A few years ago, my father-in-law had a relatively big TV (I think it was a Panasonic) and it had LED lighting either side which would bathe the wall behind it with a soft blue glow. I always thought it looked kind of cool.
Now, thanks to Nanoleaf’s new Essentials lightstrip starter kit, I now too have my Samsung TV emitting a soft blue glow – or purple or green or orange – and it does indeed look cool.
The lightstrip is part of Nanoleaf’s new Essentials range (there’s also a rhombicosidodecahedron shaped bulb: Try saying that three times after a few drinks) which range in price from $NZ50 to $NZ100.
Tripping the light fantastic …
The lightstrip comes in a 2m length, which you can cut to size (but only at designated points clearly marked) so chances are, like with my TV, the final length will either be too long or two short (you can’t reconnect the cut portions).
I had a bit of overlap at the edge of my TV so I had to get creative and ended up sticking it to the side a nearby gaming console (sorry Xbox Series X). You peel off a protective tape to reveal a 3M adhesive strip then press down firmly to make sure it sticks to the surface. It’s incredibly simple to set up.
There are 21 LEDs per metre in the lightstrip, clustered in groups of five, and they’re bright: Bright enough to cast a glow on the walls behind my TV. They work best affixed to a flat surface but I’ve had no problems so far with the slightly curved back of the TV .
There’s a control box that controls the light strip that connects to the strip via a ribbon-type connection, which in turn connects to the power adapter. The remote is rather bulky and you can also attach it to a surface using 3M sticky pads. I just attached it to the back of the TV to get as clean a look as possible.
I hardly used the control box, to be honest: I connected to the smart bulb and light strip using Nanoleaf’s smart phone (iOS and Android) app which let me control everything. The lighting range is also compatible with Apple’s Home App and Google’s Assistant.
Nanoleaf says the light strip can display 16 million plus colours, is thread enabled (an IP based wireless protocol supported by Apple, Google and Samsung but you need a compatible border router such as a Home Pod mini) and can be voice controlled. It’s rated at a maximum of 2200 lumens and has a lifespan of 25,000 hours.
I don’t have a thread enabled router so connected to the lights via my smartphone using bluetooth and there’s a slight delay changing colours when you first turn it on but it’s nothing that ruins the experience (and was much more noticeable on the smart bulb).
I was impressed how a simple light strip can add a bit more atmosphere to our lounge, especially at night when the only other light on in the room is a lamp. My wife likes it, too, which is a bonus.
I haven’t managed to work out whether Nanoleaf is right in its claim the lightstrip can display 16 million+ colours which are changed using a colour wheel or pre-set tones. You can also adjust the colour temperature and brightness of the LEDs using the app.
Nanoleaf says that the Essentials range features a circadian lighting mode that automatically adjusts to the natural colour temperature of the room and sets different colour tones for morning, daytime and evening. You enter your location in the settings menu and the light syncs with the estimated sunrise and sunsets in your city. It’s a nice feature but I really didn’t notice much difference.
It comes in a bulb, too
I put the smart bulb into my bedside lamp and it emits a good amount of light – Nanoleaf says it has an average brightness of 806 lumens and maximum brightness of 1100 lumens – but I did have a bit of trouble connecting the bulb to my phone during the initial set up. It took a few attempts to get a stable connection.
When using bluetooth, there is a noticeable lag when you first connect to it and change colours. It rights itself but from time to time it’s there. For me, the light strip is the winner here but the smart bulb offers myriad options, especially if you have a few lamps around your home that you can work with.
Overall, I was really impressed with Nanoleaf’s lightstrip: It’s sturdy and well made and offers excellent colour range and performance. I hear that Nanoleaf are planning more updates in future as it would be nice to be able to sync, say, the light strip to music like you can with Nanoleaf’s panels.
Both are great cost-effective options to add some colour – be it bright or subtle – to your lounge, gaming room or underneath your TV.