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IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Oct 21, 2022 at 09:20 am
IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame Picture
5.8
Music
4.8
Videos/Movies
4.6
Podcasts
1.4
Voice Assistant
3.8
Outdoors
Battery Powered
No
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi
Yes

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame is a collaboration between Sonos and IKEA to create a speaker that easily blends in with your home decor, like the IKEA SYMFONISK Speaker Lamp and the IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf speakers. You can mount it on your wall and switch out the art for other designs to better match your home's colors. While it doesn't come with Google Assistant or Alexa built-in, you can still control it using an Amazon or Google-enabled device. It's a subtle way to add a Sonos speaker to your Sonos ecosystem, and you can use it as a surround speaker to upgrade an existing Sonos home theater soundbar setup if you have one already.

Our Verdict

5.8 Music

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame has a bright sound profile overall with its room correction feature enabled. As a result, its balanced mid-range ensures vocals sound clear and present in the mix, while higher-pitched voices and instruments sound bright and sparkling. Unlike larger speakers, it lacks a thumpy low-bass. It also has a noticeably narrow and directional-sounding soundstage, so your audio doesn't sound as clear from most angles. While you can connect it to another compatible speaker to create a stereo pair, it downmixes stereo content when using it on its own, which isn't as immersive.

Pros
  • Little compression present at max volume.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • Very narrow soundstage.
  • Doesn't support Bluetooth.
  • Downmixes stereo content to mono.
4.8 Videos/Movies

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame is poor for watching videos and movies. It has a bright sound profile that adds sparkle to the mix, while voices and dialogue reproduce clearly and accurately. You can daisy chain this speaker to another IKEA Picture frame to create a stereo pair and can use them as subtle surround speakers to upgrade an existing Sonos home theater soundbar setup. That said, it doesn't get incredibly loud on its own and lacks low bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble typically present in action-packed scenes.

Pros
  • Little compression present at max volume.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Low Apple AirPlay latency.
Cons
  • Very narrow soundstage.
  • Doesn't support Bluetooth.
  • Downmixes stereo content to mono.
  • Not Chromecast-compatible.
4.6 Podcasts

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame has a balanced mid-range that ensures voices and dialogue sound clear and present in the mix, while higher-pitched voices and instruments sound bright and sparkling. It isn't designed to be portable, so you can't physically move your podcasts with you from room to room, and the speaker doesn't get incredibly loud. However, you can connect it to other compatible IKEA and Sonos speakers across your home when you want to listen to your podcasts between different rooms of your home.

Pros
  • Multi-room.
Cons
  • Very narrow soundstage.
  • Doesn't support Bluetooth.
1.4 Voice Assistant

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame doesn't support voice assistants. However, you can still control it with a separate compatible Alexa or Google-enabled speaker.

3.8 Outdoors

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame isn't designed for outdoor use.

  • 5.8 Music
  • 4.8 Videos/Movies
  • 4.6 Podcasts
  • 1.4 Voice Assistant
  • 3.8 Outdoors
  1. Updated Oct 21, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Oct 14, 2022: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame comes in two color variants, black and white, which we expect to perform similarly. We tested the black variant; you can find its label here. You can also switch out the artwork on the front mesh panel for other designs from IKEA.

If you come across any other variants of this speaker, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame, much like the IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf and the IKEA SYMFONISK Speaker lamp, has a unique design to help it seamlessly blend in with your home decor since it's a collaboration between Sonos and IKEA. That said, it has a noticeably more narrow and directional-sounding soundstage than its counterparts. Unlike other Sonos speakers, it doesn't come with any built-in voice assistants. It also doesn't support Bluetooth, so you need to connect to it via your Wi-Fi network instead.

Check out our recommendations for the best home speakers, the best Sonos speakers, and the best smart speakers.

Sonos One SL

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame and the Sonos One SL perform similarly. The Picture frame gets a touch louder than the One SL, with a lot less compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner and clearer when you blast the speaker. Its subtle design helps it seamlessly blend in with your home decor too. That said, while the One SL doesn't offer the most spacious-sounding soundstage, it's still much more open and wide-sounding than the picture frame.

IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf

The IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf is a bit better speaker than the IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame. While the Bookshelf doesn't have the widest-sounding soundstage, it still sounds much wider and more open than the Picture frame's. Otherwise, they both perform fairly similarly, so depending on your aesthetic preferences and your home decor, you may prefer one over the other.

IKEA SYMFONISK Speaker lamp

The IKEA SYMFONISK Speaker lamp is a better speaker than the IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame. The speaker lamp offers a better-balanced sound profile overall and has significantly better directivity, resulting in a much more spacious and open-sounding soundstage. That said, while it gets as loud as the Picture frame, it has much more compression present at max volume, so your audio doesn't sound as clean or clear when you max out its volume.

Sonos One Gen 2

The Sonos One Gen 2 offers a wider and more open-sounding soundstage than the IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame. It offers great voice assistant support with Google Assistant and Alexa built-in. It also has a boomier sound profile that's more suitable for fans of bass-heavy music. That said, the Picture frame gets a touch louder with significantly less compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner when you max out the volume. Its sound profile is also sound brighter, so higher-pitched vocals and instruments have more sparkle to them. If you prefer having built-in voice assistants, go for the One Gen 2. However, if you prefer having a speaker with a more subtle design to blend in with your home decor, go for the Picture frame instead.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame has a sleek design to help it discretely and seamlessly blend in with most home decor. You can lean it against a wall or mount it either horizontally or vertically, but it doesn't stand on its own. Its controls are strategically placed on its rear edge, so you don't see them when you mount the speaker to your wall. Its front panel is made of mesh with art printed on it, and you can find the speaker with this design in both black and white. Not a fan of the art? IKEA sells different artwork separately, which you can switch out to help it better blend in with your home decor.

3.7
Design
Portability
Volume
927 in³ (15,191 cm³)
Weight
8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
No

It isn't very portable since it's designed to be placed or mounted against a wall in your home, and comes with an included wall-mount bracket. It also needs to be plugged into a power outlet for it to work.

Note: The test result above for the speaker's weight includes the weight of its power cable. Without the cable, the speaker weighs 8.27lbs (3.75kg).

6.0
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Decent
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
No
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
No

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame's build quality isn't bad. It's mostly made of plastic that feels less solid and premium than other IKEA speakers we've tested, like the IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf, to keep the speaker light enough that you can mount it to your wall. There's a polyester mesh panel covering its front that feels as though it can easily rip. The speaker also comes with removable rubber feet to lean it either horizontally or vertically against a wall. There's also a wall mount plate with a strap to secure it to the wall to prevent the speaker from falling.

Since the speaker isn't designed for use outdoors, it doesn't come with an IP rating for water resistance. Also, while the manufacturer doesn't specify a dust resistance rating, they advise against placing the speaker in dusty areas of your home.

6.8
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Good
Feedback
Good
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Physical)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Physical)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Physical)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
No

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame has a simple selection of easy-to-use, straightforward controls that are designed to feel a bit different so you can identify them without needing to look behind the speaker when you have it against a wall. You can double-press the play/pause button to skip your track and triple-press it to backtrack. You can press and hold it to duplicate music from another eligible Sonos device. Also, the speaker emits audible tones to let you know once you've reached its minimum and maximum volume levels. That said, if you mount it higher up on the wall in a horizontal position, the controls end up on the top side of the speaker, making it difficult to use its physical controls. There's also an indicator light that lights when you set the speaker up for the first time, which never comes back after setup.

Design
In The Box

  • Quick guide
  • IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame speaker
  • Power cable 11.1ft (3.41m)
  • Wall-mount bracket
  • 2x Non-slip pads
  • Wall safety strap

Sound
7.2
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
1.36
Std. Err.
3.23 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
50.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.8 kHz

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame has a decent frequency response accuracy. It comes with Sonos' room correction feature, called Trueplay, which optimizes the speaker's sound according to the acoustics of the room it's placed in. With Trueplay enabled, it has a bright sound profile overall that adds sparkle to mix, much like the IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf speaker. It has a balanced mid-range, ensuring vocals and lead instruments reproduce clearly and accurately. That said, unlike larger speakers, it doesn't produce the deep thump and rumble fans of bass-heavy music tend to enjoy. Unfortunately, Trueplay is currently only available with iOS devices. With Trueplay disabled, its sound profile is slightly less balanced overall, but not by all that much. You can see its frequency response accuracy graph without Trueplay enabled here. If you like having more control over your speaker's sound, you can tweak its sound to your liking thanks to the bass and treble adjustments featured in its companion app.

Note: The test above represents the results for the speaker placed vertically with Trueplay turned on. We also tested the speaker in different positions with Trueplay disabled, mounted on a tripod to simulate a wall vertically and horizontally, as well as placed against a wall vertically and horizontally. There were no outstandingly noticeable differences between these different configurations. You can see the graph for the different positions here.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
0.5
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
23.29 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

It has a bad soundstage performance, though it isn't as bad as the score makes it seem. Since the speaker is designed to be placed on or against a wall, sound doesn’t stretch around the speaker the way it would with a 360-degree portable speaker like the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3, for instance. As a result, it only projects sound in one direction, causing the soundstage to sound noticeably narrow and directional.

Also, while you can connect it to another IKEA Picture frame speaker to create a stereo pair, it downmixes stereo content to mono when you use it on its own. This means instruments in your music or sounds like footsteps in movies and videos aren’t localized to a pinpoint location but rather sound like they’re coming from the front of the speaker, which doesn't sound as immersive. For example, if you play a song that's mixed to have the keyboard on the right and the guitar on the left, the speaker doesn’t playback that distinction.

7.2
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
87.2 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
1.17 dB

It has decent dynamics. It doesn't get incredibly loud but will fill smaller-sized living rooms nicely. There's also little compression present at max volume, so your audio remains clean and clear-sounding when you max out the speaker's volume.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
Battery Powered
No
0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone

While it doesn't come with built-in voice assistants like other Sonos speakers, you can still use voice assistants from a separate compatible Amazon or Google-enabled device like the Sonos One Gen 2 to control the speaker.

9.3
Active Features
App
App Name
Sonos S2
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Bass/Treble
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
Yes

The Sonos S2 app is fantastic. It comes with bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound profile to your liking. You can also use it to connect the speaker to other compatible speakers to create a stereo pair, amplify your audio across a large space, or play different audio content in different rooms of your home at the same time.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

Aside from its power port, the speaker also comes with an ethernet port to connect it to your home network, and an AC out port to power a secondary SYMFONISK Picture frame.

0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Bluetooth iOS Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Android Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Range
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
No
7.9
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 4
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz & 5GHz
Wi-Fi
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
82 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

The IKEA Picture frame is Wi-Fi compatible. It also supports Apple AirPlay and has low latency over this connection, so there aren't any syncing issues when using the speaker to watch movies and videos. Some apps compensate for latency differently, and your experience may vary. Unfortunately, it doesn't support Google Chromecast.

Discussions