Price (RRP): $299
The Nanoleaf Canvas is a cross between a piece of art and a light show – only you create the art and the light show as you want it.
Nanoleaf Canvas is part of the Nanoleaf world that includes triangular light and square intelligent light panels, and a range of high efficiency LED light bulbs.
What is Nanoleaf Canvas?
The Nanoleaf Canvas smarter kit (yes that is right – not starter) starts as a nine separate panels, each 150 x 150 x 9.5mm (expandable by adding more panels). One is a control panel with touch controls for power, +/- brightness, Shuffle and Rhythm – more on those features later.
Each panel connects by a flat linker (there are three linker slots per panel), and that means they need to abut each other. 240V power goes into any spare slot in the array. If you have more than 25 panels, just add another power supply.
Each panel has four sub-segments – a pleasing muted, full face, no bezel, white quartz effect. The RGB LEDs in each panel can reproduce 16.4 million colours, tones from 1200-6500K (warm to cool – degrees Kelvin) or brightness (nits not measured). If you know RGB Hex codes, you can even program them! All of this can go into custom scenes.
The smarter kit creates either a 3×3 square panel (450 x 450mm), a straight line 9×1 (150mm x 1.35m) or patterns like a V-shape (2 arms 750mm x 150mm), W-shape (450mm x 600mm) or half offsets.
Panel life is 25,000 hours and panels draw around 1W each maximum. The 42V/.57A (24W) adaptor supports up to 25 panels. One control panel can support up to 500 panels.
What is it for?
We said ‘art and light’ so think of it as a permanent home or office decoration that supplements your art collection!
The ideal user will need a space that needs brightening up – the only caveat is there must be a 240V power point nearby, and it needs Wi-Fi connection to use the app and voice control.
But more than a light show it could be a reading panel or even an overhead light panel. You can also add scenes to brighten when you want to wake up or light up when you are away.
It is permanent in that when you place it on a painted wall in your chosen pattern using the Nanoleaf double-sided mounting tape – it is there to stay. You can get special mounting frames made as well.
Why the detail?
Because as we found during the review deciding what shape to make and where it goes is more important because once it is in place, it is permanent – or risk pulling the paint off the wall as we did! It will stick to tiles, glass and nonporous surfaces but do not try it on brick or oiled timber etc.
We (my wife and I) searched online for Nanoleaf Canvas (Google Search and select images) and found hundreds of images – no boring square boxes for us! We also found a space near where we showcase the Philips Hue Go Touch lights and a White/colour ambient light strip – great conversation starters and proves to the neighbours that we are techy types – not mad!
There is also a layout assistant (we found it too late) in the app that also may support AR to view the layout on your wall before you attach it.
We settled on a one-up, one down, diamond design above a feature window. As we had two kits (18 panels) that stretched to 2m long. I may add more to fill the whole width.
Setup is easy
- Download the iOS or Android app (tested)
- Create a Nanoleaf cloud account
- Assemble the pattern you want on a bench, floor or table. This is important as you get to understand how it works and the purpose of the linkers and slots
- The app finds the Canvas control panel (one of the nine that is also a light panel)
- Give it Wi-Fi AC login and password
- Pair via NFC tap (if your phone has it) or enter the pairing code on the power supply or back of the control tile.
Next prepare the wall.
- A quick wipe over with a damp sponge to remove dust and towel dry. Leave it for a while for any moisture to evaporate.
- Place three double-sided adhesive strips (as instructed) on each panel.
- Draw a pencil baseline where you want to place them (not mandatory but helps to place each tile squarely).
- Apply one tile at a time and make your pattern. Remember the first tile is the ‘control’ tile, and it must be accurate, or your design will be out of ‘square’.
- Power on and viola – a light wall.
- You can remove the control panel sticker – we did.
What we learnt was that you can’t have two control tiles in a design (as you have when you buy two kits). A quick look at the FAQ and we were able to switch one controller tile to passive (slave) mode – viola.
Works with OK Google, Alexa, HomeKit and IFTTT.
We tested with Google Assistant. Using the Google Home app, you add Nanoleaf Smarter Series (for Alexa you add a skill), give it a name and room, and that is it.
“OK Google, turn on (or off) Canvas,” does exactly that. We can brighten/darken by percentage or make the Canvas a specific colour if Google understands it. What we are yet to be able to do is control the colour pre-sets like Colour Burst, Flames, Forest, Inner Peace, Nemo, Romantic and so on.
The FAQ states that Google Assistant now supports Scene control by name! We will continue to try but for the present ‘she’ does not understand.
I feel the rhythm of the night
Canvas tiles have a microphone that can react to music or voice either by touching the control tile to Rhythm or via the app. Rhythm pre-sets include Fireworks, Meteor Shower, Paint splatter, Pulse Pop Beats, Sound Bar (a VU meter), and Streaking notes. We tried with the punchy Blues Brother Peter Gunn Theme Song, and the Canvas was a scream!
Interactivity as well
The panels are all touch sensitive. It offers three pre-sets – Game of Life, Memory and Whack-a-Mole. You may want to consider this considering where you mount the kit. If it’s too high, you won’t be able to play. We understand light finger painting is coming as well.
Who is Nanoleaf?
It was founded 2012 in Toronto by Tom Rodinger with a focus on personalised lighting experiences. Its first product was a Nanolight bulb launched on Kickstarter. At 133 lumens per watt, it was also the most energy efficient lightbulb in the world.
Nanoleaf Canvas and the triangle version are finding uses in enterprise décor, exhibition design, hotels and consumer homes.
GadgetGuy’s take: Bright, colourful and fun
When I first took panels out of the box, I was more than a little apprehensive at what shape and where I would place them. Once we decided it was very easy to install. It worked first time with Google Assistant – something I am beginning to expect of this marvellous voice assistant.
But the real question is what price do you put on artworks? Would you pay several hundred dollars for a painting or print to dress up your home?
Think of these as artwork first and smart lights second. Look first at your home to find a place that only Nanoleaf Canvas can fill. Don’t think that each panel costs around $33 – think of how many panels you need! Some installations are hundreds of panels filling whole walls.
While we settled on a lounge room setting, I can see this being wonderful for mood lighting in bedrooms and the office. It may be great in a child’s bedroom too.
I am sold – it’s not a gimmick but something that adds value to our living environment. When we decide to repaint (in a few years) we will remove the tiles, buy some 3M Commander strips (easily removable) and change the pattern – wish we had though about 3M Commander first!
JB Hi-Fi has the Canvas (square) kit at $299. Note that these cannot mix with the triangle panels. An expansion pack of 4 panels is $109. Nanoleaf’s website seems to suggest you can negotiate on price for higher quantities.
I always recommend buying locally as you get Australian Consumer Law warranty. You may find a few dollars off online but remember that you will pay GST and delivery costs as well.