The Horizon ANC are a feature-packed pair of earbuds with a competitive price. It’s a shame the ANC isn’t stronger, but the design is lightweight and comfortable, calls are clear and the audio is detailed.
- Detailed audio
- Clear calls
- Seamless connectivity
- Affordable price
- Plain design
- Weak noise cancellation
- Noise cancellingFeatures hybrid noise cancellation and transparency
- Water resistanceRated at IPX5 for water and sweat resistance
- Call qualityFeatures Qualcomm’s echo cancelling and noise suppression for calls
- Battery life35 hours of battery in total
Monoprice is an American electronics company that has recently been expanding its audio offering in the UK.
The brand is known for its affordable products covering a wide range of areas, from headphones and speakers to home theatre products and office accessories.
More recently, we’ve tested Monoprice’s M1070 over-ears and Capsule speakers. While the headphones impressed us with their crisp and balanced performance, the Capsule 200 and Capsule 300 fell short on both their audio performance and battery life.
So what to expect from the Horizon ANC headphones? I was pleasantly surprised by these affordable earbuds.
- The earbuds have a lightweight and simple design
- They offer a comfortable fit and a good seal
- The earbuds are waterproof up to IPX5
The Horizon ANC are a simple-looking set of wireless earbuds. The pair sport an oval-shaped design at the top, with a long stem that protrudes down, with a glossy black finish that tapers down to a silver detail at the end of each tail.
The shiny plastic looks cheap, but it does a good job of keeping the earbuds lightweight in the ears if you don’t mind that. The earbuds come with three ear tips in sizes S, M and L and I found the fit comfortable and that the silicone tips offered a good seal. Visually, the earbuds look comparable to another budget pair, the EarFun Air Pro 2.
The Horizon ANC are certified water resistant up to IPX5, which means they can handle low pressures of water, including rain and sweat.
They also feature touch controls, allowing you to control playback, adjust the volume, answer calls and summon your device’s voice assistant by tapping or holding the top of each earbud.
While the controls were responsive and accurate, I did find having a single tap to control volume to be an odd choice, as it made cranking the volume up or down a slow process.
The earbuds come in a rectangular matte black finished rectangular charging case that flips up similar to the one carrying the Apple AirPods. There’s a single indicator light on the front of the case, along with the letters ‘IIIP’ instead of the Monoprice logo. The back of the case is significantly more busy as it’s covered in text and symbols.
- The ANC is good but could be stronger
- The earbuds are fast to connect with Bluetooth
- The battery life matches up with Monoprice’s 7-hour claim
Beyond the design, the Horizon ANC’s headline feature is Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation. I found the ANC did a good job of dulling unwanted noise, but wasn’t as effective as that on other earbuds I’ve tested.
I wore the Horizons on the Northern Line during rush hour with ANC on and found that, while the hum of the train and the occasional chatter in the carriage was suppressed, announcements still managed to reach my ears. I couldn’t make out any specific words, but I also couldn’t do this with the transparency mode activated either.
There was some distinction between ANC on, ANC off and transparency mode, but it wasn’t significant enough that I would rely on the ANC to block out louder distractions or the transparency mode to listen out for an important announcement.
There’s also Qualcomm cVc 8.0 echo cancelling and noise suppression technology for clearer calls, which I found worked well. Voices sounded crisp and there was little background noise when chatting over calls. There’s also a low latency mode to reduce lag when gaming and streaming video with the earbuds.
As far as other features go, there’s Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC support and aptX Adaptive for CD quality audio. I found that once initially paired, the headphones connected to my phone almost immediately after opening the case every time.
The earbuds have a battery life of 7 hours with an additional 28 hours in the case for a total of 35 hours. After leaving the headphones to play at a medium volume, I found they lasted 7 hours and 10 minutes with ANC switched on, lining up with Monoprice’s claims. I didn’t test the battery with ANC off, but I’d expect it to last even longer without noise cancelling activated.
The earbuds support quick charging so you can give them a boost before heading out the door. However, there’s no wireless charging on board, so you’ll need to rely on wired charging with a USB-C cable instead of a Qi charger.
- The earbuds pack 13mm drivers
- There’s plenty of detail to be found in the audio
- The sound is warm and detailed
The Horizon ANC are powered by 13mm drivers that Monoprice claims deliver powerful bass and exceptional clarity. While I think the bass is a bit overstated, I did enjoy the sound the Horizon produced, finding it to be balanced with a high amount of detail.
Attention by NewJeans is a good example of this. The track is crammed with different elements and the earbuds do a great job of presenting each layer without giving too much weight to one or losing any important detail in the process.
There’s detail to be heard from the vocals harmonising across the midrange, to the bass frequencies and the twinkling element that comes out in the chorus. The track is also packed with energy and the soundstage doesn’t feel confined or cramped.
Moving on to a jazz track, Dexter Gordon’s A Night In Tunisia offers an equally balanced performance. Here, the saxophone is full and warm and filled with great detail throughout the solo. There’s plenty of variation in volume, making the song feel dynamic and exciting, and the drums and bass offer a similar warmth with perhaps slightly less detail than the sax.
The piano is equally crisp when it takes over midway through the track, retaining the same energy as the saxophone before it.
I do think that stronger noise cancellation would improve the experience in louder, more disruptive environments in particular. However, if you’re primarily going to be listening at home or in other quiet locations, the Horizon ANC sound fantastic for their price.
Should you buy it?
You want a pair of affordable earbuds The Horizon ANC offer useful features, a comfortable design and detailed sound for under $60.
You want best-in-class noise cancellation The noise cancellation on the Horizon ANC isn’t bad, but it could certainly be stronger.
The Monoprice Horizon ANC are a great pair of true wireless earbuds that offer tremendous value for their price. Audio is detailed, calls are clear and the feature set is very well-rounded.
The design isn’t particularly exciting and the noise cancellation and transparency modes could definitely be more powerful. However, the latter still has an effect on many medium-volume distractions and is a welcome addition given the earbuds’ price. I just wish it were stronger. If you want better noise cancellation at affordable prices, check out the Lypertek Z5 ANC or the JBL Live Pro 2.
How we test
We test every headphone we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry-standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Tested the earbuds for several weeks
Performed battery drain test
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The earbuds have a 7-hour battery life (or 35 including the case) according to Monoprice, and we found that to be accurate.
Yes, the Horizon ANC have Active Noise Cancellation and a Transparency Mode.
Yes, they’re water-resistant up to IPX5.
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