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LIFX’s new Wi-Fi-connected wall panels light up in different colors

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LIFX Tile Photo: LIFX

LIFX introduced miniature versions of its Wi-Fi-connected smart lights earlier this month, and now the company is already back again with a new product — but this one looks a whole lot different. It’s called the LIFX Tile; it’s a series of five panels that are meant to be mounted on a wall and can light up in all kinds of colors.

The tiles have 64 independent zones each and support 16 million colors, including the basic warm and cool whites for when you want less flair. Because the zones can be controlled independently, a single panel can display multiple colors at the same time. LIFX doesn’t appear to have any video of them in action, but its promotional photos suggest they’ll include color-changing effects that move across the Tile.

While you could certainly use these panels as traditional lights, that doesn’t seem to be the way LIFX expects them to be used. They seem to be primarily decorative, meant to make colorful effects during the day and moody lighting at night. There’s not really an obvious use for them. It’s the kind of thing you’d want to have in your home / apartment, but you’d have to figure out a place where they’d look good. (I can imagine these things easily crossing the line over to tacky.)

A mock-up from LIFX’s website.
Image: LIFX

LIFX is selling the Tile in five-packs for $249.99. They need to be plugged in to an outlet for power, but they don’t require any sort of hub; they’ll connect to your Wi-Fi network and can be remotely controlled through an app. While the five Tiles in each pack can be spaced apart and arranged in different ways, you unfortunately can’t chain together more than five. They aren’t sold individually, and each five-pack is its own separately controlled entity.

It’s a neat idea, though LIFX isn’t the first one to it. Its Tile product strongly resembles the Aurora lightning panels from a company called Nanoleaf. Those panels are smaller triangles, but up to 30 of them can be chained together. They’re also much cheaper to get started with: a nine-pack sells for $199.99. Both products work with Alexa and Siri, and LIFX’s also works with the Google Assistant. The Tile is available for preorder now and begins shipping in November.