Aqara & Nanoleaf Face Off With New Ceiling Lights

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Previously, colour-changing smart lighting has been limited to use on table lamps, the occasional recessed can light, or lighting up underneath cabinets.

Now, Aqara and Nanoleaf have each revealed new smart ceiling lights, to provide more choices for lighting up a home.

Smart fixtures, which are usually hardwired to the home’s electrical wiring, allow the user to add tuneable white and colour-changing lighting to spaces without lamps or recessed lighting.

The user can set schedules and connect them to motion sensors and other smart home devices, to automatically turn them off and on.

These two new lights add dynamic lighting, which is something yet to be offered, and they are among the first smart ceiling fixtures to bring addressable lighting, which allows the control of colour, temperature, hue, and brightness, as well as the ability to display various colours simultaneously.

The Aqara Ceiling Light T1M is a tuneable white light fixture, complete with a colour-changing LED ring, with 26 individually addressable zones.

The Nanoleaf Skylight is a tuneable white and full-colour modular ceiling LED light panels, each capable of displaying different colours.

The Aqara T1M has more of a traditional design, whereas the Nanoleaf is more unique. It was designed to appear like a physical skylight in a ceiling, with a flush-mounted square design. It’s also modular, meaning it can be as big as the user wants.

It also comes with a starter kit, with three panels, and these can be arranged to the user’s preference. Only one panel has to be wired, and 99 more panels can be added.

The Aqara Ceiling Light T1M is less colourful, smaller, and more traditional-looking. It’s 20-inches round, and 3-inches deep, which works well for rooms up to around 200 square feet.

Both lights provide 1,400 lumens, however, the Nanoleaf has 1,400 lumens per panel, meaning it’s 4,200 lumens.

The Nanoleaf provides full colour and tuneable white light on each panel, whereas the Aqara’s main light is limited to tuneable white light. The colour comes from the separately controllable ring, with 26 individually addressable zones, with full-colour LEDs.

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Nanoleaf Skylight

Both of these fixtures can dim down to almost invisible levels, and reach super bright levels. The Nanoleaf is brighter due to its three panels, however, the T1M provides a softer light.

There are no visible pinprick LEDs or shadows on the Aqara, whereas the Nanoleaf has some visible darker areas.

Aqara’s light works with Apple’s HomeKit Adaptive lighting, a feature of Apple Home, which automatically adjusts the white hue of compatible lights. Only the main light responds to adaptive lighting.

The Nanoleaf Skylight doesn’t work with adaptive lighting or Nanoleaf app’s Circadian lighting feature, as this is limited to its Essentials range. It does, however, have the option of scheduling various scenes, creating a similar effect to Adaptive Lighting.

The Nanoleaf comes with dynamic lighting preset effects, many of which can sync in time to ambient music or sound, which Aqara can’t do.

Nanoleaf launched new scenes with the Skylight, which include ‘Gentle Rain,’ ‘Sun Shower,’ and ‘Blue Skies,’ designed mimic the outdoors.

Most will shift colours to different flows, and the panels don’t have addressable LEDs, meaning the entire panel changes colour for the effect.

Aqara tuneable white effects, paired with the ring light, and six individually addressable zones, provide a calming effect. There’s more functionality, as it provides the ability to set up automations, to use the ring light as a notification light.

Both apps will allow the user to choose and design their own lighting effects.

The Aqara T1M is the more affordable option, retailing for A$299.00, whereas the Nanoleaf Skylight is retailing for A$469.99, however, it comes with three times the light.

The T1M uses the Zigbee wireless protocol, meaning it requires an Aqara Hub, retailing for $79 at JB Hi-Fi. The T1M will work with any Zigbee 3.0 Aqara Hub, including the upcoming Hub M3, which also has a Thread border router and Matter controller.

Nanoleaf uses 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, meaning it doesn’t need an additional hub. It has a Thread radio, and can be a Thread border router, to allow Nanoleaf’s Thread products to connect to it. This capability has yet to be turned on, however, the company revealed it will arrive in an update later this year.

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Aqara T1M

Both ceiling fixtures are compatible with all smart home platforms including Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit. Only the T1M supports Matter, with Nanoleaf planning to bring Matter support to panel products “soon.”

The Aqara T1M can be paired with a wired Aqara Smart Switch, set to its wireless switch mode. It will keep power flowing even if a light switch is turned off, meaning it’s still controllable in the app or via voice. This doesn’t allow dimming though.

Nanoleaf’s Sense Plus smart switches will work with the Skylight, and allow dimming, but are not available yet. The company revealed they will be available later this year.

For both, a smart button / scene controller, working with the chosen platform, is the easiest form of physical control.

The Aqara T1M can be purchased from the official Aqara website for A$299.00, whereas the Nanoleaf Skylight can be purchased from the official Nanoleaf website for A$469.99.

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