For the past few years, IKEA has been making tentative forays into areas which are clearly out of its comfort zone.
From wireless chargers to smart lights and, now, into Bluetooth speakers, the company seems keen, if not desperate, to squeeze itself into some tech space.
Yes, folks, it’s the same IKEA that – for years, now – has been manufacturing and selling furniture through its sprawling stores that are more like inescapable mazes; and, yes, these are furniture that you have to painstakingly assemble yourself.
So, let’s go straight ahead and do a quick review of the Swedish-owned, Netherlands-based company’s two new Bluetooth speakers – the Eneby 20 and the Eneby 30 – which the furniture giant recently launched in the U.S. and the U.K., following their release in Sweden and mainland Europe.
While the $49 Eneby 20 has been made available in an 8×8-inch size, the Eneby 30 is the larger version measuring 12×12 inches, both of them 3 inches think.
Thankfully, the speakers are ready-to-go out of the box, sparing us the agony of having to assemble them – well almost, because you do get an option to attach a metal handle on the smaller version, should you get the urge to carry the speaker around.
You will, of course, have to buy the optional $20 rechargeable battery pack that can keep the thing running wirelessly for up to 10 hours.
When not using the battery pack, you can plug your Eneby 20 directly into the wall socket, using a regular power plug.
The battery pack becomes redundant in so far as the larger version is concerned, as it can only be plugged to a power source – which does make a lot of sense considering the fact that the Eneby 30 was never designed for portability.
And, it is with that in mind that IKEA is selling wall mounts and stands separately for the bigger speaker.
Each of the two models comes with either black or grey front panels made from soft mesh fabric, which can, actually, be popped off to reveal the black or white inside – an industrial look, if you like, exposing the single 3-inch woofer on the smaller Eneby 20 or the dual 4-inch woofers on the big-brother – Eneby 30.
Personally, the scribe prefers the minimalist industrial look with the exposed woofers, but for the indecisive, there’s always the option of switching back and forth between the two facades, as and when it suits the fancy.
And, then, there is the audio jack for your external audio sources plus the lone knob which serves as, both, the power switch as well as the control for the bass and treble, while playback and volume are controlled from the sourced device.
Beyond that, there really aren’t any other ports or features on the Enebys to talk about, not that the minimalistic simplicity is not being appreciated here.
The Eneby can be paired with up to eight Bluetooth-enabled devices, or you can use the included 3.5mm aux cable to connect the speaker to non-wireless sources.
The speaker dimensions are deliberately designed so they can be incorporated into some existing IKEA products like the KALLAX shelf unit or, for that matter, the EKET shelves unless you choose to go with the aforementioned stand or wall bracket option for the larger Eneby.
Now, here’s where you can say IKEA has kind of pulled a fast one, or so it may seem, but why not, because, after all, business is all about finding ways to make more money, as long as legitimacy and transparency are maintained – and nobody is suggesting otherwise here.
And, the speakers do fit perfectly into these IKEA shelving units.
So, well done there, IKEA!
As for the Eneby’s sound quality, it’s way better than what the scribe initially expected from them, particularly that dual-woofer larger version, which is loud enough and clear enough – well, overall good enough.
And, these IKEA speakers are, actually, solidly built and pretty much easy on the eyes, as well.
Unfortunately, the speakers are only available at the IKEA stores, but that may soon change, giving you other purchase options, as well.
All in all, the Eneby speakers are, somewhat surprisingly, good enough and cheap enough to be given a chance if you happen to be shopping for a Bluetooth speaker.