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IKEA Symfonisk evaluate: Ought to tech turn out to be invisible?


Is it time for know-how to take a again seat? Once I was younger, I had individuals throng my lounge at any time when 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 nearly invisible inside a wise dwelling surroundings. However is that this even significant and sensible? Additionally, is that this the so-called “ambient computing” that techies rave about? To search out out extra, NextPit determined to provide the IKEA Symfonisk photograph body a better look.


  • Cool, easy design
  • Straightforward 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 evaluate, I’ll little question dive into the standard of the IKEA Symfonisk photograph body. How is the audio efficiency like, is the design adequate, and is it simple to arrange? Past that, I’d additionally wish to mirror on the thought behind this wi-fi speaker photograph body.

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

Each IKEA and Sonos should not simply making an attempt so as to add technical options to standard merchandise with this effort. Above all, they’re making an attempt to take away know-how from getting in the way in which of our on a regular basis lives. All over the place we glance, there are flashing lights, ringing bells, and beeping. In keeping with consultants like Daniela Otto, that is one stress level that ought to be eradicated through digital detoxing.

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

What “Ambient Intelligence” should obtain

The path that Sonos and IKEA have taken with this effort, and one which Carl Pei is consciously taking along with his startup “Nothing”, is named “ambient computing“. The concept behind that is to community gadgets in such a approach 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 going down on each smartphone.

Ambient gentle sensors, for example, routinely dim the show of your smartphone primarily based on the quantity of sunshine in your environment. And in case you so want, your smartphone can mute itself while you get in vary with your property WLAN community. Your smartphone does this so effectively within the background and in a discreet method that you do not even discover it having performed so.

The smartphone will change its settings in response to your present state of affairs and preset needs. Whether it is shiny outdoors, the show must also be brighter as a way to enhance visibility. The imaginative and prescient of ambient computing sees alternatives to assist make our lives simpler underneath increasingly eventualities.

After all, 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, we now have to actively convey it to the foreground when utilizing it ourselves. To resolve this query, I would first prefer to introduce you to the IKEA Symfonisk image body in additional element.

Design: How music suits into an image body

In case it hasn’t turn out 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 material 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 may be the choice for Ethernet connectivity.

What I preferred:

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

What I disliked:

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

The concept to position know-how into an image body jogs my memory of Samsung. You could be aware of the producer’s “The Body” TVs, which you can even mount it on the wall in an nearly 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 always wanting up otherwise you’re hanging an image at “couch view peak”. This isn’t a problem in any respect drawback with the IKEA Symfonisk image body.

NextPit IKEA Sonos Symfonisk 9
Material gliders defend 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 evaluate (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 with out a fastened attachment, and this characteristic is supported by a few furnishings gliders that IKEA has hooked up to the again. Alternatively, IKEA additionally supplies the required dowels and screws simply in case you wish to mount it on the wall.

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

For those who purchase two IKEA Symfonisk image frames without delay, you possibly can join them in a daisy chain format. After all, IKEA additionally affords the corresponding cable that will help you get began.

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

For those who do not just like the design in my footage, you possibly can breathe a sigh of aid. You possibly can exchange the clichéd Tech-YouTuber shapes with 11 different motifs, the place you can even choose up the body in white if you want.

Symfonisk Frame and Paneel
You possibly can select these footage on the time of buy or purchase them for just a few 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 it is a musical gadget. An built-in rechargeable battery that you simply solely need to recharge as soon as each few days would have been an ingenious transfer right here. Moreover, there is no such thing as 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 together with your hand if you wish to alter the quantity degree 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 property and that is precisely what it is meant for. Nevertheless, it is a pity which you can hardly disguise the ability cable and which you can’t print your individual motifs.

Sound and setup: Sonos controls

IKEA has introduced a robust associate 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. Luckily, the Symfonisk image body additionally helps Apple’s “AirPlay 2” commonplace.

What I preferred:

  • Lots of bass for a…image body.
  • Straightforward to arrange.
  • All the time 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 accessible freed from cost for Android and iOS, will lead you through a pictorial tutorial. After all, there are further advantages to be reaped right here if you have already got different Sonos audio system in the home as you possibly can then embody 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 fashionable music streaming companies, providing help for AirPlay 2 as effectively.

As common on the subject of WLAN audio system, you at all times stream music particularly from one supply to the gadget. It is 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 might be unable to take heed to movies or music through the image body. Bluetooth would have been a very useful addition on the subject of performance.

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

Typically, the sound traits of the IKEA Symfonisk image body turned out to be bass-heavy within the evaluate. Music sounded nearly somewhat too muffled, the place podcasts ship a “automotive radio impact” on the subject of voices as they have an inclination to growth in a deep method. For those who’re like me and do not like that, you possibly can alter 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 consumers although. That is particularly so, because the image body hangs on the wall, and it’s a configuration that might work effectively for flats. Sadly, there may be 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 shocking quantity of energy, which is principally targeting the bass. It may be actually enjoyable with the precise music! Setup is a breeze and the flexibility to combine the Symfonisk Image Body into an present Sonos setup can also be superior!

On a regular basis use: Why I preserve 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 nice, the supported codecs are first rate sufficient, and you should buy a Sonos speaker for less than $199.99 – making it a fantastic by itself. Nonetheless, I bumped into an attention-grabbing drawback 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 somewhat bit at first regarding “ambient tech”. It’s because the IKEA Symfonisk image body reveals 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 can even management the music straight 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 drawback. For instance, my dad has a rudimentary good dwelling and a lot of the gentle 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 objective of ambient computing. The “good” setup in my dad’s residence would not transfer know-how into the background, and it would not make my every day life simpler, both. It requires a shift in pondering and to exchange the motion of flipping a swap requires a much more advanced thought course of.

Again in my residence, nevertheless, at any time when I wish to take heed to music, I’ll now need to remind myself that my image body can try this simply as effectively. This type of paradigm shift makes my every 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 present Sonos setup, it could be a unique matter. Right here, my want 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 interact actively with it.

This hurdle to beat with “ambient intelligence” is an extremely thrilling alternative. How does a wise assistant determine my wants whereas or earlier than I’ve it? How will future image body audio system preserve me from having to think about my actions, and can I miss flipping buttons and switches simply to regulate music? In any case, there is a development in 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 guide transmissions in automobiles.

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 unhealthy. 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 value selecting 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 possibly can learn from my rankings, the IKEA Symfonisk image body is a really useful product regardless of all of my on a regular basis philosophical objections.

Sound-wise, it is superb what Sonos and IKEA can get eke out of a body that is measures simply 6 inches in peak. The power to combine with present 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 shocking at a really useful retail value of $199.99.

Nevertheless, as with lots of my WLAN audio system, I do miss Bluetooth connectivity because it means that you can use considerably extra audio sources on the finish of the day. As well as, the annoying energy cable might have been prevented by together with an elective battery pack or by an built-in battery, however neither is accessible. The truth that you possibly can’t use your individual designs or motifs may even hassle many customers.

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


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