Horizon (iOS|Android) is a photography app that makes you question why its functionality doesn't come built into your smartphone's operating system out of the box. It can replace the standard video-recording feature on your Android or iOS device, but with an additional twist.
That twist is that it prevents you from ever recording video in portrait orientation, no matter how you hold your device. If you're not aware -- and really, you should be -- why vertical videos are not ideal, here are a few reasons. As humans, we are built to view the world in wide screen, hence our eyes are side-by-side rather than on top of each other. And if that's not enough, the big black bars that take up both sides of the screen when viewing a vertical video are distracting, annoying and ruin the view.
Horizon's solution is to take advantage of the gyroscope on your smartphone to rotate and crop video as your record it. The end result is a horizontal video that looks great, no matter how you hold your phone.
For the purpose of this review, I focused on the free Android version of the app. There is an iOS version, available for $1.99, £1.49 and AU$2.49, offering features such as selections for 120 and 60fps, 2K high resolution and a handful of filters not currently available to Android users.
There isn't a whole lot to Horizon on either smartphone, making initial setup a breeze. You're guided through a quick tutorial outlining how the app works, and the difference in modes. Don't worry if you swipe through the brief tutorial screenshots and miss something; you can always relaunch it from the app's settings.
With the free Android version, you can record clips of only 15 seconds in length while the iOS version is unlimited. The shortened Android clips also have a watermark in the lower corner, and each one ends with a brief splash screen advertising the app. The cost to unlock all features on Android currently sits at $1, so it's cheaper for Android users to unlock everything.
If you've recorded video on your smartphone in the past, you'll feel right at home when using Horizon. The biggest adjustment you'll need to make involves framing the video itself. When you hold your phone in vertical orientation, a small box will be placed in the middle of the screen. This box is your viewfinder. Meaning anything within this small box is what the app will record. The outlying areas of the screen still offer some transparency, but that's only to aid in helping you frame your video.