Shure is a brand synonymous with high fidelity audio and quality. Their new Shure Aonic 215 TW2 are true wireless headphones that are expansible. You can convert these to wired headphones, or, you can upgrade the earphones without needing to replace the true wireless adapters. They are a true marvel of headphone technology. In addition to the premium HiFi audio you’d expect from Shure, they feature an over-the-ear design, a 32-hour battery life, water resistance, Bluetooth 5, an accompanying app, and more.
The Aonic 215s are certainly unique looking, but they embody a lot of Shure’s classic in-ear design. The actual earphones are detachable from the “adapter”. The adapter wraps around your ear, houses the battery and Bluetooth, and also has a control button. The cool thing about the adapter and the headphones is that they’re interchangable with other compatible Shure products. You can turn other Shure earphones “wireless” with the included adapter, or you can turn the 215s into wired headphones. Very cool!
The earbuds themselves come in a translucent blue, which we really dig. The whole design with the around-the-ear adapter is reminiscent of a high-tech hearing aid. The adapter helps keep a secure fit so you can easily exercise with them. They’re also IPX-4 water-resistant so they can handle all your sweat. The adapter’s button is behind your ear, but is big and easy to press. In the app, the single button on each adapter can be set up to control anything through taps and long-presses.
Shure packs these buds with 6 different ear tips — we love this. There’s 3 sizes of silicon “flex” tips and 3 sizes of memory foam tips. The optionality will help you find a perfect fit and control the amount of passive noise isolation. We love the foam tips — they’re so comfortable and natural, and they don’t fall out. The catch with foam tips is that you need to do a quick squeeze before popping them in your ear.
The charging case is also unique. It’s one of the largest true wireless cases we’ve used. It’s a round zippered hard case that’s wider and thicker than a hockey puck. It may be pocketable depending on your pants, but it’s not a case you’d want to pocket all the time. The charging case does all the normal things — powers the buds on/off, protects them, and of course charges them. We get that these buds are large in shape and tricky to house, but Shure could have done better here. This was one of our bigger gripes as we’d otherwise want to use these buds all the time.
The case charges with USB-C and there’s a full-length USB-A to C charging cable included. There’s no wireless charging, unfortunately. The buds do, however, last for a full 8 hours on a single charger. With the charging case they get 32 hours of playback total, which is more than plenty.
These are not active noise canceling (ANC) earphones, but we’re okay with that. The passive noise isolation is so good that you’ll be happy in most or all situations. The noise isolation is so good that Shure included an “environment mode” to better hear your surroundings. This hear through mode is adjustable and toggle-able. Environment mode can be enabled/disabled with whatever button presses you choose in-app.
The ShurePlus Play app does everything we want. It allows us to customize the control buttons, it has plenty of personalization options, and most importantly there are tuning settings with presets and a custom equalizer. The app makes it so easy to take these headphones from good to great. With app updates and firmware updates hopefully, it keeps getting better.
Straight out of the box, we were impressed with the audio quality. Music shines. There’s a lot of oomph, and you can feel the power behind the music. The default sound profile is very well balanced. You may not fully appreciate what these headphones can really do until you play with the equalizer and presets. There’s a perfect range of presets to zero in on the audio features you like. Then you can fine-tune a preset or design an equalizer from scratch. With bass boost you can feel just how low and punchy the bass gets. With vocal boost you can hear the incredible details and subtleties of a singer’s voice. There’s a “loudness” preset tuned to let you hear details at a low volume and with a much wider sound stage. Needless to say, we’re a fan of the sound quality and have a lot of fun wearing these headphones.
The built-in microphone for making phone calls was good, but average in quality. There’s no emphasis on the voice and background noise will leak in. It’s a perfectly acceptable microphone for most calls; it’s loud and clear-enough. It doesn’t compare to something like Apple’s AirPods with regards to clarity and noise reduction.
Shure Aonic 215 true wireless buds review verdict
The Shure Aonic 215 true wireless buds have us conflicted. They sound amazing and are tunable in the app. They’re very comfortable to wear, even during intense workouts. They’re water/sweat resistant. The battery lasts for 8 hours of straight listening. And, they have pretty much all the tech features we care about. But… the charging case is much too large and we find it troublesome that we can’t effortlessly pop these into our ear, like most other buds.
That said, we’re fine with no Active Noise Cancelling; the passive noise isolation is fantastic and better than ANC on some buds we’ve reviewed. The lack of wireless charging is a bummer, but not the end of the world considering the standard USB-C port. Finally, we really like the expansibility factor and being able to turn the 215s into wired headphones or swapping out the earphones on the true wireless adapters. They price in at $229, which isn’t cheap. This price can be very worth it if you appreciate Shure headphones and like the expansibility or you’re drawn to the around-the-ear design. There aren’t many true wireless headphones that have an earhook, and these are the best sounding and fitting that we’ve reviewed to date.