Sonos IKEA Symfonisk lamp speaker vs bookshelf speaker: which is best for you?

What would happen if the lamp on your bedside table could send you to sleep with a lullaby? Or if your bookshelf played relaxing tunes while leafing through a copy of your favorite book with dog ears?

Many were skeptical when Swedish furniture retailer IKEA announced that it would partner with the acclaimed audio brand Sonos, but both speakers earned an impressive four out of five stars in our recent reviews.

So, which of these unconventional? Would the wireless speakers fit your home better? We take a look at the pros and cons of the lamp speaker and the shelf speaker to help make your decision easier.

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The Symfonisk lamp speaker

(Image credit: Andrew Murphy / TechRadar)

Symfonisk lamp speaker vs. bookshelf speaker: price and availability

True IKEA style, none of these speakers is particularly expensive; The cheapest of the two is the bookshelf speaker, which costs $ 99 / £ 99 / AU $ 149, while the lamp speaker will cost you $ 179 / £ 150 / AU $ 269.

That means the Lamp speaker is closer to the Sonos One price, which you can currently purchase for around $ 200 / £ 200 / AU $ 280, and sometimes less, if you buy a good deal.

So, if sticking to a budget is your biggest concern, you may want to opt for the bookshelf speaker, but neither of you will rinse your bank account.

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The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker

(Image credit: Andrew Murphy / TechRadar)

Symfonisk lamp speaker vs. bookshelf speaker: design

Let's start with the Symfonisk lamp speaker , which, as expected, looks like a lamp, although instead of a traditional base, the base is essentially a speaker, enclosed in a white envelope grid.

If you have had traumatic experiences with IKEA flat pack furniture in the past, don't be afraid: you simply have to screw a light bulb, place the lamp shade and plug in the power cord in the form of eight, and you will be ready to start.

While the Symfonisk lamp speaker does not have the thinnest construction, it integrates very well into the home. In terms of connections, you will only find an ethernet port: both speakers can connect to your home network via Wi-Fi, but you can find a wired connection that is stronger and more reliable. Otherwise, the unit has an on / off switch and playback / pause and volume controls.

The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker blends perfectly with your home decoration. It can be mounted on the wall as a shelf that can hold up to 3 kg of books or ornaments, or it can be placed horizontally or vertically on any suitable surface.

Comes in black or white, the brick-shaped shelving speaker has a fabric grille in the front, with play / pause and volume controls. As with the Symfonisk lamp speaker, the only connectivity options you'll find are a power cable and a wired Ethernet port.

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The Symfonisk lamp speaker

(Image credit: Andrew Murphy / TechRadar)

Symfonisk lamp speaker vs bookshelf speaker: features

The Symfonisk lamp speaker and the Bookshelf speakers share many of the same features, and these wireless speakers are more than just basic IKEA products with some drivers supplied by your audio partner.

Instead, they are full members of the Sonos ecosystem and, as such, can be linked to any other Sonos component in their home network; You can also pair two of the Symfonisk speakers for stereo sound, or even pair one with Sonos' existing home theater devices, such as Sonos Beam, Sonos Playbar, Sonos Playbase or Sonos Amp.

This means that you can even use the speakers as rear channels in a 5.0 or 5.1 surround sound system, quite good for a lamp and a bookshelf.

As Sonos products, both Symfonisk speakers prevent Bluetooth connectivity in favor of a home internet connection, through Apple AirPlay 2 or Spotify Connect.

The obvious difference between the two speakers is that the lamp speaker also functions as lighting for your home; The good thing about this is that you can choose to install a smart bulb, like Philips Hue.

So, if you want to adopt the smart home, the Symfonisk lamp speaker allows you to do this more thoroughly than the speaker shelf.

  The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker

The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker

(Image credit: Andrew Murphy / TechRadar)

Symfonisk lamp speaker vs. bookshelf speaker: sound performance

Either that you are using the lamp speaker or With the bookshelf speaker, it will only take a few minutes to connect them through the Sonos application, where you will also find several means to adjust the Symfonisk for optimal sound performance.

An example is TruePlay, which uses the microphone built into your smartphone or tablet to scan the shape of the room you are in and modify the equalizer settings accordingly.

The application also features a simple two-band equalizer that allows you to adjust the bass and treble response. We discovered that both speakers benefited from a small reduction in the bass, with the Sonos loudness function activated to add some focus and punch.

Both the Symfonisk lamp and the bookshelf speakers offer a complete sound stage and a lively and pleasant presentation; however, the lamp speaker does a little better in terms of accuracy and width.

This is partly due to the circular surround grid used by the lamp speaker: this design allows its sound stage to open more than that of the rectangular bookshelf speaker, for a more immersive listening experience.

That does not mean that the bookshelf speaker sounds bad; In fact, its audio performance is better than one would expect. Bold, focused and full-bodied, the Symfonisk bookshelf speaker is certainly not shy to throw music into the room.

Neither speaker offers the detail and precision of the Sonos One, but it is important to remember that both offer dual functions, and also that they are cheaper than the Sonos flagship wireless speaker.

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The speaker of the Symfonisk lamp

(Image credit: Andrew Murphy / TechRadar)

Take away

What Symfonisk speaker to buy is not a particularly demanding decision: if you want a lamp, choose the lamp speaker, and if you can use a bookcase, or simply want a speaker that you can place on a bookcase or similar, choose the bookcase speaker

If both have the same appeal, it is worth noting that The shelf speaker is significantly cheaper and offers many of the same features as the lamp speaker; both are full members of the Sonos ecosystem and, therefore, could be combined with each other or with other speakers with great effect.

The lamp speaker is the one that best sounds of the two, by a small margin, with its surround grid that provides a wider sound stage than the speaker of the bookshelf.

Whichever speaker you choose, you won't buy a simple interior design trick: in addition to creating attractive focal points in your living room, Symfonisk speakers are very capable audio devices in their own right.

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