Shure isn't a company that needs to update its products often. Among the audio nut crowd, they're held aloft as one of - if not the - most reliable manufacturer of earphones around. The SE215 takes over from the classic SE210, adding a detachable cable and a new earpiece design.
Shure's new range of SE215, SE315, SE425 and SE535 earphones are the (fairly) new kids in town, and in this revolution the SE215 have arguably gained the most of them all. They're not cheap at around £100, but they benefit from the detachable cable design and great cable quality of their more expensive brothers.
The previous-model Shure SE 205 had a less bulbous look than the manufacturer's higher-end models, but now the whole set has adopted a similar look that's similar to the all-time classic Shure SE530. It's curvier and more organic-looking and demands to be worn over-the-ears. Like Ultimate Ears's top-end earphones, a malleable ear loop is built into the 5cm or so of cable that shoots out of the earpiece.
The Shure SE215 are available in clear plastic or shiny black, the former exposing the wires inside the housing and the gold connectors that form the earphones' detachable mechanism. The bud itself swivels around freely on this joint, with coloured dots on each side of the divide showing you the position they need to be in to be pulled apart - red for the right side and blue for the left, so you don't get them mixed up.
Adding extra moving parts to something as fragile as an earphone is always a concern, but the cable connection seems very solid. A good hard yank is required to pull out the earpiece, and you should only need to do so if your cable packs it in. This shouldn't be a common occurrence either judging by the heavy-duty right-angled jack used here. It's exactly the same as the cable used in the Shure SE535, SE425 and SE 315. Replacements cost upwards of £40 (where Ultimate Ears's cables tend to cost around £20) but this should indicate what a bargain these earphones really are.
The cables have a slightly textured finish that's very successful at reducing tangles. They're reinforced with Kevlar too. It's as though the Shure SE215 is a C-list celebrity invited to an A-lister's dinner party and treated to the fine dining and adulation of the superstars around it. That's not to do these earphones down - we're comparing them directly to the SE535 here, which cost 3-4 times the price.
The Shure SE215 come with six pairs of foam and rubber tips, Shure's standards. These are of excellent quality and you should have no trouble attaining a good fit with them. Also typical of Shure's SE series, sound isolation is excellent. These earphones are the perfect partner for a noisy commute, blocking out screaming children and inane conversations with ease.