Gamers and enthusiasts have so many LED solutions to play with when it comes to decorating their rooms with some of their favorite colors and effects. Various color bars, bulbs, and strips that can be used throughout the room, as well as various geometric shapes and patterns that can be applied to the wall. The latter of which is something that has been taking off.
These solutions have been around for some time now. For example, Nanoleaf has been around since 2012 and was one of the companies that helped pave the way for these products. Then additional companies started popping up with their own customizable LED solutions. Companies like Twinkly (which has been around since 2016).
Twinkly manufactures a number of LED solutions that covers everything from your Christmas tree to the outside walls of your business. The company specializes in user-friendly solutions that can quickly be mapped using nothing but its app. Allowing users to customize their products in whatever shape or form they want and then hit the ground running within seconds.
One of the latest products to come from Twinkly is the Twinkly Squares, which not only provides an LED solution for your wall, but one that moves beyond color to provide pixel art with every panel (or all panels combined). Allowing for a deeper interaction and immersion that adds value and purpose to the product beyond all others (in our opinion). You can still display solid colors and various color-changing animations. But you can also display animated art or even mimic what’s on your computer screen.
Like most of these wall-mounted LED solutions, they come in a starter pack with a certain number of panels. Then you extend on to them from there with expansions, if you want to go bigger. Allowing you to keep building until your perfect creation is finished.
With the Twinkly Squares, they are (obviously) square in shape and come with six (6) total panels in a starter pack. It’s enough for a simple square, rectangle, or small abstract panel. But, in most cases, you’ll want to add on to them for something more. This is where these companies always get you. Giving you just enough to make you want more.
The starter kit will run you $249, while the extension kits (that come with three panels) are $99 each.
One of the six panels is is a master panel and the rest are extension panels. You can build them into whatever shape/form you want. You can do a line of them, create abstract shapes, or anything else. You can even seperate them into groups/shapes that aren’t even touching physically (although you’d need to buy additional master panels for that so power and data can be distributed properly).
Each panel has a total of 64 pixels, each capable of 16 million colors (like most modern RGB options).
In our case, our colleague built them into the shape of a bat. He was going to go with a Batman theme of some sort but there wasn’t any good pre-made content surrounding the masked crusader. So we don’t have anything visually to show from that, but it did make for a good shape to test things out with. I’m sure he will create some custom content for it later or it will simply change shapes before finding a place on the walls around here for it to live on.
You are only limited to your own imagination (and how much you are willing to spend). When using multiple master panels, it will likely get a little more involved when it comes to setup. However, using the single master unit and up to 15 panels (this is the limit of each master unit being used), it takes merely seconds to get going.
Everything connects across the back of the units (starting from the master panel) using small plastic connectors, along with short data cables that are easily routed through various channels. We found they work best when also routed under the plastic clips so that no wires (beyond the main power connection) can be seen. Which is likely how you are supposed to do it to begin with.
The master panel has a seperate USB-C connection that runs down to a wall adapter. This is the master source for all power and would be the only cable you have to plan for (in case you can come up with a way to hide it some how).
In our case, we just let the USB cable hang down for now since it hasn’t been permanently installed anywhere. This will likely be the solution for most users as not everyone has the ability to run cables through the wall.
Once you have the design you need, have all of your cables/connectors established, and have hung it on the wall, you are ready to break out the app and begin.
The app walks you through registering for an account (like any other product line) and then adding the master panel to the app. You trigger it’s pairing mode by pressing and holding the button near the USB-C connection until the status light starts flashing blue and the panels reveal a fun boxy blue animation.
From here, the app runs you through connecting the panels to your Wi-Fi or connecting to them directly. So you don’t have to connect them to your network in order to use them if you don’t want. However, some features may depend on it. Like connecting them to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa (or Apple HomeKit).
It will ask you to name them and you will be dropped right into being able to control them. During our experience, it took us about three times to pair them to the network. It immediatly found the master panel while the pairing mode was active. But for some reason, it didn’t always complete the process (either nothing happens or it kept saying it couldn’t connect to Wi-Fi). However, the third attempt seemed to the winner and the app suddenly saw them connected to the network. Since then, we didn’t have any errors or bugs.
Then there is mapping the panels so that the app knows what shape and orientation they are in, as well as the number of panels being used. This takes a matter of seconds to complete. You trigger it in the app and the panels will all take on a random pixel pattern similar to a QR code. Then you hold the phone in front of it all and it will identify everything using your camera. It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways of mapping somthing like this.
From here, you can immediatly start playing with some of the pre-loaded animations. From Marilyn Monroe to various color wheels and sunset animations. They have a number of animated GIFs from multiple categories to pick from.
If you don’t find what you want, they have a whole library you can search and download additional content from. You can even customize the colors, patterns, and more. Or you can simply find GIFs from other sources or make your own. Then you just upload them using the app.
The app is very user-friendly and doesn’t take long to learn. In fact, for us, the only learning curve was taking a few minutes to learn all of the various icons to see what they meant (what they led to). From there, we were bounding all over changing things.
When uploading your own art, we found that not everything works well in pixelated form. Like uploading an image that contained someone’s face. No one could tell who it was. However, animated characters, stick figures, or anything else you’d expect to see within pixel art, worked great. Logos are the same. Complicated logos might not translate well, where simple logos will likely look great.
They also support (as mentioned) the common digital assistants. Specifically Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. So if you have these speakers in your home (or wherever else you use these panels), you’ll be able to control some of the basic functions using your voice. Like turning them on and off, changing colors, or changing brightness.
If also supports the Homey app, allowing you to control them from that as well. Just another source for being able to allow these panels to work with other smart products you may be using. Not only that, but there are additional integrations as well. For example, Twinkly products do work with Home Assistant through an integration you can choose. So you’ll likely see support pop up within other hubs and devices in the future as well (if not already).
Then there is support for Razer Chroma RGB software if you are using it for other products (or just for this one), as well as OMEN Light Studio. Allowing you to interact with other lighting options based on what is happening on your screen.
This is an effect that has been growing in popularity both in gaming as well as living rooms. Allowing all of the surrounding lights to change colors live to what’s on your screen, enhancing the over all immersive value.
Not only do these panels allow you to interact with screen elements, but they can also mimic everything going on, on the screen. So as you play through your favorite video games, it could be showing everything across the wall as well. All thanks to its ability to work with other software suites like this.
You can see and hear more about this in our interview here with Twinkly at CES 2023, discussing some of these neat features. Meanwhile, everything can be seen on the wall behind us.
Of course, they were using quite a few panels to get the best effect. So if you want something that intense, it will cost you to build it all out.
We thought about setting something like this up ourselves as it would make for some good example images. However, with just six panels, it just wasn’t going to look as amazing as what they had going on at CES. So we skipped trying to mirror any of our screens this round. Maybe if we build onto it with additional panels at some point, we will circle back and do that for some additional content to share.
You really can do a lot with this, causing you to completely forget about some of these other options on the market. Basic colors are fun, but pixelated art just brings out the inner child in you.
As mentioned, you can run multiple master panels with various groups of shapes/patterns and then group them together in the app. Just like they did in the above image (at CES 2023). You can apply timers, create automated playlists,
You can even buy an optional USB stick called “Twinkly Music” (about $35) that allows some of Twinkly’s products to interact with music. Twinkly Squares are one of those products, so you can have fun with your animations and colors by getting them to react. Although, personally, we think all of the other features are more fascinating.
These panels are a lot of fun to play with and you can use them in so many ways. Obviously, our favorite is absolutely the fact that you can mimic what’s on your computer screen. That would lead to the ultimate PC gamer setup. Especially, if you stream on platforms like Twitch (you would be the envy of all of your competing gamers–until they run out and buy them, at least).
We love that they are so easy to work with. It doesn’t take long to get going and the entire process is easy to understand. Despite the few hiccups getting them to join the network, the experience felt very comforting. Things only get a little more complicated when you bring things like Razer Chroma software into the mix or are using multiple master panels for intense panels. But then again, grouping multiple master panels into one design might be just as easy. We just haven’t tested this out ourselves since we only have the one kit to base our experiences on.
The only unfortunate variable is that they are so expensive. All of these wall-mounted LED wall art options (all companies) are expensive. This is the only thing that weighs down the score for us. We just can’t get over the fact that LEDs light panels on the wall cost hundreds of dollars (and you will be spending that if you really want something cool running across your wall). Thankfully, it doesn’t hurt the score “as much” with this product since it does so much more than the others.
|Our Rating||Average Price*|
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
Interview (CES 2023)
- Led color: RGB – 16M+ colors
- Led type: Addressable LED
- Material: Plastic
- Replaceable leds: No
- Panel depth (cm): 2.5
- Panel height (cm): 16.0
- Panel width (cm): 16.0
- Warranty: 12 months
- Digital assistant support: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit
- App support: Twinkly, Homey
- Software support: Razer Chroma RGB, OMEN Light Studio
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.