Hands on the Nanoleaf Aurora wall light

Monday, June 26, 2017 7:46 PM UTC

I don’t remember where I first saw a demo of the Nanoleaf Aurora, but it must have been somewhere on you Youtube.
I was impressed from the beginning and I showed the video to my girlfriend. Fortunately she remembered that when considering a birthday present for me - and here we are now.

Unboxing

I got the starter package which contains 9 panels, the controller, the power brick and 2 cables (one for UK and one for Europe/Germany) as well as double-sided adhesives and connectors for the panels. It’s a heavy and compact package. The build quality is very good, everything sits in place and the connectors fit perfectly into the panels, connecting them to the cluster.

The system itself is awesome smart. It works with just one panel up to 30 panels (which you can buy with the extension packs). The starter package is about 200 Euros, the extension pack containing 3 panels is about 75 Euros.

https://www.amazon.de/nanoleaf-Aurora-Lichtpanels-Erweiterbar-kompatibel/dp/B01M0W7NIP/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1498506696&sr=8-2&keywords=nanoleaf+aurora

The panels

Each panel is a equilateral triangle with an edge length of 24cm. It contains multicolor LEDs which can produce up to 16 million colors (which I cannot measure of course). The brightness of a single panel is awesome! If you combine all the 9 panels to a shape you can choose for yourself you can literally light up a whole room (if you stick them on the ceiling). They seem indestructible to me - but of course you could do harm on them.

The controller

It’s a small component which will be connected to one of the panels of your own creation. The panels will instantly light up when connected. The controller is the wifi module with a power switch and the animation switch to control basic functions directly on the device without using a mobile device or any other smart home controller. Using a smart home controller is the preferred way though.

I had some issues setting up the controller to access my local wifi. As I run several access points I wasn’t sure to which one it connected so the Nanoleaf app wasn’t able to find the device. After some hours of trying, switching on and off my hotspots I was able to connect to it. I am using Apple devices so Apple Homekit also asked for the device to be added to the repository - which worked like a charm.

The app

The Nanoleaf app gives you a lot of choices to control the lights. You can choose any color you like and assign it to each of the panels as well as choosing from several prepared scenes which are programs that change the colors on each panel. You can create your own scenes and color schemes easily. The app has some issues but I am pretty sure they will sort it out. I joined the beta program on Apple Testflight to get the latest versions for it - so fingers crossed!

Issues

I saw some videos that showed the setup of Aurora. The app always asked to which wifi it should connect to - but not for me. It seemed it connected to a random wifi in my reach (I have tons of wifi networks in my home area, 5 of them belong to me). I wasn’t sure to which the device was connected and so I got stuck setting this thing up correctly during the first test run. Finally I got it working reliably now.

Support

A lot of users were impressed by the support you get from Nanoleaf - and I can confirm that. Keep in mind that the company resides in Canada, I got a response to my support ticket within 12h (I am located in central Europe). During the day the communication was fluent and responses got in within several minutes - well done, folks!

Current status

I am now able to control the Aurora via the app, Apple Homekit and even from remote using my AppleTV as the Homekit control center - kudos to Apple for providing such a seamless infrastructure! I also installed the Nanoleaf skill to my Amazon Echo so I now can tell Alexa to switch it on and off and change scenes - awesome!

Installation

This is currently the missing part. I just have the controller connected to a single panel to check the operation. I have to find a plate of wood or something else to attach the panels to it as I don’t want to stick them directly to the wall (which has wallpaper and Nanoleaf recommends not to put them on wallpaper).

Resume

This is an awesome cool light device and it can be smart if you have the infrastructure. It’s pricy but worth the money. I am already thinking of getting some extensions like the Aurora Rhythm which controls the panels in sync with music - clavilux style!






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