Ikea Sonos Symfonisk Lamp Speaker full review

Sonos speakers are some of the best you can buy, but there's one big downside: they're pretty pricey. 

Luckily, the audio company’s collaboration with furniture behemoth Ikea goes some way to correct that problem, with a fresh, functional aesthetic that sits aside from the rest of the Sonos range and price points that are just that little bit more friendly.

The Symfonisk range has launched with two devices: a slimline bookshelf speaker, and this, a table lamp speaker that pairs Sonos sound with, well, a light bulb.

Price and availability

First up: the Symfonisk speakers are only available directly from Ikea directly - you can’t even buy them from Sonos, let alone any other retailers. You can grab them in-store or from Ikea’s online store

The table lamp speaker will set you back £150/$179, which is a similar price to the £149/$149 Sonos Play:1, currently the cheapest speaker in the company’s lineup - but that doesn’t have a lightbulb fitting.

If you’d rather go a little cheaper, the £99/$99 Symfonisk bookshelf speaker is comfortably the cheapest Sonos around. It’s also wall-mountable, though you’ll have to pay an extra £10/$20 for the wall brackets.

The sound of Sonos

The first thing you’ll probably want to know about the Symfonisk lamp (well, apart from the whole ‘lamp’ bit - we’ll get to that soon) is whether it really lives up to the Sonos sound, or whether it’s all been hopelessly compromised in the name of fitting into flat-pack.

The good news is that Sonos clearly played a heavy part in the acoustic design of the lamp speaker, and have basically managed to recreate the sonic profile of a Play:1 inside the body of a bedside lamp.

Like any Sonos speaker you can essentially expect a balanced sound profile that’s well-suited to most genres without leaning too heavily in any one direction.

There’s plenty of bass despite the relatively compact form, more volume than you’re ever likely to need, and still plenty of clarity to treble and vocals. This isn’t a speaker that’ll fill the floor at a party, but it’s plenty for a bedroom, study, or mid-size living room, and the sound quality is hard to beat at this price.

Just as importantly, this is a fully fledged Sonos speaker in every other respect - both good and bad. You’ll have to play music over Wi-Fi (or the ethernet port tucked into the back) as there’s no Bluetooth support at all, but it’s totally integrated into the existing Sonos app and ecosystem.

That means multi-room audio with all of your existing Sonos speakers (or any others you’re tempted to buy in the future), the ability to use multiple speakers for stereo or even surround sound, and the ability to play music from Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, Deezer, Soundcloud, and more through the Sonos app.

It also supports the Sonos Trueplay system, which uses a phone to calibrate the speaker's sound to the room, but it's worth noting that this is only supported on iOS, so you'll need an iPhone to set it up - or at least to borrow a friend's phone.

Pretty much the only thing you don’t get is voice assistant support, currently limited to the Sonos One and Beam. Still, if you have a Google Home or Amazon Echo device on the same Wi-Fi network you can still use that to control the Symfonisk anyway, as you can if you already own a One or Beam elsewhere in the house.

Sound and vision

So far I’ve sort of skirted around the weirdest part of the Symfonisk table lamp: the lamp bit. In a sense, that’s because there isn’t a whole lot to say about it.

This is a pretty standard light socket that takes E14 bulbs in the UK or E12 in the US, with a frosted glass lampshade that softens the glow. It’ll take a regular bulb (not included), or you can fit it with a smart bulb for some extra functionality. Conveniently Ikea sells its own Trådfri smart bulbs in those respective sizes for (though be warned you’ll also need to buy the gateway device), but Philips Hue and plenty of other brands are also out there - check out our smart lighting guide for more options.

The over-sized glass lampshade is certainly a strong design choice, and the look won’t be for everyone - this is more of a statement piece than the accompanying bookshelf speaker, which is designed to blend in a bit. I’m mostly a fan, but I’ll admit that it’s a little more bulbous than I’d ideally like.

It helps that Sonos and Ikea have opted for a fabric finish to the speaker itself, reminiscent of the Google Home speakers. Our white model is particularly close to the Google aesthetic, but there’s also one with a black speaker and base, with a smoky finish to the lampshade’s glass.

On-device controls are predictably minimal. On the base you’ll find volume buttons and play/pause, and that’s it. Then on the side there’s a chunky round switch for the light, though be warned - though the circular control may look like a dimmer, in fact it’s a simple on/off button. If you want dimmable light you’ll have to install a smart bulb and control it through its own app or smart assistant setup.

Verdict

If you’ve ever looked at your lamp and thought it could be a bit louder, this Symfonisk speaker is for you.

But in all seriousness, this is a surprisingly strong collaboration between Ikea and Sonos. With an incredibly similar sonic profile to the Play:1 this has fully earned its place in the Sonos ecosystem, and while the lampshade is a tad chunky, there’s an obvious efficiency in combining a lamp and speaker into one - perfect for small houses or apartments.

Just be warned that the Sonos system has its weaknesses as well as its strengths - there’s no Bluetooth and you’ll have to use the Sonos app to control your music, not your own music player - but the tradeoff is phenomenal sound quality and smoother multi-room or stereo audio setups than any rival company has managed yet.

Specs

Ikea Sonos Symfonisk Lamp Speaker: Specs

  • 2x Class-D digital amplifiers
  • 1x tweeter
  • 1x mid-woofer
  • Sealed enclosure
  • 7W E14 (UK) or E12 (US) light bulb fitting
  • 21.6x21.6x40.1cm