IKEA may be known as the destination for well-made modestly priced furniture, but it’s recently been teaming up with luxury brands on a host of souped up collabs.
Now, it’s turned its attention to tech with audio supremo Sonos with a range called SYMFONISK.
The collection includes a picture frame with WiFi speaker (£179), a table lamp with WiFi speaker (£150) and a SYMFONISK bookshelf speaker (£89) - all in a choice of black or white. The clever multi-functioning products can be used as the sole sound source in the room or be paired with Sonos’ existing product range to amp up your home sound system. All pieces in the SYMFONISK range can be controlled by the Sonos app, great news for fans of the brand.
We took the IKEA x Sonos SYMFONISK picture frame for a spin - here’s what we thought.
This doesn’t look anything like a speaker in the traditional sense. Designed to resemble a regular piece of wall art, the textured surface is covered in a somewhat generic geometric print that we imagine would be adored by teenage boys and tech fans. There’s a choice of black or white so you can choose one that ties in with your decor better.
There are fittings included to allow you to hang it on the wall (a new surprising addition to your gallery wall, perhaps?) or you can stand it on the floor, on a shelf or on a sideboard with click-on legs, also supplied. We found the latter the more aesthetically-pleasing option, as it allows you to hide the mains plug running from the back of the frame.
If you’re not planning to install the picture frame on your wall, all that’s needed is to plug the mains cable into the reverse of the frame, and then into your power source - voila!
There are three control buttons hidden just behind the edge of the frame that allow you to play/pause, and control volume up and down. Hit play and you’ll see a tiny green light flashing through the front panel, telling you the device is on and ready to rock and roll.
While the majority of other speakers use Bluetooth, the picture frame works through a combination of WiFi and the Sonos app, which you will need to download to operate the speaker. Once you’ve signed up to the app, your phone will automatically detect your nearest Sonos product - as the picture frame was the only one in our vicinity, this took less than a minute.
Next, you’ll need to enable your phone’s NFC to tether your device to the speaker - for this, go to your phone’s settings, search and turn on this feature if it doesn’t prompt you automatically, then tap it against the flashing light on the speaker’s surface. You’ll feel it vibrate when the phone detects the speaker’s PIN. Then, you’ll need to connect the speaker to your WiFi - so have your network’s password handy.
The last action is connecting your music to the speaker. As Prime members, we tried Amazon Music first, but you can add multiple sources from Spotify, Apple Music, your phone and Sonos Radio etc as you wish. Once signed in, you’ll be able to play your favourite tracks from the Sonos app.
If this all sounds a little complex, don’t fret - the Sonos app will take you step-by-step through the process with helpful diagrams, prompts and clear guides for each element, simple enough for the most technophobic of users to navigate.
This is Sonos, so as you’d expect, sound is pin-sharp yet smooth, and room-filling at top volume. Close your eyes, and it’s completely, wonderfully immersive.
While you can control sound through your phone (effectively turning your device into a remote control) there are also volume buttons on the back edge of the picture frame, handy for turning the music up, down or off manually if your device isn’t nearby.
The acoustics are frankly, fantastic, and astounding when you look at how slight the picture frame is - it has a depth of just 6cm (H57 x W41cm).
Imagine two or three of these speakers on the wall of one room or dotted around the home connected together and you may find yourself clutching your socks in anticipation of them being knocked clean off. Music may be art, but this IKEA x Sonos app has turned tech into a design masterpiece too.
The only downside we can detect is being unable to find a way to connect the speaker to our TV - it would make a formidable addition to viewing entertainment that would give any soundbar a run for its money.
For now though, we’re happy to just let the music play.
SYMFONISK Picture frame with WiFi speaker