Rabbit R1 review: I can’t believe this bunny took my money from Mashable

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In the words of an angry Gordon Ramsay, “It’s raw!” The Rabbit R1 is like a severely undercooked slab of meat, still oozing blood on the plate, and the chef says, “No, I didn’t cook it, but just fantasize about its potential for deliciousness while chewing it; come on, eat it!”

I bit into the Rabbit R1 — and it tastes like rushed innovation, disillusionment, and impetuousness.

The Rabbit R1 needs work.
Credit: Mashable

On one hand, the Rabbit R1, billed as a pocket AI companion, has something here. From its impressive Vision features that rival ChatGPT Vision (i.e., GPT-4V) to the accurate Spanish-to-English translation, the Rabbit R1 gets it right.

However, these praise-worthy features are overshadowed by buggy performance, frustrating Spotify playback, hair-pulling experiences with a mid AI assistant, and other bothersome quirks.

So should indulge in the Rabbit R1? It depends on how you like your tech: rare or well cooked?

Rabbit R1: price and specs

The Rabbit R1 costs $199 and includes the following specs:

MediaTek MT6765 processor

4GB of RAM

128GB of storage

2.88-inch touchscreen

8MP camera

Jesse Lyu, Rabbit’s CEO, boasts that no subscription is required. However, there are a few things you should consider.

The Rabbit R1 can connect to Wi-Fi, but the problem is, it has trouble connecting to public places that require a login page.

The Rabbit R1 has a SIM card tray that supports 4G LTE, so you can snag a data-only plan for an always-connected experience.

You can also connect the Rabbit R1 to your phone’s hotspot.

In other words, technically, there isn’t a subscription, but if you want to use it while you’re on the go, you’ll still have to shackle yourself to a monthly fee.

(It’s worth noting that the Meta RayBan Smart Glasses boasts similar features as the Rabbit R1 — and doesn’t require a fee whatsoever.)

Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

Rabbit R1: What I like about it

The Rabbit R1 has its strengths, which mainly come from Vision (a feature that uses the camera to identify objects).

Recommends recipes based on food it ‘sees’

I have plenty of ingredients stocked in the kitchen, but I often get stumped on what to cook.


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In these moments, I open the UberEats app and drop $30 on a Sweetgreen salad. Ugh!

With the Rabbit R1, however, I can point it to a group of ingredients and it will suggest some awesome recipe ideas that inspire me to get cooking.

Remarkable descriptions about objects, people

When I framed the viewfinder on Mashable’s Senior Social Media Editor Lily Kartiganer, it perfectly described her from head to toe, from her striped vest and professional outfit to her brown hair and youthful appearance.


Credit: Mashable

It even pointed out things in the background, including computers and office chairs.

Be careful with using the Rabbit R1 with others, though. When I pointed the Rabbit R1 at my dad, it started off by saying, “I see an elderly man,” which set my father off. (Don’t tell my dad I said this, but the Rabbit R1 wasn’t wrong.)

It’s good with objects, too, as you can see in the video below.


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Impressive menu translation

The most impressive Rabbit R1 feature, in my opinion, is the fact that it can translate a Spanish menu into English. As someone who travels often, this is a game changer.


Credit: Mashable

I pointed the Rabbit R1 to a Spanish menu, and to my surprise, it translated it in English with ease. My only gripe is that you need to request the R1 to complete this task in a specific way or it will not follow your command (more on that in the “What I don’t like” section).

Summarizes text like ‘CliffNotes’

Sometimes, I get too lazy to read an article in its entirety. This is where the Rabbit R1 swoops in to save the day.


Credit: Mashable

I can point it at a screen with a lengthy, verbose text — and it will give me the gist of the story. I’ve also done the same with emails, Discord conversations, and WhatsApp messages.

Nostalgic design

Millennials like myself get giddy over the Rabbit R1’s design, despite its blindingly orange chassis, because it’s reminiscent of every 90s pocket toy.


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

With a bunny icon constantly bobbing up and down the screen, I can’t help but remember by old Tamagotchi.

Although the Rabbit R1 looks plasticky, it’s a sturdy, solid device. I treated the Rabbit R1 quite carelessly throughout my testing (e.g., haphazardly throwing it into my bag), but I don’t see a single scratch — not even on the display. This hardware is definitely durable. (And as a bonus, the chassis doesn’t attract fingerprints.)

Rabbit R1: What’s ‘eh’ about it

While some Rabbit R1 testers despise the scroll wheel and turn their nose up at needing to shake the device to access the Settings menu, I don’t mind it.

Bizarre functions make it fun — kind of

At first, I didn’t love the scroll wheel either.


Credit: Mashable

It’s the only way to hop from one Settings option to another. Plus, I found that the scroll wheel lacked sensitivity. In other words, you need to deploy a lot of “scroll rolls” to navigate the UI. However, there is something very fidgety about the scroll wheel I enjoy — it brings me back to a time when toys were more tactile.

I even dig that I need to shake the Rabbit R1 to access the Settings menu.

However, it does bother me that, if I’m on the very last Settings menu option (and I want to get back to the top), I need to scroll for dear life. Still, it’s all a part of this device’s charm.

A touchscreen that’s not really touchscreen

Interestingly, the Rabbit R1 is touchscreen, but you can’t actually touch the screen to make selections. Let me explain.


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

You can turn the Rabbit R1 to the right to access the virtual keyboard, allowing you to make demands to the AI without using your voice. However, this is the only time you can utilize the touchscreen. This is by design, though. Lyu wants users to be reliant on the Rabbit R1’s scroll wheel.

Hit-or-miss response times

The Rabbit R1 is typically pretty quick, answering my queries in less than two seconds. However, the response times with the Vision feature can be slower. At times, the Rabbit R1 appears to finish a complete thought, making me to think that it’s done speaking.


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

But after an awkward five-second pause, the Rabbit R1 would continue speaking. In these cases, it’d be helpful if the Rabbit team added a three-dot animation to inform users that the Rabbit R1 is still thinking or putting together a response.

On the plus side, it’s definitely faster than the Humane Ai pin.

It’s also worth noting that AI conversations, save for interactions with the Vision feature, do not get saved anywhere at any time.

OK conversational translation

I tested the Rabbit R1 with Spanish-to-English and French-to-English sessions with colleagues. It was accurate with its translations, but the problem is that you need to constantly use the push-to-talk side button so that the AI can “hear.”


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

Consequently, I found myself sometimes missing the first half of the other person’s speech because I pushed the side button too late. I would have preferred if Rabbit R1 could be vocally invoked in the same way we use Google Assistant and Siri, but Lyu says that the upside of a push-to-talk button is that you don’t have an AI that’s “always listening.”

Doubles as a sound recorder

You can also record audio with the “Start a recording session” command. Once you’re done, it automatically sends your clip to the Rabbit Hole, a companion webpage you can access via any browser.


Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

You can find “notes” in the Rabbit Hole, too — little reminders you’ve told Rabbit R1 to store, allowing you to access them later.

However, I can’t find myself to get excited about these features. They’re not particularly noteworthy.

Rabbit R1: What I dislike about it

One of the biggest selling points of Rabbit R1 is tha, in addition to the LLM that underpins it (with Perplexity at the helm), it features something unique that ChatGPT and its ilk do not have: a large action model (LAM).

What is a LAM, you ask? Without getting too nerdy, it means that the Rabbit R1 is capable of stepping in and doing things for you on your behalf. With this orange device, this manifests in the form of Uber and DoorDash. The Rabbit R1 can supposedly hail a rideshare and order food for you, but in my experience, it falls short.

DoorDash and Uber errors

Rabbit R1 lets you connect your DoorDash and Uber accounts via the Rabbit Hole, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to order food nor hop into an Uber with the AI pocket companion.


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I was greeted with errors, preventing me from fully testing the Rabbit R1’s LAM capabilities.

(Rabbit R1 also lets you connect a paid Midjourney account for generating AI images, but I haven’t tested this out yet.)

Spotify playback is buggy

I linked a paid Spotify account to the Rabbit R1 and its performance has been inconsistent — sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. For example, one day, I can ask it to play Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso” without issue, but other times, I wouldn’t hear any audio at all.


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For some odd reason, although Taylor Swift is arguably one of the most popular artists of our time, it doesn’t obey my command when I say, “Play Taylor Swift’s ‘Fortnight,’” even when I say it in several different ways.

The spreadsheet feature needs work

One of the most impressive features Lyu showcased at the Rabbit R1 launch party is the handwritten-chart-to-digital-spreadsheet perk.

I tested it for myself, writing a chart on a Post-it note before using the Vision feature to get Rabbit R1 to email me a digitalized format of my handwritten table.


Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

However, er, as you can see below, it didn’t do a very good job.


Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

But hey, maybe I’m too blame. My handwriting does look like chickenscratch.

Fails to understand certain prompts

This is where ChatGPT excels over Rabbit R1. With ChatGPT Voice, for example, you can have a natural, free-flowing conversation in which the AI understands what you’re saying, no matter how you’re saying it (for the most part).


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

Rabbit R1, on the other hand, needs you to say things in a certain way before it can execute your task. For example, you cannot say, “Play a game with me” because it will try to play a song, but “Let’s play a game” works.

You cannot say, “Record me as I speak” because it will not understand your request. Instead, you must use the words “Start a recording session.”

As such, it would be nice if the Rabbit R1 shipped with a list of specific prompts that launch certain tasks. Otherwise, you’ll be doing a lot of guessing and checking before finding the correct prompt.

Alarm doesn’t work

Lyu boasted that the Rabbit R1 can set an alarm, but the truth is, it can’t.


Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

In response to, “Set an alarm at 5:00 p.m.,” it said, “I cannot set alarms.” Chances are high, though, that this will be addressed in a future update. But the question is, why wasn’t this working when it hit the market?

No timer

It’d be useful for the Rabbit R1 to set timers, but that doesn’t seem to be available on the device either. (This is another feature that will be reportedly rectified in a future update.)

It can’t call nor text on your behalf

Keep in mind that the Rabbit R1 does not connect to your phone.

Consequently, it’s not designed to text nor call for you … yet. A Rabbit rep told me that while this feature is unavailable now, this is something they are working on (and there’s no timeline on when this feature may arrive).

Not attachable

The Rabbit R1 is designed to live in your pocket, but what if your outfit doesn’t have one? I wish the Rabbit R1 had some sort of design feature, like a clip or a lanyard loop, that allowed you to hook it to your bag.

Jesse Lyu shows off merch concepts at Rabbit R1 pick-up party.
Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

However, there are third-party cases out there that can help solve this minor issue. Plus, Lyu claimed that merch tailor-made for the Rabbit R1 is on the way.

Rabbit R1: Performance

Performance-wise, the fastest aspects of the Rabbit R1 include the translation feature, search queries, the handwritten-table-to-spreadsheet feature (it emailed me a chart in seconds), and most conversational interactions with the AI.

However, the Vision feature is slower than the other features, but not by much. Spotify, on the other hand, is nearly unusable at times. The DoorDash and Uber UI takes too long to appear (about 40 seconds, give or take).

Rabbit R1: Battery life

After the Rabbit team rolled out an update on Tuesday, April 30, I’ve seen significant improvement to the Rabbit R1’s battery life, particularly while its idle. Previously, the Rabbit R1’s battery life would drain pretty quickly, even with an inactive screen.

Now, the Rabbit R1 delivers about one day and several hours with heavy use, including lots of Spotify and Vision utilization. With light use (e.g., a couple of search queries and AI conversations), you could get away with two days.

Is the Rabbit R1 worth it?

Unless you’re a tech fanboy who doesn’t mind half-baked products with “potential,” no, the Rabbit R1 isn’t worth it.

There’s an old adage that implores us to not date based on potential. Instead, you look at your partner’s characteristics as they are now and then make a decision whether they’re the best person for you.

In the same way, I can only judge Rabbit R1 based on what it’s offering to me now: dysfunctional apps, poor Spotify experience, and decent Vision features.

Even based on its top-notch Vision features, I hesitate to recommend the Rabbit R1 because we have the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses that can match its Vision capabilities — and capture photo/video and play Spotify without driving me up a wall.

Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

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