(Pocket-lint) - Sonos and Ikea announced a collaboration back in 2018. We've had to wait a little, but the results of that partnership are finally here in the form of the Symfonisk range, which includes a speaker which doubles-up as a mini shelf, and a table lamp with a speaker as its base.
- Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker vs Symfonisk Table Lamp Speaker: Which should you buy?
The Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker doesn't have the catchiest of names, but it is a speaker well worth your attention. At £99, it's the cheapest way to get your hands on Sonos, offering a stepping stone into the company's excellent multi-room experience and all the features that offers.
- Vertical or horizontal positioning
- Black and white colour options
- Shelf can hold up to 3kg
- Physical control buttons
- Mains power only
The Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker has a simple, sophisticated design that reflects both companies. It's an unassuming speaker that will blend into most home decors. The outer casing is plastic, much like the Sonos Play:5, and there is a similar design language too, with soft edges and curved corners.
The Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker is a little wider than the Sonos Play:3 in terms of size, but not as tall, offering a slim body that can be positioned vertically or horizontally, just as the Sonos Play:3 can.
In the vertical position, the Symfonisk speaker will sit on a bookshelf or a piece of furniture, blending seamlessly into its surroundings. For the Ikea fans out there, it fits perfectly into the squares of the popular Ikea Kallax storage range.
Horizontally, the speaker can be wall-mounted to double-up as a shelf that can withstand up to 3kg of weight. There are even brackets (sold separately) that come with a silicone band which goes on top of the speaker to reduce vibration. There are also hooks available (again, sold separately) allowing users to hang the Book Shelf Wi-Fi speaker on the Ikea hanging rails. In a nutshell, there is some serious placement flexibility with this device.
The front of the Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi speaker has a lovely, soft-touch material covering the speaker grille, offering a Scandinavian look, while subtle Sonos and Ikea branding is present on a small tag. The white model (as per our review unit) has a light grey material, while the black model has a dark grey material.
Three circular physical controls sit to the side of the bookshelf speaker on the front - play/pause button and volume up/down buttons - and there is an LED status light too, as all Sonos speakers offer. The light indicates when the speaker is on and it's also used in the setup process.
The same features you'd get on a typical Sonos speaker are present too, such as pressing-and-holding the play/pause button to bring that speaker into a group of Sonos speakers already playing music.
The Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker requires mains power, with the power socket on the rear. The design has been considered here, with a gap for the lead in both orientations, allowing for the device to sit flush to the wall or flush to the furniture it is placed on. The only qualm we have is that the power lead is quite short - so while the device itself offers plenty of placement options, the lead makes that a little more restrictive.
Same Sonos experience
- Controlled via the Sonos app
- Trueplay for optimum sound
- Apple AirPlay 2 compatible
- Multi-room capable
- Stereo pairing
Controlled via the Sonos app, the Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker offers almost all of the features available on standard Sonos speakers, meaning the ability to group the Symfonisk speakers with any Sonos speaker for a seamless multi-room audio experience. You can even play different music to different speakers simultaneously, which is useful when listening in different rooms.
We have both the Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker and the Symfonisk Lamp setup alongside the rest of our Sonos system - and both work seamlessly with the other Sonos speakers. You'd never know the difference and they aren't differentiated as 'Ikea' devices in the app at all.
Sonos offers access to over 100 music streaming services (you'll need an account for each you wish to use), along with the ability to play music from a local device, including your phone or PC/laptop - so there's no shortage of ways to access music.
The Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker is also Apple AirPlay 2 compatible, like the more recent Sonos speakers (including the Sonos One, Sonos Move, Sonos One SL and Play:5), allowing Apple iOS users to send music directly to the speaker, or by asking Siri to play music on the speaker without any need to open the Sonos app.
Like all other Sonos speakers, the Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker supports Trueplay too, meaning you can tune it to its surroundings using the software feature in the Sonos app and an iOS device. This is perhaps one of the best features, given the numerous placement options, as you can make sure you're getting the best possible sound, no matter where you place it.
It's also possible to stereo pair the Symfonisk Book Shelf speaker too. This feature is excellent as it means if you had a Sonos Beam and Sub in your living room, for example, you could add two Symfonisk Book Shelf speakers to create a 5.1 surround system.
Before the launch of the Symfonisk Book Shelf speaker, the cheapest way to get a Sonos 3.1 system involved buying two Play:1 to pair with the Sonos Beam or Sonos Playbar - but the price of the Symfonisk Book Shelf speaker means you could almost buy two for the same cost as one Play:1.
The Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker doesn't have microphones inside so there is no voice control available like the Sonos One, Sonos Move or Sonos Beam. That said, you can still control the Book Shelf speaker through Alexa or Google Assistant with a Sonos One, Sonos Move or Sonos Beam, or an Amazon Alexa compatible device or Google Assistant compatible device like Google Home. We have Google Home and we had no issues getting Google Assistant to play Ed Sheeran on our Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker (no judgements, please).
In terms of other features, the Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker will work with the Ikea Tradfri smart home system eventually too, allowing you to create Scenes - i.e. controlling automated programmes, triggered at specific times of day, such as fading in the lights slowly and bringing the blinds up.
Sound and performance
- Class D digital amplifier
The Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker might be small in comparison to other Sonos speakers, but that's not to say it doesn't deliver in performance.
The Book Shelf Wi-Fi speaker isn't as powerful as the Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Table Lamp Speaker, nor as the Sonos One or Sonos One SL, but it still packs in some serious punch for its compact size. It offers great range with plenty of detail and a healthy dose of bass - perhaps a little too much for some, but you can adjust this in the equaliser (EQ) settings of the Sonos app (read our Sonos tips and tricks on how to do this).
There's decent volume too. We had our Bookshelf Wi-Fi Speaker in our living room, which is open plan and one of the bigger rooms in our home, and we didn't need to go beyond 30 per cent volume. It's really quite impressive for its price and size.
Overall, the Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker is one great-sounding shelf and a fantastic way to start a Sonos collection.
The Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker has blended seamlessly into our Sonos setup and we love it - even months after originally penning this review.
The material over the speaker grille offers a softer approach than some of the other Sonos speakers, while the ability to place it vertically or horizontally, as well as wall-mount it and hang it - we love that it doubles-up as a shelf which can hold up to 3kgs - allows for plenty of flexibility.
It's just a shame the included power lead isn't any longer, as that can be a little restrictive in terms of placement.
There are some fantastic features on board, including AirPlay 2, Trueplay tuning and stereo pairing, not to mention the typical features offered by the Sonos multi-speaker experience. Importantly, of course, is the sound quality: which will exceed the expectations set by its compact size.
For £99, it's brilliant and a no-brainer for those looking to start a Sonos system or add to an existing one.
This article was first published as a preview in April 2019 and has been updated to reflect its full review status
The Sonos Play:1 is more powerful than the Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker, but it is also a little more expensive and not as versatile in terms of placement. If you're not bothered about the bookshelf element, the Play:1 is a great alternative to start a Sonos system, though you might also want to consider the newer Sonos One SL that has a newer design and the latest functionality but it is cheaper than the Sonos One as it ditches built-in voice control.
Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Table Lamp Speaker
The Sonos Ikea Symfonisk Table Lamp Speaker offers the same features as the Book Shelf Wi-Fi Speaker, including AirPlay 2 compatibility and Trueplay support, but it has a light as it's second function rather than a bookshelf. It's more powerful than the Book Shelf speaker but it's more expensive too, like the Play:1.