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Ikea Symfonisk Lamp is a great-sounding Sonos speaker too

Ikea says that its new Symfonisk Table Lamp is “the best-sounding lamp in the world,” and as far as I know, it’s true. This lamp not only looks great and provides illumination, it’s also one of the better Wi-Fi speakers at this price. It doesn’t just slam two things together like a pen-pineapple — each aspect has been well thought out, function and form combined.

At the same $179 price as the first-gen Sonos One ($179 at Amazon), the Symfonisk (like “symphony”) Table Lamp isn’t what you’d call crazy affordable. It’s not a smart speaker like the One, nor is it a smart lamp like the GE Sol, so it won’t do anything no matter how insistently you ask for Alexa. To get it to respond to voice commands you’ll need a separate smart speaker like an Echo Dot.

On the other hand, the things you want it to do work really well: It’s a nice lamp! It does sound good. And it has all the features and capabilities of a modern Wi-Fi speaker, as well as full compatibility with Sonos’ multiroom system. If you need a bedside light and a great speaker, there is no other single product that can touch it. This truly is the speaker lamp to buy.

Why is this a thing?

Lights that are also speakers don’t have an inspiring history. Sony’s wacky LSPX-S1 costs an astonishing $750, while the more affordable $40 Sengled Bluetooth globe is just not great at being a speaker.

I knew the Ikea Symfonisk was different as soon as I opened the package. This is a well-built piece of equipment with a comforting heft when I pulled it out of the box. As a testament to the lamp’s quality the lamp shade is glass, not paper or plastic. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The table lamp comes with a knitted cover and while it may look removable it isn’t, though I did find that I needed to straighten it a few times. It’s not glued down. The front of the lamp features a simple set of controls on a plastic lip: a play-pause button and volume controls. The light control on the side is pleasingly analog with an oven-like switch. At the back, the only port you’ll find is an Ethernet connection.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The Symfonisk range is a wireless speaker and can communicate over Wi-Fi — like other Sonos speakers, it doesn’t have Bluetooth streaming. The lamp is fully compatible with Sonos multiroom systems, and can be controlled either with the Sonos app, a third-party streaming service such as Spotify Connect, or with a voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri. To help with this last point comes Apple Airplay 2, which offers yet another multiroom option. Like other Sonos speakers, Symfonisk models can be paired in stereo or used as rears for the Sonos Beam ($399 at Amazon) if you want to get fancy.

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