Ikea’s Sonos-compatible Symfonisk wireless speakers have yet to make their official retail appearance (scheduled for August 1), but we now know Ikea has plans to integrate these speakers into its existing smart home control system. The Swedish furniture giant says it will sell a Symfonisk Music Remote — a small, puck-like device — that will let users play/pause the audio, skip tracks, and control volume on its Symfonisk speakers. The remote will require the use of the $30 Tradfri Gateway and you’ll configure its various functions via the Tradfri app, but Ikea hasn’t said how much the new remote will cost.
Odds are good it will be very affordable. Ikea’s existing Tradfri remote, which is meant to control Ikea’s line of smart home lights, outlets, and more, is only $16. The Symfonisk Music Remote will obviously control Symfonisk speakers, which likely means it can control any Sonos speakers that are on the same network.
The Symfonisk Music Remote isn’t the first time a third-party has built physical remotes for Sonos. Several home automation companies, like Lutron, make compatible products, but they tend to be pricey affairs, ranging from $160 to well over $300. The Senic Nuimo Click is one such device, most notable for its battery-less design. But its high price and spotty connections make it less than ideal as a helpful accessory. The Symfonisk Music Remote will likely be battery-powered like its Tradfri cousin, and hopefully far more reliable than the Nuimo Click.
The Symfonisk line of Sonos-powered wireless speakers is comprised of two models currently: A $179 speaker-table lamp combination, and a $99 speaker that can double as a small wall shelf. Both will be controlled by the Sonos app — not an Ikea app — which means that the Symfonisk Music Remote will need to be assigned to specific speakers or speaker groups via the Tradfri app in order to work.
Many moons ago, before the complete ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, Sonos made two physical remotes control for its wireless hi-fi music system: The CR100, which looked like an iPod had gorged itself on too many cheeseburgers, and its touchscreen sequel, the CR200. Both were very expensive and largely made redundant by the Sonos mobile app which could do everything these remotes could do and more. Both have been discontinued, and Sonos has never ventured back into the world of physical remotes.
We’re not convinced that Sonos and Symfonisk speakers, with their easily accessed control buttons, actually benefit from separate physical controls, but we’re delighted that Ikea will soon be giving us a way to do it without breaking the bank.