Nanoleaf Canvas review

With Canvas, Nanoleaf Smart Lighting Gets Square, Gains Touch Support

Gadgets Products Reviews

Last year, I wrote about Nanoleaf Light Panels. These are mega-cool LED smart lights from Canada’s Nanoleaf. They’re flat, they interlock, and they mount to your wall. Early this year, the company expanded its lineup with Canvas. These new light panels are similar to the originals, but they come in a new square form factor, they gain touch support, and (if you have the budget) you can link hundreds of them together in intricate displays.

Nanoleaf Canvas review
Nanoleaf Canvas smart lighting installation that’s beginning to take over the wall behind my desk. (Photo by Brad Moon)

If You Like the Nanoleaf Light Panels But Aren’t a Fan of Triangles…

Nanoleaf’s Light Panels were one of my favorite reviews from last year. There is something very appealing about these smart lights that snap together in customized patterns, then stick to your wall. They can be controlled using Nanoleaf’s mobile app, through smart home platforms like Apple HomeKit, or by using the Nanoleaf Remote (the one that looks like a giant 12-sided die). There is also limited functionality available using the buttons on the control module. Besides solid and pattern color scenes, they can pulsate in time to music.

I’ve been growing the installation in my office, adding more panels three at a time, and I use them for task lighting (they can be set to various brightnesses and white temperatures), mood lighting, seasonal decoration, and, of course, as a light show while I’m spinning records.

The fact that they are triangular in shape (9-inches on a side) does mean limitations in terms of the designs you can create, and there is a maximum of 30 panels per installation. If you’ve been waiting for Nanoleaf to release Light Panels in a more conventional shape, the wait is over: Nanoleaf Canvas uses Light Squares that are 6-inches on a side.

Nanoleaf Canvas review
Contents of the Nanoleaf Canvas “Smarter Kit” prior to assembly. (Photo by Brad Moon)

The Same Concept, With Improvements

The new Canvas Light Squares use the same basic concept as the Light Panels. Assemble the panels in patterns or designs using linkers, then attach them to the wall with removable two-sided tape.

Nanoleaf Canvas review
Nanoleaf Canvas has touch support. (Photo by Brad Moon)

However, the Canvas system improves on the originals in several ways.

The Squares are smaller and they can connect on an entire side or half a side. This makes it a lot easier to create intricate installations. And you can really go to town because one Canvas Control Square can be used for up to 500 Squares. That is an entire wall of light panels if you have the budget. You do need a power supply for every 25 panels, but power can be connected to any free slot and the thin power cable is 8-feet long, so that gives lots of flexibility.

The Rhythm module that was a plug-in extra for the Light panels is built into the Canvas Control Square, so you get music support out of the box.

And Nanoleaf added touch support to the Canvas system. The control Square has touch buttons for key functions, but running your hands over any of the Squares causes them to react and change colors. The rippling effect as the squares react to your touch is hypnotic. You can also play touch games (think Simon) using the Canvas Squares.

Nanoleaf Canvas review
Nanoleaf’s app can control both the original Light Panels and the new Canvas Light Squares. (Screen capture by Brad Moon)

The Canvas system is controlled by the same app as the original Nanoleaf Light Panels. You can also use the Nanoleaf Remote. And like the originals, Nanoleaf Canvas supports Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Alexa, and IFTTT.

To be clear, while the concept is the same—and the two systems share an app—the original Nanoleaf Light Panels and the new Canvas Light Squares are not interchangeable.

A “Smarter Kit” with one Control Square (which also lights up), eight Light Squares, a power supply, linkers, and mounting tape, goes for $249.99, and for an additional $79.99 you can pick up expansion pack of four Squares.

I don’t think I’m going to come anywhere near 500 Squares, but the Nanoleaf Canvas is proving to be just as addictive as the original Light Panels have been. So I now have two installations—square and triangle—adorning my office walls, and both continue to grow.

Disclosure: Nanoleaf provided Canvas light panels for evaluation but had no input into this review.

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