Louis Vuitton was the latest luxury lifestyle brand to jump into the fashion x tech fray with their Horizons earbuds, developed in collaboration with high-end audio experts Master & Dynamic in 2019. Better than Apple’s AirPods? 3 new gadgets for awesome audio Now the French fashion house has released a new neon green version of their 2020 Horizon 2.0 wireless earbuds. It puts them in a completely different league than Apple’s AirPods Pro and costs a cool US$1,180 (HK$9,200) a pair. You know tech accessories are becoming essentials when luxury lifestyle brands start doing collaborations involving them. In the early days, before the mobile phone market was dominated by Apple and Samsung, we saw Dolce & Gabbana work with Motorola, and Prada with LG. These days, collaborative efforts seem to increasingly focus on headphones with brands such as Fendi, Alexander Wang and Dolce & Gabbana featuring them in runway shows. Most of these collaborations are with Beats by Dr Dre and involve mostly a logo or branding element on an existing product. Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana kick off Milan Fashion Week LV has taken it up a notch with their Horizons earbuds. Even if the hardware is essentially the same as the US$299 MW07 Plus by Master & Dynamic, it’s the strongest branding proposition we have seen in a long while. Packaging Forking out the extra US$880 brings you the full Louis Vuitton experience. The wireless earbuds come in a rectangular orange LV box. Unboxing is a delight: inside are two branded cotton drawstring bags, one for the ear tip options and LV-branded cleaning cloth, and the other for the charging cable. Did LVMH stall the Tiffany & Co. buyout just to save US$425 million? The earbuds are set inside a solid metallic charging case which, in turn, is stored in a chic round blue leather case that would not be out of place as a leather accessory on its own in one of the brand’s boutiques. The whole package elevates the experience beyond just buying another pair of headphones or earbuds with a luxury logo slapped on it. Handbags in Paris: get that look with 5 handbags Lily Collins would love Form and factor LV has certainly elevated the charging case for the earbuds too. While the original MW07 Plus came in a rectangular stainless steel or cloth-covered steel case, the Horizon 2.0 comes in a sleek round black steel case with a ceramic base that allows for integrated wireless charging. The case cover is made of rock-hard sapphire with a circular “bezel” of LV motifs in neon green; the whole case is quite a bit heavier than most others on the market and has a remarkably similar aesthetic to that of the brand’s Tambour Horizon Connected Watch. Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s favourite watches – revealed The first incarnation of the Horizon 2.0 featured earbuds in white, black, pink, red or yellow with a smooth metallic finish and the prominent LV logo in the middle. This latest set offers a centred green neon LV clover motif which pops up vividly against the embossed black finish. The earpiece is a little large by usual standards, but there are three fit wings and five ear-tip sizes to choose from. After finding the right fit, the earbuds settle very snugly in the ear and hold quite securely. One strange thing is that the placements for the right and left earbuds were somehow transposed, so when you open the case facing you, the earbud on your right actually fits your left ear and vice versa. 5 blinged-out trainers to buy now – just like Kylie Jenner’s The earbuds are certified IP5, which means they aren’t waterproof but can resist a “sustained, low-pressure water jet spray” that should be more than enough for the gym and regular outdoor exercising. Connectivity and controls While most new wireless earbuds now feature touch controls for volume, Siri/Google Assistant and active noise cancelling (ANC), LV has opted to stick to Master & Dynamic’s original push button controls. This works for me, personally, as sometimes overly-sensitive touch controls have resulted in frantic tapping to get the right function to work. One of the drawbacks of the large size of these buds is that they sit very snugly in the ear, making it difficult to access the control buttons sometimes. On the upside, you can use either the left or right earbud independently for phone calls or playback, instead of relying only on the right as with many other brands. Melania vs Jill: who was best dressed at the final US presidential debate? The Horizon 2.0 uses Bluetooth 5, which allows for a longer range (up to 33 metres) for connectivity. Indoor connection is consistent and smooth, with no lapses or drops. However, in crowded areas with everyone on their mobiles – such as the Times Square podium at 6pm – the connection annoyingly dropped almost every other second. Audio quality and battery life The Horizon 2.0 have custom 10mm Beryllium drivers and four embedded microphones allowing for crisp and clear audio for both playback and phone calls. The high notes and bass were fantastic but the custom drivers also allowed for richer, warmer mid-tones, which blows the AirPods Pro out of the water. The ANC successfully cuts off all ambient sound and I am left oblivious to the world during my train or tram rides. Wuhan gets new Louis Vuitton global travelling show first Battery life is up to 10 hours on a single charge, but the quick charge case provides another 30 hours of battery life. Worth the extra US$880 or should I just get the MW07 Plus or AirPods Pro? You might think this question should be the crux of the matter, but it isn’t. If you’re even remotely considering the Louis Vuitton Horizon Earphones 2.0, price is certainly not an issue. Yes, you could be paying US$880 less for a pair of MW07 Plus but what would be the fun in that? Is Louis Vuitton exploiting Covid-19 with US$1,000 ‘luxury’ face shield? The whole Horizon package – from the chic leather case down to the customised charging cable – raises the bar from simple workaday headphones to a genuine luxury item. If you’re not fazed by the price or the shaky outdoors connectivity, you will certainly be the coolest kid on the block with these in your ears. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .