IKEA Symfonisk Sonos Remote

The £44 Sonos accessory you need?

I might have accidentally found the best Sonos hack yet - and it’s under £50..

Hey guys, welcome back to another video and today I’m reviewing this little Symfonisk Sound Remote from IKEA which I actually only discovered this week while picking up the Symfonisk Lamp gen 2 to review and thought I needed to share this with you guys as I am pretty impressed.

Basically this little puck-looking product offers you similar controls to what you will find on top of a Sonos speaker so play/pause, next track, previous track and volume controls but you can place this anywhere in your home and they’re only £19. You can use them to control ANY Sonos speakers in your home, not just Ikea Symfonisk products. But (and there is a but) if you don’t already have one, you will also need this Tradfri (sorry if I pronounced that wrong) gateway. This connects up to your WiFi network by ethernet in order to use the Sound Remote completely wirelessly and it’s also the same bridge for the IKEA Home smart products you might have such as their smart lights or blinds. So the Tradfri gateway is £25 and the remote is £19 so it’s £44 for both of these. Now of course, there are other ways you can control your Sonos speakers - via the app, using voice control or the touch controls on the top of the speaker itself and if you’re happy using one of these methods then this product might not be needed in your home. However, I will say i’ve found various ways I think I can use this in my home and I really do like it! There have been similar products released in the past such as the Iport Xpress and that let you save favourites on the keypad itself in addition to the controls, but that was £99 and was discontinued a while back.

So taking a look at the remote itself then, this can be purchased either in a black or white colour option (the Tradfri gateway is only available in white). One of these connects up to one of your Sonos speakers and will control that speaker and any others that are grouped with it. So if you’ve got different speakers in different zones, you’ll need to purchase 1 of these for each zone - more on how it actually works in a little bit. You can put the remote on the wall if you wanted to, using this sticky pad and wall plate that’s supplied in the box with a couple of screws. Or I’m not sure if this is a hidden feature or not but it’s also magnetic so you can put it on your fridge or this metal bookcase we have which is quite neat. Once we took the remote out the box, it was smaller than I originally thought and look, it is just a bit of plastic really, there’s nothing fancy going on here but I don’t think it needs to be. You’ll need to have a really tidy and organised house though because if you’re anything like me, things like this can very easily go missing which I guess is the downside of being truly wireless. But if we put the cheap looking aesthetic to one side, the utility of this controller is actually quite good.

Set up was a little bit frustrating firstly because of this screw to open the back because honestly this is the tiniest screw I’ve ever seen in my life and is also the easiest screw to lose. I had to find a special screwdriver just to get the back off to insert the battery. Once you’ve done that, you then connect the Tradfri gateway to your router via ethernet and then download the IKEA Home app, scanned the QR code before then adding the Remote. It immediately finds the Sonos speakers in your network and shows them all in the app and gives you the choice of which speaker to connect the remote up to. It will then control that speaker AND any speakers you group up to it at the time which is great. Just be aware the remote can only ever be bonded to one zone at a time.

So if I show you a little demo then - this remote has been set up on our office WiFi and is currently controlling our entire first floor which are all grouped together. So if I press it once, it will play and then I can press it again and it will pause. I can also skip track, previous track or turn the volume up or down. There’s almost no lag as well which is good. Also very useful to have on your desk in the office if you need to skip any of your colleague’s tracks *wink*.

Now this is just the start of what you can do with this setup. It’s also compatible Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so you can use voice commands for control. It can also be integrated with an Apple Homekit so you can use Siri and it can become part of any automations or controls you use with that.

I’ve also noticed that within the IKEA Home app you can set Scenes or Timers with IKEA’s smart lights. It would be great if you could integrate sound into this in some way. Now we’ve got one of the Symfonisk Lamps in the office, I must say I’m tempted to get one of the IKEA smart bulbs to then get more of a smart home working with scenes and timers.

Now one little drawback to this Symfonisk remote that I’ve found is that if you’ve cleared your Sonos queue, the button won’t do anything because it’s got nothing to resume. But if you’re the sort of person who always listens to the same radio station and you’re always going to have something in your queue, that won’t be an issue.

Also, as the remote can be bonded to one zone at a time, if you wanted to stop music or audio everywhere and there was different music playing in different rooms, the remote can’t turn everything off at once. You’d need to group everything first but this would defeat the point as by that time, you’ll already have opened the Sonos app. We would also love in the future if there was a feature where you could maybe press and hold the button to automatically start playing a favourited playlist. Hopefully they add something like this in the future.

Where I think this WILL be useful is maybe next to your seating area, on your desk or wherever you walk in your house quite often but not necessarily where you keep your speakers. You might like the idea of having a physical remote control for your Sonos system and you want a quicker method of controlling your speakers than having to pull out your phone and then open the Sonos app to control your speakers. As I showed, we’ve also got one in our office when we arrive, we’ve actually kept it on the fridge so when you come into work first thing - turn the coffee machine on (coffee is always first) then press the button and it carries on where we finished off the day before - very quick and easy. We always have one of the Sonos radio stations on in the office (Chill Beats is a particular favourite) so it’s seamless everyday.

So quick verdict then - I think for under £50 (if you include the cost of the Tradfri gateway), this could be a nice little add on for Sonos users that want a quick and easy method of control. I’d say this is best used where you have a regular place that you control Sonos from. But if you’re happy with the current way of controlling things like through the sonos app or voice control etc, then you might find you won’t need it.

Let me know in the comments if you’ll be picking one of these up or if you think they’re unnecessary, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts.

Cheers guys, see you very soon.