Shure Aonic Free review

₹ 15,999

Not the first name when it comes to everyday TWS, yet Shure still commands respect, thanks to its studio roots. The Aonic line is their consumer-oriented range, but the Aonic Free is their first true wireless earbuds and while it doesn’t get active noise cancellation tech, they do feature a rather effective passive sound “isolating” design.


There’s no way to get around the (relatively) gigantic charging case for the Aonic Free. The pill-shaped box won’t fit in the coin pocket for sure but is still not embarrassingly large for the scoop pocket. Although, the large size does have its advantages since it holds the superbly shaped Aonic Free earbuds in them snugly, and getting them out doesn’t require skill or prayers like on other TWS earbuds. Being a hookless design unlike Shure’s earlier TWS models, the Aonic Free goes for an elongated profile and an angled earpiece that feels like one of the most secure earbuds I’ve ever had in my Yoda ears. 
True to its claim of sound isolation, the moment you wear the Aonic Free, there is a sensation of being cut off from the outside world. It’s not too different from ANC but a rather simpler, mechanical implementation where Shure engineers have painstakingly worked on the form factor and comply memory foam tips to create the perfect seal. It only takes a casual plug, without any adjustment and you know that these aren’t going to fall off your ears unless you keep them on during kickboxing practice...and get hit.

The only element out of place here is the jarring welcome tone when you plug them into your ears followed by a female voice in a French accent announcing that you’re “connected”. A physical button on each earbud allows for customization of basic controls via the ShurePlus Play app and an LED to indicate connection status. A USB-C port and an LED indicator on the case are what you get to manage charging.


Prompt with its firmware updates, there was one offered right in the middle of this review. It didn’t change the sound quality, but it’s always comforting to know that stability, connectivity and battery enhancements are being pushed even after the launch phase. As with all TWS earbuds, tiny fit adjustments go a long way in changing the sound quality so don’t be lazy in angling each earbud up or down and lock it in the position where you experience the most amount of bass energy and body to the sound.

Do it Over by The Districts is a Hi-Res Lossless track on Apple Music and has a well-recorded vocal track along with a snappy bass line and the Aonic Free played it with verve and excitement. Take manual control of the EQ and you can get granular about exactly how much sizzle or oomph you like in your music, but all I needed was a slight gain around 110Hz and even slighter gain around the 8kHz mark to get to my sweet spot. The 40mm drivers are par for the course and do the job well, but hike up the bass levels in the EQ and you will hear the mini drivers begging for mercy as they reach their excursion limits. Also, it won’t be safe for your ears in the long run so the Aonic Free is best enjoyed at reasonable SPL levels.

They do lack the ultimate refinement and finesse in comparison to say, the Sony WF-1000XM4 that I reviewed last month, but the Sony is also dearer than the Shure. Lo/Hi by The Black Keys was played back with all the presence in the backing vocals, grittiness in the guitars and the punch in the low-end, but it misses out on the depth and the utter disappearing act that the best of its kind manage. If you like a large, lush soundstage, then the Aonic Free won’t completely immerse you in the music. They are a great pair of TWS but one that misses out on the “X factor”. They’re more clinical in nature to Sony’s more entertaining sound signature.

Phone call sound quality was excellent for both the parties and it never sounded distant or hollow, like it can on many other TWS buds. The noise suppression is of a high order and in most casual cases, you won’t even miss ANC. Yes, it’s that good! It does shave something off the price tag and with the Environmental mode, you can even adjust how much sound you want to let in when you pause your music. Shure calls it PausePlus and it can be controlled via the app, with variable degrees of environmental noise being piped in so you don’t have to keep taking them off for a quick dialogue with someone. 
Battery life was a solid 6-7 hours as advertised with a couple of extra charges available via the case, so the overall 21-hour figure wouldn’t be impossible to achieve.


Though not quite the class leaders, the Shure Aonic Free earbuds provide good sound quality if you’re willing to spend time tweaking its comprehensive EQ controls via the app. Without the app too, they get the job done but won’t realise their true potential. 
They excel at providing a superb fit, which is essential while commuting, working out or any sort of physical activity really. Their passive noise-cancelling is hugely effective too and unless you’re seated next to the wing on a flight, you won’t miss ANC. 
If you’re into specs though, you can’t help but feel short changed since TWS options less than half its price feature some version of ANC these days. The Aonic Free will serve you well if you have an active lifestyle and want ‘fit-and-forget’ true wireless earbuds.

Stuff Says

Feel expensive for a non-ANC, but the Aonic Free offers a superb fit, great call quality and satisfactory sound quality.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. 3 pairs of ear tips and fit is snug

  1. Sound isolation is better than most ANCs

  1. Physical buttons on earbuds work well

  1. Fantastic EQ options on the ShurePlus Play app

  1. Case is too large

  1. Lacks ultimate clarity and definition

  1. No IPX rating

Driver size: 40mm
Codecs: Apt-X, Apt-X HD, AAC, SBC
Bluetooth: 5.0
Range: 10m
Sleeves: S/M/L