Nanoleaf’s latest smart bulb apparently offers great brightness, along with a faster and more reliable connection with products like a HomePod mini.
Nanoleaf, an innovative smart light manufacturer, claims its new Essentials LED Bulb uses technology that offers the widest maximum brightest range on the market. Nanoleaf is among the first to use the new Thread protocol of Apple HomeKit and HomePod mini, which may offer more reliable and faster connections. The Essential line is said to be launching in Apple stores, so those interested can see them in person before buying.
Nanoleaf is best known for its line of smart light panels, creating a new trend in lighting with the introduction of the Nanoleaf Aurora in 2016. The unique aspect of the Aurora, now known simply as Light Panels, is that they are a series of interconnected triangular segments that can be arranged in various patterns and the color is controllable for each panel via an app. Nanoleaf Light Panels are somewhat expensive, starting at $200 for a nine-panel set, but are uniquely expressive and appear to be popular.
The latest products from Nanoleaf, called Essentials, include an A19 LED smart bulb for $20 and an 80-inch LED smart lightstrip for $50. Both allow control via Apple HomeKit and the HomePod mini using the Thread protocol, which Nanoleaf describes as having improved reliability and faster connections compared to Bluetooth. However, Bluetooth is still an option and the Essentials line is also compatible with the older HomePod, Apple TV and iPad, when set up as a Home hub. Google Assistant is supported, but not Amazon Alexa. Nanoleaf’s claim of widest maximum brightness range calls for some scrutiny. With a top output of 1100 lumens, which is roughly equivalent to a 75-watt incandescent, a color changing bulb with over 16-million colors can’t compete with a dedicated warm white bulb. In fact, there are other color-changing bulbs on the market with more lumens, so Nanoleaf is likely suggesting its Essentials line has the widest color range while at its brightest setting, though 1100 lumens is still a good level of brightness.
How Smart Bulbs Work
Smart bulbs generally require a smart home hub to bridge communication with a smart speaker or smartphone and that is true of Nanoleaf’s smart lighting products. For some of its smart lights, Amazon Alexa is supported, but for the Essential line, Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant is required. Once added to the home network, the lights can be controlled via an iPhone, HomePod or Apple TV when using HomeKit, or with an Android phone/Google Assistant device. When using a smartphone, an app allows additional programming options, such as changing light color with the rising and setting sun, reinforcing circadian rhythms that scientists say can affect patterns and quality of sleep.
Nanoleaf Essentials are not as exciting as its light panels that can change the color of each segment. Each LED smart bulb and LED smart lightstrip can glow with a single color at a time, but can be changed when desired or set to change automatically. Intensity is also adjustable, so these are not static lights. The much lower pricing, compared to Nanoleaf Light Panels, bring these quality LED smart lights within easy reach of a broader audience, making the Essentials line a nice addition to any smart home.
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