Nanoleaf Ultra Black Shapes review the limited-edition RGB wonders

Nanoleaf Ultra Black Shapes review the limited-edition RGB wonders ...

Nanoleaf Ultra Black Shapes are stunning wall decorations you may personalize, but its difficult to notice how much they appear like an unfilled light when the RGB isnt brightening up the room. Although I never expected to criticize this particular aspect of them, they set a new standard for what wall hangings should be like when the lights go dark.

The Ultra Black Shapes are a limited-edition set made to commemorate Nanoleaf's ten-year anniversary. In fact, they are so limited that they are already sold out in the United States at the time of writing, and stock is dwindling in other areas as well, so get yours while supplies last.

It may not surprise you to learn that the Ultra Black shapes are also quite limited compared to the other Shapes members. There will be no hexagons or mini triangles here, although you may purchase them as a starter pack of nine for $219.99 / 199.99 or an optional expansion pack of three panels for $69.99 USD / 69.99, which is quite a lot more expensive than their white counterparts.

ProsCons
  • Looks like a work of art
  • Surprisingly bright
  • Supports lots of panels
  • App setup is clunky
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Difficult to buy
  • Looks like a work of art
  • Surprisingly bright
  • Supports lots of panels
  • App setup is clunky
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Difficult to buy
  • Looks like a work of art
  • Surprisingly bright
  • Supports lots of panels
  • App setup is clunky
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Difficult to buy

Nanoleaf Ultra Black Shapes design

Ultra Black Shapes are almost identical to the original triangles, from their 100mm height and 115mm width to the way each panel connects to one another. The wire contrasts much better against darker walls and ceilings, as well.

I can confirm that all of the previous Shapes and their accessories work with the Ultra Black model. I've struggled to envision a way in which white panels would work with just how sleek these darker counterparts are, trust me, I tried a few combinations but you can mix and match to your heart's desire if you're a little more creative than myself.

With the included sticky strips, the panels are fantastically easy to mount, but youll want to start with the most efficient technique of measuring the triangles flat in front of you, but Nanoleaf has a layout assistant for those who are short of space. Its not the most cooperative helper since its in beta, but it did make it much easier to pick a layout I like.

The matte black finish is a fingerprint magnet that, unlike the white version, keeps the grime off the display, although it might be an issue if your finger slips when using the physical controller.

Nanoleaf Ultra Black Shapes RGB

The original Nanoleaf Shapes are some of the best RGB LEDs Ive ever used, but white is naturally more effective at reflecting light. While its a bit dimmer, it makes up for it with a richer contrast and deeper saturation. Full brightness is still a bit too much if you have them in front of the best camera.

There are a few ways to utilize the RGB lighting. First, there's the integrated controller that you can mount onto the side of your panels, but you can't customize your scenes using it, and it requires you to get out of your gaming chair. Next, there are the desktop apps for Windows and Mac, and the mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Im saying that using the Android app is the easiest way to set things up, although im using it fairly loosely. Grabbing the QR code with your smartphone camera is more convenient and it then piggybacks off your mobile internet connection, but the app is clunky and either crashes or hangs on a loading screen many times before it accepts its destiny of hooking you up. This has happened to me many times when setting up Shapes across different houses and routers, and it's unfortunately something you'll just have

Once the Nanoleaf Ultra Black Shapes are connected to your WiFi, you're good to go and may even use the desktop app without any extra effort. There's a small learning curve when it comes to setting up scenes, choosing whether you want to use colors, simulate music, or mirror what's on your gaming monitor or TV, but you can save presets so you don't have to go through the hassle every time you turn on the device.

The last thing to note is that each panel is touch reactive, flickering when you press against it. If you tinker with the settings enough, you can probably create a game of whack-a-mole. Once the thrill of having it for the first time wears off, I find it a bit gimmicky but I think it's better to have it and not have it.

Verdict

Nanoleaf Ultra Black Shapes are some of the finest RGB wall lights money can get right now, despite their large investment. Certainly, I like the way Nanoleaf is more conscious than ever of how the lights look while they're off and I intend to see more in the same vein as these (and the wood-like Nanoleaf Elements) going forward.

I hope that Nanoleaf will reintroduce these to the roster at some point in the future, as they may prefer the exclusivity and feel a sense of pride in owning a kit when they're unavailable. It's a shame for people to lose out on something for the very small reason.

In our Nanoleaf Ultra Black Shapes giveaway, we're giving US people one last chance to get a Smarter kit. This is also open to anyone in the United Kingdom, so grab yours while you can!

Nanoleaf Ultra Black Shapes

One of the finest RGB wall decorations you can buy that looks stunning whether the lights are on or off, provided you grab them before the exclusivity period ends.