This is a review of the Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm – quite a mouthful isn’t it!    I’ve previously covered home automation and the advantages it offers in terms of convenience and security.   However, there’s another aspect to automated lighting that I didn’t cover and that’s coloured lighting.

Coloured lighting can make a huge difference to a room.   Think of the room as a blank canvas – you may be tempted to re-decorate, but what colour do you pick?   With coloured lighting you can have a different colour every day!

There are a number of products on the market that allow you to replace existing light bulbs with automated colour versions.   These can be controlled by apps, or often via Google Home/Apple Homekit devices.   As you know by now, I’m all in on the Apple ecosystem, so this review will be based around that approach.

So, what is the Nanoleaf Aurora?  Well, it’s a set of triangular tiles that attach together to form a pattern.   Each tile can have an individual colour and can also be dimmed.

The package I bought for this review is the Rhythm Edition.   I’ll explain more about the “Rhythm” later, but this bundle comes with 15 tiles.

The packaging consists of two boxes, fixed together by a cardboard sleeve.   They can be a little difficult to get into, but the tiles themselves are well protected.  Included in the bundle are the 15 tiles, a power cord/supply, the Rhythm module and 3M stickers.

The stickers are double sided and labelled as to which side attaches to the wall and which to the tile.   And they’re pretty sticky!  Time will tell how well they work, but if you stick a tile to the wall – don’t expect to get it off easily again!   Each sticker has a small tab on it which you can use to pull it away from the wall.   You need to organise these tabs so they don’t stick out while placed on the wall. Each tile should have at least one tab sticking out from under the tile to be able to prise it from the wall. This is where things get the most complicated!   Trying to figure out the placement of each sticker so that the tile can be removed, but the tab doesn’t foul on a tab on an adjacent tile.   Sounds simple, but it’s a deceivingly complex puzzle!   You should end up with one tab sticking out and all the others covered by tiles.   This one remaining tab that’s left showing should then be covered by the power connector.

Each tile is joined to the next via electrical connectors that can plug into any side of the triangle.   These are a little flexible which makes joining tiles easier.   There are also L shaped connectors that allow you to make patterns that cover two walls, or a wall and a ceiling.

It took us a while to agree on the perfect pattern!  We did this by laying the tiles flat on a large surface and sliding them around until we’d cracked it.   We then placed each of the stickers on the tiles until we’d figured out how to get them all in to place.   This is much easier to do beforehand, and then transfer on to the wall.

I’d suggest taking a photo of the design as it lays flat first too.  Then it’s easier to see where everything goes when it’s attached to the wall.

So, you’ve got them all in place and ready to go – now switch on and you’ll be surprised just how bright the panels actually are.   In fact, we rarely have them at full brightness!

The tiles are initially set up using the Nanoleaf app – available on Apple and Android devices.   Once connected (an easy process), you can then see your pattern on the screen.   This is clever as the tiles know how they’re connected up and report the patter back to the mobile device.

You’re now able to change colours and brightness of the whole pattern or individual tiles.   This is great fun – and it’s surprising what a difference the colours can make to a room.  There are pre-built patterns that come with the app – some of them are static and others change colour over time.  You can also “discover” and download new patterns via the app so the variations available are constantly changing.   By adding the panels to HomeKit you can also use your Apple devices to control the lights.   For example, I can say “Hey Siri, turn the kitchen lights blue” and all of a sudden, we have a blue kitchen!

Now I mentioned this was the Rhythm edition..   Included in the bundle is a small add-on called the Rhythm Module that can be plugged into any tile.   You can then change to Rhythm mode, where the tiles listen to any music playing and change their colour and brightness based on the tempo and volume of the music playing.   It’s your own personal disco!   The effect is quite mesmerising and very impressive – especially in a dark room!

The bundle is $270, however it does go on offer occasionally, so watch out for these.   It’s expensive but makes a big difference to a room and gives you the ability to redecorate every day.   When combined with home automation and voice control, the end result is truly futuristic.

Until next time – I’m heading back to our home disco!