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IKEA Symfonisk overview: 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 front room at any time when we bought a brand-new TV as they wished to test it out, however fast-forward to right now and it appears as if new applied sciences have built-in themselves so nicely and seamlessly that they’re nearly invisible inside a sensible dwelling setting. 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 present the IKEA Symfonisk photograph body a better 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 personalised printable design

Invisible know-how vs. ambient computing

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

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

Each IKEA and Sonos aren’t simply making an attempt so as to add technical options to traditional 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 specialists like Daniela Otto, that is one stress level that must be eradicated by way of digital detoxing.

Nonetheless, 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 units in such a means that they enhance our on a regular basis lives independently with out being seen. This isn’t a dream of the long run, however is already going down on each smartphone.

Ambient gentle sensors, as an illustration, mechanically dim the show of your smartphone based mostly on the quantity of sunshine in your environment. And if you happen to so need, your smartphone can mute itself while you get in vary with your house WLAN community. Your smartphone does this so nicely 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 keeping with your present state of affairs and preset needs. Whether it is shiny exterior, the show also needs to be brighter with the intention to enhance visibility. The imaginative and prescient of ambient computing sees alternatives to assist make our lives simpler beneath increasingly situations.

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? Lately, we’ve to actively carry 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 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. Due to 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 should be plugged in on a regular basis.
  • No strategy to personalize design.
  • Button positions aren’t detailed.

The concept to put know-how into an image body jogs my memory of Samsung. It’s possible you’ll be conversant in the producer’s “The Body” TVs, which you can too 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 consistently trying up otherwise you’re hanging an image at “couch view top”. This isn’t a difficulty in any respect drawback 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 overview (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 no mounted attachment, and this characteristic is supported by a few furnishings gliders that IKEA has connected to the again. Alternatively, IKEA additionally offers the required 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 by way of 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’ll be able to join them in a daisy chain format. After all, 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

For those who do not just like the design in my footage, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of aid. You possibly can change the clichéd Tech-YouTuber shapes with 11 different motifs, the place you can too 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 must 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 positioned on the body. Therefore, you’ll have to really feel alongside the perimeters along with your hand if you wish to modify the quantity stage by way of the body.

TL;DR: Design-wise, I just like the IKEA Symfonisk image body. With a little bit of talent, it actually sinks into your house and that is precisely what it is meant for. Nonetheless, it is a pity which you could hardly cover the ability cable and which you could’t print your personal 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. Happily, the Symfonisk image body additionally helps Apple’s “AirPlay 2” customary.

What I favored:

  • A variety of bass for a…image body.
  • Simple 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 obtainable freed from cost for Android and iOS, will lead you by way of 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’ll be able to then embrace the image body inside a gaggle and luxuriate in stereo sound.

NextPit IKEA Sonos Symfonisk 11
With no 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 by way of WLAN to the configured room and voilá! My favourite tunes are then performed again. Sonos is appropriate with many well-liked music streaming companies, providing assist for AirPlay 2 as nicely.

As typical in terms 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 in your smartphone. If a service like YouTube is incompatible with Sonos, you’re unable to take heed to movies or music by way of the image body. Bluetooth would have been a extremely helpful addition in terms of performance.

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

Basically, the sound traits of the IKEA Symfonisk image body turned out to be bass-heavy within the overview. Music sounded nearly a little bit too muffled, the place podcasts ship a “automotive radio impact” in terms of voices as they have an inclination to growth in a deep method. For those who’re like me and don’t love that, you’ll be able to modify the equalizer settings within the Sonos app. Extra particularly, there’s a paltry 2-band equalizer with an extra 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 will work nicely 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 won’t please everybody.

TL;DR: The Symfonisk image body delivers a shocking 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 present Sonos setup can also be superior!

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

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

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

NextPit IKEA Sonos Symfonisk 7
With three buttons you can too management the music immediately by way of 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 sensible dwelling and a lot of the gentle switches in his dwelling have been stripped of their perform. If I had been to observe the motion “I wish to activate the sunshine” there, I’ll first have to consider a non-perceptible sensible speaker to activate.

That is cumbersome and diametrically against the purpose of ambient computing. The “sensible” setup in my dad’s condo 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 switch the motion of flipping a swap requires a much more complicated thought course of.

Again in my condo, nevertheless, at any time when I wish to take heed to music, I’ll now must remind myself that my image body can try this simply as nicely. This sort 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 present Sonos setup, it could be a unique 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” observe 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 sensible assistant work out my wants whereas or earlier than I’ve it? How will future image body audio system maintain me from having to consider my actions, and can I miss flipping buttons and switches simply to regulate music? In any case, there is a pattern in the direction of analogue pictures and vinyl for a purpose, as every part nonetheless works “so properly manually” there. Let me additionally not get began about guide transmissions in vehicles.

For know-how to stay seen in our lives, it additionally has to counterpoint 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 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 want to observe that thought with an goal conclusion. As you’ll be able to learn from my rankings, the IKEA Symfonisk image body is a advisable 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 power to combine with present Sonos or Symfonisk setups additionally makes the audio image body a discreet secret weapon in your front room 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 advisable retail worth of $199.99.

Nonetheless, as with a lot 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 optionally available battery pack or by an built-in battery, however neither is obtainable. The truth that you’ll be able to’t use your personal designs or motifs will even trouble many customers.

In case you are within the WLAN speaker cum image body, you’ll be able to undoubtedly buy one with none points. Following that, do take notice on how you utilize this gadget and whether or not you needed to modify your self to its performance, as you ponder over the concept 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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