Nanoleaf in June unveiled its new Elements Wood Look Hexagons, which are a departure from all of the prior light panels that Nanoleaf has designed. The Nanoleaf Elements feature a textured wood-like material that can be lit up with cool or warm white light, and when off, they appear to be simple wood panels, offering a more natural look than the white plastic of prior versions.

nanoleaf elements night time
The Nanoleaf Elements panels are not real wood and are still made from a plastic material, but there is a wood-like veneer. When not lit up, the Nanoleaf Elements look reasonably enough like wood from a distance, and it's definitely a different aesthetic than the plain plastic of other Nanoleaf light panels.

nanoleaf wood design
Whenever I do a Nanoleaf review there are always comments about what the white plastic looks like when not activated, so people who find that tacky may prefer this more subtle wood look that better blends into the home when the lights are not turned on. It's softer, calmer, and less obtrusive than the bright colors of other Nanoleaf options.

nanoleaf wood design lights off
Since the Nanoleaf Elements have a wood finish, Nanoleaf has limited them to shades of white light. Unlike other Nanoleaf products, these can only be set to temperatures between 1500K (warm yellow light) and 4000K (cool blue light). There is no option to choose colors, which makes these a much more subtle lighting option than the standard Hexagons and other light panels.

nanoleaf wall white light
I like color so I'm a big fan of Nanoleaf's standard light panels that can be set to millions of colors, but I do appreciate the soft lighting look of the Nanoleaf Elements. Since there's a wood pattern veneer over the lights, these panels do not get as bright as the standard panels and they're best for accent lighting. They provide enough light to replace a lamp that's on the dimmer side, but you're not going to be able to use them for any kind of task lighting.

nanoleaf yellow light wall
The Nanoleaf Elements have a true hexagon shape with an LED in each corner, and each LED can be individually controlled in scenes and designs, which is a departure from other Nanoleaf light panels. Because each LED can be controlled, you can make one part of a panel brighter than another, which adds another dimension of interest to the plain warm/cool lighting schemes.

nanoleaf lighting pattern
I have trouble noticing this feature when just creating a standard static lighting scene, but it's more obvious when trying to make different effects like a fire-style light or a flickering candle-like light. It makes the lighting patterns of the Nanoleaf Elements distinctly different than standard Nanoleaf panels.

nanoleaf app scene creator
Design wise, the Nanoleaf Elements Hexagons are identical to the Nanoleaf Hexagon and Triangle light panels released last year, offering the simple snap-in linking and the removable mounting plate that makes it much easier to get them off of the wall. The Hexagons come with the mounting plate already in place, so you just have to remove the adhesive backing and stick them to the wall in your desired pattern. If you don't know what you want, the Nanoleaf app has a useful Layout Assistant for generating designs.

nanoleaf panel design
Nanoleaf Elements connect to a home through a 2.4GHz WiFi connection and use HomeKit, so setup is as simple as scanning a ‌HomeKit‌ code. All of the panels are the same in functionality, but there's power connector that you need to plug in somewhere and a control module, which also has some touch based control options.

nanoleaf connector
Aside from the different veneer and the white light only color options, the Elements are otherwise identical to other Nanoleaf products. They're controlled through the Nanoleaf app (though can also be turned on/off through ‌HomeKit‌ and you can use them in ‌HomeKit‌ scenes), and there are features like touch responsiveness, rhythm music syncing to make them activate while music is playing, and more.

nanoleaf app main interface
They're designed to use Elements-specific scenes, but Nanoleaf has a wide selection of community-sourced scenes for its other panels, so there is a built-in feature for converting any standard scene into an Elements scene, which works okay. It's all white light, so sometimes it's hard to tell a difference between scenes, but the Nanoleaf-created scenes are unique.

nanoleaf convert pattern
I've been using Nanoleaf panels since the first Aurora triangles came out years ago, and they're still some of my favorite HomeKit-enabled lights. There are occasional connectivity issues with most ‌HomeKit‌ products, but even my original panels are still functioning like new years later and my Nanoleaf experience has always been largely hassle free. The Nanoleaf Elements are no exception and have worked well during the weeks that I have tested them.

nanoleaf white light
Nanoleaf recently added Thread border router support to its Elements panels, offering improved connectivity compared to Bluetooth and WiFi. Thread is a low power mesh network for smart devices, communicating with other Thread-enabled devices and boosting signals between them. Many modern smart home devices are adding Thread integration, so it's great to see Nanoleaf adopting the technology as well.

nanoleaf warm light

Bottom Line

The Nanoleaf Elements are quite different from Nanoleaf's prior products and may appeal to a new audience - those who are looking for a more subtle ambient lighting solution that looks good on or off.

The wood paneling design looks attractive even if the Nanoleaf Elements are not activated, and the individual LED control offers unique functionality you won't get with other Nanoleaf products. That said, these are not going to appeal to those who love the vibrant colors of the standard Nanoleaf products, and I do feel that the cost is prohibitive at $300 for seven panels. Comparatively, the Hexagons are $200, so Nanoleaf's more refined, and grown-up lighting panels are going to cost you more money.

How to Buy

A set of seven Nanoleaf Elements panels can be purchased from the Nanoleaf website for $299.99. Three panel expansion packs can be bought for $99.99.

Note: Nanoleaf provided MacRumors with a set of Nanoleaf Elements for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Top Rated Comments

||\|| Avatar
11 months ago
The cord hanging down kills it for me.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DrKarl Avatar
11 months ago
The lava lamp of the 2020's. :rolleyes:
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
testcard Avatar
11 months ago

Honest question - why does this even exist? I’ve never understood the appeal. It’s certainly not for me but I feel that I’m missing out on some bigger reason people buy into this stuff.
I could be wrong here, but I understand Nanoleaf provides a portal into a parallel universe. Or I’ve misread the instructions.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blen Avatar
11 months ago
Honest question - why does this even exist? I’ve never understood the appeal. It’s certainly not for me but I feel that I’m missing out on some bigger reason people buy into this stuff.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Joniz Avatar
11 months ago

How old are you? And do you own your own house?
Younger people (younger 40 or 50) frequently don't care much about decoration and subtle appearance. And that's fine IF they are saving their money for the future (admittedly a big if...). I spent my 20s sleeping on a bare mattress on the floor of a tiny studio apartment.
I must’ve screwed up, because I had two kids and owned a home in my 20s, and we had nice things on the wall that cost next to nothing because we were a long, long way from well-off. Heck, we were pretty darn poor by today’s standards.

As someone else pointed out, these are the modern-day lava lamps and already look dated today.

Just because it’s expensive doesn’t make it tasteful.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
richpjr Avatar
11 months ago
"Attractive accent lighting" - that is certainly a subjective claim. Beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. My eyes say yuk.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

2022 golf r blue

All-New Golf GTI and Golf R Headline VW's 2022 Lineup With Wireless CarPlay on Many Trims

Tuesday December 14, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
Volkswagen has been working on rolling out support for wireless CarPlay across its lineup, and the carmaker recently invited me out to Asheville, North Carolina, for a look at the redesigned Mk8 Golf GTI and Golf R hatchbacks, as well as the refreshed Jetta and the rest of the 2022 lineup. 2022 Golf R Given that I've previously looked at VW's MIB3 infotainment platforms with wireless CarPlay...
woolnut airpods max review

Review: Woolnut's Leather Case for AirPods Max is a Suitable, But Not Perfect All-In-One Travel Solution

Thursday December 16, 2021 8:22 am PST by
Apple's AirPods Max Smart Case is sufficient for the high-end headphones in day-to-day use. When traveling or out and about, however, the case can be problematic given the headphones' canopy remains exposed and prone to be easily damaged when put in a bag or handled with little care. Woolnut's Leather Case aims to provide customers an easy way to store their AirPods Max while traveling or as...
nanoleaf lines music

Review: Nanoleaf's HomeKit-Enabled Lines Offer Futuristic Accent Lighting

Monday November 8, 2021 2:32 pm PST by
Nanoleaf, known for its HomeKit-enabled accent lights, recently launched its most futuristic and modern looking lighting product yet - Lines. Lines are modular LED light bars that are illuminated at the back and can be arranged into different patterns and shapes for a unique design. Prior Nanoleaf products have all been panels in various shapes with LED lights in the corners, but the Lines...
mophie charger 1

Review: Mophie's 3-in-1 MagSafe Charger is Great for Travel

Wednesday March 2, 2022 12:56 pm PST by
Mophie in January introduced the 3-in-1 MagSafe Travel Charger, an official MagSafe accessory that directly competes with Apple's MagSafe Duo. Unlike the MagSafe Duo, Mophie's Travel Charger can charge three devices at once rather than two, plus it comes with an included power adapter, USB-C cable, and carrying case. Priced at $150, or $20 more than the $130 MagSafe Duo, the 3-in-1 Travel...
finis smart goggle

Review: FINIS Smart Goggle Tracks Your Swim Workouts and Integrates With Apple Health

Thursday December 30, 2021 10:16 am PST by
I've been a swimmer for as long as I can remember, so I jumped at a recent opportunity to try out the FINIS Smart Goggle, a pair of swim goggles with a small display inside and sensors to help track your swims and keep on top of your metrics even while your head is underwater. The FINIS Smart Goggle kit, developed in partnership with Ciye, is priced at $235 (on sale for $188 as of this...
anker 535 front

Review: Anker's 535 Portable Power Station Keeps Your Devices Running While You're Off the Grid

Friday March 11, 2022 12:02 pm PST by
At CES earlier this year, Anker introduced the 535 Portable Power Station, the latest entrant in its PowerHouse lineup of large portable batteries for supporting electronic devices while camping, during power outages, and in other situations where you're off the grid. I've had a bit of time to test out the $500 Anker 535, and it delivers a handy set of connectivity options for charging up a...
momentmagsafe

Review: Moment Offers Useful MagSafe Accessories for Photographers

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:55 am PST by
Moment is best known for its line of lenses designed for iPhones, but the company also makes all kinds of other accessories that are designed to improve the iPhone experience. With the launch of MagSafe, Moment designed MagSafe friendly cases and accessories that are useful for those who want to use Moment lenses or photography equipment like tripods with their iPhones. Moment's...
meross smart lighting review

Review: Meross Offers Affordable, Hub-Free HomeKit Smart Lighting Solutions

Monday February 28, 2022 7:47 am PST by
Meross makes a wide range of HomeKit-compatible smart home devices for multiple regions around the world, including garage door openers, air purifiers, smart plugs, and more. With Meross's smart LED bulb, LED light strip, ambient light, and desk lamp, I was able to create a HomeKit lighting setup to put the company's smart home accessories to the test. Compared to its direct competitors,...

Popular Stories

iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
airpodsprodesign

Kuo: AirPods, MagSafe Battery Pack, and Other Apple Accessories Also to Switch to USB-C in Future

Sunday May 15, 2022 5:59 am PDT by
Earlier this week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple plans to release at least one iPhone 15 model with a USB-C port in 2023. Now, in a follow-up tweet, he has claimed that accessories like AirPods, the MagSafe Battery Pack, and the Magic Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad trio would also switch to USB-C in the "foreseeable future." Both the iPhone and all of the aforementioned...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday May 16, 2022 9:57 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5, the fifth major update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5 comes more than two months after the release of tvOS 15.4, an update that brought support for captive WiFi networks. tvOS 15.5 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple...