Smart lighting is a pretty popular sector of the smart home, but not all smart lighting are simply bulbs that go in your existing lamps. Enter the Nanoleaf Aurora, it's a modular lighting system from Nanoleaf, which allows you to really add some color to your room(s). It's a set of 9 triangles that can be arranged in just about any design, and it can change colors. The Aurora can be controlled by your smartphone to change the color, the design and much more. During the course of our review, Nanoleaf added support for the Google Assistant. When we first got the Aurora, it was only compatible with Alexa and Siri. Therefore this review will reflect that it is compatible with all three systems.
Let's start with setting up the Aurora. It's really, really simple. You'll want to first put together a design that you like, before you put it up on the wall. Now it is possible to take it down once you've put it on the wall, but it's just easier to settle on a design first. There are connectors that connect the triangles together, allowing it to really be modular. There is also 3M adhesive tape used to attach it to your wall, and you'll be able to take it down without damaging the wall, which is definitely important for those that live in apartments and such. Once you have it all set up, you'll need to download the Nanoleaf app from Google Play (or the Apple App store if you have an iPhone).
The Nanoleaf app is pretty easy to use, and pair with your Aurora. You'll be able name the light - which is important for using with the Google Assistant and Alexa. Within the app, you can choose from a number of pre-made designs for Aurora, and also create your own. There are some really colorful designs available, which can add plenty of color to the room. Users are also able to adjust the brightness (which each panel does up to 100 Lm for brightness), as well as the speed. The design also has different animations available, like flow, wheel, and a few others. I prefer to use "random" myself. The Nanoleaf app also allows you to set a schedule for the Aurora, so you can have it switch to a specific design (brightness, speed and direction too) at a certain time. It could actually work pretty well as an alarm of sorts.
When it comes to the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (we didn't try it with Siri, but it should work just fine), the experiences are a bit different. With Alexa, you can tell her to change the Aurora to a specific design by name. So you can say "Alexa, set Aurora to northern lights" and boom it's done. Although, in my experience, she did have trouble with "Aurora". With Google Assistant, you can tell Google to turn off the lights in whatever room it's in. For me, it's in the living room, so Google would say that it's turning off the lights and say whatever name I set for the Aurora (which you can have a bit of fun with the name, since there is no limits on what you can call it). It's simple to set up with either Alexa or the Google Assistant, you basically just need to connect it to your Nanoleaf account and you're all set.
Design-wise, there's not a whole lot you can do with just 9 panels here. But Nanoleaf does sell expansion packs which will give you 3 more panels that you can add on. And if you buy enough expansion packs, you can really create some interesting designs with Aurora. The expansion packs are usually around $60, and the starter kit (with the remote) is around $200. So these aren't cheap at all, but they will last you quite a while. Nanoleaf quotes around 25,000 hours. Obviously we couldn't test that in our review period, but everything looks good so far. For some of the more technical specs, each panel has a color temperature range of 1200K to 6500K. There are 16.7 million colors available, and it's only compatible with 2.4GHz WiFi networks.
The Nanoleaf Aurora isn't one of those smart lights that's going to be popular because it turns your existing lamps into smart ones, but it will make a dull, boring room a bit more exciting. It's great for adding to an entertainment system, or even to a gaming setup. The Nanoleaf Aurora has been available for quite some time already, but they are still adding new features, and have a pretty robust roadmap planned for Aurora, so it's good to also see that it is still being supported and worked on.