Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker review

The latest big brand collaboration wants a spot on your wall

Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame
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Ikea’s line-up of Sonos speakers has always been as much about fitting in with your decor as it has sound quality, with both bookshelf and table lamp Symfonisk speakers already available.

For 2021, the furniture giant is back with the Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker. Designed to be hung or leaned up against the wall, the new speaker is part artwork and all Sonos multi-room speaker.

Well designed and with improved sound quality over the previous Ikea speakers, the Symfonisk Picture Frame is largely successful.

Whether this is right for you or not will largely depend on how much you like the look, as this large speaker tends to dominate the area where you place it.

Read on for our full review...

Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker: Design and build

For this speaker, Ikea has designed something that looks like a bit of art. A chunky and large canvas, the speaker measures 22 x 16 x 2-inches; you’re looking at something around the size of an A2 sheet of paper.

Currently, you can buy the Symfonisk Picture Frame in two colours: black and white. Each one features an abstract pattern on the front, which you’ll either really like or really hate.

Currently, the side you fall down on will largely dictate if this is the speaker for you or not.

I quite like the design but if I didn’t, there’s no way I’d be willing to dedicate this much space to a speaker, and would rather have a Sonos One that I could tuck out of the way.

Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker review

In the future, Ikea is planning to release a set of new frames. You’ll be able to pop out the old one and drop in the new image, giving the speaker a new look. As these become available, the speaker should appeal to a wider audience.

These additional interchangeable design fronts made available after launch at $20 a pop.

Although the Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame is large, it’s cleverly designed. It can be hung using the mounting bracket on the back in both portrait and landscape modes, or you can clip the rubber feet onto the bottom and stand it up against a wall instead.

Flip over the speaker, and that clever design continues on the back. Here, you’ll see the power input tucked away behind a large cut-out with a velcro strap.

The cutout and strap are there so that you can wind up the remainder of the 3.5m cable that you don’t want and tuck them neatly out of the way.

Next to the power input is an output. With the optional power cable, you can power two of these speakers from a single power outlet, daisy-chaining them together.

For those that don’t want a white cable on display (I don’t mind so much), it’s a shame that there’s no in-wall power option.

Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker review

Ikea has also provided storage space at the rear for the two rubber stands, so you can keep them safe in case you want to go from wall-mounting to floor-standing mode.

These stands do tend to pick up dust and hairs, but it’s not a problem as you can’t normally see them.

Guide: Sonos tips and tricks

Although the speaker can connect via Wi-Fi, there’s also an Ethernet port at the back. And, there are lots of cut-outs for cable flow, too. It’s hard to ask for more with a wall-mounted product.

My one piece of advice is that if you want to use the physical controls on the rear of the speaker (volume, play/pause), don’t place it too high up, otherwise you won’t be able to reach them.

Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker review

Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame: In use

Although this speaker may have Ikea branding, setup and control is the same as any modern Sonos speaker and it fits seamlessly into a normal Sonos setup.

Once the speaker is powered on, you just fire up the Sonos S2 app, which will detect the Picture Frame automatically. Tap your phone to the speaker and it gets added to your home automatically.

From here, the Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker works just like any other Sonos speaker. You can play music on it individually from any of the supported services (Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and so on), or group this speaker with others.

One of the best things about Sonos is how music services work with it, letting you use one account for your entire system.

For example, if you have a single Spotify account, you can play different songs in different rooms at the same time; rival multi-room systems require you to use different Spotify accounts for each room.

In addition, you get AirPlay 2 support, so can beam audio from your Apple devices directly to the speaker without even having to touch the Sonos app. As is common for Sonos speakers, bar the Sonos Roam, there’s no Bluetooth support.

You can even use Sonos Trueplay, which uses your phone’s microphone to fine-tune the audio output of the speaker, customising audio to fit your room perfectly.

What you don’t get here is a microphone and the Symfonisk Picture Frame doesn’t support voice assistants directly.

If you want this, you need one of Sonos’ smart speakers, such as the Sonos One or Sonos Arc.

Still, that’s not a huge sacrifice and voice control is available with Sonos support for Google Home and the Sonos Amazon Alexa integration.

Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame: Sound quality

Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker review

With the previous Ikea Sonos speakers, the sound quality was a little behind that of the entry-level Sonos One.

Here, Ikea has upped its game (helped by Sonos, which built and tuned the driver), and I’d say that the Symfonisk Picture Frame sounds as good as a Sonos One or One SL.

Audio is very clean and there’s a good balance to this speaker’s sound, without any part of the audio spectrum dominating.

There’s a healthy amount of bass from this speaker, too, which cleverly doesn’t get directed into the wall, so you won’t shake other pictures from their hooks.

Stick on a film soundtrack, as the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back, and you get the full menace and beauty of that track.

Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends properly delivers the gentle acoustic-driven intro, before bringing the roaring guitars to life towards the end.

You don’t quite get the full power and range that the high-end Sonos Five delivers, but the Picture Frame is a lot cheaper.

And, if you want a sound boost, you can buy two of these speakers and stick them in stereo pair mode, either for individual listening or to act as the rear speakers to the Sonos Arc.

Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker review


Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker
With the sound quality and price to match the Sonos One, the Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Picture Frame with Wi-Fi Speaker is a great alternative for those that want speakers that blend into the environment. It’s quite a chunky speaker and the current lack of choice in picture designs may limit its appeal a touch.
PROS
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Clever mounting options
  • Full Sonos S2 compatibility
  • AirPlay 2 compatible
CONS
  • Large
  • Limited choice of designs
  • No built in voice assistant


TAGGED    sonos    smart speakers

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