I have many different Nanoleaf kits in my house. I’ve tried Canvas Sets, Shapes, Elements and more. So I say this without any authority: Nanoleaf’s limited edition Shapes Ultra Black Triangles are the best looking set the company has ever made. Buy them now while they’re still available.
That’s what we like
- Anything is better than black
- Easy to install
Nanoleaf is celebrating their anniversary as a company and has released a limited edition Shapes Ultra Black Triangles for “Nanoversary”. If you’re wondering what exactly “limited edition” means, a Nanoleaf rep tells me the company is only making 1,000 globally. Interested in Nanoleaf? Do you like the beautiful pictures you see? Buy them immediately before they sell out, then come back and complete the rest of the investigation.
For everyone else, here’s everything you need to know.
Just like other triangles – but better
Nanoleaf has already earned a name for some of the most unique and best-looking smart lighting on the market. One of its main product lines is Form kits. These come in large hexagons, triangles and mini triangles. You can buy all three sets and they will be linked together to create new shapes and designs.
After these initial sets were released, Nanoleaf started playing with their appearance when the lights went down. This is one of the downsides of most Nanoleaf kits – they’re pretty white when they’re on and ugly white when they’re off. The Elements line introduced a wood grain look to the hexagons and as a woodworker I love them. But while the Elements set looks better than the other Forma lines when unlit, when lit it doesn’t have all the color options that the various Nanoleaf sets enjoy. You just get shades of white.
The limited edition Shapes Ultra Triangles set has similar features but improves on the Elements line. When you turn the set off, they’re black, which should look good on almost any wall. When you turn them on, you get the full color spectrum that the rest of the Forms enjoy.
Frankly, black is still the best look for Nanoleaf lights. The white versions are kind of ugly when you don’t run them, and that happens more often than you might expect. After all, who wants giant bright lights in the middle of the night or during movie time? What about the color black? It will look great on almost any wall. The Nanoleaf also went all out – the connectors, mounting plates, controller and even the power supply are all black. The mounting plate won’t even be visible when you install everything, but it’s a nice touch.
I was worried that the black surface would prevent the lights from showing up well, but that’s not the case at all. While the Ultra Black triangles don’t look as vibrant as the white model, you get more contrast with the color instead. They look amazingly bright and it’s fantastic that you can choose any color instead of just the white shade.
One downside of Ultra Black is that it is a fingerprint magnet. It doesn’t look like it does in the pictures, but it’s noticeable up close. A microfiber cleaning cloth is included in the Nanoleaf box, and you’ll want to use it.
The setup remains the same
If you are familiar with Nanoleaf kits, you should know that nothing has changed in the process. But the good news for everyone is that attaching Nanoleaf panels to your wall is quite simple and painless. Getting them off the wall is potentially a different story, but we’ll get into that in a second.
You must first select the design you want to place your triangles in. I recommend doing this on the floor — Nanoleaf has a visualizer in its software, but I haven’t had much luck with it. Once you’re happy with that, you’ll take one of the included pieces of double-sided mounting tape and stick it to the back of the panel. You’ll find a circular mount on the back, but you don’t want to cover it completely: let the tape hang a bit over the edge.
Add the connector where the second panel will go and the control panel here if you want. Then he just removes the paper from the tape and sticks it to the wall. You will then repeat the steps to create your pattern. Just be sure to add the “next” connector for the “next panel” to the panel you’re hanging. It will make your life easier.
And as for the tape partially hanging from the mount? If you need to make changes, this is to help. You see, Nanoleaf sends strong tape to hang their kits. When fully applied, it can easily pull the plaster off the wall if you just try to rip your panels off. So if you need to pull them down for any reason, the first thing to do is pull from the edge of the panel. This will tear off the mounting plate and reveal the edge of the tape you left open. You can remove the tape to safely remove it without damaging your wall. This is a pretty good system that Nanoleaf has come up with and my walls appreciate it.
From there, you’ll be paired with a program that has a process that can use the job.
The app still needs work
Nanoleaf’s app (for iOS and Android) gets the job done, but it’s still the weakest point of the company’s offerings. Take setting up a new device for example. It took me the better part of 45 minutes to connect Black Triangles to my Nanoleaf account. It either froze in the process or, in one case, overwrote another Form set up in my home.
Finally I got an error message suggesting to restart my phone, which worked. But it took too long. I’ve never been happy with this app because it doesn’t do a great job of controlling the lights. Most of the time it fails to connect to my Nanoleaf kits despite having a Wi-Fi connection and a Thread network between them.
When I connect to them right away, I often see slow responses. I can tap on the link for the room group and see nothing happens. The same can be said for trying to interact with a kit. Sometimes everything will be fine within a week. Then other days, like today, I’ll struggle to get my Nanoleaf kits to connect to the app.
More often I use the controls directly on the lights. These work flawlessly, and once you’ve downloaded all the scenes you like, it’s easy to scroll through them. Despite my complaints about app control, voice control via Google Assistant and Alexa works very well, so that’s my other pass.
The program itself, moreover, looks good. It’s nice to have room groups and it’s easy to find new light scenes. Nanoleaf is always adding more and user-made light scenes are also listed. You can create your own scenes and the process is easy, if not tedious. One thing I can’t figure out how to do is switch from lighting panels. This would be a great addition to show the burning colors and black panels. I doubt Nanoleaf will add this option since this is a limited edition kit. For now, I’ve decided to limit the glow to almost nothing on the panels I want to show as black.
You Must Buy These Before They Sell
Despite my complaints about the application, I love having Nanoleaf panels in my home. I learned to work around the application issue and the lights themselves are beautiful. Whenever I have a guest, the first thing they ask about is the different Nanoleaf kits they’ve seen.
This makes it easy to recommend almost any kit from the company. But the Ultra Black Triangles set is simply the best looking set from Nanoleaf. They look amazing when there are scenes that filter through the lights. And even better, they still look amazing when they’re not backlit.
My biggest complaint about them (besides the app) is the limited edition nature. A Nanoleaf representative told me there are only 1,000 units available. If you’ve gotten this far in your review, you may have waited too long. “Limited Edition” means “gone when they’re gone.” I hope that doesn’t happen here. I want more of these panels in various forms. Maybe if these sell out fast enough, Nanoleaf will consider making more. One can dream.
You can purchase Shapes Ultra Black Triangles directly from the Nanoleaf website while supplies last. A nine-panel starter kit costs $219.99, while an additional three-panel expansion pack will set you back $69.99.
That’s what we like
- Anything is better than black
- Easy to install