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Nanoleaf is a well-known brand in the smart lighting industry, and their Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons are one of their latest offerings. These light panels are designed to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any room while providing customisable lighting options.

Popular among gamers, I don’t think there is a product that can really compete with Nanoleaf, and this, therefore, allows them to charge a premium for their products, much like Philips Hue.

Specification / Features

  • Dimensions:
    • Height Per Panel: 7.75 in / 20 cm
    • Width Per Panel: 9 in / 23 cm
    • Edge Thickness: 0.24 in / 0.6 cm
    • Mounted Thickness: 0.39 in / 1 cm
    • Weight Per Panel: 0.46 lb / 208 g
    • Cable Length: 8.2 ft / 2.5 m
  • Features
    • Connect+: Yes, Shapes panels are designed to work together.
    • Touch Control: Yes
    • Music Sync: Yes
    • Screen Mirror: Yes
  • General
    • Luminous Flux Per Panel: 100 lumens
    • Lifetime: 25,000 hours
    • Communication Protocol: WiFi (2.4 GHz b/g/n)
    • Dimmability: Yes (via Nanoleaf App, Voice, Touch)
    • Mounting Type: Via included double-sided tape or screw mounts (screws and anchors not included)
    • Nanoleaf App: Control via the Nanoleaf App (Android & iOS) for mobile/tablet or the Nanoleaf Desktop App (Windows & Mac).
    • Compatibility: Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, IFTTT, Nanoleaf Remote, SmartThings, Razer Chroma
  • Colour
    • Colour Temperature: 1200K – 6500K
    • Colour Channel Configuration: RGBW
    • Colour Capability: More than 16 million
    • Colour Rendering Index (CRI): 80
  • Power
    • Voltage: 100VAC ~ 120VAC
    • Max Power Supply Power: 42W
    • Max Energy Consumption Per Panel: 2W
    • Max Panels per Power Supply: 21 hexagons per 42W PSU
    • Max Panels per Controller: 500 Hexagons

The Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons are light panels that can be mounted on the wall to create various designs and patterns. They feature a matte black finish that gives them a sleek and modern look. The panels are touch-sensitive, allowing users to control the lights with a simple touch. They also support voice control through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri.

The panels use Wi-Fi to connect to the Nanoleaf app, which allows users to customise the lighting effects, create scenes, and schedule the lights to turn on and off at specific times. The app also includes a music visualiser that syncs the lights to the beat of the music.

Thread Border Router

One of the standout features of the Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons is their compatibility with Thread, a new networking protocol designed for smart home devices. Thread allows for faster and more reliable connectivity between devices, and it also enables the panels to act as a border router for other Thread-enabled devices.

The Thread Border Router  functionality of the panels is also important as it allows you to integrate the Nanoleaf Essentials range of products without a third party Thread Border Router .


The Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons come in a starter kit that includes nine panels, nine mounting plates, nine linkers, a power supply, and a controller. The panels are packaged securely in foam to prevent damage during shipping. The kit also includes a quick start guide and a design guide to help users create their own custom designs.

Set up with Nanoleaf App

Setting up the Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons is a straightforward process. Users first need to download the Nanoleaf app and create an account. Then, they can connect the panels to the power supply and controller and mount them on the wall using the included mounting plates and linkers.

One issue I had was the clip on connectors for the panels didn’t clip in place very securely so it is quite easy for a panel to get detached when you are trying to mount them on the wall.

Once the panels are mounted, users can connect them to the app by scanning the QR code on the controller. The app will then guide users through the process of connecting the panels to their Wi-Fi network and updating the firmware.

App Settings

The Nanoleaf app offers a wide range of customisation options for the Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons. Users can choose from a variety of lighting effects, including colour scenes, rhythm scenes, and group scenes. They can also create their own custom scenes by selecting specific colors and animations for each panel.

The app also includes a schedule feature that allows users to set the lights to turn on and off at specific times. This can be useful for creating a wake-up routine or simulating occupancy when away from home.

Integrating with Home Assistant with Thread and Apple HomeKit

One of the unique features of the Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons is their compatibility with Thread, a new networking protocol designed for smart home devices that is similar to the popular Zigbee protocol. Thread allows for faster and more reliable connectivity between devices, and it also enables the panels to act as a border router for other Thread-enabled devices.

In the past, I have reviewed the Aqara Door and Windows Sensor P2, which uses Matter over Thread. This would be the ideal combination of smart home protocols and standards as both are open source and can be integrated with any Thread/Matter-enabled hub.

For Nanoleaf, it lacks Matter, so you, therefore, have to use HomeKit or another ecosystem such as SmartThings.

The panels can also be integrated with Home Assistant, the open-source home automation platform. This allows users to control the panels alongside other smart home devices and create complex automation routines. You can do this either via HomeKit or native Nanoleaf support.

I have the Home Assistant SkyConnect dongle, so both Nanoleaf and Home Assistant act as a thread border router, improving the reliability of the network as a whole.

Nanoleaf Desktop App / Overwolf  / Razer Chroma

Nanoleaf also offers multiple ways of integrating your lights with a PC, which differentiates them from your typical smart lighting solution.

The lights are compatible with Razer Chroma, which is also true for Philips Hue, Twinkly and Govee, and this allows you to synchronise all the Razer Chroma-compatible peripherals and lights with your games.  

My set up can’t do the Nanoleaf and Razer Chroma integration justice. The following YouTube video shows a good demonstration.

But, they also have their own app, which can synchronise your lights with what’s on your display.

For gaming, they have the Overwolf app which will sync your games with your Nanoleaf RGB lights via the Nanoleaf desktop app for the ultimate immersive gaming experience.

A simpler solution that works well for movies and any other video content is screen mirroring.

This works as expected. The app attempts to match what’s on your display with the lighting effects. I have the Samsung C49RG90 49-inch super ultrawide monitor with a resolution of 5120 x 1440. The Nanoleaf app knows the shape I have designed for the Hexagons, and I can drag the lights into the section of the screen I want to mirror.

You then have four lighting options: 4D, tranquillity, flow, and chameleon.

When you are not gaming or watching content, you can assign static colours to your lights or download one of the many scenes that are available under the Discover tab. This includes animated scenes under the motions tab.


Sadly, it is not my set up but my messy office can’t do Nanoleaf justice

The Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons are a joy to use. The touch-sensitive panels are responsive, and the lighting effects are vibrant and customisable. The app is intuitive and easy to use, and the schedule feature works reliably.

The lights are not overly bright, so they definitely work best as accent lighting rather than ambient.

They have always been geared towards PC gamers, and this is where Nanoleaf excels. You have three different options for synchronising your lights with your display, which makes them superior to Philips Hue or Govee in this scenario.

One downside of Nanoleaf is that it is not easy to synchronise your lights with a home theatre set-up if you are using something like a Nvidia Shield or FireTV. Philips Hue has an HDMI sync box, and Govee has a similar product. You’d have to use a mini PC to achieve this with Nanoleaf.

One minor criticism that is likely an issue with light panels, in general, is the inconsistent lighting effect on the panel. The lighting appears to be from 6 LED light sources at each of the six corners of the hexagon. This, therefore, causes the panel to have slightly darker and brighter spots. The panels would need to be much thicker with an array of LEDs to overcome this problem, which would inevitably make them much more expensive.

Price and Alternative Options

The Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons starter kit with 9 panels has an RRP of £180, but at the time of writing, it was available from Nanoleaf for £144. Nanoleaf is by far the best brand on the market for this type of product, and the Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons are no exception.

You can expand these with more Hexagons, which cost £50 for 3, and you can get creative and integrate different shaped Shapes with the system with Triangles and Mini Triangles.

The Mini Triangle Expansion 10 Pack is £90 and the Triangle 2 pack is £50.

The best alternative is probably the Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels, which are available for £130 and include 10 panels. However, the Govee panels have limited third-party support, with no Thread/Matter/HomeKit compatibility. Govee is compatible with Razer Chroma, though, so they are a good choice for gaming setups.


The Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a more creative form of lighting in comparison to the ubiquitous light strips and smart bulbs.

The panels are well-designed, easy to use, and offer a wide range of customisation options. The compatibility with Thread and HomeKit is a bonus, making them a versatile option for any smart home setup.

While the price may be higher than some other options, the Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons’ quality and features make them well worth the investment.

Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons Review


The Nanoleaf Shapes Ultra Black Hexagons are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a more creative form of lighting than the ubiquitous light strips and smart bulbs. While they are expensive, there is nothing that can really compete with the Nanoleaf product range or feature set.

  • Overall - 85%


  • No competing options on the market that have the range of decorative panels as Nanoleaf
  • The best brand for anyone wanting to synchronise lights with gaming
  • Thread Border Router
  • Apple HomeKit support


  • Expensive
  • No easy way to synchronise lights with a home theatre setup (without a PC/mini PC)

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