I have a lot of different Nanoleaf sets in my home. I tried canvas sets, shapes, elements and more. So I say this with considerable authority: Nanoleaf’s limited edition Shapes Ultra Black Triangles are the company’s most beautiful set ever. Buy them now while they’re still available.
Here’s what we like
- Anything is better than black
- Easy to install
Nanoleaf is celebrating a year as a company, and for its “Nanoversary” it has released a limited number of Shapes Ultra Black Triangles. If you’re wondering what exactly “limited edition” means, a Nanoleaf representative tells me the company only made 1,000 units worldwide. Are you interested in Nanoleaf? Do you like the pretty pictures you see? Buy them now before they sell out, then come back and finish the rest of the review.
For everyone else, here’s everything you need to know.
Just like other triangles—but better
Nanoleaf has already made a name for itself with some of the most unique and distinguished smart lighting on the market. One of its main product lines is the Shapes sets. They come in large hexagons, triangles and mini triangles. You can buy all three sets and they will combine to create new shapes and designs.
Since those starter kits were released, Nanoleaf has been playing around with how the lights look when they’re off. That’s one of the downsides of most Nanoleaf kits—they’re beautiful when lit, but ugly white when turned off. The Elements line introduced the Hexagons wood look and as a woodworker, I love them. But while the Elements set looks much better unlit than the other Shapes lines, they don’t have all the color options when lit that the various Nanoleaf sets enjoy. You only get shades of white.
The limited edition Shapes Ultra Triangles set has a similar style but is enhanced in the Elements line. When you turn the set off, they are a black color that should look good on almost any wall. And when you turn them on, you get the full color spectrum that the rest of the Shapes line enjoys.
And honestly, black is the best look yet for Nanoleaf lights. The white versions are kind of ugly when you don’t have them on, which is more often than you might expect. After all, who wants huge bright lights in the middle of the night or during a movie? But the color black? It will look great on almost any wall. Nanoleaf has also gone all out – the linkers, mounting plates, controller and even the power supply are all black. The mounting plate won’t even be visible once you’ve installed everything, but it’s a nice touch.
I was worried that the black surface would prevent the lights from looking good, 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 in terms of color instead. They look incredibly lit, and it’s fantastic that you can choose any color instead of just a shade of white.
The downside of Ultra Black is that it is a fingerprint magnet. It’s not as visible as it seems in the pictures, but it’s noticeable when you’re up close. Nanoleaf includes a microfiber cleaning cloth in the box, and you’ll want to use it.
The setup remains the same
If you are familiar with Nanoleaf kits, all you need to know is that nothing has changed in the process. But for everyone else, the good news is that installing Nanoleaf panels on the wall is pretty easy and painless. Getting it off the wall is potentially a different story, but we’ll get into that in a second.
First you need to choose the design in which you want to arrange your triangles. I recommend doing this on the floor—Nanoleaf has a visualizer in their app, but I’ve had no luck with it. Once you’re happy with that, grab one of the included pieces of double-sided mounting tape and stick it to the back of the board. You’ll find a circular bracket on the back, but you don’t want to cover it completely: hang the tape slightly over the edge.
Attach the linker where the other panel will go and the control panel if you want it here. Then just peel off the paper from the tape and stick it to the wall. After that, you will repeat the steps to make your pattern. Just make sure you attach the “next” linker for the “next panel” to the hanging panel. It will make your life easier.
And as for hanging the tape partially from the bracket? This will help you if you need to make changes. You see, Nanoleaf sends a powerful tape to hang your sets. Fully applied, it can easily pull the plaster off the wall if you just try to remove your panels. So if you need to pull them down for any reason, the first thing to do is to pull the edge of the board. This will tear off the mounting plate and reveal the edge of the tape you left open. You can pull it out to safely remove the tape without damaging the wall. It’s a pretty good system that Nanoleaf landed on, and my walls appreciate it.
From there, you’ll be paired with the app, which is a process the business could use.
The app should still work
Nanoleaf’s app (for iOS and Android) gets the job done, but it’s still the weakest point in the company’s offering. Take, for example, setting up a new device. It took me the better part of 45 minutes to actually connect the black triangles to my Nanoleaf account. It either froze in the process or, in one case, replaced another Shapes set in my home.
I ended up getting an error message suggesting I just need to restart the phone, which did the trick. But it took too long. I’ve never been happy with the app as it doesn’t work great for light control. More often than not, it can’t connect to my Nanoleaf sets despite having a Wi-Fi connection and a Thread mesh network between them.
When he connects with them right away, I often see slow responses. I can tap the room group switch and see nothing happens. The same can be true for trying to interact with a set. Sometimes everything will work fine for a week. Then other days, like today, I’ll have trouble connecting any of my Nanoleaf kits to the app.
More often than not, I just use the controllers directly on the lights. They work flawlessly, and once you’ve loaded all the scenes you love, they’re easy to flip through. And despite my complaints about app control, voice control via Google Assistant and Alexa works very well, so that’s my second approach.
The app itself, other than that, looks good. Having groups in rooms is nice and discovering new light scenes is easy. Nanoleaf is always adding more, and user-created light scenes are also appearing in the list. You can create your own scenes and the process is easy, if not boring. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was to skip firing the panel. It would be a great addition to display color highlights and black panels. I doubt Nanoleaf will add that option since this is a limited edition. For now, I’ve decided to limit the gloss to next to nothing on the panels I want to show through as black.
You should buy them before they sell out
Despite my complaints about the application, I love having Nanoleaf panels in my home. I learned to work around the problem with the app, and the lights themselves are beautiful. Whenever I have a guest over, the first thing they ask me is the various Nanoleaf kits they see.
That’s why any set from the company is easy to recommend. But the Ultra Black Triangles set is simply the most beautiful set from Nanoleaf yet. They look amazing when you have scenes breaking through the lights. And even better, they still look amazing when not lit.
My biggest gripe with them (besides the app) is the limited edition. I was told by a Nanoleaf representative that only 1,000 units are available. If you’ve made it this far in your review, you may have waited too long. “Limited Edition” means “once they’re gone, they’re gone.” I hope that doesn’t happen here. I want more of these panels in different shapes. Maybe if these sell fast enough, Nanoleaf will consider making more. A man can dream.
You can buy Shapes Ultra Black Triangles directly from the Nanoleaf site while supplies last. The nine-panel starter kit costs $219.99, while the optional three-panel expansion pack will set you back $69.99.
Here’s what we like
- Anything is better than black
- Easy to install