Review: Sonos and IKEA’s New Speaker-Lamp Will Declutter Your Nightstand

A collab between IKEA and Sonos adds music while subtracting junk

IKEA Sonos Symfonisk
IKEA and Sonos collaborate on these bookshelf and lamp speakers
IKEA
By Kirk Miller / July 30, 2019 9:11 am

The table next to my bed is a jumble of cables, devices, a lamp, a Bluetooth speaker and a USB/plug “tower.” It’s a mess. And it tethers me to a space that’s not that comfortable to stay in outside of normal bed hours. 

Hoping to declutter that space and countless others like it, IKEA and Sonos have collaborated on two speakers that double as everyday furniture. At launch, the SYMFONISK collection, debuting in August in IKEA stores and online (but not on the Sonos site) features both a lamp/speaker hybrid and a bookshelf speaker. 

IKEA, which got into smart lighting back in 2017 and Bluetooth speakers just last year, did right by teaming up with Sonos, an audio brand that has a knack for creating expandable, easy-to-use sound systems that look (and sound) good around your home without taking up too much space.

Ideally, the design acumen and affordability of IKEA paired with the sonic know-how of Sonos should make for a winning combo, so we were eager to test the first products out in advance. I was able to demo both units at a rented studio in New York, with additional testing on the bookshelf unit at my own apartment. 

My thoughts below.

The specs:

The desk lamp is pretty much a Sonos One speaker reconfigured into a larger, stockier unit with an opaque lamp shade attached. It has a single dial on the side for the lamp and a couple of push-button controls at the base. 

The bookshelf speaker can be placed vertically or horizontally atop a table or a cabinet, as well as mounted on a wall, where it can hold just under seven pounds and act as its own shelf (hence the name). There’s a small groove in back that hides part of the power cord.

IKEA Sonos Symfonisk

What we liked: 

  • The table lamp had a crisp and punchy sound very reminiscent of our Sonos One speakers. In other words, it was excellent.
  • Pairing the speakers and using our Sonos app to set up took less than a minute. 
  • The minimal controls on both units (a knob and a few buttons) add tactile, intuitive control while remaining hidden.
  • The lamp, designed “like a fireplace … to spread warm light as well as sound” does exactly that. It’s mood lighting — not a high-wattage unit that will light up your room.
  • The muted colors on the units (grey, black, white) all work within the IKEA ecosphere and will fit comfortably into any room.
  • You can pair either of the speakers with your existing Sonos system easily.
  • The speakers do not have a built-in smart assistant, but you can always add an Echo Dot or Google Home Mini … and it’s kind of nice not to have tiny spies hiding inside of every device in your house, right?
  • The prices! $179 for the lamp unit, $99 for the bookshelf speaker.
IKEA Sonos Symfonisk

What could improve:

  • Both units could have used a built-in USB or — particularly on the bookshelf unit — a wireless charger. Being able to remove even just one more item from your shelf or nightstand would have made these ideal as decluttering devices.
  • The lamp sounded great. The bookshelf, however, had a slightly muffled sound that suggests it would do better in a dorm room, or maybe in a less-visited room in your house, where music doesn’t need to be so immersive.
  • The mounting bracket for the bookshelf speaker is not included. It’s $20 extra.
  • You’ll need to buy your own smart (or regular dumb) bulbs for the lamp separately, though the Philips Hue bulbs are compatible

What others say:

“An excellent, affordable introduction to multiroom music and is at its best when used as rears for a Sonos sound bar.” — CNET

“The lamp’s stylish design, affordable price point and stellar audio, makes this the better of the two debut SYMFONISK devices.” — Engadget

“The two debut products … are easily worth the money if they appeal to your design sense.” — The Verge

Conclusion: 

If you want to unobtrusively add music to a room and you like IKEA’s design sense, either of these are winners (especially at these prices). We lean toward the lamp, as it’s pretty much an already-great Sonos speaker with an additional use case. Smart shades are apparently coming in October, so if you can set the lamp up with a cheap smart device like an Echo, you could have an ideal music/lighting wake-up system for under $250.