Hands on: Shure Aonic 215 Review

Have you ever found yourself fretting that all true wireless in-ear headphones look the same? No? Well, I have – and if that puts me in a minority, then so be it.
Anyway, Shure – hero of the pro audio electronics – is here to put my mind at rest. It’s announced its first ever pair of true wireless in-ear headphones at CES 2020 – and it’s safe to say the Aonic 215s don’t exactly follow the design template that’s been established for products of this type.
Related: Best true wireless earbuds
Shure Aonic 215 design – Going against the grain with its look
Like all Shure in-ears, the Aonic 215s are a monitor-style twist-to-fit design. One of the many reasons I’ve always enjoyed Shure in-ears is the supremely comfortable and secure fit, so the Aonic 215s are very reassuring in this respect.

Unlike the vast majority of designs they are intended to compete with, the 215s’ wireless module is arranged in the manner of a loop over the ear. There’s no neckband involved, but there’s certainly more of the Aonic 215s than there is of competing designs.
Shure Aonic 215 features – Features to compete with the best true wireless earbuds
At a likely £279, the Shures need to be properly specified – and, sure enough, they’re equipped to be fully competitive. Their aptX Bluetooth connectivity is a great start, and eight hours of battery life from a single charge (plus another 24 from the circular case) compares favourably with a lot of almost-as-expensive rivals. The materials used feel both expensive and robust, and like all Shure in-ears it’s straightforward to get them comfortably positioned.

There’s a degree of physical noise-isolation afforded by the snug fit, which proves very welcome during a listen on the shoulder-to-shoulder Shure stand in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre during CES. With a high-quality 24bit/44.1kHz stream of Radiohead’s In Rainbows being delivered from a nearby smartphone, the Aonic 215s immediately impress with the scale, dynamism and insight of their presentation.
Shure Aonic 215 performance – Sky-high levels of detail, mixed with gratifying spacious sound
They’re an open and detailed listen, fastidious in the way they lay out a soundstage but not at the expense of the overall drive and attack of the recording. The clattering rhythm of 15 Step is well organised, but there’s nothing mechanical about the way the Shures present the music.
Despite sky-high detail levels, attention to the subtlety and nuance of individual instruments, and gratifying spacious sound, they have no trouble following the broad dynamic direction of the music.

There’s nothing analytical about the way the 215s sound. Instead, they’re an engaged and engaging listen, seemingly more concerned with the unity and interaction of a band’s performance than mathematics of it. Quite often headphones can sound meticulous or musical – but the Aonic 215s seem capable of being both at the same time.
Shure Aonic 215 — Early verdict
The probable price puts them up against some proven performers, most specifically Sony’s evergreen WF-1000XM3 . That said, the 215s are built and specified to compete is unarguable – and from this initial listen, it seems they have the performance to give the best true wireless in-ears a run for their money. You’ll have to make your own mind up about those looks, though.
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