend to keep mine pretty low during the day. I prefer the slightly more muted colors. At max brightness, it's almost too bright for a home depending on the color/movement pattern.
     
  9. whyamihere macrumors 6502

    whyamihere

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  10. Carlanga macrumors 604

    Carlanga

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  11. Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

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    From kickstarter to HomeKit release all without crying like a baby to the press. Looks like HomeKit products are possible after all.
     
  12. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    #12
    Is this something you can realistically leave on 24/7? If it's suppose to be used as art, that is how I would plan on using it.
     
  13. Carlanga macrumors 604

    Carlanga

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    #13
    In my book is just a decorative piece not a light so yes I don't see why not. You can tell it to do certain things/commands probably since it's using HomeKit.
     
  14. jclo Editor

    jclo

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    #14
    Yep. I've left it on all night, makes a decent night light. You can set schedules to change the colors at different times, or to have it turn off and on at certain times.
     
  15. trifid macrumors 68000

    trifid

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    #15
    Great detailed article, thanks for sharing. I'm a huge fan of Phillips Hue and really appreciate these types of innovative lighting solutions.
     
  16. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

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    #16
    Yes, This is expensive. But the fact it's endless in design pattern is unique, if you want to change the pattern. Also, it's HomeKit compatible which is convenient.

    But I wouldn't compare to this to Philips Hue, this seems much different to me in terms of what this intended for and how's it used.
     
  17. eastmanweb macrumors newbie

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    #17
    I am looking forward to the day when each panel is a thin, hi resolution, full-color, low power OLED (or better) display that can be customized with images from my photos library, and the photos can be set to alternate.
     
  18. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    #18
    cool, thanks. I have a pretty blank space on one of my walls and this would be perfect.
     
  19. Beligerent macrumors regular

    Beligerent

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    #19
    why is anything Homekit enabled priced so high. Home automation kits have been available for 20 years. The idea never took off because its $50.00 for a switch for a lamp
     
  20. koa macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I have quite a few Hue products so can appreciate what Nanoleaf is trying to do. Seems very limited, I think this would just get old fairly quickly. Right now Walmart has a 60" Samsung Smart TV for $600 that I could play YouTube videos from Nanoleaf or other movies with incredible lighting effects, photo slide shows etc., all with sound. Or just use as a TV. For less than the price of two kits you could get a 50" flatscreen TV.

    Also, this should also have been made to be three dimensional.
     
  21. duervo macrumors 68020

    duervo

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    #21
    A perfect addition to my Atlas Bomb Shelter. Now I can enjoy amazing mood lighting while zombies and mutants roam throughout the nuclear wasteland 20 feet above.
     
  22. newyorkone macrumors 6502

    newyorkone

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    #22
    This is amazing! Not long ago, something like this would have cost astronomically more, and would not have been readily available to non commercial installations...
     
  23. EximiusVir macrumors newbie

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    #23
    I'm expecting some Legend of Zelda fan to do something Triforce (http://illuminati.wikia.com/wiki/Legend_of_Zelda?file=Zelda.jpg) related with it. (A large triforce made up of multiple triangles, with the rest of the emblem painted on the wall.)

    It's a fun / artistic purchase, not so much for "functional lighting".

    For a functional lighting solution, I'd be curious for someone to come up with a calculation for cost per square foot to cover the entire surface of a single wall (useful for a game room, bar accent wall, etc)
     
  24. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #24
    Half of this review sound like it's a review of "3M" adhesive strips (Command brand adhesive strips, a 3M product). Since they brought it up: as-is, they should work as the reviewer notes, but if you are able to grab the "tab" (small non-adhesive rounded edge) of the strip and pull/stretch it as close as parallel to the wall as possible, they should remove cleanly without damaging paint--the problem with the panels being that this tab may be behind them and thus out of reach. If you plan on moving them frequently, I might recommend using Command Picture Hanging Strips, which are basically two Velcro-style strips, so you can detach the panel and then remove the strip from the wall more easily if desired. I've found, however, that if you leave the strips on the wall for more than a year or so, they become difficult to remove and may damage paint and whatnot. If you plan on them being more or less permanent, this isn't a huge problem, but if you're a renter, take note. I have no connection to 3M; Command Strips were just the only thing we could use on our walls in college, and I've been renting ever since so I've been pretty careful about what I do with my walls and, as such, have a lot of experience with them. :)

    As for this product, they look pretty cool, albeit somewhat expensive. I do like that you can change the color on individual panels. With something like Hue Lightstrip Plus, you're stuck with one color for the whole strip (no matter how many extensions you have). However, the strip is much cheaper and, while it does colors well, it's also bright enough (and able to produce excellent whites) to be able to be used as the primary light source for a room as well.
     
  25. tubular macrumors 6502

    tubular

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