The IKEA/Sonos speaker collaboration is an exciting launch for anyone interested in streaming music or podcasts throughout their home. But are these new speakers all they’re cracked up to be? Below is our honest review.
Wait, IKEA Makes Speakers?!
Heck yes they do! If you’re unfamiliar, the new SYMFONISK wifi smart speakers from IKEA are the product of IKEA’s partnership with speaker manufacturer Sonos. Yes, that Sonos! For home audio nerds like us (okay, really just me – Kim only cares if things are easy to use and sound great) this is incredibly exciting. The SYMFONISK line includes a functional lamp and a wall-mounted bookshelf… both of which also happen to be smart speakers that integrate seamlessly into the Sonos audio ecosystem.
We’ll focus on the bookshelf version for the purpose of this review, but after in-store testing, both products seem to have similar sound output. Let’s talk details! (I love, love, love this stuff.)
The SYMFONISK bookshelf speaker packs a lot of punch for the relatively low price tag! Let’s check out the details.
- Price: $99(!)
- Wall mount bracket available separately for $20, but we’re using both of ours as tabletop speakers
- Full Sonos system and app integration/control
- Compatible with Apple Airplay 2
- Supports all major music streaming platforms (we use Spotify around here)
- Streams over wifi as opposed to bluetooth, so sound is not interrupted by phone calls
- Two identical speakers can be joined together as a stereo pair
- Available in black or white
- Size: 4″ x 6″ x 12″
How Does Symfonisk Differ From the Sonos One?
The SYMFONISK speakers were developed in collaboration between Sonos and IKEA, so think of them as Sonos speaker guts stuffed inside IKEA housings. I’ve done lots of reading, and many have even suggested that the SYMFONISK is made up of nearly identical components to the Sonos One. But how does it differ from a practical standpoint? Let’s investigate!
- Price | Coming in at a budget-friendly price of $99, this speaker is a great value. Up until this point, the lowest-priced speakers in the Sonos ecosystem hovered around the $150 mark. The exact Sonos One that we have in our bedroom retails for $199 (but is on crazy sale right now for $50 off!). This means that a stereo pair of SYMFONISK speakers costs the same as a single Sonos One!
- Form Factor | From our experience with both the SYMFONISK bookshelf speakers and our existing Sonos One, it appears that the biggest difference in the design of the speakers is in their respective form factor. The mounting bracket for the SYMFONISK is a $20 add on that allows the speaker to be wall mounted vertically or horizontally, with the horizontal orientation turning the speaker into a 6″ x 12″ bookshelf/side table/nightstand. The wall mount that we used for the Sonos One in our bedroom also cost $20, but simply mounts a great-sounding speaker to the wall while adding no additional functionality. It’s worth noting that both the Sonos One and SYMFONISK speakers (and their respective mounts) are available in either white or black to blend in with any decor and help them fade into the background.
- Alexa Integration | The final significant functional difference between the Symfonisk speakers and their Sonos counterparts is the lack of native Alexa integration. We specifically chose the 2nd generation Sonos One because we wanted to have voice command of our entire smart home system from our bedroom. Since these speakers are installed in our home studio, we didn’t need Alexa functionality, so they suit our needs just fine.
Connectivity and Pairing
If you’re at all familiar with Sonos speakers and their corresponding app, the setup of the SYMFONISK speakers will come as no surprise to you. Setting up each of the speakers took about 3 minutes, including the time it took for them to update themselves to the newest software. Once each speaker was in place, we set them up as a matched stereo pair, named it ‘Studio’ and were on our way!
A few minutes worth of cable management later and they were now a part of our whole home audio system. We can now walk from the backyard, through the kitchen, dining, and living rooms, up the stairs into the studio and on into our bedroom with perfectly matched and tuned sound following us the whole way!
How Do They Sound?
These. Speakers. Sound. Fantastic! We’ve tested and played around with a dozen or so small bluetooth and wifi speakers over the last few years, and the SYMFONISK and Sonos One speakers sound the best. Hands down.
Outside of a retail store display scenario, we’d never had Sonos speakers set up as a stereo pair, but it’s a game changer. High frequencies are crisp and clear. Mid tones are warm and defined. Bass response is surprisingly deep for a speaker that’s only 4″ wide. I don’t understand the witchcraft that Sonos has shoved inside these speaker housings, but they sound shockingly good. If you don’t understand what any of this means, just trust that the SYMFONISK speakers will make your audio sound great!
So are they worth the sticker price? A resounding yes! We’re absolutely thrilled with the upgrade. In our opinion, the speakers blend into their surroundings better than standard Sonos speakers and do so at a much lower price point! The options for control via the Sonos app, Apple Airplay 2 and all major streaming services means that they’re a great fit for everyone!
If you can’t tell, we’re excited about these speakers. Now it’s up to Kim to convince me that we don’t need one for each bathroom as well!
PS: You can see the items in our home studio right here, if you’d like!