You may be thinking to yourself, “I want new earbuds, but I don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for them.” You’re just like plenty of people who have pondered how to find quality earbuds for a fraction of the price of some of the heavy hitters. People immediately think of Apple AirPods, Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds, or Bose QuietComfort earbuds when they think of noise-cancelling earbuds. But those are all hundreds of dollars, as they are the standard bearers. Monoprice came out with the Monoprice Horizon earphones to offer customers active noise cancellation on a budget.
Monoprice is amongst a large number of companies trying to hit the market of customers who want all that premium earbuds offer for a fraction of the cost. I’ve been testing out the Monoprice Horizone ANC TrueWireless Earphones to see just how they rank amongst the rest of the modestly-priced wireless earbuds. Read on to see my thoughts and if they are worth purchasing.
- Very good call quality
- Comfortable for extended wear
- Good sound quality
- Fast connectivity
- Weak ANC
- Controls not always responsive
Monoprice Horizon TrueWireless earphones unboxing
The charging case for the Monoprice Horizon TrueWireless earphones is about the same size as the bulk of earbuds you’ll see these days. It’s a little bit bulkier than the SoundPEATS Air3 Pro charging case, which I recently reviewed. Upon taking the earphones out of the charging case, you immediately notice how long the stems are on the earphones. They aren’t subtle, especially when you put them in your ears.
The case and earphones took only a few hours of charging to complete, and you get a USB-C charging cable. The LED indicator light on the earphones will blink while they’re charging, and then it will remain on when it’s completed the charging. The same goes for the charging case. You’ll also get six rubber ear tips on top of the ones that come attached to the earphones to help you find the best fit for your ears. I ended up settling on the ones originally on the earphones, as they felt most comfortable. The user manual explains how to use the earphones.
Monoprice Horizon TrueWireless earphones controls
When you take the earphones out of the case and put them in your ear, you’ll hear a voice say, “Power on.” It took almost no time to find the earphones listed as MP43452 on my iPhone in order to connect it using a Bluetooth 5.2 connection. The Qualcomm QCC3040 Bluetooth chipset makes this good for connecting with devices up to 32 feet away.
One thing that you notice in the user manual is that the touch control area on each earbud is not very big. You have a finite area to touch, which is at the top portion of the stem. If you don’t hit the right spot, nothing will happen. But, the user manual instructions are actually incorrect, as it tells you to single press the left earphone to increase the volume or a song of call, whereas the right earphone actually does the increasing. The left earphone decreases the volume. You can double press either to play or pause and triple press the right one to skip a song or triple press the left one to go back to the previous song or restart the one you’re listening to.
For call controls, you can double press either earphone to answer a call or to hang up a call. Holding either earphone for two seconds will reject an incoming call. Holding the right earphone will turn your device’s Voice Assistant on.
If you want to toggle the ANC Mode on, you will hold the left earphone for two seconds and it will switch on and off. If you hold it again, it will switch to Transparent Mode.
Features for the earphones
The ANC Mode is nothing to write home about. You can hear an audible shift in the tone if it’s already quiet around you when it switches on and off, but other than that, it does not block out much sound around you. I tried it in different places and on multiple occasions and rarely did it make much of a difference.
The sound quality of music is good, not great. It won’t blow you away with the clarity, but it is serviceable and pleasing for listening to while you’re out and about. The chipset includes the Adaptive aptX audio codec, so streaming music comes through with decent clarity. The tuned 13mm drivers give you some strong bass and the midrange and high frequencies aren’t bad. I wouldn’t say it delivers rich audio, but it’s far from bad.
The call quality is strong. Many wireless earbuds lack a good amount of pickup from their microphones. But these have four microphones along with the Qualcomm cVc 8.0 Echo Cancelling and Noise Suppression system that sample outside noise and help block it out. I was told on multiple phone calls that the call sounded clear and there were no issues hearing me.
I wore these during some workouts and they are IPX5 waterproof, so sweating on them was no issue. The battery life proved to be solid, as I got seven hours of playback as promised. Utilizing trips to the charging case can deliver up to 28 hours, and I’d say it was near that before I fully had to recharge. It’s hard to make that an exact science when listening to earphones but the battery for these lasted a while.
As I mentioned, the thing you notice right away is how long the stems are on the earphones. They extend farther than other earbuds on the market, which may also help its call quality, since the microphone is closer to your mouth (but maybe I’m overthinking that). As you notice by testing out earbuds, all of them are slightly different. The earphone itself is a little more bulbous than, say, the Edifier NeoBuds Pro. But these are comfortable, once you find the ear tips that work best for you.
You shouldn’t turn these earphones once they are in your ear. They will sit best once you input them into your ear and they provide a pretty good seal as well, which makes the weak ANC a little more frustrating. For an extended period of time, these can be worn without issue and you won’t notice they are in your ears.
The Monoprice Horizon ANC TrueWireless Earphones sit at a very good price point for those looking for cheaper earbuds. They have good enough sound quality, great call quality, and weak ANC. But for comfortable earbuds that you can wear and enjoy, these are good for those on a budget.
The TOZO NC9 2022 Hybrid ANC Wireless Earbuds are an extremely popular set of earbuds that falls in a similar price range. These are IPX6 waterproof and feature a different kind of design than the Monoprice Horizon.
Should I buy the Monoprice Horizon ANC TrueWireless Earphones?
Yes. They are a budget-friendly purchase that check a lot of boxes that you’ll want for your wireless earbuds.