Sonos and IKEA’s Picture Frame speaker is official: Here’s how it works

Chris Davies - Jun 15, 2021, 8:52am CDT
Sonos and IKEA’s Picture Frame speaker is official: Here’s how it works

Sonos and IKEA have revealed their latest SYMFONISK speaker, and while we may have already seen the new wall-mounted model there are some key details the two companies have confirmed today. The picture frame style is the speaker most obviously intended to be wall-mounted that we’ve seen from Sonos or IKEA so far, aiming to blur the distinction between a piece of art and a piece of music hardware.

It’s the continuation of a project Sonos and IKEA began several years ago, with the launch of the original SYMFONISK range in 2019. Back then, two devices were on the agenda: an affordable IKEA Bookshelf speaker, at just $99, and a $189 version which integrated a table lamp as well.

The allure was clear: the typically competitive pricing that IKEA is known for, but with Sonos’ connectivity and flexibility. The speakers could integrate with Sonos’ own line-up, potentially making it a lot more cost-effective to add streaming music support to a lesser-used room, or to add rear surround speakers to one of Sonos’ soundbars. As reviews discovered, while they may have been more affordable, the SYMFONISK speakers didn’t sound bad either.

Now, there’s a new set of speakers joining the line-up. The SYMFONISK Picture Frame has a tweeter and a woofer behind its artwork, with the tweeter topped with a waveguide for a broader soundstage. The whole thing stands 60mm (2.36 inches) off the wall, with a magnetic hook for easier mounting.

Like with Sonos’ own speakers, the promise it easy use. The SYMFONISK speakers support all of the usual features from Sonos’ app, including access to Sonos Radio and Apple AirPlay 2, and can be grouped in mixed Sonos/IKEA rooms.

The art itself is apparently inspired by music and connectivity, and the handiwork of artist Jennifer Idrizi, but if you’re not feeling it you can pop that out of the slimline frame. Two different versions will be available at launch; unfortunately, it’s not officially designed to support you adding your own images, though the IKEA “hacks” community is nothing if not cunning and so we wouldn’t be surprised to see unofficial solutions there emerge. Down the line, meanwhile, IKEA is promising new, seasonal designs of its own, with regional differences.

There’ll be a black and a white version to begin with, and while you can hang them on the wall, there are also rubber feet on the bottom so that the speakers can be stood up. A 3.5 meter power cable (over 11 feet) can be guided around slots in the rear, depending on where you have an outlet in relation to the speaker, and there’s a big cavity on the back to wind up the spare cable.

A power-out port allows two SYMFONISK Picture Frames to be daisy-chained, so as to reduce the amount of cabling involved. Through Sonos’ app you can set two Picture Frame speakers up as a stereo pair, too. Buttons are on the back edge, for volume and play/pause.

The SYMFONISK Picture Frame WiFi Speaker will also be the most expensive of the current Sonos/IKEA partnership, with pricing at $199. Two extra designs have been confirmed, each at $19.99. The speakers will be available on July 15 in North America and Europe, with the extra designs following on in August.

[Updated to add details about custom art]


Must Read Bits & Bytes