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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

One of the best good out of doors string mild: Nanoleaf versus LIFX

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I’ve tried a number of other ways to mild up the patio in my yard so I can take pleasure in sitting exterior into the wee hours. All the things from fairy lights to path lights to plain string lights has been wrapped across the myrtles or dug into the borders. However none have survived greater than a few scorching South Carolina summers. So, I used to be excited to check two new good out of doors string lights from Nanoleaf and Lifx.

The Nanoleaf Matter Smart Multicolor Outdoor String Lights ($129.99 for a 49-foot string with 20 bulbs) and Lifx Outdoor SuperColor String Lights ($129 for a 24-foot mild string with 12 bulbs) each characteristic individually addressable full-color and tunable white LED bulbs and are able to gradient lighting results. This makes them tremendous versatile. I can have a inexperienced and gold-themed St. Paddy’s Day occasion in March, a crimson, white, and blue-themed Fourth of July bash, and a stunning gentle candlelight white for dinner al fresco anytime. 

Each are suitable with all main smart home platforms, so I can set the lights on schedules, management them with voice instructions, and have them activate when the patio door opens utilizing a contact sensor. Most significantly, each these manufacturers’ string lights are significantly sturdy. After watching them survive a cracking spring storm final week, I’m hopeful that these might be a extra everlasting answer to illuminating my yard.

I examined the Lifx and Nanoleaf head-to-head over two weeks. Learn on to see which got here out on prime and which might be a great match to your backyard this summer season.

Design and construct high quality: Lifx appears to be like good, however Nanoleaf is so sparkly!

These are usually not your mom’s string lights. Nanoleaf and Lifx have gone for daring industrial design, with Nanoleaf constructing on its dodecahedron heritage to supply a beautiful mild bulb. The faceted face creates a stunning impact that appears like a crystal hanging from my bushes and is dazzling even when off.

Lifx has gone for an ultra-modern, Tron-style look — a tubular form with a stick of sunshine inside. They’re trendy however with much less aptitude than Nanoleaf’s. I do like that the Lifx bulbs connect on to the string and don’t dangle as far down because the Nanoleaf, making a cleaner look. This makes the Lifx a more sensible choice for hanging alongside a construction just like the wall of a porch. 

Each lights really feel strong and sturdy, and the acrylic bulbs don’t break when dropped. The cables and plugs are equally tremendous heavy-duty, being weatherproof and holding as much as tough dealing with throughout set up. Neither gives replaceable bulbs, but when a bulb goes unhealthy, each string lights are coated beneath two-year warranties.

Lifx tunable white mild goes right down to a stunning heat glow — a lot softer than Nanoleaf’s.

Gentle high quality: Lifx has severe vary

The Lifx’s shade rendering and tunable white mild are very spectacular. With a shade rendering index (CRI) of 90 and white mild that goes from wealthy, heat candlelight at 1500 Kelvins to an icy blue cool white at 9000 Kelvins, the Lifx has higher shade and a broader vary of white than Nanoleaf (80CRI and 2700K to 6500K). 

Lifx on the left, Nanoleaf on the proper.

Its colours are additionally extra saturated; crimson on the Lifx is actually crimson, whereas on the Nanoleaf, it’s extra pink and softer. However whereas brighter is often higher in a light-weight bulb, I’d argue that accent mild in your backyard is one place you most likely don’t want to go for the brightest. 

Lighting results and options: Lifx’s shade mixing is mind-bending

Every Lifx bulb has three addressable zones that mix collectively in an virtually magical approach. It’s laborious to pinpoint which shade you’re seeing; as an alternative, it’s only a gentle ambiance, a welcome change from jarring multicolor results on most addressable lighting I’ve examined.

Whereas the Nanoleaf bulbs can solely present one shade at a time per bulb, the lower glass design does create an array of various shades. Nanoleaf’s scenes also can cycle via totally different colours to offer the same impact to the Lifx, however Lifx’s know-how is best.

Lifx’s shade mixing is technically very spectacular. (Sure. Photographing lights at night time is tough.)

Lifx additionally has extra choices for flashier results. Choices like twinkle, shade cycle, strobe, and morph created a enjoyable ambiance on my patio, and I might regulate options like pace, colours, and route. Lifx has an honest library of colourful lighting designs and I actually just like the artwork sequence impressed by items similar to Van Gogh’s The Starry Evening.  

Nonetheless, Nanoleaf has many extra designs to select from, together with tons of of user-generated ones. A handful had been created only for the string lights; my favorites had been Sundown Sky, which cycled via heat reds and oranges, and Twilight, with crisp whites and gentle grays.

I might create my very own designs in each apps, with Lifx’s being the simplest to make use of. Nanoleaf’s app is messy and crashes lots, however its new AI scene generator makes it simpler to create new designs with out struggling via the app.

Lifx’s app additionally has primary features like setting schedules, which is frustratingly not an choice with Nanoleaf — to set a schedule, you might want to use a third-party good house platform.

That’s a lotta lights! The Nanoleafs are available most of 147 ft with 60 bulbs (that is 98 ft with 40 bulbs).

Value: Nanoleaf is cheaper and longer

Whereas each string lights begin at $130, for that Nanoleaf provides you 20 bulbs on virtually 50 ft in comparison with simply 12 bulbs over 24 ft on the Lifx (30 ft together with the ability twine). The Lifx are nearer collectively, although, at 23 inches aside in comparison with 28 inches for Nanoleaf. 

Nanoleaf is the higher deal, particularly for a big space like my patio. The 98-foot string with 40 bulbs is $200, and the 147-foot string with 60 bulbs is $300. As compared, the utmost size of the Lifx — three strings collectively, totaling 74 ft and 36 bulbs — prices virtually $400. 

I put in the Nanoleaf and Lifx the identical distance from my router. The Lifx related simply however the Nanoleaf struggled.

Connectivity and compatibility: Nanoleaf has extra connection choices, however Lifx is extra dependable (to date)

The Nanoleaf and Lifx lights work over 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. Whereas the Lifx related simply, I struggled to get the Nanoleaf on the identical community, though each lights had been arrange in the identical location. Ultimately, transferring the router nearer to the Nanoleaf labored.

Each lights will work with Apple Residence, Google Residence, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings. As a part of Nanoleaf’s Matter Essentials line, the Nanoleaf string lights connect with good house platforms by way of Matter-over-Wi-Fi. This implies it really works with any Matter-compatible platform. Nonetheless, you have to a Matter controller to connect.

Lifx depends on particular person integrations with every platform, so it really works with fewer however doesn’t require any extra {hardware}. Lifx says a firmware improve will deliver the choice of Matter-over-Wi-Fi compatibility later this yr.

As is par for the course with Matter and me, it took a number of makes an attempt to get the Nanoleaf lights onto a Matter platform. I wasn’t in a position to join in any respect utilizing my iPhone 15. Ultimately, with a Samsung Galaxy S22 I related to SmartThings and, from there, efficiently shared the lights with Apple Residence and Amazon Alexa utilizing Matter’s multi-admin feature. You don’t have to make use of Matter with the Nanoleaf; you possibly can join on to the Nanoleaf app over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, however you have to Matter for good house integrations.

Coloration-changing lights are a enjoyable addition to the backyard.

Each these string lights will make spring sparkle

These are each very good string lights. They’re costly however constructed to final. Whereas Lifx has higher lighting results and an easier-to-use app, the Nanoleaf has the sting by way of general look. The bulb form is simply attractive and appears so good in my yard. Whereas not as vivid as Lifx, the whites and colours present greater than sufficient richness and heat for ambient out of doors lighting. Lifx’s results and shade mixing are very spectacular, however Nanoleaf’s gentle, sparkly glow gained me over. Plus, it’s extra inexpensive. 

Each Lifx and Nanoleaf produce other good out of doors lighting choices, so you possibly can sync their lighting results throughout your complete panorama. Nonetheless, Philips Hue has the most important out of doors choice (though, surprisingly, no string lights).

There are additionally different choices for good string lights, together with these from Govee, Twinkly, and Wiz. However these are all the standard spherical bulb shapes. Nanoleaf and Lifx have added distinctive twists to the out of doors string mild look, and each have accomplished it very effectively.

Pictures by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

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