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IKEA Symfonisk assessment: Ought to tech grow to be invisible?


Is it time for know-how to take a again seat? After I was younger, I had individuals throng my lounge every time we bought a brand-new TV as they needed to test it out, however fast-forward to immediately and it appears as if new applied sciences have built-in themselves so effectively and seamlessly that they’re virtually invisible inside a sensible dwelling atmosphere. However is that this even significant and sensible? Additionally, is that this the so-called “ambient computing” that techies rave about? To seek out out extra, NextPit determined to offer the IKEA Symfonisk picture body a more in-depth look.


  • Cool, easy design
  • Simple setup
  • Good connectivity to different Sonos and Symfonisk audio system
  • Lengthy energy cable


  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • Must be plugged in on a regular basis
  • No customized printable design

Invisible know-how vs. ambient computing

On this assessment, I’ll little doubt dive into the standard of the IKEA Symfonisk picture body. How is the audio efficiency like, is the design ok, and is it straightforward to arrange? Past that, I might additionally wish to replicate on the thought behind this wi-fi speaker picture body.

This image performs music – and does so fairly effectively, truly! / © IKEA

Each IKEA and Sonos will not be simply attempting so as to add technical options to standard merchandise with this effort. Above all, they’re attempting to take away know-how from getting in the best way of our on a regular basis lives. In all places we glance, there are flashing lights, ringing bells, and beeping. In line with specialists like Daniela Otto, that is one stress level that must be eradicated through digital detoxing.

Nonetheless, is know-how able to take a step into the background?

What “Ambient Intelligence” should obtain

The course that Sonos and IKEA have taken with this effort, and one which Carl Pei is consciously taking together with his startup “Nothing”, is named “ambient computing“. The thought behind that is to community units in such a method that they enhance our on a regular basis lives independently with out being seen. This isn’t a dream of the longer term, however is already happening on each smartphone.

Ambient mild sensors, as an example, mechanically dim the show of your smartphone primarily based on the quantity of sunshine in your environment. And when you so need, your smartphone can mute itself while you get in vary with your house WLAN community. Your smartphone does this so effectively within the background and in a discreet method that you do not even discover it having finished so.

The smartphone will change its settings in accordance with your present scenario and preset needs. Whether it is shiny outdoors, the show must also be brighter so as to enhance visibility. The imaginative and prescient of ambient computing sees alternatives to assist make our lives simpler beneath increasingly more eventualities.

In fact, all of those must be supported by designs that stay unobtrusive. The Nothing Ear (1), for instance, are clear and therefore might actually disappear into the wearer’s ears. However how sensible is it to supply such a design with out the ability of know-how?

So how sensible would issues get if know-how is already taking a again seat? Nowadays, now we have to actively convey it to the foreground when utilizing it ourselves. To resolve this query, I might first wish to introduce you to the IKEA Symfonisk image body in additional element.

Design: How music matches into an image body

In case it hasn’t grow to be clear but: The IKEA Symfonisk image body combines the design of an image body with the performance of a wi-fi speaker
. For this, IKEA and Sonos covers a plastic body with a bit of cloth that measures 58 cm x 40 cm x 6 cm, the place there are 12 completely different designs to select from. Because of the inclusion of WLAN connectivity, solely an influence cable from the speaker is required to be plugged in, though there’s the choice for Ethernet connectivity.

What I favored:

  • Balancing act between image body and WLAN speaker succeeds.
  • Intelligent cable routing system.
  • Excessive-quality energy cable with material sheathing.

What I disliked:

  • Not battery-powered means it have to be plugged in on a regular basis.
  • No approach to personalize design.
  • Button positions will not be detailed.

The thought to put know-how into an image body jogs my memory of Samsung. You might be acquainted with the producer’s “The Body” TVs, which you too can mount it on the wall in an virtually invisibly method. However since you’ll have to have a look at the TV while you watch it, there’s an issue right here: Both you are continually wanting up otherwise you’re hanging an image at “couch view top”. This isn’t a difficulty in any respect downside with the IKEA Symfonisk image body.

NextPit IKEA Sonos Symfonisk 9
Material gliders shield your partitions a bit, even when the image body vibrates while you make music / © NextPit

Since I did not wish to drill screws into my wall for this assessment (drilling is advisable because the image body weighs six kilograms), I positioned the WLAN image body on a shelf proper above my couch. The burden distribution permits it to be positioned and not using a mounted attachment, and this function is supported by a few furnishings gliders that IKEA has connected to the again. Alternatively, IKEA additionally offers the mandatory dowels and screws simply in case you wish to mount it on the wall.

The cable routing of the gorgeous, fabric-covered energy cable is solved in a intelligent method. With a size of three.5 meters, it offers loads of flexibility for hanging. You lead it on the again through a Velcro fastener, adopted by discreet cable channels. This manner, the again of the IKEA Symfonisk image body stays flush to the wall.

In the event you purchase two IKEA Symfonisk image frames without delay, you’ll be able to join them in a daisy chain format. In fact, IKEA additionally gives the corresponding cable that can assist you get began.

NextPit IKEA Sonos Symfonisk 2
The cable routing of the IKEA Symfonisk image body is well-thought-out / © NextPit

In the event you do not just like the design in my photos, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of aid. You’ll be able to substitute the clichéd Tech-YouTuber shapes with 11 different motifs, the place you too can choose up the body in white if you want.

Symfonisk Frame and Paneel
You’ll be able to select these photos on the time of buy or purchase them for a couple of Euros / © IKEA

One main drawback on this design that I seen was the cable. That is particularly stark when positioned on the wall, because the cable exposes the truth that this can be a musical gadget. An built-in rechargeable battery that you simply solely must recharge as soon as each few days would have been an ingenious transfer right here. Moreover, there isn’t a indication of the place precisely the three management buttons are situated on the body. Therefore, you’ll have to really feel alongside the perimeters along with your hand if you wish to regulate the amount stage through the body.

TL;DR: Design-wise, I just like the IKEA Symfonisk image body. With a little bit of ability, it actually sinks into your house and that is precisely what it is meant for. Nonetheless, it is a pity you could hardly disguise the ability cable and you could’t print your personal motifs.

Sound and setup: Sonos controls

IKEA has introduced a powerful accomplice on board for all its Symfonisk audio system: Sonos!
The sound specialists from the USA managed to pack a 102-millimeter woofer and a 25.5-millimeter tweeter into the gadget. Music is then despatched to the wall over a WLAN connection. Fortuitously, the Symfonisk image body additionally helps Apple’s “AirPlay 2” customary.

What I favored:

  • Numerous bass for a…image body.
  • Simple to arrange.
  • At all times on and accessible.

What I disliked:

  • Fairly bass-heavy.
  • Solely has a 2-band equalizer.
  • No Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Not all media content material are appropriate.

After unpacking and hanging up (or putting) the IKEA Symfonisk image body, you’ll have to join it to your Wi-Fi community. To do that, the Sonos S2 app, which is out there freed from cost for Android and iOS, will lead you through a pictorial tutorial. In fact, there are extra advantages to be reaped right here if you have already got different Sonos audio system in the home as you’ll be able to then embrace the image body inside a gaggle and luxuriate in stereo sound.

NextPit IKEA Sonos Symfonisk 11
And not using a entrance panel, right here is the entrance view of the IKEA and Sonos audio system / © NextPit

In my case, I created a brand new room and built-in the speaker into the lounge. I might then despatched my Spotify music through WLAN to the configured room and voilá! My favourite tunes are then performed again. Sonos is appropriate with many standard music streaming providers, providing help for AirPlay 2 as effectively.

As regular on the subject of WLAN audio system, you all the time stream music particularly from one supply to the gadget. This can be a drawback in comparison with Bluetooth audio system that may be set as an exterior audio supply on your smartphone. If a service like YouTube is incompatible with Sonos, you’re unable to take heed to movies or music through the image body. Bluetooth would have been a very helpful addition on the subject of performance.

NextPit IKEA Sonos Symfonisk 3
An Ethernet connection can be on board / © NextPit

Normally, the sound traits of the IKEA Symfonisk image body turned out to be bass-heavy within the assessment. Music sounded virtually just a little too muffled, the place podcasts ship a “automobile radio impact” on the subject of voices as they have an inclination to growth in a deep method. In the event you’re like me and don’t love that, you’ll be able to regulate the equalizer settings within the Sonos app. Extra particularly, there’s a paltry 2-band equalizer with a further button for “loudness” so that you can mess around with.

The preset sound traits will please many patrons although. That is particularly so, because the image body hangs on the wall, and it’s a configuration that may work effectively for residences. Sadly, there’s nothing a lot that you are able to do to eliminate the booming bass, and the restricted performance of the equalizers may not please everybody.

TL;DR: The Symfonisk image body delivers a stunning quantity of energy, which is principally focused on the bass. It may be actually enjoyable with the correct music! Setup is a breeze and the flexibility to combine the Symfonisk Image Body into an current Sonos setup can be superior!

On a regular basis use: Why I hold forgetting the Symfonisk image body

As you’d have already got learn between the strains, I’m fairly passionate about IKEA’s newest speaker
. The sound is sweet, the supported codecs are first rate sufficient, and you should buy a Sonos speaker for less than $199.99 – making it an ideal by itself. Nonetheless, I bumped into an fascinating downside with the Symfonisk Image Body in on a regular basis life: I stored on forgetting that I had it put in.

And now you may perceive why I digressed just a little bit firstly regarding “ambient tech”. It is because the IKEA Symfonisk image body exhibits very effectively why we completely want good applied sciences if know-how is to be much less noticeable but stay helpful.

NextPit IKEA Sonos Symfonisk 7
With three buttons you too can management the music immediately through the gadget / © NextPit

When one thing turns into invisible or so completely blended into the background that we people usually affiliate it with an motion, that turns into a downside. For instance, my dad has a rudimentary good dwelling and many of the mild switches in his dwelling have been stripped of their operate. If I have been to comply with the motion “I wish to activate the sunshine” there, I’ll first have to think about a non-perceptible good speaker to activate.

That is cumbersome and diametrically against the purpose of ambient computing. The “good” setup in my dad’s condominium does not transfer know-how into the background, and it does not make my each day life simpler, both. It requires a shift in considering and to exchange the motion of flipping a swap requires a much more advanced thought course of.

Again in my condominium, nevertheless, every time I wish to take heed to music, I’ll now must remind myself that my image body can do this simply as effectively. This type of paradigm shift makes my each day life harder and not simpler at first. Particularly since, as a tech journalist and music fan, I’ve a surplus of audio merchandise within the first place.

NextPit IKEA Sonos Symfonisk 1
At six centimeters skinny, the image body is pleasantly slim / © NextPit

In an current Sonos setup, it might be a special matter. Right here, my need to take heed to music would get replaced by an object that clearly fulfills that motion. The Symfonisk image body would then “well” comply with alongside and I would not have to have interaction actively with it.

This hurdle to beat with “ambient intelligence” is an extremely thrilling alternative. How does a sensible assistant determine my wants whereas or earlier than I’ve it? How will future image body audio system hold me from having to think about my actions, and can I miss flipping buttons and switches simply to manage music? In any case, there is a pattern in the direction of analogue images and vinyl for a purpose, as the whole lot nonetheless works “so properly manually” there. Let me additionally not get began about handbook transmissions in vehicles.

For know-how to stay seen in our lives, it additionally has to complement our lives. This doesn’t imply that merchandise just like the Symfonisk image body are dangerous. In any case, if we like a brand new product, why should not we proceed to get used to it after some time?

Backside line: Is the image body price choosing up now?

This subjective evaluation of the query of whether or not know-how ought to disappear from our on a regular basis lives, therefore I wish to comply with that thought with an goal conclusion. As you’ll be able to learn from my scores, the IKEA Symfonisk image body is a beneficial product regardless of all of my on a regular basis philosophical objections.

Sound-wise, it is wonderful what Sonos and IKEA can get eke out of a body that is measures simply 6 inches in top. The flexibility to combine with current Sonos or Symfonisk setups additionally makes the audio image body a discreet secret weapon on your lounge to impress individuals. And the workmanship in addition to the construct high quality give the product a way of worth that’s stunning at a beneficial retail worth of $199.99.

Nonetheless, as with lots of my WLAN audio system, I do miss Bluetooth connectivity because it lets you use considerably extra audio sources on the finish of the day. As well as, the annoying energy cable might have been averted by together with an elective battery pack or by an built-in battery, however neither is out there. The truth that you’ll be able to’t use your personal designs or motifs may also trouble many customers.

If you’re within the WLAN speaker cum image body, you’ll be able to positively buy one with none points. Following that, do take notice on how you employ this gadget and whether or not you needed to regulate your self to its performance, as you ponder over the thought of ambient computing by sharing your ideas within the feedback. Possibly you are already prepared for such a change, whereas I am nonetheless fiddling round with switches and buttons.


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