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7 August 2020

REVIEW: Nanoleaf Shapes - Hexagons

Pretty lights

Hot on the heels of our recent Nanoleaf Canvas review, in which we got to grips with a wall-mounted smart lighting system, we're back with another new product from Nanoleaf. If the square shaped panels of Canvas didn't do it for you, perhaps theses will. We play around with Hexagons.

Just like the Canvas system, Nanoleaf Shapes - Hexagons are designed to be mounted on your wall and arranged into a shape - any shape you want. Then, powered by an AC adaptor, they light up and display a colour or colour pattern, as dictated by you through the Nanoleaf app. The difference here, obviously, is that the Hexagons are... well, hexagons.

That's a vast improvement, in our humble opinion. Although full wall coverage, without gaps, was possible with Canvas, Hexagons let you create sprawling, angled patterns achieving a larger covering with fewer panels. It also helps that the Hexagons are larger than the Canvas panels, being 20cm wide, opposed to 15cm.

The mounting system is also slightly different. Still using hard-wearing self-adhesive tabs, each Hexagon is mounted on a central pivot point. This allows you to stick the panel where you want it, then rotate it slightly to achieve the desired angle from which to build the whole pattern. This makes it easier and much more forgiving that the Canvas' 'first contact and done' approach to mounting.

Once you've created your pattern on the wall, the panels automatically detect their own layout, displaying it in the app - the same app that controls all other Nanoleaf products. In it, you can then select colour, patterns of colours, and other unique options such as Screen Mirror, which will approximate the dominant colours displayed on your connected TV, should you have one.

The panels are touch-sensitive, so placing a palm on one will activate variously preset routines. You can set the patterns to turn on at a touch, or, while already on, change colours in an outward flowing wave from where you touched. It's a fun way to turn them on, just be sure to tell your kids not to slap the panels too hard. As we had to.

Most useful, however, is Hexagon's integration with smart home services like Google and Alexa. Assign the lights to a room, and tell your assistant to turn them on, off, and change colours at a whim. We set ours to come on at a certain time each day, at a certain colour, then vocally changed them to match whatever it was we were doing in that room. Yes, the Hexagons, like the Canvas, have a setting that will react to music, flashing and blinking away to the beat, but we found use for them in a far more relaxing, subdued manner. Chillllllll......

Nanoleaf explain the name of these lights - 'Shapes - Hexagons'. Apparently more shapes of panels are planned for the future, all with the same kind of connectors and compatibility. That means, we assume, that different shapes will enable users to create intricate and random patterns for any purpose and use in your home.

So the price? Well, as with all Nanoleaf lighting products, they aren't going to be cheap on release in mid August 2020. We were sent the nine panel set, but 15 and 21 panels versions are also going to be available. Our set will retail for £179, which is quite a lot based on the amount of wall coverage offered.

But, as with the Canvas, we're really excited about this particular range. It feels like you're getting more bang for buck from this system, due mainly to the larger size of the hexagonal panels, and the future compatibility with different shapes. Even with the smaller 'starter' nine panel set, you can create something really unique, without the intention to buy more and extend the pattern in the future. So, as with most lighting products of this calibre, if you can afford it, we recommend it.

Visit nanoleaf.me

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