Nanoleaf Canvas 60-second review: A smart lighting masterpiece

Nanoleaf smart lighting is not just for gamers, the panels help add a splash of technicolour to your home.

Nanoleaf Canvas review

by Natalie Corner |

Looking to inject colour into your home but in a totally futuristic way that doesn’t involve one drop of paint? Enter Nanoleaf smart lighting.

The innovative brand has lit up the smart tech industry with its clever customisable panel lights that scrap the traditional on/off switch for something a lot cooler, a piece of art.

Nanoleaf’s core smart lighting products include Elements, Shapes, Canvas and the new Lines and they are not just aimed at gamers. The original Light Panels have already been upgraded but for those customers who have them, the company has insisted they will remain functional and supported by the Nanoleaf app.

The modular light panels connect via Staggered Linker Strips in an endless number of designs that allows the user to customise their own RGB art installation. For a little insight into the varying colour patterns that you can choose from, Nanoleaf recently released three limited edition designs that allow you to recreate your favourite Sonic character from the Sonic 2 movie – Sonic, Tails or Knuckles.

What’s The Best Deputy Commercial Content Editor, Natalie Corner, put the Canvas light panels to the test to add a splash of colour to her white walls. The starter pack comes with nine square panels that can be connected on all four sides to create whatever pattern you so wish. So, whether that’s a clean line, a frame for your TV or pixel art for your gaming station the possibilities are literally limitless... Well, that is until you run out of panels. See what Natalie thought of Nanoleaf Canvas below.

Score: 4/5

Nanoleaf Canvas Starter Kit (Pack of 9)

Nanoleaf Canvas pr
Amazon

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Nine LED integrated, colour-changing, touch-sensitive square panels that are modular and easy to use. Install on any flat surface using the included mounting system.
Includes: 9 light panels, control square, universal power supply unit (120 VAC- 240 VAC), Linkers, Self adhesive mounting tapes
Sold separately: Flex Linkers, 4-Panel Expansion Pack, Screw Mount Kit

Also available: Nanoleaf | John Lewis

Specifications: Canvas starter pack £179.99

• 8 x Light Squares, 1 x Control Square (works as a Light Square)

• Size of each panel: H15 cm W15 cm D 1 cm

• Cable length 2.5m (UK/EU plug)

• 9 x Rigid Linkers for Nanoleaf Canvas (flex linkers sold separately)

• 42 x Double sided mounting tape for Nanoleaf Canvas

• Features: Touch control, music sync, screen mirror

• Compatibility: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, physical controller, Nanoleaf Remote, Razer Synapse, SmartThings, Homey

Pros: Rich colour, smart tech compatibility, fits anywhere, adhesive mount option

Cons: Cable on display, difficult to navigate the supporting app, expensive

What’s good?

When I first moved into my new home, I was looking at getting a standard floor lamp but I honestly just couldn’t decide on a style. When I had the opportunity to test out the Nanoleaf Canvas lighting I was surprised at just how the piece of clever tech solved my décor problems.

The starter pack comprises nine square light panels that can be connected on all four sides in several different patterns. Of course, the more panels you have (of which you can add up to 500) the more patterns you can create, as long as each panel connects to another on one side via the Linkers you are good to go. It took me a while to figure out where I wanted to place the Canvas panels, and in which arrangement because even though they are fixed by adhesive mounts, I knew if I changed my mind I’d probably end up pulling off the paint of my newly white walls.

I had to test out the pattern on the floor first before fixing the light panels to the wall because I needed to make sure that the Linkers were in the correct slots, after that it was a case of replicating that pattern but fixing each panel to the wall and remembering which way round I had them. I plugged in and switched on, chose my RGB light design (pastel pinks if you’re wondering) and watched the colourful, soothing display switch around.

Related: Tile review: What is it, how does it work

What’s okay?

I wrongly assumed that this piece of smart tech was wireless. Slimline touch screen panels that light up on your wall were a little bit too good to be true, and I quickly realised the Nanoleaf Canvas had to be near a power source to plug it in. The cable is 2.5m long so I was a little restricted when choosing the final position because I didn’t want the cable to be an eyesore on display.

That also meant that the Control Square must be nearest to the power outlet as this is where the plug slots into, so I had to factor that in when laying out my design.

Once the Canvas was fixed on the wall, I could activate it from the Control panel choosing my colour scheme from the Rhythm Scenes, Shuffle Scenes or Next Colour Scene. The light panel also reacts to the music surroundings once it’s paired, so any sounds can create a rhythmic light show or, as I opted for, a simple Colour Scene that slowly shifts around. The panels also react to touch, so by lightly tapping any they will change to another colour.

Close up of Nanoleaf Canvas cord
Close up of Nanoleaf control panel

Any negatives?

If you change your mind about the Canvas pattern you’ve fixed to your wall, you will have the very tricky task of peeling the adhesive tape without damaging your walls. As with any no-nail adhesives, there is a huge risk that the moment you try and pull the sticker it doesn’t come off as easily as promised. Your design is pretty much final unless you’re handy at a spot of DIY cover-ups.

The starter pack itself is pretty self-explanatory and the installation is not difficult at all, but the Linkers feel very flimsy and fragile and although you get a couple of spares they made me very nervous, as one wrong move when slotting them on the wall and you could potentially snap them. However, Nanoleaf has released Flex Linkers which means you can attach your light panels around the corners of your wall, these are sold separately but will certainly add dimension to your design, and reduce the chance of breakage.

Related: The best smart lightbulbs

What is Nanoleaf?

This innovative company formed in 2012 and soon released Nanoleaf One, the world’s most energy-efficient, and steam punkesque-looking, lightbulb.

Fast forward five years and a brace of additional, equally impressive lightbulbs, and Nanoleaf launched Light Panels in 2016; a cross between an art installation and functional illumination with the ethos of ‘LEGO as lighting’. Not only are they design geniuses, they also quickly carved themselves a niche in the world of YouTube, gaming and funky interiors thanks to some incredible products.

After opening these products to the global market in 2017, they’ve strengthened this LEGO approach, adding innovative features, quirky new designs and enhancing desirability across the board. Also, since the company’s About Us page teases ‘This is just the beginning…’, there’s plenty to get excited about.

Natalie Corner is the Deputy Commercial Content Editor for Bauer Media, working across brands such as What’s The Best, Yours, Mother&Baby, Heat and Closer, specialising in lifestyle and fitness content.

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