Until now, Nanoleaf has been best known for those fancy RGB-lit triangles, squares, and hexagons that show up in the background of seemingly every YouTuber’s videos. But starting this week, Nanoleaf is entering the world of mainstream smart lighting with its affordable Essentials Line.
The first two members of the Essentials Line are Nanoleaf’s A19 bulb and 80-inch lightstrip, which, priced at $39.95 and $US50 ($69) respectively, present a substantial savings compared to competing products from Philips Hue, Lifx, and even less expensive Chinese rivals like Yeelight.
Both the A19 bulb and lightstrip support white and colour lighting with a range of up to 16 million colours and various shades of white, with the A19 bulb capable of outputting up to 1,100 lumens. That’s significantly brighter than a Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance A19 bulb, which tops out at 800 lumens. Nanoleaf’s lightstrip features an arrangement of 21 LED lights per metre across its 80-inch length, which can be extended up to a total of 10 meters via 40-inch extension strips that go for about $35 each. And like Philips Hue’s lightstrip, you can also cut Nanoleaf’s strips as needed to suit your setup.
However, one big difference between the Essentials Line and other smart lights is that Nanoleaf says its new lights are the first to work with Thread, which is a mesh networking protocol developed in partnership by big names including Nest, Samsung, Apple, and others to help offer better compatibility with other smart home devices and more reliable connectivity.
The Essentials Line also comes with Nanoleaf’s Circadian Lighting feature, which allows the lights to shift their colour temperature gradually throughout the day becoming warmer as you get closer to bedtime, which can be set to your schedule in Nanoleaf’s app (available on both Android and iOS).
At launch, the Essentials line will work best with Apple’s HomePod Mini (which features built-in support for Thread), allowing the HomePod Mini to serve as a “border router” for controlling Nanoleaf’s smart lights as well as Apple’s Adaptive Lighting feature in the future (Adaptive Lighting is currently still in beta).
Those without a HomePod Mini can still connect to Nanoleaf’s lights over Bluetooth and control the lights via the Google Home app, the Google Assistant, and HomeKit. And if you prefer physical controls, the Essentials lightstrip also comes with a manual controller. In the future, Nanoleaf says it will expand Thread support to other smart speakers like the Google Home Max, which is one of the first smart speakers to offer native Thread support.
So while Nanoleaf’s Essential Line of smart lights might be lacking in the huge range of bulbs and socket types available from Philips Hue and Lifx, the pricing of its new bulb and lightstrip could be a real draw for anyone trying to get into smart lighting without breaking the bank.
The Essentials Line is available online today on Apple.com with wider availability coming soon.