Nanoleaf Lines Review: Cool modular light bars but expensive

The Nanoleaf Lines is a set of modular backlit LED light bars that lets you customise your own designs to your heart’s delight. It works by having multiple light bars attached to hexagonal connectors in a 60-degree angle. You can create your own design and mount it on your wall or ceiling for accented lighting.

You can mount the Nanoleaf Lines on the wall or ceiling. (Photo: Nanoleaf)

Each light bar can be painted with two different colours at the same time and supports over 16 million colours in different effects and animations.

SPECS
PRICE: S$339 (Smarter Kit), available in Lazada and Shopee
COMPATIBILITY: Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Razer Chroma and IFTTT
COLOUR: Over 16 millions colours
BRIGHTNESS: 20 lumens (each lighting bar)
WEIGHT: Lines (39g); Connector (15g)

The starter Smarter Kit comes with 9 light bars, 9 connectors, 9 connector caps, 10 mounting plates with tape, a processor/power connector and power adapter. Everything comes in white.

This is what you get out of the box. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

You can add on with the expansion pack (S$109) that comes with 3 light bars and corresponding connectors and caps.

DESIGN
The Lines is rather ingenious in its implementation. Because each connector is hexagonal in shape, you can practically attach the light bar in any way you want. The only limitation is the 60-degree angle that each light bar can be attached to the connector.

The light bar is attached to a connector via a simple click. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

But you can only attach up to 6 light bars to each connector. So, you can create any geometric shapes of different combination.

In theory, setting up the Lines should be a breeze. In reality, it is rather tedious at the preparation stage. This is because you need to visualise where you want to place the Lines. Furthermore, you need to design how it looks while accommodating the space you have.

Nanoleaf recommends you to lay out the connectors and light bars on a table in the design you want. Remember to start with the connector, which doubles as the physical controller, first before “branching” out the design. Then, measure the length and breadth of your design to see if it fits the space you want to install.

One of the connectors is the physical controller, which is also where you start the design. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

The free accompanying Nanoleaf app (Android and iOS) has a Layout Assistant that offers design ideas. It also has an augmented reality (AR) feature, which lets you superimpose your design on your wall.

As I do not have such a big table, I end up creating the design on the floor instead. In addition, I have to fix up everything before I can “preview” on my wall because the AR feature fails to work in my case.

I have to lay out my design on the floor before installation. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

This means I have to attach the light bar to each connector and “fix” it in place with the connector cap. This will prevent the light bar from falling out during the “preview” as well as the actual installation.

PERFORMANCE
The installation itself is a breeze. You just need to remove the adhesive peel behind each connector and stick your design to the wall or ceiling.

FOR
+ Create your own design with its modular lighting bars
+ Beautiful lighting effects
+ Easy pairing and setting up
+ Reacts to music playing
+ Works with plenty of smart home platforms like Apple HomeKit, Google Home and etc

AGAINST
– Expensive
– Tedious preparation before set up
– Nanoleaf app can do better

However, before sticking it on the wall, it is probably prudent to plug in the power cable, pair it with the app and make sure everything is working fine.

Testing the Lines before installing it on the wall. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

As you can see above, I went for a more structurally-sound design that enables to more easily “preview” it before installation. Once installed on the wall, everything is smooth sailing.

Unlike some RGB lighting stripes or light stands, each light bar of Lines projects light inward towards the wall or ceiling when mounted. As such, it is not as glaring. It provides nice ambient lighting whether you mount them on your living room or your study room.

Furthermore, the Lines come with a built-in Nanoleaf Rhythm module. This means the Lines’ lighting will react and “dance” to music played in real time. It is fun to watch the lighting effects change with the pace of the music.

The actual installation is actually quite fuss free. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

The app comes with 19 lighting animations, or scenes, for you to choose from. And you can download thousands more from the app’s Discover tab. But sometimes, the scene is not downloaded to the device.

Of course, you can also create your own scenes using the app’s Scene Creator feature. However, I found the scenes I created to be underwhelming despite the amount of time spent working on it. I better stick to discover and download.

The Lines also has a screen mirroring feature. So, it will match colour with whatever is displayed on your monitor. To enable this feature, you need to install Nanoleaf desktop app (available for Windows and macOS). As the Lines is installed above my monitor, it is fun to watch the lights change as I play Diablo III on my desktop PC.

The Lines will change colour depending on the scene of my gaming PC monitor with the screen mirroring feature. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

If you are using Razer products, you can even sync the Lines to Razer Chroma for thematic unity of all your devices. In fact, the best part about Lines is its support for multiple smart home platforms, including Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT.

I have added the Lines in both Apple Home as well as Google Home. And the Lines work without a hitch on both platforms. You can also set use Siri or Google Assistant to power up the Lines.

VERDICT
Apart from its hefty price tag and tedious preparation, the Nanoleaf Lines is an excellent and intuitive set of ambient accented lighting that will add plenty of charm and coolness to your living space.

RATINGS
FEATURES: 8/10
DESIGN: 8/10
PERFORMANCE: 8/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 7/10
OVERALL: 8/10