Ikea Symfonisk photo frame review: Sonos wifi speaker hidden by art | Digital music and audio

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The latest device in Ikea’s new partnership with wifi speaker maker Sonos is a little different: a speaker hidden in a photo frame.

The Symfonisk Photo Frame costs £ 179 ($ 199) and joins Ikea’s other unusual speakers – one is in a shelf while the other is a table lamp – all of which are fully compatible with the Sonos Wireless Whole Home Audio System.

The idea is to make speakers that blend into the background and look more like a piece of furniture than a technological element. The frame can be hung on the wall or simply glued to the floor in landscape or portrait orientation. It’s available in black or white and has a line and dot pattern printed on the front, which might not be everyone’s idea of ​​art, but wouldn’t look out of place in a modern hotel room.

The front panel can be easily swapped out for a range of other Ikea products for £ 17 a piece which will be available in the near future. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

Unfortunately, you can’t put your favorite piece of art in the frame yet, although you can get custom third-party prints at a later date if the speakers prove popular.

The speaker has a white fabric-wrapped power cable that hangs on the wall and felt glides to protect your decor. Movable silicone feet and a fabric strap keep it stable when tilted instead of hanging.

For wall mounting, it comes with a metal bracket that must be screwed into the wall and on which the speaker slides a bit like a photo hook. But be careful, at around 3.8kg the speaker is heavy enough for a wall object so you will need to properly secure the stand which requires the use of a drill, dowels (if in brick) and screws, none of which are provided.

Reviews pregnant ikea sonos symfonisk photo frame
Three buttons on the back of the frame control pause / play, track skip, and volume, though most use the Sonos app on their phones to control things. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

Characteristics

  • Dimensions: 41x57x6cm

  • Weight: 3.8 kg

  • Connectivity: Wifi, ethernet, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect

  • Rope length: 350cm

Simple setup

Reviews pregnant ikea sonos symfonisk photo frame
The small silicone rubber feet clip onto the back of the speaker and can be placed on the long or short side depending on how you want the frame to be placed. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

A simple five-minute process using the Sonos S2 app on an iPhone, iPad, or Android got the speakerphone working: plug it in, open the app, tap the phone on the speakerphone where the light is flashing and the app will automatically configure the wifi settings, updates and other bits.

The speaker can be used alone or as a stereo pair. You can even daisy-chain two of them with an optional £ 2 patch cord, so only one of the speakers needs to be plugged into an outlet.

The frame works like any other Sonos speaker that plays music over wifi, not Bluetooth, and can be bundled with any other Ikea or Sonos speaker that you might have to play music in simultaneously. the whole house.

The Sonos system supports virtually all music streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and BBC Radio, all of which can be controlled through the Sonos app. Alternatively, you can use AirPlay 2 to stream directly from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, or Spotify Connect.

Its smooth

Reviews pregnant ikea sonos symfonisk photo frame
The separate woofer and tweeter speakers are hidden behind the front panel. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

The frame sounds similar to the Symfonisk and Sonos One table lamp, which given its depth dimension is really impressive.

It sounds wide, well balanced and rounded, easily filling a room and getting really loud. It has much better clarity than many simpler wifi or bluetooth speakers, with punchy highs, crisp highs, and a reasonable amount of bass.

Those looking for some really punchy bass notes might be a bit disappointed, but the frame sounds good with most genres of music. The Sonos One still sounds a bit better overall, but it’s very close.

Those with an iPhone or iPad can do the “Truplay” auto-tuning to help the speaker sound its best, but it sounded perfect right out of the box. You can manually change bass, treble, and “volume” and also set a volume limit in the Sonos app.

Durability

Reviews pregnant ikea sonos symfonisk photo frame
The frame looks great on a fireplace, but it is best to place it gently as Ikea cannot repair damaged parts yet. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

The product is currently not serviceable by Ikea, although replacement cords and other parts are available. It does not contain any recycled material and Ikea does not publish individual environmental impact assessments. But the offers a recycling program for its products and publishes an annual sustainability report.

Sonos is committed to supporting feature updates through software on its own products for at least five years after it ceases to sell a product, but has a much longer track record, including bug fixes and fixes. security for its legacy products. The Symfonisk range will benefit from similar levels of support.

Reviews pregnant ikea sonos symfonisk photo frame
Hidden guides and cavity on the back of the speaker allow you to route and store excess power cable to keep it clean. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

Observations

  • The body vibrates slightly when the volume is pushed beyond 80%.

  • There is an Ethernet port on the back if you don’t want to use wifi.

  • The frame doesn’t have a microphone, so while it can be controlled through Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant on another device or phone, it’s not a smart speaker.

Price

The Ikea / Sonos speaker costs £ 179 ($ 199) and is available in black or white.

For comparison, the Symfonisk bookshelf speaker costs £ 89, the Symfonisk table lamp costs £ 150, the Sonos One SL costs £ 179, the Sonos One costs £ 199 and Sonos In-Wall speakers. cost £ 599 for a pair but need to be built into the wall and connected to the separate £ 599 amp.

Verdict

Ikea isn’t the first company to try and mix a speaker with wall art, but it is perhaps the most successful, thanks in large part to the audio and software magic of Sonos and at a price. relatively low.

It’s easy to set up, simple to use, supports a wide range of music services, and will be supported by the Sonos system for years to come. It sounds really good for the money and a unique shape, too.

I can definitely see the allure of having a speaker hanging on the wall, but for you to think it’s art is another thing. While it doesn’t look like a speaker, it’s more obvious than Sonos’ small bookshelf speaker One or Ikea’s other wifi speakers, so it will need to fit into your decor.

Advantages: good sound, well designed, can be hung or placed against a wall in portrait or landscape mode, easy installation, Sonos control, broad support for music services, can be paired, optional Ethernet, new faceplates available on a date later.

The inconvenients: art may not be to everyone’s taste, you can’t have your own art prints, more obvious than a small bookshelf speaker, no smart mics, no bluetooth or line entry, still needs a hanging power cord if hanging.

Reviews pregnant ikea sonos symfonisk photo frame
The LED located just below the line between the Sonos and Ikea logos indicates when the speakerphone is on and where you need to press your phone during setup. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

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