Smart lighting is brilliant, but it has arguably become a bit samey. So, Nanoleaf decided to look at it from a different angle, bringing us their Lines range.
Lines are incredibly lightweight white bars with RGB lights in them – so far, so nothing different. What makes them so distinct is that the lighting is on the back of each bar, using backlighting bounced off your wall for a remarkably different, more subtle RGB lighting experience.
It looks fantastic.
The starter kit comes with nine bars, each of which has 26cm of visible line, with the ends attaching to round plastic connectors that look very much like the Trivial Pursuit player pieces in which you collect your six pieces of pie. These allow for 60-degree angle increments in pretty much any design that you come up with, from a straight old line to something with a bit more geometric imagination involved.
Lines are easily snapped together, with a cover piece for each connector to hold everything in place. One of these connectors doubles as a manual switch, allowing the usual on/off functionality, as well as mode switching and adjustment of intensity. Each connector has double-sided tape on it, so there’s no need at all to jam holes in your wall.
This being the 21st century and all, naturally Nanoleaf Lines are able to be absorbed into your smart home mix. Whether you prefer Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple Homekit, SmartThings or IFTTT then you’ll be able to control them via voice. Lines are also able to be hooked into a Razer Chroma setup that you may have with your PC peripherals, making for some wild lighting display options. If you’re bang up to date with smart home tech, Lines also functions as a Thread Border Router, enabling control over other Thread compatible devices.
Setup is easy to accomplish, simply download Nanoleaf’s smartphone app, run it, make an account if you don’t have one and then scan a QR code on your new Lines to get things talking to each other. The app also allows for easily setting up any of the 19 inbuilt scenes, downloading any of hundreds more, or for constructing your own. With 16 million colours to play with, and two distinct zones per Line, it’s easy to tumble down a rabbithole of control – but the results can really be quite stunning.
If you don’t want something random or pre-programmed happening, there are also inbuilt options for screen mirroring – hook your Lines up around your movie or gaming rig and have them reflect what’s happening onscreen – and a very fun ‘Rhythm Music Visualizer’ functionality that pumps your lights to the beat of the tunes that you’re listening to.
“…hook your Lines up around your movie or gaming rig and have them reflect what’s happening onscreen.”
The standard Starter Kit as tested comes with nine lines, or if you really want to dive right in there’s one that contains 15 Lines. An expansion pack of three Lines is also available if you just fall short on your perfect design.
As for downsides, if you wish to read by Lines, as the light is bouncing off your wall we found us wanting them set to full brightness in bright white mode – it should be noted that this was on a dark grey wall though, for lighter walls may prove more bouncy light-wise. The height at which they’re mounted also can make a difference here. The only other caveat is the 60-degree angle thing. If you wanted to, say, frame a picture with lines it’s sadly a big no-go. We’re a bit surprised that they didn’t make the connector pieces a little larger and allow for 90-degree designs – it would open up a LOT of practical layout possibilities. Finally, you’ll want to place the controller connector carefully, as it has a power cable connected that can look quite unsightly if it’s dangling down the middle of an otherwise super-funky layout. Unless you jam a hole in the wall for it, in which case congratulations on owning your own home!
Nanoleaf have aimed to bring the smart lighting world something different, and they’ve succeeded admirably. With a little bit of effort, Lines allow you to make some truly stunning looking lighting displays.
Nanoleaf Lines are available now.