Owning a connected speaker, whether it be Bluetooth or WiFi, is pretty standard in 2021. The trouble with these speakers is that, more often than not, they’re a bit of an eyesore. As much as I enjoy the latest and greatest speaker, they can sometimes stick out in a noticeable way. The interior design experts at Ikea know this too well and partnered with Sonos to develop a line of products to make your smart speakers, well, a little less noticeable in your home.
The partnership between the two giants blossomed into the Symfonisk series. The first two products were a table lamp and bookshelf speaker, but now the two are introducing their first new product in two years: the Symfonisk Picture Frame with WiFi Speaker. It’s a mouth full of a name, but it’s meant to provide you with a hassle-free home audio experience.
Symfonisk Picture Frame: What We Liked
Despite its unwieldy name, the Symfonisk frame isn’t your typical picture frame (mostly because you can’t put your own art inside it). Still, it otherwise functions as a way to decorate your interior with some color. Whether you mount it on the wall using the included hardware or leave it on the floor, the Symfonisk can be positioned vertically or horizontally with no reduction in sound quality. Behind the mesh picture is some hard plastic where the play, pause, and track buttons are located. There’s also the included power cord, with a little cut out for you to wrap and tuck away the extra cord around should you not need all of it.
Once you’re plugged in and ready to listen to music, you’ll set up the Symfonisk frame using the Sonos app. From there, you can use Sonos’ Trueplay feature to better tune the speaker to the acoustics of a given space. If you have a second speaker, you can pair the two together for a surround sound (we were only sent one unit to review, however, and didn’t get to test this feature). When it comes to the hardware in the frame, Sonos placed a waveguide in front of the tweeter, which helps spread high-frequency noises throughout your space better.
The resulting sound quality is far superior to most entry-level Bluetooth speakers, with a rich and balanced sound. Despite positioning the speaker on my walls, the sound (even at high volumes) never caused the walls to shake or cause annoyance to anyone outside of the space. Playing all kinds of audio, whether it be rap or rock, podcast or audiobook, sounded really good on the speaker. Even playing a show through my iPhone resulted in a superior listening experience. For a $200 connected speaker, it’s well worth the cost based on quality alone.
Symfonisk Picture Frame: What We Didn’t Like
As of now, you’re tied into the design that comes on the Symfonisk frame. While Ikea plans to offer some variations on the sound-wave-inspired design, they’re going to stay within that same overall aesthetic. Additionally, the cord may bother some who may not be able to hide the cord effectively.
I also can’t help but wonder how much more I’d get out of the Symfonisk if I already had an existing Sonos setup I was pairing it with. Adding the frame as a wall speaker could be a huge boost to my home theater system (if it was all Sonos-related), so I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out a bit.
The Verdict: A Great Way to Disguise a Great-Sounding Speaker
Those looking for an easy-to-mount wall speaker will find a lot to love with the Symfonisk frame, as it provides really great audio for its price. Of course, those with existing Sonos setups will get a lot more of it, but even on its own, it’s well worth it to get to furnish and elevate the sound of a given space. It’s also a promising continuation of a collaboration between Ikea and Sonos, one that shows the two brands are committed to finding more pleasurable ways to play your music now and down the line.