The partnership between flatpack furnishings large Ikea and Wi-Fi speaker masters Sonos has been fruitful, if just a little unusual, and nothing 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 giant fan of the unique lamp speaker, nevertheless it clearly had some flaws. That’s why I’m happy to see that the 2 corporations have gone again to present it one other go, and whereas this second-gen isn’t excellent, it’s by far the Symfonisk speaker that can swimsuit the most individuals.
Design and construct
The primary Symfonisk lamp seemed…distinctive, to say the least. This second model is clearly a detailed relation, however Ikea has pared issues again just a little with a design that ought to swimsuit just a few extra dwelling rooms than earlier than.
Out there in both white or black, it additionally comes with a alternative of lampshades. I’ve been reviewing it with a frosted glass shade that’s harking back to the unique, however you can even go for a double-layered material model for those who choose. You too can mix-and-match a white lamp with a black shade, or vice versa.
The physique of the speaker itself remains to be wrapped in a material mesh, however the flared plastic base from earlier than has been eliminated for a smoother, cylindrical silhouette.
Controls are less complicated too. The earlier knob – which at all times urged dimmer controls that have been by no means there – has been swapped for a easy push-switch to show the lamp on. Spherical the other aspect you’ll discover play/pause and quantity buttons for the speaker.
Holding these aside was presumably to make it simpler to show the lamp on with out by accident pausing your music, however it’s a little odd having to achieve behind the speaker to hit a quantity button. Then once more, this can be a sensible transfer – with individuals more likely to management their audio from a telephone as a rule, there’s one thing to be mentioned for tucking away buttons that you could be not use usually – however do have to have each from time to time.
Ikea has additionally made the good transfer to change to the frequent E26/27 gentle bulb becoming, so that is extra more likely to take bulbs that you have already got round – and it will likely be simpler to discover a alternative for those who want one.
You should use a daily gentle bulb, or you’ll be able to after all match the lamp with a appropriate good bulb – both from Ikea’s Trådfri vary or from some other producer.
It’s price elevating one small annoyance although – if the lamp loses energy (both by an influence minimize or by being unplugged) it received’t keep in mind its energy state, so any good bulb should be manually reactivated. This shouldn’t come up too usually, so it’s hardly a dealbreaker, however do bear it in thoughts.
As soon as once more, audio comes courtesy of American audio firm Sonos, which makes its personal spectacular vary of Wi-Fi audio system alongside these Ikea collaborations.
Given the scale and value, you is perhaps hoping that that is secretly a approach to purchase the $219/£199 Sonos One for a bit much less – and get a free lamp thrown in as well.
Sadly that’s not fairly the case – although 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 fairly the identical as both.
Sonos says it’s prioritised enhancing the audio dispersion this time round, so that you just get correct 360-degree sound wherever the lamp is, and don’t should stress an excessive amount of about placement. That’s a sensible precedence for this product – you is perhaps prepared to place a speaker wherever it can sound finest, however there are most likely just one or two spots in a room the place you wish to stick a lamp.
There are trade-offs to that call. Whereas sound does carry properly, there’s a bit much less readability right here than I’m used to from Sonos audio system. On busy pop and rock tracks it’s all too straightforward for particular person devices to get misplaced within the combine. And whereas there’s loads of bass for day-to-day listening, this isn’t sufficient to drive even a Covid-friendly occasion.
To be clear, this isn’t a nasty speaker by any means – it is shiny and well-balanced, and might flip itself fairly capably to most genres. This can swimsuit all however the fussiest listeners, however audiophiles hoping for peak Sonos should spend a bit extra to get it.
You do not less than get the standard vary of Sonos smarts. You will get the speaker on-line through both Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and setup takes solely a minute or two with the official Sonos app, together with a closing step of pairing the speaker with the app over NFC by touching your telephone to it.
The app additionally nets you an EQ to tweak the speaker’s sound profile, and naturally choices to hook up with music providers and pair it with different Sonos audio system for multi-room audio (or to pair two of those collectively for stereo sound, for those who don’t thoughts having two lamps too).
This isn’t a correct good speaker although. There aren’t any microphones, so you’ll be able to’t use this along with the Google Assistant or Alexa straight, not like another Sonos merchandise which have the digital assistants in-built.
For those who’re an Apple person you can even use AirPlay 2 to simply management the speaker out of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. There’s additionally assist for Apple’s TruePlay, which you should use to optimise the sound when you have an iOS machine at hand.
Value and availability
At $169/£185 for the textile model and $189/£199 for the glass, the Symfonisk is across the similar value as its predecessor. For just a little bit extra you could possibly get the Sonos One, which delivers barely higher audio and built-in voice controls – however then that isn’t a lamp.
Basically, even setting different Sonos audio system apart, you will get a better-sounding speaker elsewhere for the cash, although I don’t wish to downplay the standard right here an excessive amount of.
The query is: how a lot is a lightweight bulb price to you? Or, to be fairer: how a lot is the space-saving of a mixed speaker and lamp price to you?
It doesn’t really feel unfair to say that the Symfonisk lamp stays a little bit of an oddity. How many individuals really want, and even need, a lamp that can also be a speaker?
However for small areas it is a useful hybrid, and the aesthetically fussy may relish the prospect to cover their audio gear inside a much less obtrusive little bit of residence furnishings.
If all you need is a speaker, then you’ll be able to most likely do higher than this – actually the modest value leap to the Sonos One is properly price it. However for those who like the concept of a lamp that’s loud, it is a strong refinement of Ikea’s distinctive imaginative and prescient.
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