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Nanoleaf Canvas review

Dancing on the wall...

Nanoleaf Canvas

Features

FEATURE UPDATE: Nanoleaf has added Touch Actions to the Canvas via a new firmware update.

The touch-sensitive panels give you the ability to interact with the lights in a few different ways. The simplest way to interact with Canvas is to touch any panel; this sends out a ripple and the color of the light on that particular panel will change, depending on the scene lighting up the wall.

There are also touch gestures you can use on Canvas. These aren’t dependent on light scenes but can be used to control the lights themselves, like changing scenes, adjusting brightness or turning the Canvas on or off. These can be configured in the app.

A new firmware update rolled out on August 8, 2019, adds another feature to the Canvas that Nanoleaf is calling Touch Actions. This functionality lets you use the panels as smart buttons as well, allowing you to activate your HomeKit scenes and control all your HomeKit enabled devices around the house. For example, a single touch on a particular square can turn your smart lights around the house on, while a touch double press could turn them off. A long press option is also available, and you could use that to change the hue, color or scene of your smart lights.

More than one panel can be assigned to different scenes, making your entire Canvas setup a control panel for your smart home. Setting up Touch Actions is a tad complicated, but it can be found in the Nanoleaf app under the settings pane. A tutorial on Nanoleaf's website (opens in new tab) will walk you through the rest of the setup process.

The touch capacitive nature of the panels also converts Canvas into interactive games. On the app, under the Discover section’s Interactive tab, you’ll find a few games you can play, including Memory, Whack A Mole, PacMan and Game of Life.

If you can think of any other game that can be played on Canvas, or you prefer a color scene not already available on the app, Nanoleaf lets you create those scenes yourself. These get added to the ever-growing library of user-built options available to download for free.

Verdict

It’s quite difficult to criticize a device that has the ability to transform a space, any space – be it an office, a child’s nursery, a study, or a living room. Nanoleaf already had a cool product in the original Light Panels, but the company has definitely come close to perfection with the Canvas.

The Canvas might be an extravagance, but you’ll be hard-pressed to regret that you ever spent money on it. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted more panels to fill your walls (and potentially ceiling) with color and life.

It’s a versatile kit – you can have fun with it, it works well with other mood lighting (in fact, if you have an elaborate setup, the Canvas can replace mood lighting altogether), and it’s transformative. It’s guaranteed to lighten your mood, no matter how bad your day was.

If only Nanoleaf could come up with a better design to make sure the panels peel off a wall without causing any damage...

Sharmishta Sarkar
Sharmishta Sarkar

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (yes, she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing cameras and lenses, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She also contributes to Digital Camera World and T3, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines in Australia.