Swedish furniture giant IKEA launched a new outdoor Bluetooth speaker last month. In addition, this model also serves as a lamp and has Spotify Tap. Is there a real winner behind the unusual design? We tell you in this review about the IKEA VAPPEBY.
The IKEA VAPPEBY is a bluetooth speaker and lamp for outdoor use. Thanks to the carrying handle, you can take this model with you wherever you go. Whether outside in the garden, at the pool, on vacation or just at home. The Bluetooth speaker has an IP65 rating, so it can withstand a splash of rain and dust. You can charge with the USB-C cable, after which the battery will last up to 12 hours.
The unique design stands out, in which the speaker is incorporated in the upper part and ‘fires’ the sound downwards between the opening of the upper and lower parts on a conical plateau. This should provide 360° sound. There is also a built-in LED lamp with two light modes around the speaker in the upper part. By pressing the button you can switch between the two brightness levels or switch the lamp on or off.
IKEA is leading the way in Spotify Tap with the VAPPEBY. This is therefore the first Bluetooth speaker with this built-in integration of the streaming service Spotify. With the push of a button, you can play music with a connected device. So you don’t have to take out your phone to play music. Press the button and Spotify plays immediately. Of course, this speaker also works with other streaming services and works just like any other Bluetooth speaker. The IKEA VAPPEBY costs 49.99 euros.
Design and build quality of IKEA VAPPEBY
Unique, that’s probably the best way to describe the IKEA VAPPEBY. It may sound a bit disrespectful to talk about a cross between a mushroom and a German helmet, but there is really no better name. It is unique and therefore really a product that you find very ugly or completely fantastic.
The speaker is made of plastic. This is no problem for the speaker itself. It is sturdy and seems to be able to take a beating. The carrying handle feels slightly cheaper. You still have to confirm this yourself (of course it remains partly a kit from IKEA) and it looks a bit more fragile. The speaker can be found in the upper part and let the sound in the opening (near the lamp) play down on the lower disc, which has a bit of a cone shape. As a result, the sound is sent proportionally in all directions, so you have 360° sound. The lower part is a flat disc with the buttons on it. An on/off button, a bluetooth button for connecting and the large round disc in the middle for volume. This also works as the Spotify Tap button and you press to play or pause music.
It took me a while to get Spotify Tap up and running. The biggest problem? The paper manual is incorrect. Reference is made to the power button, but this does not appear to be correct. The large round button in the middle lets you play music without reaching for your phone. The on/off button then lets you play the next song based on your preferences. Sloppy to put this wrong in the manual, but luckily we got it to work. Although…
Spotify Tap doesn’t seem to work equally well with every phone. Fortunately, I often have several smartphones lying around in this work, so we were able to test several phones. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro did absolutely nothing with Spotify Tap. The Google Pixel 6 lets you play and stop music, but then you couldn’t choose the next song with the power button and with the Sony Xperia 1 II and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G it worked completely and perfectly. How can that difference? We spent an hour looking through settings on phones and tweaking here and there, but there was no improvement. So it really depends on your phone whether Spotify Tap works or not.
And is it really an added value? Partly yes. It is very easy to press the button and play music without having to take your smartphone out of your pocket. Of course, your smartphone must have bluetooth turned on and connected to the IKEA VAPPEBY. However, if you choose a next song, you will hear a certain song completely randomly based on your preferences. So you don’t choose the next song in your playlist here and I personally find that a bit less interesting.
And then there was light…
The nice thing about the IKEA VAPPEBY is the fact that it is a bluetooth speaker and lamp in one product. You can turn on the light by pressing the button on the back. This is really about mood lighting. You should not expect too much in terms of brightness, but it works excellently to create extra atmosphere in your garden. It concerns warm white-yellow light that still manages to give off quite a bit in the dark, but you should definitely not expect a floodlight. In addition to the brightest setting, you also have a setting that dims the light for 50 percent and the next press of the button turns the light off again. It is a nice extra that makes the IKEA VAPPEBY unique and is therefore certainly a handy extra during warm summer evenings.
Sound is adequate for the price
Despite IKEA and Sonos working together for the Symfonisk speakers , Sonos has nothing to do with the VAPPEBY at all. This is really IKEA’s own product and you don’t have an app or anything like that at your disposal. Turn on the bluetooth speaker and connect your smartphone via bluetooth. You cannot set anything else.
What can you expect for 49.99 euros if you also have a splash-proof housing, a unique design and a lamp on board? Actually a bit what you would expect in advance. The sound is quite nice for the price, but if you compare it with the almost three times more expensive JBL Flip 6 or the much more expensive Teufel Boomster (2021) , it is striking how limited the sound actually is.
Of course it is not entirely fair to compare the IKEA VAPPEBY with much more expensive speakers. For the price, it is quite a nice speaker. IKEA has cranked up the bass and treble a lot. A little more bass is always nice for parties, but when it comes to the treble it sometimes goes a bit too far. That could be a little less. It also lacks detail in the sound, which makes it sound quite flat.
Yet we are really dealing with 360° sound here. Whichever side of the speaker you’re on, you’ll hear it clearly everywhere thanks to the unique design. And you can turn up the volume quite a bit. The song Industry Baby by Lil Nas X has a solid bass, but you can hear that the VAPPEBY falls short to properly reproduce the depth of the bass. With Life’s Coming in Slow by Nothing But Thieves the sound is a bit more balanced, but it remains quite flat and lacks detail. Such great stadium rock is not the strongest point of this bluetooth speaker.
We suddenly have a slightly fuller sound at The xx with the song Intro where the drums (albeit limited) sound like they should sound with the guitar tune balancing through it. The song Ho Hey by The Lumineers sounds quite shrill, while Bitterzoet by Eefje de Visser mainly suffers from the narrow soundstage but otherwise sounds quite nice on this model. Sultans of Swings by Dire Straits is typically one of those songs that almost always sounds good, on whatever device. This also appears to be the case on the IKEA VAPPEBY, although the high notes in the guitar solos sometimes sound a bit too shrill.
Audiophiles will not be happy with the sound quality, but this speaker is certainly not intended for that. The IKEA VAPPEBY provides extra atmosphere thanks to a lamp, a unique design, splash-proof and also reasonable sound for a very good price. This is not a speaker to be turned on during a garden party, but really a model that lets you play music quietly while you are enjoying a warm summer evening with friends. Fire up the barbecue, have a beer and play nice lounge music with the lighting on the IKEA VAPPEBY. Experience and atmosphere are the magic words here.
What alternatives do you have in this price category? Then you end up with the smaller JBL Go 3 or the Sony SRS-XB13 . In terms of volume, IKEA beats the Sony and in terms of battery life of 12 hours also clearly compared to the 5 hours battery of the JBL Go 3. Yet those devices are just a bit more handy and easier to take with you. So it really depends on your preferences.
IKEA VAPPEBY- Conclusion
So you shouldn’t go to IKEA VAPPEBY for really good sound, you can’t expect that for this price. Nevertheless, we can absolutely recommend this model. The splash-proof and unique housing, the lamp with two positions and a reasonable sound for only 49.99 euros. You also have Spotify Tap at your disposal, even if it doesn’t always work well. IKEA has launched a unique outdoor Bluetooth speaker for a competitive price. Are you really looking for something unique for the garden that can also be used multifunctionally? The IKEA VAPPEBY is definitely recommended when atmosphere is more important than sound quality.
- Unique design
- Battery life fine
- Lamp provides extra atmosphere
- Very affordable
- Sound is decent for the price
- Plastic carrying handle looks fragile
- Spotify Tap doesn’t work equally well on every phone
- Sound is decent for the price