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IKEA SYMFONISK Review: Table Lamp and Bookshelf Speakers by Sonos

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IKEA and Sonos announced their SYMFONISK table lamp and bookshelf WiFi speakers back in April, unleashing a partnership aimed at furnishing your home easily with sound. These new speakers are set to launch in Canada on August 1, 2019. We got to try these out early to share our first impressions so let’s take a look.

The SYMFONISK bookshelf is priced at $149 CAD and the table lamp at $249 in Canada. Two units of the same speaker can be set up as stereo pairs, while they can also be added as rears to any 5.0 or 5.1 home theatre system.

They do not have built-in microphones to act as smart speakers, but you’re able to pair them with an Amazon Echo speaker or Google Home device and let the latter speakers control them. You can also pair them with a Sonos One or Beam speaker, as these support voice controls.

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How to Set Up SYMFONISK: Use the Sonos App

Setup of both speakers is performed through the Sonos mobile app by going to ‘More’ and ‘Add Speakers’ and following the instructions, if you’re an existing user. The Sonos app will automatically set up the SYMFONISK to your home’s WiFi and make it part of your Sonos speaker family.

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You’ll also be asked to set up Trueplay Tuning for each speaker, walking around the room with your iPhone upside down waving it around like a crazy person, while the speaker plays some piercing sounds at you. Existing Sonos customers know what I’m talking about.

The Sonos app will let you manage and control all aspects of your SYMFONISK speaker, from creating a stereo pair or playing music on multiple speakers as a group.

SYMFONISK speakers are Sonos speakers, allowing you to play music from over 100 music services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and more.

SYMFONISK Table Lamp Speaker

The table lamp looks elegant in white and proportionally, I like the simple design with its mouth-blown glass top (it twists onto the speaker with a quarter turn) and white toned bottom speaker wrapped in a mesh cloth. The speaker shape almost resembles Apple’s HomePod. It feels well-built and the glass is solid and doesn’t feel fragile (but I’d keep the little kiddies away from this).

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When it comes to weight, the table lamp comes in at 3.28 kilograms (7 lbs) and the size is at 40 cm x 21 cm x 21 cm, which makes it a perfect size for any nightstand or family room table.

Physical buttons are located on the table lamp’s bottom plate: volume up, volume down and play/pause. Double-tap play/pause to skip to the next track and triple-tap to go back (the same goes for the bookshelf). The power cord plugs into the bottom of the lamp so the exiting cord looks clean out the back.

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As for the lamp itself, the E14 LED bulb (max 7W) is controlled with an aluminum knob on the side for on or off. The light from the bulb is warm tone to help bring some mood lighting to any room.

Sonos tells iPhone in Canada the table lamp “reflects the sound profile of the Sonos Play:1 or Sonos One speakers,” with tuning and overall sound developed by Sonos. There are two class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter and one mid-woofer in a closed enclosure.

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When it comes to sound, Sonos has a reputation for delivering high-quality audio. The SYMFONISK table lamp sounded pretty good to our ears and was able to easily fill our family room with sound.

Versus the Sonos One in quick non-scientific music tests, our non-audiophile ears say the latter has a slight edge, but it’s pretty close. We found the Sonos One delivered better bass and had crisper sounds. That’s not to say the table lamp wasn’t able to rock the house, as it did bring sound worthy of a Sonos speaker.

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“IKEA is always looking for ideas that improve life at home. By integrating technology with home furnishing products and solutions we can do that in an even better way,” said Björn BlockHead of IKEA Home smart at IKEA of Sweden.

SYMFONISK Bookshelf Speaker

The bookshelf speaker is meant to end up on your bookshelf or can be mounted on the wall with SYMFONISK brackets available separately. You can rest up to 3 kilograms of weight on top of the bookshelf and it can be oriented horizontally or vertically.

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The power plug is on the back of the speaker, while physical play/pause and volume up/up buttons are on the front, to go with a white status LED, which many Sonos owners are familiar with.

The bookshelf has dimensions of 31 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm and weighs 2.16 kilograms (4 lbs). It is not a tiny speaker but it’s not exactly huge either. It has some good weight to it and the length is equivalent to two Sonos Ones stacked on top of each other.

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The black speaker has a black fabric grille, hiding one tweeter and one mid-woofer behind it, to go with two class-D digital amplifiers and a ported enclosure.

Sound-wise, the bookshelf was able to fill a room but it didn’t sound as good as the table lamp speaker or a Sonos One. The bass was not as deep and the highs weren’t as crisp as the Sonos One. Sonos tells us the table lamp ($249 CAD) and bookshelf ($149 CAD) have different form factors at different price points, so there are subtle differences noticeable between the two products.

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The bookshelf speaker for its size would be a worthy addition to a bedroom or smaller room. The sound is still decent coming from a Sonos speaker, but we were able to notice it underperformed versus more expensive offerings.

“Creating atmosphere and convenience are central in the creation of the IKEA Home smart concept, and the SYMFONISK range are perfectly designed with that in mind,” added Block.

Conclusion: Good Sound in a Convenient Package

I’d be happy to have multiple IKEA SYMFONISK speakers in my home, thanks to their sound from Sonos and seamless integration with other Sonos speakers, controlled via the Sonos app.

The speakers don’t scream IKEA and Sonos branding at you, aside from a tiny tag on the front of the bookshelf and the plate of the table lamp. Both do their job of blending into your room and making easy to start music thanks to physical buttons or control via the Sonos app or a Sonos One or Beam grouping.

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When it boils down to pricing, the bookshelf at $149 isn’t high-end expensive, but it’s the cheapest entry into a Sonos speaker at this point. The table lamp at $249 does cost more and the extra dollars are reflected in its slightly beefier sound and also the ability to bring you some light. Integrating a speaker into a lamp is smart, as you’re killing two birds with one stone.

If you’re a hardcore speaker nerd, these probably aren’t for you, but I can see these being popular for students in a university or college dorm, or those looking for a solid speaker backed by Sonos (you can never have enough Sonos speakers) that can blend into any environment.

According to IKEA, this fall, there will be a new SYMFONISK sound remote and IKEA homesmart app, to bring increased controls.

SYMFONISK speakers will be available at IKEA stores in Canada on August 1, 2019.

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