IKEA has just released the Symfonisk Table Lamp with a WiFi speaker with an improved design and sound. This new version sounds much better than the original, and it’s also nice that the hood and foot are available separately. IKEA offers two different variants of the hood, and this version has a larger fitting so you can choose from many more different pears. However, the sound of the new table lamp does not match that of the Sonos One, which is still slightly more expensive.
In the summer of 2019, the first two products from IKEA’s Symfonisk line appeared on the market. You could then go to the Swedish store for a bookshelf speaker and for a WiFi speaker hidden in a table lamp. As if that wasn’t enough, last summer IKEA also released a picture frame in which loudspeakers are hidden. Apparently, IKEA was happy with the bookshelf speaker and picture frame, but not with the table lamp, as a new version of these has recently been released, which has been renamed ‘Symphonisk Table Lamp with WiFi Speaker’.
Of course, the new table lamp was also developed together with Sonos, so it is just as obvious that you can include the lamp in your Sonos configuration. That’s not a requirement; you can also use the table lamp without having other Sonos products at home. The new table lamp is available in white and black. Not only that, the predecessor lamp consisted of a whole piece while the new one consists of a loose foot and hood. The foot is available in one model, where you can choose from black and white. There are also two variants. One with a white core and a black shell and a second variant that is all white.
The new table lamp’s base, as with its immediate predecessor, is again cylindrical in form. There nevertheless exists a significant difference. In the first table light, the cylinder was placed on a circular plate with three buttons built into it that allowed you to stop the music and change the volume. That round plate is gone. The foot now consists of a sturdy and also quite heavy foot that is largely covered with fabric. Only at the bottom is a strip made of plastic visible. On the separation between the two, there is a small switch on the front of the table lamp with which you can switch the lighting on or off. That’s a big improvement over the first model, which had a somewhat curious rotary switch on the side.
The audio buttons were placed in a less desirable location. They can now be found on the back of the foot. The round plate that was placed under the foot of the first model was not very nice, but the audio buttons were easily accessible. That is no longer the case, with a spot on the back. You may wonder how often you will use the buttons; after all, you operate such an audio system mainly with your telephone. Still, we would have liked to see the buttons on the front in case the lamp is closer than your phone or if someone without access to the system still wants to adjust the volume.
Something similar happens with RGB LED that is processed in the audio buttons. That is also at the back and you will not see it when you use the table lamp. Fortunately, the color of the LED is especially important during installation. Once that job is done, you won’t need the LED much. He then subtly indicates that the speaker is active. However, we would have preferred that indication as well.
The Build Quality
It is nice and sturdy, and the upholstery has a neat finish. The top is cleverly constructed so that the two hoods can each be attached in a different way without you seeing anything when one of the two is mounted. IKEA has placed rubber feet at the bottom of the foot which not only stabilizes it but also will not slip out of place. The feet also provide some insulation when you increase the volume on your table lamp.
As with the other Symfonisk products, the table lamp basically works wirelessly via WiFi. All in all, IKEA has given the table lamp a nice appearance. The glass variant appeals to us the most, but it is very nice that there is a choice. The only downside is the somewhat weak coupling between the foot and the glass shade.
Pairing the Symfonisk to the Sonos App
In terms of functionality, the table lamp is the same as the picture frame and the bookshelf speaker. That is, it fits into the Sonos ecosystem. In fact, as is usual in the Symfonisk line, you need the Sonos app to operate the speaker. The app is available for Android and iOS. It uses your WiFi network, there is no physical audio input and you can’t stream music via Bluetooth either. The table lamp has an Ethernet connection, but you mainly use it when installing.
You can of course stream music from the well-known streaming services with the Sonos app, but you can also stream the music that is on your phone’s music library. Playing music via a laptop or PC is also possible, although the Sonos ecosystem is clearly not intended for that. The Symfonisk speakers, which are also supported by the Sonos app for iOS, are also compatible with Airplay 2.
Please note that linking a Symfonisk speaker to the Sonos software can be a hassle if things don’t work immediately. It is fairly simple; the app simply leads you through the installation procedure. Things get a little more complex if the installation doesn’t work as expected. Then the app is not very helpful and neither is the guide that IKEA provides. In the supplied manual there is no explanation found on the function of the RGB LED, while this still plays a prominent role during the setting. Resetting the speaker is also not explained.
The Symfonisk’s sound quality has improved.
It’s possible to connect two table lamps so that they play in stereo, which is a nice option. You can provide a room with stereo sound by using just two inconspicuous speakers. The function is not unique to the table lamp; it is also possible with the other Symfonisk speakers and with the different speakers from Sonos. You can also include Symfonisk speakers in a Sonos speaker setup. The table lamp speakers can play a beautiful and unobtrusive role in a Sonos home cinema system.
A new soundstage
The outside of the table lamp, as created by IKEA’s designers, is just as fascinating as the part for which Sonos is responsible: the inside. The designers at Sonos have completely overhauled the table lamp and come up with a completely different speaker setup. Fortunately for us, that benefits the sound of this new version of the lamp. Sonos’ goal was clear; where the first iteration of the table lamp mainly projected the sound forward, Sonos is now trying to realize a wider sound projection and the makers have succeeded in doing that.
The table lamp has a new waveguide, which should distribute the sound over 180 degrees. That is also immediately hearable. The table lamp sounds much more spacious than its predecessor and definitely more spacious than the picture frame that projects its sound to the front. It is something to keep in mind when purchasing the table lamp and picture frame. The table lamp projects broadly, the picture frame very focused.
We can be brief about the sound of the new table lamp; compared to its predecessor it is an improvement. You may compare the old and new table lamps side by side and hear a difference. The new model has improved in the low tones, which are now louder and clearer than before, but not as much so as with the first version.
Next to the Sonos One
We also compared the table lamp with a Sonos One. Placed next to each other, the Sonos One wins. The sound has more body despite its smaller size and has deeper continuous fuller lows and less shrill sounding highs, resulting in a more pleasant, balanced sound. However, the One has a higher price tag than the table lamp although the price that IKEA charges is okay. It may not be perfect, but it’s a pleasant-sounding system.
Those looking for greater fidelity will not be looking to the Symfonisk, but most people won’t notice much of a difference when listening at reasonable volumes. Those with less stringent standards may build an acceptable setup. The table lamp can serve excellently as a second speaker in a bedroom or children’s room and it also fits well in a larger Sonos system, especially if it also includes a Sonos soundbar or subwoofer.
What is missing?
The Sonos app is handy and gives you the opportunity to easily set up a multi-room audio system. The simplicity of this is very nice, but there are limitations that mainly come from Sonos. The partnership with Sonos also means that the table lamp, like the other Symfonisk speakers, lacks some functionality, simply because it doesn’t fit into Sonos’ philosophy. Bluetooth functionality in particular would have been welcome in our opinion so that not every user has to install the Sonos app and create the corresponding account. And with a speaker that is permanently connected to the internet, a built-in microphone would have been welcome, so that you can use the Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri. In 2022, that would not have been a crazy function.
The new table lamp fits in well with IKEA’s aim to make audio invisible. Whether the lamp fits in your interior is of course a matter of taste. As far as we’re concerned, IKEA has made a smart move to make the design of this new version a little less pronounced. It is also very nice that you can choose from two different lampshades. We prefer the one made of glass that is slightly more expensive. In addition, the plastic connection between hood and foot is somewhat fragile: certainly a point of concern.
The sound is a big improvement over the old design. The new lamp not only sounds significantly better, but it also has a much more spacious sound. It has more bass, although it does tend to sound a bit muddy. The Sympfonisk table lamp also falls short in the mid-high. The Symfonisk picture frame has a less solid, but tighter bass, and the Sonos One sounds better across the spectrum although the Sonos One comes at a higher price tag.
In function, the table lamp does nothing new. It fits seamlessly into the Sonos ecosystem and is perfect for a bedroom or children’s room, where sound quality is perhaps slightly less important. We also see the lamp becoming a part of a home cinema system controlled by Sonos, provided it is linked up to a good subwoofer. So there are certain applications in which we see the table lamp flourish, but none in which good sound has the highest priority.
Liked this review? Check out some of our other reviews right here!