IKEA and Sonos just revealed the latest product in their SYMFONISK smart speaker lineup during a live launch event. Meet the SYMFONISK Picture Frame Speaker, a thin and stylish Wi-Fi audio solution that mounts on a wall like a traditional photo frame.
Launching July 15th for $200, the Picture Frame Speaker does everything that you’d expect from a Sonos-branded product. It features access to Sonos’ exclusive Radio platform and can pair with other Sonos or SYMFONISK speakers for stereo listening. Plus, it’s compatible with Google Assistant, Alexa, and HomeKit for Siri or AirPlay 2 control. You can also control the speaker from the Sonos app or through its side-mounted volume buttons.
But the Picture Frame Speaker lacks one feature—it can’t hold photos. Strange!
Instead of holding photos like a real picture frame, the IKEA Picture Frame Speaker features art on its grill. IKEA plans to sell replacement grills with cool art and designs for $20 a pop, similar to how the company sells replacement grills for its Eneby speaker.
Inspiration for the name “Picture Frame Speaker” seems to come from the device’s form factor. Not only is it thinner than the other wall-hanging speakers in IKEA’s catalog, but it can’t stand up on its own, so it needs to be mounted to a wall. (I know that IKEA’s promotional images show it sitting on a table, but it’s actually propped up against a wall. This isn’t a freestanding speaker, although DIY fanatics will probably find a way to add feet or a kickstand to it.)
Of course, shallow form factors aren’t really ideal for speakers, and placing the backside of a speaker against a wall can lead to muddled sound, buzzing, and annoyed neighbors. That’s why IKEA and Sonos employed some tricks to help the Picture Frame Speaker project sound around a room, including a waveguide on its tweeter and a specially-designed subwoofer. The device’s enclosure should help keep sound quality clear, as it has soft feet and a backside that isolates the device’ speakers from the wall.
The SYMFONISK Picture Frame Speaker requires wired power, although it has a large cutout for cable management and can daisy chain to identical speakers for a cleaner setup. The power cable can route in several directions, so you aren’t stuck mounting the speaker in a portrait orientation.
IKEA will launch the SYMFONISK Picture Frame Speaker on July 15th for $200. Replacement grills for the speaker featuring unique art will cost $20 each. While its form factor isn’t ideal for high-quality sound, it’s a fantastic option for those who want a simple and stylish speaker with killer wireless controls. It would also make a great addition to Sonos whole-home audio setups, as it’s discreet and may fit in hallways or bathrooms better than a freestanding speaker.