My box from Ikea came exactly when it said it would, with the Ikea logo prominently displayed so I would be in no doubt where my box had come from. It was a very sturdy box, with my product box inside nestled by paper.
The actual Symfonisk box was incredibly solid, with all the elements cocooned by thick cardboard moulds - no chance of anything moving or getting accidentally damaged in transit. Obviously it wouldn’t survive a major trauma, but most situations should be covered.
So, in the box was the speaker, instructions and two leads (which confused me, but more of that later!).
The instructions are extremely short, basically download the Sonos app and follow the instructions, but in fairness that was all I needed. It does tell you to go to the Ikea website for more instructions and product support and information, which I did to find out what the second wire was for (it is to connect directly to an internet router if you don’t have wifi), and it seems that most likely questions are there already answered. If not, there is a virtual assistant or a phone number, so no matter what the problem, they should be able to help.
Downloading the app was a doddle, which is not always the case as I have a Kindle Fire tablet and it doesn’t always play well with others. Once downloaded, I plugged in the speaker and followed the instructions. All very straightforward. Then I had to enable Alexa to talk to my speaker, again, nice and straightforward. During setup, Sonos asks which room your speaker is in, but this then becomes the name of the speaker, so if you have several devices you may want to call it something else ( I went with the very unusual name of ‘speaker’).
Once all apps have been enabled it becomes possible to control your speaker through Alexa, so I could finally have a listen! I only have an Echo Dot, so for me the difference in sound quality is immense. It is a lovely, deep sound, really rich and clear. Also, the volume is much greater than I could previously manage, not that my neighbours will thank me for that.
Having set it up, I unplugged it and moved it around the house to see how well it coped, and the answer is admirably. As soon as it was plugged in it was ready to go with no rebooting or turning on and off to get them to pair again. My wifi signal is not strong enough to have Alexa in my garage, but I CAN have the speaker and it works wonderfully well. Obviously I need to set it up before hand with Alexa, but now I can have Amazon music all over the house.
So, it is straightforward to set up, sounds great and looks nice. I am not sure about using it as a shelf, as I think that would look a little odd, but I can see that if you are short on space it would be a good use. My only other concern with that is that the wires in the back have to turn ninety degrees to go in the groove for them so that the unit will sit flat against the wall, and I am not sure that is good for them long term. As a standalone speaker the wires can trail at not such an acute angle, but that may just be me worrying unduly. Also, if you do want it as a shelf, you will need to purchase the brackets separately, which seems a bit mean when it is called a shelf!
In summary, it is a lovely speaker, and was easy to set up and use. It compares very favourably pricewise with other Sonos speakers, and is backed with Ikea’s excellent customer service. I would thoroughly recommend it and I only docked it a star because I find the whole bookshelf thing a bit of a letdown!