The partnership between flatpack furnishings large Ikea and Wi-Fi speaker masters Sonos has been fruitful, if just a little bizarre, and not anything typifies that greater than the Symfonisk lamp speaker: a hybrid product that’s concurrently a no brainer and a complete oddity.
I used to be a large fan of the unique lamp speaker, nevertheless it obviously had some flaws. That’s why I’m happy to peer that the 2 firms have long past again to offer it any other cross, and whilst this second-gen isn’t best, it’s through a long way the Symfonisk speaker that can go well with the most of the people.
Design and construct
The first Symfonisk lamp regarded…distinctive, to mention the least. This moment model is obviously a detailed relation, however Ikea has pared issues again just a little with a design that are meant to go well with a couple of extra residing rooms than ahead of.
Available in both white or black, it additionally comes with a selection of lampshades. I’ve been reviewing it with a frosted glass color that’s harking back to the unique, however you’ll additionally go for a double-layered cloth model when you desire. You too can mix-and-match a white lamp with a black color, or vice versa.
The frame of the speaker itself remains to be wrapped in a cloth mesh, however the flared plastic base from ahead of has been got rid of for a smoother, cylindrical silhouette.
Controls are more practical too. The earlier knob – which at all times instructed dimmer controls that have been by no means there – has been swapped for a easy push-switch to show the lamp on. Round the other facet you’ll in finding play/pause and quantity buttons for the speaker.
Keeping those aside was once possibly to provide help to flip the lamp on with out by chance pausing your tune, however this is a little peculiar having to succeed in at the back of the speaker to hit a quantity button. Then once more, this can be a smart decision – with other people more likely to keep an eye on their audio from a phone extra ceaselessly than now not, there’s one thing to be mentioned for tucking away buttons which you could now not use ceaselessly – however do want to have each and every every now and then.
Ikea has additionally made the smart decision to change to the typical E26/27 gentle bulb becoming, so that is much more likely to take bulbs that you have already got round – and it’s going to be more straightforward to discover a substitute if you wish to have one.
You can use a normal gentle bulb, or you’ll in fact have compatibility the lamp with a appropriate sensible bulb – both from Ikea’s Trådfri vary or from every other producer.
It’s value elevating one small annoyance even though – if the lamp loses energy (both via an influence lower or through being unplugged) it gained’t consider its energy state, so any sensible bulb should be manually reactivated. This shouldn’t arise too ceaselessly, so it’s infrequently a dealbreaker, however do endure it in thoughts.
Once once more, audio comes courtesy of American audio corporate Sonos, which makes its personal spectacular vary of Wi-Fi audio system along those Ikea collaborations.
Given the dimensions and value, you could be hoping that that is secretly some way to shop for the $219/£199 Sonos One for slightly much less – and get a unfastened lamp thrown in besides.
Sadly that’s now not moderately the case – even though don’t get too disenchanted. The lamp speaker has its personal customized audio structure – distinct from both the One or the first-gen lamp – and so doesn’t sound moderately the similar as both.
Sonos says it’s prioritised bettering the audio dispersion this time round, in order that you get correct 360-degree sound anywhere the lamp is, and don’t have to fret an excessive amount of about placement. That’s a wise precedence for this product – you could be prepared to position a speaker anywhere it’s going to sound easiest, however there are likely just one or two spots in a room the place you wish to have to stay a lamp.
There are trade-offs to that call. While sound does raise nicely, there’s slightly much less readability right here than I’m used to from Sonos audio system. On busy pop and rock tracks it’s all too simple for particular person tools to get misplaced within the blend. And whilst there’s numerous bass for day by day listening, this isn’t sufficient to pressure even a Covid-friendly birthday celebration.
To be transparent, this isn’t a foul speaker in any respect – it is brilliant and well-balanced, and will flip itself lovely capably to maximum genres. This will go well with all however the fussiest listeners, however audiophiles hoping for top Sonos should spend slightly extra to get it.
You do no less than get the standard vary of Sonos smarts. You can get the speaker on-line by means of both Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and setup takes just a minute or two with the authentic Sonos app, together with a last step of pairing the speaker with the app over NFC through touching your phone to it.
The app additionally nets you an EQ to tweak the speaker’s sound profile, and naturally choices to hook up with tune products and services and pair it with different Sonos audio system for multi-room audio (or to pair two of those in combination for stereo sound, when you don’t thoughts having two lamps too).
This isn’t a correct sensible speaker even though. There are not any microphones, so you’ll’t use this along with the Google Assistant or Alexa immediately, in contrast to any other Sonos merchandise that experience the digital assistants inbuilt.
If you’re an Apple person you’ll additionally use AirPlay 2 to simply keep an eye on the speaker out of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. There’s additionally beef up for Apple’s TruePlay, which you’ll use to optimise the sound you probably have an iOS tool handy.
Price and availability
At $169/£185 for the textile model and $189/£199 for the glass, the Symfonisk is round the similar value as its predecessor. It can be purchased from Amazon here. For just a little bit extra you need to get the Sonos One, which delivers reasonably larger audio and integrated voice controls – however then that isn’t a lamp.
Fundamentally, even environment different Sonos audio system apart, you’ll get a better-sounding speaker somewhere else for the cash, even though I don’t wish to downplay the standard right here an excessive amount of.
The query is: how a lot is a gentle bulb value to you? Or, to be fairer: how a lot is the space-saving of a mixed speaker and lamp value to you?
It doesn’t really feel unfair to mention that the Symfonisk lamp stays slightly of an oddity. How many of us in point of fact want, and even need, a lamp that also is a speaker?
But for small areas this can be a to hand hybrid, and the aesthetically fussy may additionally relish the risk to cover their audio equipment within a much less obvious little bit of house furnishings.
If all you wish to have is a speaker, then you’ll most likely do larger than this – unquestionably the modest value bounce to the Sonos One is easily value it. But when you like the theory of a lamp that’s loud, this can be a forged refinement of Ikea’s distinctive imaginative and prescient.