Review: Nanoleaf’s 12-sided HomeKit remote is a novel & clever way to control your smart home

best smart home remotes

Nanoleaf’s Aurora lighting panels are a fan-favorite throughout the tech community. And as they’ve grown in popularity over the past year, Nanoleaf has bolstered the unique smart home product with additional accessories. Last year they announced a new 12-sided HomeKit remote, and now we’ve gotten our hands on Nanoleaf’s latest.

I instantly fell in love with Nanoleaf’s Aurora lights upon their release back in 2016, and last year when they teased the new remote, I eagerly awaited its release. Now over a year later, Nanoleaf is finally shipping its latest smart home accessory.

Having just gotten the HomeKit-enabled remote, today we’ll be going hands-on with the  dodecahedron smart home accessory.

Simple setup |

Adding the new Nanoleaf Remote into your existing smart home setup is just as simple and straightforward as configuring the Aurora panels themselves. As you’d expect, the set up process is completed through the Nanoleaf app, which handles pairing the remote to your phone as well as selecting the scenes which it will activate.

The remote also pairs with HomeKit, which can be used in place of the Aurora app to configure actions and other setup information. In total, you’ll be able to select 12 different scenes, one for each side of the dodecahedron. To help get you up and running more quickly, the Aurora app will automatically assign your first 12 scenes to the remote, which can then be altered to your liking.

Bluetooth is the only means of connectivity here, so you’ll need some sort of hub, or at least hope your smartphone is around someone goes to set a scene. HomeKit users with an Apple TV or HomePod will be covered, and any Amazon Echo device should do the trick as well.

Novel design and clever functionality |

At first glance, Nanoleaf’s remote is an extremely novel way to command your smart home, but how well does it actually accomplish that task? Wonderfully, in my opinion. The remote is a perfect companion to Nanoleaf’s Aurora panels and captures the same charm.

While the remote is specifically made to pair with the Nanoleaf Aurora lights, it can be used to control any other connected devices.

Aside from just changing and activating scenes, the Nanoleaf Remote can also adjust brightness levels. In what may be even more magical than simply rolling to set a scene, rotating the remote clockwise will brighten your lights, while rotating to the right will darken them. It appears as though this feature is only compatible with the Aurora itself, as I wasn’t able to alter my Philips Hue bulbs’ brightness.

I own a few different HomeKit remotes and while they’re great for being able to set a few scenes, I rarely use them outside of giving my roommates and guests the ability to turn the lights on and off.

Nanoleaf’s new option is definitely a more extensive remote with its 12 different customizable actions, and even with just a few days of use, I can already tell I’ll use it way more. Voice commands via Siri work great for the scenes I have memorized, but for the Aurora’s large library of colorful patterns, having the options to quickly swap through them is a major plus.

The only downside is trying to remember which action or scene you have assigned to which number. I plan on picking up some stickers to go along with each number so I can quickly know which side sets my Good Morning scene and which corresponds to my movie lighting setting. Elgato’s HomeKit remote includes an icon sticker sheet, which would be a fantastic addition for Nanoleaf’s remote as well.

As tempting as it may be, Nanoleaf’s remote cannot actually be rolled like a die. The mechanism that holds the batteries in place isn’t sturdy enough to withstand any kind of force, so if the remote takes a fall, you’ll probably have to open it back up to re-insert the batteries. This really isn’t a big issue, but it seems like an easy thing Nanoleaf could have avoided.

A fantastic first impression |

All-in-all, I would definitely recommend Nanoleaf’s dodecagon remote to anyone with a set of Aurora lights.

As far as HomeKit remotes go, this is definitely one of the more appealing options even if you aren’t an adopter of Nanoleaf’s colorful lighting panels. Aside from forgetting which side activates which scene, there aren’t many flaws with its design nor execution.

The remote’s unique design certainly makes it standout amongst other smart home accessories and in my book, its features are equally well-rounded. At $50, Nanoleaf’s HomeKit remote enters with a fairly similar price point to many other options on the market, making it a wonderful little remote that packs all the charm I’ve come to expect from Nanoleaf and a perfect accessory.

Buy the Nanoleaf Remote for $49.99

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