TWS headphones are becoming more regular and more accepted by most users in the market. While they’re still not able to compete head-to-head in sound quality with wired headphones, they have immensely improved over the years. Most TWS headphones are simply buds that are small and portable. The Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 are different, and that’s not at all a bad thing.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
While brands like Apple, JBL, and JLab make smaller TWS headphones, Shure took a different route. The Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 are based around Shure’s 215 Gen 2 IEM’s. IEM’s can be disconnected from their cables if they go bad and need to be replaced. This is cost-effective since the cable costs less than the earbuds. Shure took the AONIC 215’s and created a set of ear loops and controls that make them into TWS headphones. Read on for the full review of these different but surprisingly great pair of TWS headphones.
The Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 has the following features and specifications:
- Awe-inspiring, true wireless audio with clear sound and deep bass. No cords. No wires. Just pure listening.
- Secure, over-ear fit. Built with the same design musicians use for in-ear monitoring on-stage. Your earphones stay in place for unmatched, long-wearing comfort, even during high-energy activities.
- Sound Isolating™ technology blocks up to 37 dB of noise to eliminate distractions. Enjoy the most immersive listening experience no matter where you are.
- Environment Mode. Hear the outside world with the touch of a button.
- Up to 8 hours battery life. Uninterrupted audio wherever you are – on the train, in the gym, or at home. Included carrying case provides three additional charges for a total of up to 32 hours battery life on-the-go.
- Detachable connection allows the AONIC 215 Earphones to attach to different cable accessories. Stay connected to any device, including airplane entertainment systems.
- Enjoy clear calls with exceptional audio through integrated microphones for video conferencing and phone calls.
- Premium headphone amplifier and support for multiple codecs including Qualcomm® aptX™, AAC and SBC
- Bluetooth® 5 wireless technology for enhanced stability and a range of up to 30 feet (10 metres). Pairs to phones, tablets and laptops for music and calls.
- ShurePlus™ PLAY app allows you to customise your EQ and Environment Mode levels. Free to download for iOS and Android.
- Includes a two-year warranty, AONIC 215 detachable Sound Isolating™ Earphones, True Wireless Secure Fit Adapter set, fit kit with a variety of sleeves for the perfect fit, a charging case, and USB-C charging cable.
What’s In The Box
- 1 – RMCE-TW2 Wireless Adapter Set
- 1 – pair – 215 Detachable Sound Isolating earphones
- 1 – Charging case
- 1 – Micro-USB-C Charging Cable
- 1 – Soft Flex Sleeves (S, M, L)
- 1 – Foam Sleeves (S, M, L)
- QuickStart Guide and Documenation
The box the Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 comes in is much bigger than most TWS headphones and is circular. The charging case is circular and more significant than a typical TWS headphone case. The case is made of high-quality plastics, robust, and takes extensive bumping and dropping. It’s a well-made case.
The top of the case has the Shure logo and an LED indicator for charging. Also, the zipper that opens and closes the case is of high quality. The zipper self-seals as you close it, which helps keep dust and debris out of the inside of the charging case.
When you turn the case over, there is a USB-C charging port, 3-LED lights, and a button you press that indicates how much charge is left in the case battery. When you unzip the case, you’ll see the Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 resting in their charging pins. It’s a very nice case, and it will protect your headphones very well.
The Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 headphones themselves are certainly something to behold. The main earbuds are essentially the Shure 215 IEMs. They can be detached from the housings they’re on, and if you have compatible headphone cables, you can attach them to go wired. The housing is called the True Wireless Secure Fit Adapter Gen 2.
These adapters are where your controls live and make these TWS headphones different and more prominent. My first impression of the Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 headphones was that they were huge. While the earbud portion is average size, the adapters are large. The earbuds are comfortable and create noise isolation with the foam tips included. There are several sizes in the box.
These adapters have an ear loop and a large control button that rests behind your ear, more on those in the next section. My first thought when seeing this design was that it might be uncomfortable. But, after wearing them for the first time, I found them to be very comfortable and could barely tell they were there.
Overall, the design is not the usual TWS headphone look, and it may scare some people. But rest assured, these are built well and are very comfortable.
Ease of Use
Pairing the Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 headphones is the same as any other Bluetooth headphone. When you remove the headphones from the case for the first time, they go into auto-pairing mode. Then you find them in your Bluetooth settings and pair, and you; ‘re done. If you want to use the included ShurePlus PLAY mobile app, you can, and we will go over that in just a few sections.
The controls are what make things simple here. I’m not a fan of controls built on the earbuds, the ones where you have to push the actual earbud to make things happen. Samsung’s earbuds and others do this, which can be not very pleasant.
While the AONIC 215 Gen 2 are large, that large footprint houses the super tactile and straightforward controls to boot. Below is a diagram of what the buttons on the AONIC 215 Gen 2 do.
Overall, these are very simple to use and operate. I like the large tactile buttons and the ease with which they operate.
The sound is where the Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 headphones really through me for a loop. The marketing material says to expect big bass, and while you can get that big bass using the app out of the box, these have more of a flat soundstage. There is some evident massaging and preference to the bass frequencies but nothing outrageous to where I felt the bass was overdriven or overtaking the other frequencies.
Alex’s Headphone Testing Playlist
I thoroughly enjoyed the sound coming from the AONIC 215 Gen 2 headphones. The mids and highs felt balanced while Shure pushed the bass above where I like, but not over the top. I want a solid bottom end but not so much that it gets muddy, and Shure tuned these nicely. The app will allow you to EQ the sound to your taste, so if you need more bass, you can certainly have it.
Overall, the Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 headphones sound fantastic, and the foam tips provide a good amount of noise isolation.
The PLAY app has several functions, and while I’m not too fond of apps for headphones, this one serves a good purpose.
The app allows you to switch environment mode on and off; this mode will enable you to hear the outside world while still listening to your music. If you don’t like the default setup, the app also allows you to map some controls to the buttons. You can also see the battery life for both the case and the earbuds within the app.
The EQ settings are in the app; both manual and presets are included, so you have various choices. You can also control your music from within the app, something I dislike, but some of you may enjoy that feature.
Overall, the app is robust, has plenty of features, and has a great EQ. I don’t like to putz with apps for headphones much, so I made my EQ adjustments and looked around for any other settings I wanted to change and only go back in to check for firmware updates.
Bluetooth reception is solid with a normal range and then some. Call quality is also spectacular; no complaints there at all.
Shure claims 8-hours of battery life for the AONIC 215 Gen 2 with an additional 32-hours in the case. Battery life will vary with volume and distance from the Bluetooth source. I generally have my smartphone on me at all times, and my volume is never over 60%, usually always less. So I was able to get just over 8-hours easily, and the case provided those extra charges without having to plug into the wall. Overall, Shure’s battery life claims are spot on.
The Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 headphones are priced at US$229. The wired AONIC 215’s ring in at US$99, so you’re paying an additional $130 for the TWS adapters that hook into the AONIC 215’s. On their own, the adapters cost US$189. US$229 is the average price for many higher-end TWS headphones, so I think the price is fair. I think the value is here too, but I do believe Shure could move these better at a sub-US$ 200 price like US$199. It’s only thirty bucks difference, but just seeing that number would probably nudge people towards these.
The Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 headphones have great sound, are comfortable, have great controls, and the app is well done. I think there are other TWS headphones that sound a bit better, but these are one of the top players in this price range, and because they do a few things differently, they’re worth looking into.