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Nanoleaf in June unveiled its new Elements Wood Look Hexagons, which are a departure from all of the prior light panels that Nanoleaf has designed. The Nanoleaf Elements feature a textured wood-like material that can be lit up with cool or warm white light, and when off, they appear to be simple wood panels, offering a more natural look than the white plastic of prior versions.

nanoleaf-elements-night-time.jpg

The Nanoleaf Elements panels are not real wood and are still made from a plastic material, but there is a wood-like veneer. When not lit up, the Nanoleaf Elements look reasonably enough like wood from a distance, and it's definitely a different aesthetic than the plain plastic of other Nanoleaf light panels.

nanoleaf-wood-design.jpg

Whenever I do a Nanoleaf review there are always comments about what the white plastic looks like when not activated, so people who find that tacky may prefer this more subtle wood look that better blends into the home when the lights are not turned on. It's softer, calmer, and less obtrusive than the bright colors of other Nanoleaf options.

nanoleaf-wood-design-lights-off.jpg

Since the Nanoleaf Elements have a wood finish, Nanoleaf has limited them to shades of white light. Unlike other Nanoleaf products, these can only be set to temperatures between 1500K (warm yellow light) and 4000K (cool blue light). There is no option to choose colors, which makes these a much more subtle lighting option than the standard Hexagons and other light panels.

nanoleaf-wall-white-light.jpg

I like color so I'm a big fan of Nanoleaf's standard light panels that can be set to millions of colors, but I do appreciate the soft lighting look of the Nanoleaf Elements. Since there's a wood pattern veneer over the lights, these panels do not get as bright as the standard panels and they're best for accent lighting. They provide enough light to replace a lamp that's on the dimmer side, but you're not going to be able to use them for any kind of task lighting.

nanoleaf-yellow-light-wall.jpg

The Nanoleaf Elements have a true hexagon shape with an LED in each corner, and each LED can be individually controlled in scenes and designs, which is a departure from other Nanoleaf light panels. Because each LED can be controlled, you can make one part of a panel brighter than another, which adds another dimension of interest to the plain warm/cool lighting schemes.

nanoleaf-lighting-pattern.jpg

I have trouble noticing this feature when just creating a standard static lighting scene, but it's more obvious when trying to make different effects like a fire-style light or a flickering candle-like light. It makes the lighting patterns of the Nanoleaf Elements distinctly different than standard Nanoleaf panels.

nanoleaf-app-scene-creator.jpg

Design wise, the Nanoleaf Elements Hexagons are identical to the Nanoleaf Hexagon and Triangle light panels released last year, offering the simple snap-in linking and the removable mounting plate that makes it much easier to get them off of the wall. The Hexagons come with the mounting plate already in place, so you just have to remove the adhesive backing and stick them to the wall in your desired pattern. If you don't know what you want, the Nanoleaf app has a useful Layout Assistant for generating designs.

nanoleaf-panel-design.jpg

Nanoleaf Elements connect to a home through a 2.4GHz WiFi connection and use HomeKit, so setup is as simple as scanning a HomeKit code. All of the panels are the same in functionality, but there's power connector that you need to plug in somewhere and a control module, which also has some touch based control options.

nanoleaf-connector.jpg

Aside from the different veneer and the white light only color options, the Elements are otherwise identical to other Nanoleaf products. They're controlled through the Nanoleaf app (though can also be turned on/off through HomeKit and you can use them in HomeKit scenes), and there are features like touch responsiveness, rhythm music syncing to make them activate while music is playing, and more.

nanoleaf-app-main-interface.jpg

They're designed to use Elements-specific scenes, but Nanoleaf has a wide selection of community-sourced scenes for its other panels, so there is a built-in feature for converting any standard scene into an Elements scene, which works okay. It's all white light, so sometimes it's hard to tell a difference between scenes, but the Nanoleaf-created scenes are unique.

nanoleaf-convert-pattern.jpg

I've been using Nanoleaf panels since the first Aurora triangles came out years ago, and they're still some of my favorite HomeKit-enabled lights. There are occasional connectivity issues with most HomeKit products, but even my original panels are still functioning like new years later and my Nanoleaf experience has always been largely hassle free. The Nanoleaf Elements are no exception and have worked well during the weeks that I have tested them.

nanoleaf-white-light.jpg

Nanoleaf recently added Thread border router support to its Elements panels, offering improved connectivity compared to Bluetooth and WiFi. Thread is a low power mesh network for smart devices, communicating with other Thread-enabled devices and boosting signals between them. Many modern smart home devices are adding Thread integration, so it's great to see Nanoleaf adopting the technology as well.

nanoleaf-warm-light.jpg

Bottom Line

The Nanoleaf Elements are quite different from Nanoleaf's prior products and may appeal to a new audience - those who are looking for a more subtle ambient lighting solution that looks good on or off.

The wood paneling design looks attractive even if the Nanoleaf Elements are not activated, and the individual LED control offers unique functionality you won't get with other Nanoleaf products. That said, these are not going to appeal to those who love the vibrant colors of the standard Nanoleaf products, and I do feel that the cost is prohibitive at $300 for seven panels. Comparatively, the Hexagons are $200, so Nanoleaf's more refined, and grown-up lighting panels are going to cost you more money.

How to Buy

A set of seven Nanoleaf Elements panels can be purchased from the Nanoleaf website for $299.99. Three panel expansion packs can be bought for $99.99.

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

Article Link: Review: Nanoleaf's Wood-Style Hexagons Add Attractive Accent Lighting to Any Room
 
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FrizzleFryBen

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2009
450
177
Charlotte, NC
Their products are expensive but really cool and decently made. Very easy to install and setup. I bought previous gen for my son’s game room. He loves their stuff.
If you do buy, I highly suggest buying from a dealer and NOT direct. My last order was 3 weeks ago and I still have not received and their customer service is horrible. Many unanswered emails from their posted email for support. They finally responded via Twitter DM after many days of attempts and gave me a different email to then try. They finally responded that it was a warehouse issue but it still took 3 days to ship and they did not expedite or offer discount on future purchase. They also wanted to refund me rather than ship the product. It was all very strange and frustrating. Previously I had purchased on Amazon with no issues. But, just my experience :)
 

martesch

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2020
40
42
I just bought it yesterday and get it delivered today, I love them, but 7 are not enough because the wall is to big so I ordered 6 more. I'm just waiting for the thread-border router option, so i don't need to buy a apple HomePod mini or Apple TV for my eve thread network, i just killed two birds with one stone
 

4jasontv

Suspended
Jul 31, 2011
6,272
7,548
I don't mind the Nanoleaf updates, as I consider them a premium Apple Accessory due to their consistent attempts to be compatible.

That said, I was confused about the wood in the last post. My big gripes about this product are, well, it's so niche it's going to have a hard time making many people happy. For example:

1. They need more wood types and colors. The pictures make it look like edge banding. Even if they look natural in person, people like to mix woods.
2. The light bleed is a turnoff for me. I would rather they act more like a salt lamp, even if that means there is soime inconsistent glow across the panel.
3. That cord. Look, without the RGB this is just an accent lamp. There is no reason that they couldn't place the cord somewhere where it can be run through the wall. I'd like to see the center Nanoleaf have the cord go into the wall, such that you can use all sides of the primary panel.
 
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Eorlas

macrumors 65816
Feb 10, 2010
1,245
1,905
anywho, for the less irrationally angry people around here:

we picked up some of the nanoleaf shapes for the computer room. they have a really nice ambience, and can even be set to varying normal light temperatures with a brightness slider to get lighting exactly the way you want. and there's loads of light "scenes" to choose from both by nanoleaf and the community with a preview button to check it out, and one tap to download. switching between them is pretty flawless as well, and homekit integration is always a great plus.

we're debating between another set of shapes or these wood elements for the bedroom. one thing i would have suggested for the pictures above is not to get so close on them, especially when lit. would be helpful to see it from further away / bigger view of the space they're in.

these arent cheap when considering that they're color lights, but they're fun and add a cool touch to the room. best buy had a good deal on a set and additionals.

if youre trying to do this stuff on a budget, it's kind of like philips hue. they're not the cheapest option for what they do, but they do what they do very well. costco members can have other brand options for smart bulbs that are / are not rgb and can be set to different brightness etc. for example.

just have to pick what you want and will be happy with, and ignore all this other senseless angry drivel being drooled around here for...no real apparent reason.
 
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Damtoft

macrumors member
Mar 12, 2010
96
143
Oh man that wood and fireplace placed into the wall looks so good. I want that!
 

name99

macrumors 68020
Jun 21, 2004
2,166
1,969
The cord hanging down kills it for me.
Raceway! Cheap, easy to install, fixes most of these sorts of situations.

I'm going to comment on something else, namely: Is Nanoleaf going to expand into other IoT like Smart Buttons and Smart Plugs? They seem to have a good reputation, and to be willing to do the work to track specs (eg Thread+Matter). Which means those of us willing to pay for quality would probably buy more types of items if more were available.

(Eve somewhat fills a similar role -- except that the Eve Thread-enables plug is not available from Amazon, and they still haven't created a Thread-enabled button.)
 

name99

macrumors 68020
Jun 21, 2004
2,166
1,969
Honest question - why does this even exist? I’ve never understood the appeal. It’s certainly not for me but I feel that I’m missing out on some bigger reason people buy into this stuff.

How old are you? And do you own your own house?
Younger people (younger 40 or 50) frequently don't care much about decoration and subtle appearance. And that's fine IF they are saving their money for the future (admittedly a big if...). I spent my 20s sleeping on a bare mattress on the floor of a tiny studio apartment.

But at some point in your life (and it's probably better if it happens when you're older and more financially settled) you start to realize that, with a little planning, you can make your home not just look vastly nicer but actually function much better. At which point you start to consider perhaps buying some art, moving on from bare light bulbs, matching the color of your bathroom soft furnishings. You start to see the difference between chrome, brushed nickel, and oiled bronze, and to have opinions about which is better.
At this point you might find lights like this a nice addition to your home. Or maybe not -- depends on your aesthetic.

For example, supposed you have a stairwell with walls somewhat scuffed by years of traffic. Nanoleaf lights (in either these wood versions, or the other more primary color version) could be placed in that stairwell in such a way that they cover the worst dents and scuffmarks, while providing a mild light glow for an area that doesn't need strong light but is frequently rather dark.
 

Joniz

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2017
673
1,620
How old are you? And do you own your own house?
Younger people (younger 40 or 50) frequently don't care much about decoration and subtle appearance. And that's fine IF they are saving their money for the future (admittedly a big if...). I spent my 20s sleeping on a bare mattress on the floor of a tiny studio apartment.

I must’ve screwed up, because I had two kids and owned a home in my 20s, and we had nice things on the wall that cost next to nothing because we were a long, long way from well-off. Heck, we were pretty darn poor by today’s standards.

As someone else pointed out, these are the modern-day lava lamps and already look dated today.

Just because it’s expensive doesn’t make it tasteful.
 

Mogwai/

macrumors newbie
Mar 18, 2021
3
3
UK
For example, supposed you have a stairwell with walls somewhat scuffed by years of traffic. Nanoleaf lights (in either these wood versions, or the other more primary color version) could be placed in that stairwell in such a way that they cover the worst dents and scuffmarks, while providing a mild light glow for an area that doesn't need strong light but is frequently rather dark.
Scuffed stairway and this is the solution? I love tech and Home design as much as the next person but that is a stretch to justify the existence.

Just a no from me, expensive and tacky.

Paint over the scuffs and move on.
 

Eorlas

macrumors 65816
Feb 10, 2010
1,245
1,905
I must’ve screwed up, because I had two kids and owned a home in my 20s

nah, you just owned a home before the banks witnessed how stupidly they were behaving up until 2008 and changed their tune on mortgage eligibility.

you got a mortgage pre-current inflation.

college was also significantly cheaper even for state schools so 2 kids wasn't going to run up as insane a bill as they can now...

area i live in has houses that wont dip below 400k average. but let's forget the cost of the property, the taxes for the area are what even the wealthiest complain about, that gets put into escrow every month by the mortgage holder which adds to the cost, and failing to provide a 20% down payment (what 20 year olds have $80k hanging around these days....) will place mortgage insurance added to the monthly payment.

let's not try to drag that discussion into a thread about lights.

"we were pretty darn poor by today's standards"

*everyone* is poor by today's standards.
 

Joniz

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2017
673
1,620
let's not try to drag that discussion into a thread about lights.

Then folks shouldn’t be saying you should be financially secure before you start living like an adult.

Taste is not something you have to pay for.


*everyone* is poor by today's standards.

And this line made me laugh. Thanks.
 
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TravelsInBlue

macrumors regular
Feb 7, 2020
180
555
How old are you? And do you own your own house?
Younger people (younger 40 or 50) frequently don't care much about decoration and subtle appearance. And that's fine IF they are saving their money for the future (admittedly a big if...). I spent my 20s sleeping on a bare mattress on the floor of a tiny studio apartment.

But at some point in your life (and it's probably better if it happens when you're older and more financially settled) you start to realize that, with a little planning, you can make your home not just look vastly nicer but actually function much better. At which point you start to consider perhaps buying some art, moving on from bare light bulbs, matching the color of your bathroom soft furnishings. You start to see the difference between chrome, brushed nickel, and oiled bronze, and to have opinions about which is better.
At this point you might find lights like this a nice addition to your home. Or maybe not -- depends on your aesthetic.

For example, supposed you have a stairwell with walls somewhat scuffed by years of traffic. Nanoleaf lights (in either these wood versions, or the other more primary color version) could be placed in that stairwell in such a way that they cover the worst dents and scuffmarks, while providing a mild light glow for an area that doesn't need strong light but is frequently rather dark.
I get what you’re saying. I’m very much bought into the Phillips Hue ecosystem and those lights add a nice aesthetic, and are discreet enough to function as normal lights 90% of the time. I only use the color aesthetic when I’m hosting others in the evenings.


I own my own home, decorate and coordinate.


That being said, something about the nanoleafs just scream tacky. Its the kind of lighting for people that didn’t grow out of RGB keyboards and twitch.
 
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groovebuster

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2002
1,249
101
3rd rock from the sun...
For what they are, they are way too expensive. Imagine what you can buy for US$300 instead. The nano leafs are just a bit of plastic and a few LEDs. Material is worth maybe $10. Its definitely not for me...
 
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