Review: Nanoleaf Canvas Smarter Kit: The Nanoleaf Canvas is a modular lighting system that you can adjust to your liking. In this review, we take a look at the Nanoleaf Canvas Smarter Kit with nine panels and built-in Rhythm module.
The Nanoleaf Canvas is a modular lighting system with square panels. You place the panels as you want. You choose your own pattern and use it to create your own artwork on the wall. Is it a fun gimmick? Or does the Nanoleaf Canvas really add value in the world of smart lighting?
What is the Nanoleaf Canvas Smarter Kit?
You may already know Nanoleaf from the Aurora. The Nanoleaf Aurora consists of smart LED panels (triangles) that you can hang up according to your own wishes and then change color and intensity. The panels are mutually linked and you can control them via the app. You can choose from various effects with color transitions, where you have a luminous work of art hanging on the wall, as it were. Later, a Rhythm module was added, where the LED panels could also respond to music.
Now there is the Nanoleaf Canvas. This time no triangles, but rectangular panels measuring fifteen by fifteen centimeters. We have received the Nanoleaf Canvas Smarter Kit. This starter set costs 199.95 euros and comes with one control panel, eight regular panels, linkers (to connect the panels together), adhesive strips and the necessary cable and plugs. The Rhythm module is built in this time.
Installation of the Nanoleaf Canvas
According to Nanoleaf, the installation of the Smarter Kit will take about 20 minutes. As we are often used to from smart home equipment, the supplied manual is again very sparse in terms of information. The intention is that you will therefore watch videos of the installation process. These short videos are excellent. In just a few minutes, the woman in the videos shows exactly what you need to do to hang the LED panels on the wall.
However, you cannot do this haphazardly for hanging the LED panels. On the back of the LED panels you see various openings for the so-called ‘lefts’. This allows you to connect the LED panels to each other. You can hang the panels vertically or horizontally next to each other, but also half-and-half. It is important that the connections for the links are exactly in the right place. Fortunately, the app provides an excellent tool for creating your own artwork.
Before you start, it is important to download the app and open it. The app has a tool for creating your own artwork. You can place the nine panels as you wish. Try out different designs and you will also see how the panel should hang exactly so that the links can be connected in the right place. Have you made a design that you are satisfied with? Choose the AR mode and you will see in augmented reality what the design will look like on your wall. A very useful and welcome resource.
Before you start hanging it up, it is useful to place the panels on the table according to your chosen design with the connections for the links in the right place. This way you will avoid problems when hanging up. Various adhesive strips are included with the Smarter Kit. More than enough to use three stickers per LED panel. Another short video on the Nanoleaf website shows you how best to do this.
Stick three stickers on an LED panel, remove the top protective layer from the stickers and press the LED panel against the wall for thirty seconds to let it hang. Next, take another panel (don’t forget the left ones) and repeat these steps until all nine are on the wall. Because the adhesive strips protrude slightly at the back, according to Nanoleaf, you should in theory be able to easily remove them again by pulling an adhesive strip. However, the whole is so firmly attached that I am afraid that I will soon be pulling half the wall down. So think carefully about where you want to hang the Nanoleaf Canvas. Are all LED panels hanging? Then it is a matter of plugging in the plug and following the steps in the app.
When the Nanoleaf Canvas is off, it doesn’t look very nice. The build quality of the panels is good, but all those white surfaces on the wall does not do much for a good atmosphere in the house. That is something you have to take into account, because you may not always have the Nanoleaf Canvas switched on. You are then sitting with square white surfaces on the wall. If the panels are on, however, this disadvantage disappears in one fell swoop, because what a fantastic luminous work of art the Nanoleaf Canvas is.
The square LED panels do not provide a uniform color. In fact, each panel is actually divided into four planes. Each face also has lighter parts and dark parts. If you assess each panel on just a single plane, it actually doesn’t look that nice at all. However, when you have all the panels on, something magical is created in the house. Precisely because the panels do not offer a uniform color, a hypnotic effect is created, which can be further enhanced by playing with the different color effects in the app.
If we judge the Nanoleaf Canvas purely as smart lighting, then you are actually doing this device short. You can let the panels shine normal white light through the house, and this can also be quite bright, but looking at nine square panels with white light does not exactly enhance the atmosphere. The Nanoleaf Canvas really comes into its own when you play with the color transitions and effects. Each panel measuring fifteen by fifteen centimeters can display 16.4 million colors. As with other smart lighting, you will of course never be able to distinguish the more than sixteen million different colors in practice. Yet the different shades of red, blue or, for example, pink come across clearly different. Everything is customizable via Nanoleaf’s very user-friendly app,
After setting up the Nanoleaf Canvas in the app, you will be taken to the main menu (Dashboard). In the top half you can turn the lighting on or off and dim it. Below that you see four different categories, namely Basic, Color, Rhythm and Interactive. Basic consists of different shades of white light, Color consists of different colors and color transitions, Rhythm lets you choose an effect how the panels should respond to music and Interactive even lets you play simple games with the panels.
At the bottom of the app you will see that the Dashboard is selected. Here are also Discover (for discovering new light and color effects), Explore (for useful tips) and Schedules for setting automatic schedules. There are already quite a few scenes in the different categories available by default, but via Discover you have access to a lot of new effects. Here you will not only find additional effects from Nanoleaf itself, but also from other users. Thus, thousands of different effects are readily available for download. You too can contribute to this, because you can get started to create effects in the four different categories via the plus sign on the dashboard. This works very easily and you have put together the most beautiful effects in no time. Not only can you choose the colors, but also the effects, how quickly the colors should change and how this should be done. You can not only copy everything that is already available as standard in terms of possibilities, but also completely improve it to your own taste or create completely new effects.
The app is very clear. Everyone will therefore be able to quickly find their way around the application. All functions are within a few clicks at your fingertips. Users who do not want to create their own effects can easily download new effects via Discover. Do you really want to get started yourself? Then you have made your first effect all by yourself within a few minutes.
A feature that Nanoleaf itself is very proud of is the touch control. The panels can react to your touch. If you touch a panel, the color changes or a water droplet effect goes through the surrounding panels. You can also play certain games on your panels by touch via the previously mentioned Interactive category in the app. It is possible to play Pac-Man, Memory or Whack-a-Mole. In total there are five different interactive games to play with the panels. It’s nice to have tried once, but no more than that. Actually, only Memory is fun. In advance you will quickly see a flash where two of the same colors are hidden. Then the panels go out. You then have to match two of the same colors by touching the panels. For the other interactive games you quickly need many more panels. Pac-Man on nine panels is just too little and Whack-a-Mole misses a target. Here you have to express the panels that enter again as quickly as possible. The interactive games will remain a gimmick for the time being.
And that actually also applies to the overall touch control. It is funny to touch a panel when you walk by or to swipe along a number of panels. The colors change and after ten seconds it will again follow the set effects. You will do this regularly for the first days, because it is funny to see how the panels change. However, after a few days you will have seen this. In addition, it does not work quite well either. The control panel responds much less well than the other panels. The Nanoleaf Canvas also sometimes switches off if you have just printed too enthusiastically. The purpose of the touch control is therefore not entirely clear. Perhaps Nanoleaf will offer us several options for touch control in the future, because the current touch control is actually superfluous. Apart from the control panel. Here you will find various buttons such as an on / off button, dimming or amplifying, switching on Rhythm or another effect. So if you do not want to open the app to operate the light system, you can also do this on the control panel.
The Nanoleaf Canvas, unlike the Nanoleaf Aurora, comes directly with a built-in Rhythm module. This means that the lighting responds to sound. Not only on your voice, but also, for example, on music or the sound of your favorite movie or series. The built-in microphone picks up sound and translates it into illuminated panels. Various effects are also available and you can easily create an effect for this yourself. Do you have people over and a party in your own home? Then the Rhythm module is a nice extra to turn your living room into a disco. The Rhythm module can also provide a better music experience while listening to music. The built-in microphones pick up sound well, even if the sound source is a bit further away.
The Nanoleaf Canvas offers support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and IFTTT, among others. This way you can control the lighting with your voice and this works very easily. I myself have tried Google Home, where the Nanoleaf Canvas simply appears as smart lighting in the Google Home app. You can turn the Canvas on and off with your voice, change colors and effects or dim or amplify the light. The integration for different platforms is a real added value and ensures that the Nanoleaf Canvas can really be part of your smart home instead of just a separate product.
Despite the various options in the field of touch control, the rhythm module and the integration with various smart assistants, you will mainly use the Nanoleaf Canvas as a mood-enhancing lighting system. Once you get the hang of the app, there are a number of color and lighting effects that you will usually return to. Personally, the Northern Lights effect is the favorite here. This effect offers six warm colors that will appear on the panels from left to right. Reduce the speed of the effect and you can enjoy a soothing color effect on your self-made artwork all evening long.
Where other people become calm from watching an aquarium with fish, the Nanoleaf Canvas can have the same effect on people. After a busy working day, you can really sit down in front of the Nanoleaf Canvas. Put a calm color effect on the wall and you will be completely zen yourself in no time. And if you want to let go of your creative side, the app offers you a perfect place to create effects yourself in a user-friendly way.
The current price of 199.95 euros for the Smarter Kit with nine panels is a great price, but you will soon want more panels. You can connect a total of five hundred panels to one control panel. It is therefore a pity that the extension sets with four extra panels are actually far too expensive. You will have to pay 79.99 euros for this. So for twelve extra panels you lose 240 euros and that is actually too much.
Nanoleaf Canvas Smarter Kit – Conclusion
The Nanoleaf Canvas is truly a device that you will not miss if you have never come into contact with it. You really just don’t need it. However, once you have come into contact with it, you will want to have it immediately. It is certainly not indispensable in the house, but it is much more than just a gimmick. However, the lighting system does offer many gimmick functions that you will no longer use over time. This sounds full of contradictions, and that is actually the Nanoleaf Canvas itself, but I am still very enthusiastic about the product. The modular lighting system turns any wall into a high-quality work of art, but the many gimmick functions such as touch control and the Rhythm module do not really offer any added value. However, even without those extra functions, the Nanoleaf Canvas would be well worth the purchase.
As a modular lighting system, you can create your own work of art at home with the Nanoleaf Canvas. The various color and light effects can be completely adjusted to your liking via the very clear and user-friendly app. It may not suit every interior, but if you want smart lighting in your home that does it just that little bit differently from Philips Hue or IKEA Tradfri, then with the Nanoleaf Canvas you have a unique light system that every visitor in the house wants to know about right away. Make sure that you immediately hang the light system properly, because moving it quickly or installing a different design is not so easy and can damage the wall.
Pros Nanoleaf Canvas Smarter Kit
- Create your own artwork yourself
- Very user-friendly app
- Thousands of effects available
- Create your own effects
Negatives of Nanoleaf Canvas Smarter Kit
- Touch operation no added value
- Extension panels very pricey
- Moving panels can damage the wall