Travelling only with cabin bags has a number of practical advantages, especially on short trips. It can nevertheless be very inconvenient to open your entire suitcase at security to unpack your liquids and electronics.
Horizn Studios strives to solve the problem with their cabin proof trolley Model M5: The hard surface has an outer pocket, in which you can stow your laptop, tablet, liquids, and everything which you may regularly need. Additionally, the trolley also has a removable power bank, which will keep your smartphone loaded throughout your trip.
To clarify any ambiguity: We bought the trolley ourselves, as to be able to provide a neutral and independent review. We did not receive money nor any complimentary products from Horizn Studios for this review. If you buy the trolley through one of our links, we’ll receive a commission from Horizn Studios, and that’s all.
Table of contents
Order & Delivery
I ordered my Horizn Studios M5 Trolley in June 2019 as part of a sale, where less popular colours were being sold with a hefty discount. That way, instead of paying the standard price of €350, I only paid €155. The downside was receiving the trolley in Quartz Grey, a colour that is no longer being sold. Except for the colour, the trolley is identical to all other versions of the M5. However, there’s a new Essential version, which Horizn is now selling without the power bank.
The delivery was carried out by DPD. I ordered on a Monday and the package arrived on Friday.
The trolley was delivered in a package that had almost the exact dimensions of the trolley. The trolley was wrapped in a protective bag, as well as a plastic cover.
I had imagined the Quartz Grey to be somewhat darker. In reality, it appears far lighter than on the product’s pictures.
Other than that, the trolley made a good first impression. There aren’t that many details, it has light and silent wheels, there are no difficulties when opening the lock nor is there an unpleasant plastic smell. My Xiaomi hand luggage trolley had such a bad plastic smell, and I found that very annoying.
Besides the trolley, the delivery also contains a protective sack for storage, a liquid pouch with the Horizn Studios logo, the 10,000 mAh power bank with a USB-C and lightning charger, a set of instructions in German and English, luggage tags in the trolley’s colour, and a card with the warranty code.
Dimensions, Weight & Volume
For a trolley, the dimensions and weight is a quite decisive factor. All airlines have their own rules that have to be followed (even if they’re often not actively enforced).
Here’s the data for Horizn Studios’ Model M5:
- Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 20 cm
- Weight: 3.7 kg without the power bank, roughly 4 kg with the power bank
Horizn Studios claims the weight to be 3.6 kg (empty weight)
- Volume: 33 l
With these dimensions, you can use this trolley on many airlines’ flights:
- Lufthansa Group: 55 x 40 x 23 cm
- Eurowings: 55 x 40 x 23 cm
- SAS: 55 x 40 x 23 cm
- Iberia: 56 x 45 x 25 cm
- Southwest: 61 x 41 x 28 cm
- Easyjet: 56 x 45 x 25 cm
- Ryanair: 55 x 40 x 20 cm (with priority boarding)
- Norwegian: 55 x 40 x 20 cm
- Vueling: 55 x 40 x 20 cm
- Air Asia: 56 x 36 x 23 cm
- United: 56 x 35 x 22 cm
- American Airlines: 56 x 36 x 23 cm
- KLM: 55 x 35 x 25 cm
- Qatar Airways: 55 x 37 x 25 cm
It’s great that there are no problems with hand luggage dimensions on flights by Eurowings, Ryanair, Norwegian, and Vueling. In theory, the trolley is too large for some airlines. However, those are the airlines that tend to be more generous and usually don’t measure the trolley’s exact size.
With a weight of 3.7 kg (or 4 kg with the power bank), the trolley is definitely not a lightweight – especially because many airlines like Eurowings allow a maximum of 8 kg. That means that you either have to pack light, or hope that the trolley won’t be weighed at the airport.
This problem can often be solved by packing cameras and laptops/tablets in an extra bag, which many airlines count as a personal item. The remaining kilos will usually suffice for a weekend or short business trip.
The outer pocket sadly adds quite a lot of additional weight to the trolley. Compared to the Model H5 that is almost identical but without the outer pocket, there’s a difference of roughly half a kilo.
Horizn Studios claims the empty weight to be of 3.6 kg. I measured 3.7 kg on my balance. Horizn Studios probably weighed the trolley without the separator, inside the trolley, but this separator is screwed on and can’t be easily removed. The power bank adds another 250 g to the weight.
With a volume of 33 l, the Horizn trolley offers an average volume for carry-on trolleys. For these dimensions, it’s what you’d usually get.
The outer pocket also removes a couple of litres from the total volume. Compared to the Model H5, the company claims a difference of 2 litres. The inside of the trolley should, however, be missing more than 2 litres, as the outer pocket adds some volume on the outside.
The outer pocket is definitely the highlight. Unlike soft luggage, hard luggage usually doesn’t have outer pockets, which is often a downside for hard luggage. Quickly taking out the laptop or liquids at the security checkpoint then means having to lie down the trolley and opening it up completely.
Horizn Studios solves that problem with an outer pocket, which can quickly be opened with a zipper. To be precise, there are actually even 2 pockets. A big one, for laptops, tablets, and other essential travel gadgets, and a small one on top of the big one, where you could store liquids or A4-format magazines.
If you open the zipper, the pocket pops out, with two straps hindering it from opening up completely. Besides two inner pockets, one for a laptop and the other for a tablet, you’ll also find further small pockets for cables and other small items.
Not only does my 13″ MacBook fit, but even my old 15″ MacBook fits without any problems into the dedicated pocket. The tablet-pocket can easily store an 11″ iPad. The Horizn Studios trolley, however, doesn’t have a safety mechanism, preventing objects to fall out of the inner pockets.
The outer pocket is on the front side of the trolley, made out of leather and a strong fabric. Currently, only All Black trolleys are made of real leather. Horizn Studios has now started to use artificial leather, made of polyurethane (PU), and nylon for their other versions. That makes those trolleys 100% vegan. I couldn’t efficiently test, how water-resistant the trolley is.
Sadly, the outer pocket can barely expand into the trolley and is not very flexible. That makes it difficult to store your laptop + tablet alongside your liquids. There’s really not enough room for all those things, except maybe if you really force it. However, forcing it deforms the outer pocket, and the liquids will definitely fall out every time you open the pocket.
It works better in the compartment on the outside of the outer pocket, but even there it’s quite difficult to store the liquids, and it also deforms the lid, even if less than in the main outer pocket. It really isn’t very comfortable, but still better than having to put the liquids in the main interior of the trolley.
Inside the Trolley
The inside of the trolley contains a transparent net on the side with the outer pocket and a Compression Pad as separator on the other side. This packing aid can be adjusted with two belts. That way, your possessions are protected from falling out and you can pack more as it compresses your packed items. The pad additionally has a net with zippers on both sides, where you can store small items.
A packing aid is generally good to have. I was already familiar with this from my Rimowa carry-on trolley (sadly without outer pocket) and the Xiaomi trolley. Nevertheless, I found the straps in the Rimowa and Xiaomi trolleys more useful than the belts that Horizn Studios uses. In the end, though, both are fine.
Locks & Safety
Your content is secured by a TSA combination lock. This, however, only applies to the content stored on the trolley’s inside. The outer pocket is not secured at all, even though that’s the place that you usually store your most valuable items, such as your laptop. Should you check in your trolley, it is anyways recommended not to leave those items inside.
Thanks to the TSA lock, you don’t have to worry about the trolley being broken up by customs. The American Transportation Security Administration, short TSA, (and also further countries worldwide) have their own key, with which they can open the trolley.
The 10,000 mAh power bank is stored between the handle’s retractable bars. You can simply push it in, and a hook keeps it in position. A spring helps to easily remove it. If you move the lock to the side, the power bank lightly jumps out for you to remove it.
The power bank has a USB-C port, as well as a classic USB-A port. The USB-C port, however, apparently is more powerful, even if both ports show a 5V/3A (15W) output. That’s a good value for a power bank to charge a smartphone. The power bank itself can be charged through a Micro-USB port, or simply through the USB-C port.
The cable is covered in nylon and can be plugged into the USB-A port. It is compatible with USB-C devices or, through an adapter, with lightning-devices (e.g. iPhone). There’s no USB-C (instead of USB-A) to USB-C/lightning cable, probably so that the power bank can be charged with a USB-A charger.
The cable is high-end and the adapter for USB-C/lightning perfectly fits into my devices. There’s however no cable for people who own a smartphone/tablet with a Micro-USB port. Those will have to use their own cable.
Generally, I really like the power bank. It offers a lot of power for my trips, can be stowed without occupying much space, and offers a long cable.
If you lose the power bank, or it stops working after some years, there are replacements. Nevertheless, the power bank doesn’t seem to be available right now and otherwise costs €70.
In Every-day Life
Regardless if you’re traveling by plane, train, or bus, the trolley with its outer pocket is really useful. Even the power bank, that I didn’t really think I needed, has quickly proven to be useful. A portable power bank from Amazon for €10-30, however, would also be enough.
It’s a shame that the outer pocket quickly gets deformed and that a bag with liquids can only be stowed with difficulties. Not only does it not look good, but it’s a real torture to store the bag each time.
The wheels are quiet and roll easily. For now, there haven’t been any problems, even though I’m not exactly careful when using my luggage. I’ll probably see some traces of that in a couple of years.
Warranty & Service
Horizn Studios is quite generous with its warranty. The trolley’s case, wheels, handles, and zippers have a 5-year warranty, and there’s even a 2-year warranty for the power bank. As Horizn Studios is a German company, enforcing the warranty should be easier than with, e.g. a Xiaomi trolley.
- Dimensions & Weight
- On the Inside
- Extras (Outer Pocket, Power Bank)
- Value for Money
The Model M5 actually convinced me more than I had expected. The integrated but removable power bank is useful and the outer pocket is a must-have on trips where you only have your hand luggage. With a price of €350 it is not exactly a bargain, but in comparison, other high quality hand luggage pieces, e.g. the Rimowa Essential Sleeve, cost much more.
The standard price for the trolley lies at €350 for the smart version, and at €250 for the essential version without the power bank. There are up to 8 colours to choose from, and for a surcharge of €10 each, you can also customize the colours of the hard cover, handle, wheels, and baggage tags.
Horizn Studios sells the trolley in its online shop. You can return the trolley within the first 100 days and get a full refund.
Horizn Studios regularly has sales, where the trolleys are sold with a discount of up to 50%. Nevertheless, you can usually only select less popular colours, like my grey trolley. Classic colours, such as All Black usually rather have a 20% discount. Additionally, there are regularly Horizn coupons.
Differences to the Xiaomi Carry-on Trolley
Before the Horizn Studios trolley, I already tested the Xiaomi carry-on trolley with an outer pocket. Here’s a direct comparison of both trolleys:
|Dimensions||Smaller, so it fits better for most airlines.||Bigger: more space, but less airlines that accept its size.|
|Weight||3.7 kg (without power bank)||3.6 kg|
|Safety||Only a TSA lock for the main compartment.||TSA double lock for main compartment and outer pocket.|
|Outer outer Pocket||More flexible, is easily deformed, easier to open, further pocket on the outside||Very stiff, therefore doesn’t get deformed. Sometimes hard to reach the stored items.|
|Inner outer pocket||Many inner pockets, also with additional zippers, no lock for laptop and tablet||Many inner pockets, lock for laptop and tablet|
|Inside||Net and compression pad with additional pocket||Net and elastic belts, more volume|
|Wheels||Roll easily and quietly||Roll easily and even more quietly|
|Retractable handle||Double, a bit wobblier||Double, a bit more stable|
|Warranty||5 years||Practically none|
|Price||€250 without power bank, roughly €200 in a sale||Roughly €150€ at Gearbest|