Nanoleaf proved that there's room for now available for preorder.on the walls of today's , and it wasn't long before Lifx followed suit with . Today, player three enters the game, with the mosaic-like LaMetric Sky
Early-bird pricing ranges from $172 for a four-panel starter kit (25% off of the expected retail price of $229) to $576 for a starter kit with the maximum allowable 16 panels (that's 30% off of the expected retail price of $823).
First spotted this past January at CES, theare the second smart home offering from LaMetric, a 6-year-old startup based out of Ukraine. With 32 triangular zones of light on each panel, the things are capable of displaying intricate designs and animations. Arrange your panels into a rectangular shape, and you'll also be able to automate them to display pixel-based icons and text notifications from social media or other third-party services -- the same approach taken by the company's first gadget, the .
The pixel aesthetic lets the panels display a custom code during setup, too. You'll scan that visual code with your phone's camera to pair them with the LaMetric app. From there, you can sync them up with Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant to turn them on and off, adjust the brightness or trigger your favorite scenes using voice commands.
LaMetric's panels are touch-sensitive, too -- tap one once to change to the next effect, or tap it twice to turn the panel off.
The segmented design also helps set LaMetric's panels apart from Nanoleaf's and Lifx's. Nanoleaf's panels, including adue out later this year, can each only put out one color at a time -- a sharp contrast with the 32 individual zones of light that you get with LaMetric.
Meanwhile, you can use the Lifx app to fingerpaint on the 64 zones of light on each Lifx Tile, but the zones aren't sectioned off from each other like LaMetric's. As a result, the colors bleed together like tie-dye, which is less than ideal for displaying icons and formatted text.
LaMetric also tells us that it's updated the design since CES to allow users to connect panels side to side, corner to corner or corner to side via the cables hidden in the back. Lifx offers similar versatility, but the execution was a bit clumsy.
We'll see if LaMetric manages a little better when the Sky panels arrive at the end of this year. Expect a full review from the walls of the CNET Smart Home when that time comes.