Let’s be honest; most people don’t want dangling wires getting in the way of their mobile phone communication. As someone who’s always been used to wires, I felt it was time to embrace the modern world, so I decided to put SHURE’s second-generation Bluetooth AONIC 215 True Wireless Sound Isolating™ Earphones to the test.
For those who might think that I am a product of the Dark Ages, let me state that I am not unfamiliar with wireless Bluetooth technology. In fact, I do use a wireless set of Bluetooth earphones with my mobile phone; however, it is in the form of a hard plastic loop that sits over my neck, with pull out earbuds on wires. The opportunity to try Shure’s Aonic 215 earphones would be my chance to see if going truly wireless could make my mobile life more convenient.
Over recent years, I have been invited on numerous occasions to test out truly wireless earphones, and until now, I haven’t felt inclined to do so. One reason could be that when I have something that works, I’m the type of person who will generally stick with it, no matter how old-fashioned it might look or how technically inept it is. For me to make a switch, it’s usually when the technology stops working.
What piqued my interest with Shure’s Aonic 215 earphones is how lightweight and small they are, along with their ability to allow the wearer to hear what’s going on in the world while using them. Essentially, this means no more shouting, “What did you say?” and “Hang on, a sec” while you fiddle around removing an earpiece and tucking away wires.
Not long after agreeing to the review of Shure’s Upgraded Aonic 215 True Wireless Sound Isolating™ Earphones they arrived, and I must admit that I was pleased and surprised at the high-quality packaging. The earphones arrived in something akin to a mini blue circular hatbox. Inside the box was two earphones, a clamshell carry case to charge them with a 1m long USB cable, easy-to-understand instructions, and a large number of earpiece covers.
The version of the Shure Aonic 215 earphones I was given to test is an upgrade to the previous model of the same name, which made its debut last year. The upgraded version is said to offer the same low-profile design that musicians use for in-ear monitoring on stage, along with what is said to be unmatched sound with a secure fit and a good number of improvements.
This second generation of earphones offers the same studio-quality sound as found on the previous model and can block up to 37 dB of exterior noise. Getting a little more technical, the Aonic 215 is equipped with a premium amplifier and supports multiple codecs, including ACC, Qualcomm aptX and SBC. In addition to this, it uses Bluetooth 5 technology with a range of up to thirty feet.
The earphones fit over the ears and feel secure once in place; with regards to how comfortable they are, we’ll cover that in more detail later in this piece. One of the things that made the Aonic 215 earphones stand out from others and a feature I particularly liked was the way they blocked out and allowed in noise.
The earphones use sound-isolating technology that cuts down unwanted noise; however, with the touch of a button, you can access something called Environment Mode, which allows wearers to hear the outside world when needed. The ambient external sound level can be adjusted via the ShurePlus PLAY app using a simple to use slider bar. I found this to be a very helpful feature when walking around built-up urban areas.
Shure states that the Aonic 215 earphones are ideal for working out, music lovers, and commuters. However, for my test, I wouldn’t be using them in any of these environments. Instead, I would be testing them on a 20km hike up high hills and across the beautiful Lancashire countryside.
Using the AONIC 215 Gen 2 earphones
Cards on the table, testing the AONIC 215 Gen 2 earphones was my first real foray into trying technology such as this. I have in the past popped in a set of similar products which my wife had purchased, simply to help her work out how they fitted over and in her ears.
I will be honest and state that at first, I struggled to put the AONIC 215 Gen 2 earphones on in a fast and comfortable way, even though I considered myself to have perfectly shaped ears.
Being somewhat unfamiliar with wearing earphones, I struggled with the placement of the inner earpiece and was unsure whether it was supposed to sit inside my earhole or outside/adjacent to it. After various attempts, I worked out the simplest way to do it, and once in place, the earphone seemed very secure, albeit, in my opinion, a little tight behind the ears.
My wife graciously furnished me with a few calls on our hike, and as expected, the call quality was crystal clear. Answering the call was very straightforward with one press to answer and a further press to end the call. Perhaps the most outstanding feature, in my view, was the ability to hear everything that was going on around me with the earphones in place.
At no point would there be the fear of oncoming traffic or a sneak attack from a feather duster wielding, underpants-wearing loon and me not hearing it; even distant bird song was clearly evident with the earphones in place. This rather excellent option is called Environment Mode and is once again easy to access, requiring two quick presses of the button on the earphone and the same again to disable it.
One downside was when I removed them; when trying to put the earphones away in my zippable trouser pocket, the two parts of one of the earphones became separated. I noticed this not long after it happened and fortunately was able to retrace my steps a few metres and located this missing piece. Had I not, it might possibly have made the set redundant. This is not a design flaw, the earphones have been made this way to make cleaning them simpler.
The question is, were they good enough to convince me to switch from my current somewhat antiquated set-up? If the question related to just the performance and technology, the answer would undoubtedly be yes.
However, the slight mishap with one of the earphones separating raises a question in my mind. Also, my inexperience of wearing a product like this ensured they never felt truly comfortable on my ears. There’s no doubt that the Shure AONIC 215 Gen 2 earphones are technically excellent. However, at this present time, I am happy to let people think I am someone from the Dark Ages for now.
What’s new with the Gen 2 earphones?
- This latest version of the earphones is both sweat and water-resistant. Shure states they are capable of operating regardless of the environment they are being used in, which includes everything from a drizzly commute to a vigorous sweaty workout thanks to their IPX4-rating.
- The AONIC 215 Gen 2 has an eight-hour battery life, and the hardcover charging case is said to give three full charges, meaning users can expect up to 32 hours of battery life.
- Hardware EQ—Users can choose from multiple presets. Users are also able to create their own custom EQ on their earphones via the ShurePlus PLAY app.
- The AONIC 215 Gen 2 allows wearers to hear crystal clear phone calls even in busy environments. The call audio can be heard in both ears and, if required, can be assigned to the right or left earpiece.
- Once removed from its case, the earphones automatically power on, eliminating the need to fumble with an on-button.
- AONIC 215 Gen 2 now benefits from a volume control directly on the earphones, along with easy mute control. The app gives users the ability to customise the button configuration, which includes volume control and playback.
- The AONIC 215 Gen 2 allows listeners to switch between wired and wireless via optional accessories quickly. Also available is the Secure Fit Adapter, which can transform any existing detachable Shure Sound Isolating Earphones to wireless. Essentially, this allows consumers to move from listening wirelessly on their phones to connecting to in-flight entertainment systems in a simple switch.
SHURE Aonic 215 Gen 2 earphones – Where and how?
The Gen 2 earphones are available in black and blue colour options and have an RRP of £209.00. The Gen 2 True Wireless Secure Fit Adapter is available for £169.00. Both of these are now available at select retailers and via www.shure.com/aonic215.
Read more lifestyle reviews, guides and news here.