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Nanoleaf Light Panels and Rhythm Module Review

Move Over, Neon: These LED Light Panels Change Color With Your Voice (and Your Music!)

It's time to retire those neon signs and upgrade to an altogether new type of hip, customizable lighting: LED panels. There's one particular product that we're absolutely in love with right now, and it's called the Nanoleaf Light Panels. What rockets the Light Panels above and beyond any of its competitors is its sheer ease of use and the amazing range of functions — oh, and did I mention that you can control it with your favorite smart home companion, using only your voice? And that it has an optional add-on that enables you to have an in-home light show that matches up with your favorite music? OK, I'll admit it: I'm addicted. And here are the very good reasons why that is.

It's so damn easy.

The Smarter Kit comes with nine panels, a ton of connectors to join the panels together, a free Rhythm Module (more on this later), and adhesive pads to install them wherever you choose within your home. From there, all you need to do is pick the configuration of your dreams and plug the cord in, and voila: you've got your very own light show coming to you live from your wall.

It's all controlled by an app — and your voice.

It's well-documented that everything in my house is now controlled by Alexa, and the Nanoleaf Light Panels are no exception to that rule. While I use it to turn the unit on and off and do some of the most fun party tricks I've ever pulled off in my home, I do spend a lot of time mucking about in the app and playing with the color schemes and patterns to get the perfect look to match my mood. But it's all intuitive; there's nothing about the app that requires any prior knowledge of home design or lighting — it just does what you want it to do.

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It can light up an entire room.

Honestly, I was stunned by how bright the LED panels could actually get — and when I set them to a warm, yellow tone, it's the perfect backdrop for whatever I'm doing on my computer or phone. It's also easy to set the colors to match your other smart lights or custom lighting products — the only difficult part here is deciding what you want at any given time.

The optional Rhythm Module is a game-changer.

The Nanoleaf Rhythm Module comes with the Smarter Kit, but should you decide to test before you buy, you can always add it in later. And boy, do I recommend it. The add-on is basically a microphone that allows the panels to translate the sounds in your home into visuals. You just select the color scheme, and boom: if you're watching TV, it matches the patter of the dialogue. If you're listening to music, it shows you the rhythm in real time. I was skeptical of this at first — what sets this apart from older light-show tech? — but I was completely sold after testing it out with a variety of music, from jazz to classic rock. All I can say is that it's an absolutely hypnotizing experience — and one that I've now found to be a key way to relax after hours.

All told, if you're looking for the perfect accent piece for your living room or bedroom, I can't recommend the Nanoleaf Light Panels highly enough — and here's hoping that 2018 is the year in which we all realize how amazing LED home products such as this one truly are.

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