Nanoleaf’s new smart string lights are serious Hue rivals

Nanoleaf's excellent smart string lights are now available in the UK – and there are snazzy indoor lightstrips too

Nanoleaf Matter outdoor string lights
(Image credit: Nanoleaf)

Typical. You wait all day for new smart home string lights and then two lots come at once. Following hot on the heels of Philips' second generation Hue Festavia string lights, Nanoleaf has opened pre-orders for its own indoor and outdoor options to customers in the UK– and they're more affordable than Hue and Matter compatible too.

The new lights come with the plain-speaking names of Matter Multicolour Outdoor String Lights and Matter Multicolour Indoor LED Lightstrips. 

If it's string lights you're after, the Nanoleaf ones are much cheaper than their biggest rival. Where the Hue Festavia starts at £109 for 8m, The Matter Multicolour Outdoor String Lights begin at £89.99 for 15m. If you've got a big outdoor space that represents a big saving – but it's important to note that the Hue lights are more densely packed. Where the Nanoleaf starter packs have 20 bulbs, the shortest Hue string has 100.

What Nanoleaf options are there?

Let's stick with the outdoor string lights first. You've got a choice of 15, 30 or 45m, all with IP65 water resistance. The outdoor controller is IP67 and the power supply is IP44, so they're fine for all but extreme weather conditions. You have the usual choice of warm or cool whites and up to 16m colours; as with the Hue you can have a single colour, multiple colours or gradients. I'm a big fan of the gradients, which look more premium and pretty than traditional string lighting.

Coming indoors, the new LED lightstrips also offer gradients but there's an additional and very cool feature here: flowing glowing. That's not the official name for it but it should be: it enables you to create dynamic lighting effects that flow along the lightstrip. The indoor lightstrips are a good option for gaming: you can sync them via the desktop app or controller.

Both sets of lights are priced keenly: the outdoor lights are £89.99 for 15m, £149.99 for 30m and £69.99 for a 15m extension strip, and the indoor lightstrips are £69.99. 

I think these are likely to sell out quickly: would-be Hue Festavia buyers will be well aware that Philips' string lights sell out as quickly as the firm can make them, so there's clearly lots of demand for high quality smart strings to light up balconies, patios and other outdoor spaces. As much as I love my long-term Hue setup, I'm seriously tempted by these. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (