Ikea Symfonisk review: a good Sonos wifi speaker hiding in a lamp

The second iteration of the Ikea Symfonisk is a unique Sonos-powered wifi speaker lamp that is sleeker, sounds better, and comes in different forms, materials, and color combinations.

The concept is the same as it is for the rest of the Symfonisk line: conceal a speaker within a piece of attractive furniture. The £179 ($169) lamp arrives flat-packed, but mercifully only in three parts: the base, the plug, and the shade.

The lamp’s base is an 18cm-wide fabric-covered cylinder in grey/white or black. This contains the speaker. The shade comes in grey or black with two styles: fabric, as shown, or glass, identical to the lamp’s predecessor.

The shade and base may be purchased individually and together. The top of the base is equipped with conventional light fittings. If you don’t like Ikea’s alternatives, it accepts an E27 bulb (not supplied) and will fit other shades with a 4cm-diameter ring.

Easy setup with your phone

The lamp is just as simple to assemble as the Symfonisk Picture Frame. Download the Sonos app for your Android or iPhone, follow the setup instructions, touch your phone on the back of the lamp as directed, and connect to wifi.

Similar to other Sonos speakers, it uses wifi rather than Bluetooth to stream music from your preferred music service. The system is compatible with Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, BBC Sounds, AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect.

For stereo sound, the light can be utilized either by itself or in tandem with another. It may also be combined with other Ikea or Sonos speakers for straightforward multi-room audio or connected to Sonos soundbars for surround sound. It doesn’t include microphones for Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, but you can use another smart speaker or your phone to control all the main speech assistants.

Specifications of Ikea Symfonisk

  • Base dimensions: 18 x 18 x 28cm
  • Base weight: 2.39kg
  • Connectivity: Wifi, ethernet, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect
  • Cord length: 200cm
  • Light socket: E27 (screw)
  • Shade ring: 4cm diameter

Below 70% volume, the sound is excellent

The sound of the second-generation light is somewhat improved over that of the first and is similar to that of the Symfonisk picture frame. It sounds less focused than traditional speakers because it disperses audio 180 degrees around its base. It won’t matter where you sit in front of it if you place it against a wall in the center of the room.

Thanks to Sonos’ audio expertise, the speaker is properly balanced and has a rounded sound that is notably better than many simple Bluetooth speakers. Up to around 70% volume, it offers strong bass, warm treble, and beautifully defined highs. But when the volume is turned up, the sound starts to suffer from a poor bottom and an overemphasized treble.

It sounds best at 50% or lower, which is quite loud for small or medium-sized spaces. However, it is broad, less directed sound fails to transmit music deeper into large spaces, and it cannot compete with the Sonos One or bigger speakers.

It is compatible with Sonos’ Trueplay auto-tuning technology through an iPhone or iPad, and it also features manual bass, treble, and volume controls.

Sustainability 

Ikea does not provide repair services, although new wires and other components are available for £7. It contains no recycled materials, and Ikea does not provide individual environmental effect analyses. However, it provides a recycling program for its products and releases an annual sustainability report.

Sonos pledges to maintain feature upgrades on its own devices through software for at least five years after it sells them. But it has a track record of doing so for much longer, including bug and security patches for vintage products. The Symfonisk line will be supported similarly.

Price of Ikea Symfonisk

The Ikea Symfonisk speaker light costs £179 with a fabric shade and £199 with a glass shade.

To compare, the Symfonisk wifi bookshelf speaker is £99, the Symfonisk picture frame is £199, the Sonos One SL speaker is £149, and the Sonos One is £199.

Verdict

The second-generation Symfonisk speaker lamp is a wonderful idea implemented well: strong Sonos sound disguised in a sleeker and more attractive light.

As long as you like the look of a relatively substantial, black, or grey fabric-covered lamp base, there are more color and shade options to choose from, making it even easier to incorporate the lamp into your design.

Sonos’ audio system remains outstanding. It is simple to use, works with practically any music streaming service, and is routinely updated, and maintained. It is expanded to keep your speakers in good working order.

Although audio quality declines at high settings. Less than 70% of the maximum volume should be loud enough for the majority of listeners in small or medium-sized areas. The fixture is an ordinary E27 with a manual push-button switch on the base. But you can swap it out for a smart bulb like the Philips Hue for remote dimming or control.

If you want a speaker that functions more like a piece of functional furniture than a piece of technology, the second-generation Ikea Symfonisk speaker light is perfect.

Pros: a great sound, attractive design, and easy setup. Sonos control, comprehensive support for music services, ability to be connected, optional ethernet, and standard E27 bulb socket.

Cons: The base is somewhat large for a table lamp. There are no Bluetooth or line-in capabilities for smart speakers, no light is provided. The sound quality is subpar above around 70% volume.

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