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Rabbit R1: I spent 17 hours with it — and something's iffy about it

Rabbit R1: I spent 17 hours with it — and something's iffy about it

“Hmm, it's a lot wider than I expected,” I said as I held the Rabbit R1 for the first time. Lying flat on my hand, the vivid, electric orange chassis exceeded the circumference of my palm.


Credit: Kimberly Gideon / Mashable

No, it's not the most comfortable gadget to hold with its unforgiving flat edges, but it's not unwieldy either. Buttons, including the scrolling wheel and push-to-talk button, are strategically placed, allowing my fingers to easily navigate the Rabbit R1.

When people rave about the Rabbit R1, calling it a “cool gadget,” I didn't get it—until I saw it with my own eyes. “That bright orange chassis is an eyesore,” I thought. “What's the big deal?” But now I understand. This is nostalgic.

With a cute black and white rabbit icon at the top and bottom of the screen surrounded by a “loud” color, the device reminded me of my childhood obsession with 90s pocket toys like Tamagotchi or Digimon (handheld virtual pets). reminded of

Shout out to Teenage Engineering for designing this AI device. The Rabbit R1 makes me feel like a kid again.

Woman holding rabbit R1.


Credit: Kimberly Gideon / Mashable

While the Rabbit R1 brings back memories of the past, I can't help but feel a little angry about the gadget. Why? I'll get into that, but first, my first impressions.

Hints are addictive.

There's something very fidget spinner toy about the Rabbit R1 in that all the functions work differently, whether it's the scrolling wheel or the clicky side buttons.

The scrolling wheel, to my surprise, is very smooth. In other words, it doesn't have that “staccato” feel, if that makes sense, in which the wheel fits and starts (à la Apple's Digital Crown), allows you to stop at choices.

Woman holding rabbit R1


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

Instead, you have to keep turning the wheel downwards until your keyword is highlighted in orange. Honestly, I don't love The scrolling wheel takes too many “rolls” to get to the word I want to select.

On the plus side, you can shake the device to launch the settings menu. I'm telling you – it's like a Bop It toy.

It has a 2.88-inch screen, but no, it can't browse the web

The Rabbit R1 has a touch screen that you can enable to display a virtual keyboard, allowing you to prompt like this.

However, as for using your fingers to navigate RabbitOS, that's not happening. You have to use the scroll wheel and select using the side button.

The woman is holding the rabbit R1 with both hands.


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

You might be thinking, “Can I browse the web with this thing?” The answer is no. If you've ever dreamed of using it as some sort of money-reading device, I have no choice but to give it a dash. Also, you wouldn't want to – the screen is too dim for that.

No, it doesn't text or call.

The Rabbit R1 can do a lot of things, but texting and calling isn't one of them. It was admittedly a bit disappointing. Before holding this device, I envisioned texting friends without lifting a finger.

Rabbit R1 on neon light platform


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

However, I quickly realized that the Rabbit R1 could not connect to my phone. Bo!

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Faster responses than expected

From asking about the local weather (it's 59 degrees in my city today, anyway) to questions about the Premier League, the Rabbit R1 took about two seconds to respond.

Rabbit R1


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

However, when it comes to using the camera and basing its responses on what it “sees”, it takes a bit longer. When I asked him a question about a painting, he took 2-3 seconds to say “take a look now” before answering in a second with a description.

But some answers were wrong.

Once, I asked Rabbit R1, “Which Premier League team won the most titles?” He answered correctly with “Manchester United”. However, it went on to say that the team won 13 titles, which I don't think is accurate.

It can “see” and describe things.

The Rabbit R1 has great functionality thanks to an auto-rotating camera that you can use by double-tapping the right action button, which lets you point at anything — after which it will Will tell about it. It's very Google Lens. Hell, even mine iPhone can also perform this functionality.

In the video below, you can watch him successfully describe the masterpiece in my living room.

However, I tried to see if it could, for example, translate a foreign language into English. I thought this look and describe feature would be helpful when traveling across countries to reduce language barriers (especially when ordering at a restaurant with a menu in another language). Sadly, I realized it lacked this ability.

So far, the best use case I've found for it is to use it to tell me what dishes I can make when I'm stumped.

The speakers are a bit muted.

Based on his responses, I found the speakers to be very quiet – even at maximum volume.

Rabbit R1 on kickstand


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

Keep in mind that it can play music and podcasts from a paid Spotify account, but I haven't tested that yet.

Yes, you can connect Bluetooth headphones.

Fortunately, a solution for silent speakers is combining it with my trusty one. Sony XM4 Headphones. I just shook the Rabbit R1 to get to the settings menu, turned on Bluetooth, and connected my headphones with ease.

It connects via 4G LTE and Wi-Fi.

As it turns out, the Rabbit R1 has a SIM card slot, which allows you to stay connected all the time (ie 4G LTE). If you don't care about getting a SIM card for this AI assistant, you can also rely on Wi-Fi.

Battery life is fine.

Strangely, when I unboxed my Rabbit R1, it didn't charge. Thus, I couldn't even use it on. Rabbit R1 Launch Partywhere I got it.

Rabbit R1 USB-C port


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

When I got home I charged it to about 50% (no, the Rabbit R1 doesn't come with a charging cable). Seventeen hours later, the battery life is about 15%.

Don't worry, though. In my full review, I'll give you a better idea of ​​battery life on a full charge.

But there's something off about the Rabbit R1.

As the old saying goes, “If something is too good to be true, it probably is.” Rabbit R1 CEO Jesse Lyu continues to boast that the Rabbit R1 is only $199 and subscription free. However, there's no way in hell it can stay subscription-free for long.

Once the hype dies down and nerds like me clear the shelves, what's next? In short, how does Rabbit R1 plan to make money?

Must have. Some Down the pipeline the rabbit wants to squeeze money out of its user base, no?

Also, I'm still not entirely clear on whether the Rabbit R1 eliminates all privacy concerns for users.

Final thoughts

Someone on Twitter saw a video of me asking the rabbit R1 what he was looking at. Explaining his answer, he said something to the effect of, “Google Lens can do that. What's the point of getting it?”

Rabbit's mission here is to build this all-in-one AI device. Yes, it can do what Google Lens can do, but it can also do what Spotify, ChatGPT, DoorDash, and Uber can do. one Device – and nothing but your voice.

There's still a lot to test, including ordering DoorDash to my door, but I'll be back with a full review.

Update: April 24, 2024, 6:06 pm EDT This hands-on review was updated to reflect that the Rabbit R1 is indeed a touchscreen, but only when the virtual keyboard is enabled. Otherwise, you can't use your fingers to make another selection.

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