Horizn-Studios M5 smart luggage review

Horizn Overview — Which suitcase?

horizn studios m5 review graphite collection stack

Smart luggage never looked so good

Horizn-Studios are the poster boy of modern smart luggage. Started in 2015, they’ve achieved a remarkably diverse set of products and collaborations in their 5 years — working with everyone from BMW to NASA.

All their products involve sleek and understated modern design, with a focus on quality materials and precision machining.

Their core range of luggage revolves around two bags in carry-on and hand baggage sizes:

  • H5 carry-on / H5 check-in
  • M5 carry-on / M5 check-in

All bags are available to purchase without the smart charger, but the pick of the bunch for smart tech travel would have to be their M5 Smart Luggage.

Yes, you trade approximately 2L of storage space over the same size H5 — but it’s worth it for the ease of use alone.

M5 Smart luggage features

This bag in the range combines the solid feel of the polycarbonate hard case with a range of storage features and smart charging for your gadgets.

A removable battery pack comes with the M5 smart case. It’s 10,000 mha which will provide around 2-4 full charges for a laptop, or several full phone charges. The lithium polymer battery has been pre cleared by all airlines, so you won’t have any trouble taking it onboard in hand luggage.

It’s actually a premium product in itself, and unlike many cheap battery packs on the internet — which can take an age to trickle-charge your devices — this has a built-in charging controller that supports a wide variety of devices including most android and Apple smartphones. It supports Qualcomm quick charging 3.0, so it will charge your devices at the maximum rate they can accept charge — a 35-minute wait at the gate should get you to 80% charge on a smartphone.

There are USB-C and older style USB-A sockets built-in, alongside a USB to lightning charging cable included. Replacement smart chargers are available on the Horizn Website.

Unlike first generation smart luggage — which suffered bad press without being able to easily remove the battery packs — removing and replacing the Horizn M5s rechargeable battery couldn’t be simpler. Stored discretely under the handle, the case is spring-loaded and clicks into place. With one touch, it springs up and can be quickly stored in your pocket or hand luggage, in the event you need to check the bag in.

The Horizn Studios M5 differs from the H5 suitcase by adding a front pocket for storing gadgets and their assorted leads. There is space for anything up to and including a 15-inch laptop.

m5 cabin front pocket horizn studios luggage review

Within this front compartment there are several pockets and dividers for your tech gear. On the front there are a couple of pockets great for leads and usb sticks. There is also a larger pocket where you can fit smaller devices such as smartphones or tablets, alongside the main divider for a laptop.

The pocket itself was once made from real Italian leather, but as of 2020, Horizn Studios have decided to move to an entirely vegan leather. Actually, the high-end polyurethane leather goes just as well as before but with the added bonus of removing any possible animal cruelty.

This leather is combined with a premium nylon material — and both are water resistant. It’s well-thought-out, and not only are your devices very accessible, but they are protected from shocks and from the weather too.

horizn ID m5 cabin smart luggage

4 Reasons to choose the Horizn Studios M5

  1. A suitcase with it all — It comes fully equipped
  2. The Horizn Studios M5 is built to last
  3. The M5 is packed with storage pockets
  4. This suitcase has style

Choosing the smart luggage version over the essentials range that Horizn Studios offer is definitely worth it. The M5 Smart comes with the integrated charger but also means you’ll never have to buy anything suitcase related again!

It comes with absolutely everything you would need to get travelling straight away:

  • A cotton storage bag for the suitcase itself
  • Small zipped pocket with a decent laundry bag
  • A premium luggage tag
  • 10,000 mha smart charger and 1 m charging cables

It really is a one-stop-shop for travel kit. The storage bag is a nice touch, and it’s nice to have something to store your case in when you’re not on your travels.

Something that frequently lets cases down are cheap wheels — especially on spinner suitcases. It’s something that became such a problem one brand, G-RO, even made the wheels their trademark design!

The wheels on all Horizn cases won’t let you down. They are Japanese designed spinner wheels, manufactured by Hinomoto. These are usually only found on high-end luggage — and if you really want to geek out here’s a Japanese noise test video explaining how much quieter they are than normal suitcase wheels!

(Spoiler alert — they are significantly quieter)

The hard case itself also feels quality.

  • It is an aerospace-grade polycarbonate hard shell, designed and manufactured in Germany
  • It has a little flex in it — so that it doesn’t break on impact — but is a very tough construction and is likely to last for years
  • The polycarbonate used here is a significant upgrade on cheaper ABS suitcases, providing a much stiffer and tougher finish.
Horizn m5 smart luggage black

The case is lined with water-resistant nylon, which again feels premium, and is a noticeable improvement over cheaper cases with thinner and cotton-based linings.

In many cheaper suitcases you often find that apart from the lining you’re left with a large void to pack all your stuff. This then leads to an upselling of various items like luggage cubes, additional pouches and bags.

With the M5, there are a huge number of pockets and zips within the main case itself, to store all your belongings neatly! It comes with a wire mesh pouch to store loose items, alongside a small zipped pocked in the lining to hold your laundry bag.

One great feature is the compression strap system. Fitted to the inside of the bag is a large flat pad and two flexible straps, allowing you to pack the first few layers of clothes until that side of the case is almost full — then shrink them down. The system works well, and you will manage to fit a surprising amount in this carry-on size case.

m5 cabin luggage inside compression straps
Horizn Studios M5 compression strap system

With dimensions of 40 cm x 55 cm x 20 cm it meets virtually all airlines carry-on sizes, and with careful packing, you could easily fit up to a weeks worth of clothes and all the tech you require in.

Despite the array of pockets, zips and the hard polycarbonate exterior — the Horizn M5 smart case only weighs 3.6 kg. That’s on par with most hard case equivalents — which is impressive considering that polycarbonate shell suitcases are more durable but usually heavier than cheaper ABS suitcases.

Something you can’t deny the Berlin-born startup is style. This bag is a breath of fresh air in comparison to some stale offerings from more traditional luggage brands.

The aerospace-grade polycarbonate manages to look premium rather than plasticky, and they are ahead of the curve when it comes to switching to premium Vegan leather. The bags themselves are offered in a range of colours — but if you want a more personalised touch they offer the HoriznID service.

horiznID colour selector
HoriznID — Personalisation service

Having selected your case there are options to personalise several aspects, from the name tag to integral features like the aluminium handles. It’s both a nice touch — and you can be reassured with base styling it’s very hard to make this suitcase look bad!

horizn studios nasa limited edition with astronaut Alyssa Carson

If you’re after something unmistakable on the luggage carousel you should check out the NASA special edition — it’s definitely a head turner.

horizn studios nasa limited edition m5 cabin review

M5 Smart luggage review — Summary

While this cabin bag from Horizn Studios doesn’t have every smart feature under the sun, what it does do, it does very well.

It’s the little extras where you notice the step up in quality from many brands. Little things like making the USB charging cables 1 m in length and with a 2 in 1 lightning connector instead of a cheaper alternative. The inbuilt compression system for storing extra luggage, waterproofing the front of the laptop storage pocket. They all add up to making this a well-thought-out and high-quality piece of luggage.

There’s a 100-day money-back guarantee on any purchases, which goes to show the level of trust Horizn Studios have in their smart luggage!

The only thing we really want more of from this bag is smart features. Once sold with GPS tracking as an extra, Horizn Studios now no longer offer that option. That leaves it being slightly limited in terms of smart features — like location tracking or inbuilt scales — without purchasing additional smart accessories. Having said that, it is a great quality bag, and for many people the smart charger and dedicated device storage will be enough.

If you are after high-quality, exceptionally designed smart luggage — with premium touches and bags of space for all your tech — Horizn Studio’s M5 is for you.