Ikea Symfonisk WLAN picture frames with Sonos sound in the test

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Ikea’s new Symfonisk WLAN loudspeaker in picture frame format with Sonos sound is special due to its design. For the price, Ikea’s “Symfonisk frame with WiFi speaker” delivers good sound, but it doesn’t quite come close to the Sonos One.

Ikea meets Sonos Part 3: The very good ones Symphonic Speaker (Test), which can also be used as a shelf, and the table lamp with integrated speakers is followed by the sound picture frame, which can be hung on the wall or placed on the floor. The “Symfonisk frame with WiFi speaker“Can as a consequent continuation of the previous solutions, all of which pursue the aim of speaker technology as inconspicuously as possible – and for 179 euros * also still quite affordable – to be integrated into the living space, to be understood. The test shows that the new concept works.

Ikea Symphonic: Picture frame meets Sonos WLAN speaker

Sonos inside: The new Ikea Symfonisk speakers are hidden behind an art print. (Photo: Ikea)

First of all, the question should be clarified whether the “Symfonisk frame with WiFi speaker” is a picture frame with Sonos sound or a loudspeaker in the form of a picture frame. This is basically a relatively simple answer, as Ikea only offers a limited selection of artistically printed interchangeable fronts made of fabric. If you don’t like any of the twelve prints currently available, you’re out of luck. There is currently no individualization, for example with your own vacation or family photos. Although Ikea has plans to expand the range of art on offer, it is unclear whether the customer will ever be able to use their own prints.

Given the lack of customization options, we would define the Wi-Fi speaker as a speaker in the shape of a picture frame. That should be perfectly okay for many, even if the selection of art prints is still limited.

Ikea Symfonisk picture frame with Wi-Fi speaker: Which of the motifs would you hang on the wall? (Images: Ikea)

Incidentally, the sound frame is made of plastic and is available in white and black. The dimensions of the Symfonisk frame are 40 by 56 centimeters with a depth of six centimeters. So the speaker is not absolutely thin, but the speaker housing does not extend over the entire width, instead the frame jumps off several centimeters on all sides, making the speaker appear narrower than it actually is.

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Ikea’s Symfonisk picture frame loudspeaker without the fabric-covered front. (Photo: t3n)

Dowel or just lean on the wall? Both are possible with Ikea’s Symfonisk picture frame

Ikea’s Symfonisk picture frame speaker also looks good on the shelf. (Photo: t3n)

It is up to you whether you place the speaker on the floor or a piece of furniture or drill it firmly on the wall. Appropriate devices are available for all eventualities. If you set up the boxes, it is recommended that you use two silicone feet that are in the box. This protects the frame from scratches and decouples the loudspeakers from the surface in order to reduce vibrations. If the speaker is hanging on the wall, vibrations are reduced by the felt pads on the back. That should please the neighbors too. You have to provide dowels and screws yourself.

Power comes into the Wi-Fi picture frame via a relatively long cable that is about 3.5 meters. Cutouts on the back will help guide the cable out the side or down. If you have a second Symfonisk frame and want to use both as a stereo pair, no additional power socket is required. Instead, you can supply the second speaker with juice via a connection cable via the first. In this way you save yourself a socket space. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether it is aesthetically beneficial to run a cable between the two speakers.

Ikea’s Symfonisk picture frame loudspeaker – next to the power connection there is another port with which another loudspeaker can be supplied with energy. (Photo: t3n)

When it comes to integration into the home network, you have two options to choose from: wirelessly via WLAN or via an Ethernet adapter. In order to save further cable management, we advise you to use a WLAN solution.

Ikea Symfonisk picture frames – best controlled via the Sonos app

Ikea’s Symfonisk picture frame loudspeaker can best be controlled via the Sonos app. (Photo: t3n)

Like the first two Symfonisk speakers, the sound frame can also be controlled via the Sonos-S2-App serve. The app guides you through the setup process, which is done in five minutes. Similar to the Sonos Roam, the coupling takes place via the NFC coil in the smartphone. If your smartphone does not have NFC, you can use the acoustic coupling solution, in which the loudspeaker plays a beep.

You can store your preferred streaming service in the Sonos app – the US company’s platform supports over 100 different music streaming services in total. For most of them, the choice is likely to fall on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music or Tidal anyway. But also Audible is on board.

If you don’t have your smartphone at hand, but want to pause playback or change the volume, you can do this directly on the speakers. The classic Sonos buttons are well hidden on the back on the left. They are easy to reach and easy to feel.

Ikea’s Symfonisk picture frame speaker has the usual Sonos control buttons on the left. (Photo: t3n)

Since the speaker Airplay 2 it is also possible to transfer music from iPhone or iPad. The same applies to Spotify Connect: You can transfer music to the Symfonisk loudspeaker using the Spotify app. Ultimately, there are many ways of operation open to you. The loudspeaker can also be addressed via Ikea’s own home smart app, but the range of functions is then extremely limited. In addition, is a Trådfri gateway required, with which Ikea’s smart home devices are controlled. In short: the Sonos S2 app is the best solution for controlling the speaker.

If you use a smart home system with Alexa, the Google Assistant or Siri, you can integrate the speaker into it and control it by voice. However, this cannot be done directly via the Symfonisk loudspeaker as it has no microphones. Instead, the Sonos account has to be linked to an Amazon Echo, Google Nest Hub or Homepod linked.

And what does the Ikea Symfonisk frame sound like with a WLAN speaker?

While Ikea took care of the design of the frame, the sound design was largely up to Sonos. This division This was also the case with the first Symfonisk models, with which Ikea had landed its first hit.

The sound of the 3.7 kilogram picture frame speaker is convincing. It certainly does not appeal to audiophile pleasure listeners who are spoiled by luxury speakers and high-end systems that cost several thousand euros. For loudspeakers at the price of for 179 euros * however, do they sound very neat. Like the first two models, the picture frame speaker has a woofer / midrange and a tweeter. There is also an opening in the upper right corner that is supposed to provide a better bass.

Ikea’s Symfonisk picture frame speaker next to the Sonos One. (Photo: t3n)

Compared to the Sonos One, which, despite its size, delivers an excellent sound with high dynamics and breadth, the Symfonisk looks a bit cooler with more pronounced highs. The sound of the Symfonisk could also be described as airier than that of the One, while the compact Sonos speaker delivers the more powerful and better-defined sound. The bass of the Symfonisk loudspeakers is not particularly intrusive at moderate volumes, which is ultimately a matter of taste. With a higher volume, it becomes more noticeable, also without being intrusive or booming. Furthermore, due to its construction, the Symfonisk radiates the sound to the front, while the One also radiates the sound to the sides.

Like a Sonos speaker, the Symfonisk sound frame supports measurement via Trueplay, with which the sound can be optimized for the respective room. For this, however, an iOS device is required, with which you have to run through the room to measure. After calibration, the lower tones sound a little more contoured – but in our opinion it doesn’t make that much of a difference. The function is not offered for Android smartphones. In any case, we don’t understand that Ikea or Sonos doesn’t integrate this measurement technology into the speaker like Apple does with Homepod or Google with Nest Audio. This means that no additional equipment is required, and the speakers are also automatically optimized.

Overall, the Symfonisk speaker delivers a good sound that still has room for improvement, but is still convincing for the price and its design.

Conclusion on the Ikea Symfonisk sound frame: Smart solution with room for improvement

Ikea’s third Symfonisk product created with Sonos offers a special loudspeaker that integrates elegantly into the living space. The manufacturer has thus achieved the goal set in advance. It surely protrudes further out of the wall than a family photo, but it takes up less space than a standard floorstanding speaker and also looks quite neat. Nevertheless, we wanted a larger selection of motifs or even the possibility of drawing our own prints on a compatible fabric frame.

Apart from that, the Symfonisk loudspeaker delivers a good sound that is not in the high-end range, but is sufficient for normal household use. The speakers are also practical for surround systems in combination with a Sonos-Arc- or –Beam-Soundbar. Because they can be used as rear speakers without taking up space.

If you are looking for speakers that don’t look like speakers and have no problems with the motifs, you should take a look at the new Symfonisk speakers. They are from July 15th for 179 euros * available per piece at Ikea.

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