Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels review: smartly light up your space for less
The Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels are terrific Nanoleaf alternatives
The Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels are a slightly edgy yet still affordable way of getting your smart light kicks. They’re incredibly customizable, very responsive, and easy to connect with Alexa or Google Assistant. Setting them up takes some guidance, but Govee does provide that. However, setting up your own DIY light scenes can be tricky, as is taking them down, customizing, or expanding them once they’re up on the wall.
These Glide Hexa Light Panels from Govee aren’t as advanced in panel functionality as the Shapes. However, they come with their own set of advantages – starting at $169.99 (£149.99 / AU$334), for example, they’re the more affordable option. They also have a treasure trove of customization options via the extensive Govee app. And, for those who think that the regular-sized Nanoleaf panels are a little too big, the more manageable size of these Glide Hexa panels is just the ticket.
Get the Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels basic starter kit with seven panels, and you’ll pay $169.99 (£149.99 / AU$334). That includes the adhesives, connectors, control box, and power adapter. Get the 10-piece kit, and you’ll pay a little more – $199.99 (£195.99 / AU$391), to be exact.
If you’re used to regular light bulbs that cost less than $10/£10 a pop, paying that much for a set of light panels sounds unnecessary. But, bear in mind that light panels are a different breed, particularly these. Each Glide Hexa panel can display up to six colors and ambient backlighting.
On top of that, these panel kits are slightly more affordable than the competition, its closest being the Nanoleaf Shapes Hexagon Smarter Kit. This one will set you back $199.99 in the US for a set of seven and £179.99 / AU$349.99 in the UK and Australia, respectively, for a set of nine.
Value: 4 / 5
GOVEE GLIDE HEXA LIGHT PANELS: ASSEMBLY
How connectors are slotted is very dependent on your design
The app has step-by-step guide
Taking them down is tricky
Unlike Nanoleaf Shapes, the Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels require a bit of precision assembly. That’s because the correct slots for inserting the ends of the connectors are highly dependent on your design. Of course, you can set it all up on your own, but since the modularity of these panels isn’t the most intuitive, it’ll require a little more effort and time.
Luckily, the Govee app has a built-in step-by-step guide that will walk you through the entire assembly process based on your design. That means you do have to put in your design first, though that isn’t hard as you simply drag and drop the tiny on-screen versions of your actual panels.
There are quite a few connections you have to establish. You have to connect the panels to the app and then connect the app and panels to your smart assistant of choice (we used Alexa). That might seem like a lengthy process, but the app tells you how to integrate with your smart assistant, so it shouldn’t take long if you follow the instructions closely.
Really, the most annoying part of the assembly process is the connectors themselves. Govee designed them to be long – our guess is so you can space out the panels if you want to without breaking the connection – so if you’re putting the panels side by side, you have to fold them and tuck them in.
The trickiest part is changing your design or expanding it with more panels. There’s no refined way to remove a panel, and the adhesive Govee uses sticks to a surface like nobody’s business. So, you have to gently pull the panel itself to finagle it off its mount without damaging it or accidentally snapping a connector off.
Not that it can’t be done – we’ve done it. But it feels like you’re getting a small stroke trying to pull each one. It doesn’t help that Govee doesn’t offer a video guide on the process. Our advice: think heavily about your current design and fully commit to it before you put up the panels.
Assembly: 4 / 5
GOVEE GLIDE HEXA LIGHT PANELS: DESIGN
Smaller panels with a floating design
Adhesive works impressively well even on textured walls
No physical controls to change scenes
As the name suggests, the Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels are made up of individual hexagonal panels that are highly modular, thanks to the six slots each have in the back that accommodates the tip of a specialized connector that transmits power and data from one panel to the next.
These panels look very similar to the hexagon Nanoleaf Shapes, except they’re smaller and have a floating design, both of which we appreciate. In fact, we prefer the smaller size. Not only does the size make these panels easier to manage during setup, but it also lets you create a more intricate design without taking up the entirety of the wall it’s on. As for the floating design, it not only makes it slightly easier to remove each panel, but it also provides a smidge of backlighting (more on that later) that does add to the panels’ appeal.
The panels feel solid and robust, and as we mentioned before, the adhesive stickers for adhering them to the wall have a lot of hold on them. We mention this again because we’ve tested most of Nanoleaf’s products and know for a fact that its adhesives do not work as well on textured surfaces.
Nanoleaf does have the upper hand when it comes to physical controls. Nanoleaf’s controller is brilliantly made, blending in seamlessly with the panels so you don’t even notice it. It also provides plenty of physical controls for users who aren’t always on their phones or have forgotten what command to give Alexa. Meanwhile, Govee’s control box only comes with a power button, so it won’t even let you adjust brightness, let alone change lighting scenes.
Design: 4.5 / 5
GOVEE GLIDE HEXA LIGHT PANELS: PERFORMANCE
Lighting is bright but not bright enough to completely light up a room
Very responsive to voice commands and app adjustments
App is extensive but not the easiest for DIY scenes
The Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels’ performance ain’t too shabby either. At 50% brightness, the panels are already very bright – as far as light panels are concerned, that is. At 100%, they are bright enough to fill a small room so you can see everything, and that’s plenty for gaming or watching a movie. If you were to use these for reading, you best be next to or right underneath where the panels are mounted, otherwise, you’re not being kind to your eyes.
As we mentioned earlier, one cool thing about these panels is they are not flush with the wall. Instead, they’re lifted a few millimeters off the wall in order to get that soft backlighting effect you won’t see on its rival. The backlighting has a pretty narrow field of coverage, but it is noticeable and effective.
Our favorite functionality, however, is that each panel can display up to six colors at once, so you can really have some fun. You can create a kind of tie-dye scene if you’re feeling groovy, or have a gradient effect if you’re patient enough to create it. Combine that with the lights’ audio-reactive feature, and you can really go psychedelic.
The Govee Glide Hexa Light Panels are very quick to respond to changes you make on the Govee Home app too. That’s whether you’re switching colors, changing lighting effects, or adjusting the settings. The same can be said for voice commands, which are executed almost immediately (as long as you’re not experiencing network issues).
Speaking of the app, Govee Home is pretty intuitive and easy to navigate and use. You’ll quickly learn how to adjust brightness, select lighting scenes or presets, toggle speed, create routines, and more. And, with over 40 preset lighting effects, several of which are audio-reactive, you needn’t worry about creating your own scenes if you don’t have the time or aren’t very particular.
The app is also pretty extensive, and once you start getting into the DIY aspects, you’ll find that there’s a steep learning curve. Even making a simple scene for the first time can be tricky and require patience, as that part of the app isn’t the most intuitive or user-friendly. It takes a while to master, but if you want to create your own for your gaming setup or as part of your holiday decorations, for example, it’ll be worth it in the end to get the effect you want.