10 Things We Hate About the Rabbit R1

10 Things We Hate About the Rabbit R1

I’ve spent a day with the Rabbit R1, and to say that I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. In fact, I was surprised at how little it offers at the moment, and even from what it offers, what a poor job it does at that. According to the CEO Jesse Lyu, the R1 is “the worst this technology will ever be,” which is kind of the nature of technology but not a great selling point—especially when you’re charging 200 bucks for it. If I were to streamline my thoughts on this device, these are the 10 things that left me considerably unimpressed.

1. It’s half-baked at best

This has been the most common complaint about the R1 so far: it is an unfinished, half-baked device. You get a bunch of painfully basic, AI chatbot-like features, and all the exciting stuff is promised for later this year. This includes teaching the R1 actions that it will be able to generalize for various applications and a teach mode that will allow users to create personalized agents to handle specific tasks.

The company has been transparent about this and the CEO admits that the device “is in a very early stage”. Considering we’re required to pay full price for an incomplete product, this is less than ideal.

At the moment, the R1 isn’t even close to providing value that’s worth the price. Paying this amount for a gadget that is only able to tell you about the weather and play a song is ridiculous. It’s apparent that we’re simply the Rabbit’s guinea pigs here beta testing their debut product for them.

2. A very strange app menu

There are four apps you can use on the R1 out of the box: Spotify, Uber, DoorDash, and Midjourney. The app selection didn’t excite me because I use Lyft and Uber Eats for my rides and food deliveries. My coworker, Kyle, uses Seamless to order food and he wasn’t too happy about the app menu, either. I also find the inclusion of Midjourney pointless and a very random attempt at making the device as AI-heavy as possible.

3. Too many mess-ups

I may have forgiven the R1 for its limited app menu (considering more options are allegedly on the way) if the apps at least worked. Uber got both my pickup and drop-off location completely wrong the first time but worked on the second attempt. For something like calling a ride, I wouldn’t want to trust a product with a 50% success rate. And if I have to double-check the R1 to see if it got everything right, I might as well use my phone for the job.

This gadget’s overarching aim is to “save you time” and minimize the taps on your phone by “eliminating the need to navigate multiple apps.” But with the current number of glitches and the things it hallucinates out of nowhere, it’s actually wasting my time.

Spotify was a complete mess. It would sometimes acknowledge my command to play a specific song but still not play anything, and would also often completely ignore my repeated requests to pause playback. It constantly got song and artists’ names wrong and played Josh Levine when I asked for Avril Lavigne.

The biggest disappointment was that it completely failed to recognize my personal Spotify account even though I was logged in via the Rabbithole. I asked it to play a song from my playlist titled ‘paki’ and it started playing a random Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan song with the word ‘Pakistan’ in it.

4. Woefully average Vision feature

The Rabbit Eye-enabled Vision feature is pretty bare-bones as is. You point the camera at something and the R1 can tell you what it is. It’s a feature we’ve had for years on Google Lens. Except, it was average at best at that, too. It got some queries completely wrong and other answers were very vague.

Screenshot: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

It confidently labeled my colleague’s black shirt ‘red’. The response to another question wasn’t incorrect but vague to the point of being useless; he was expecting an exact name for a brand of shoe.

5. Mediocre translation feature

English to Urdu translation.
Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

The R1 allows bidirectional translation between an impressive number of languages but I wouldn’t trust its translation capabilities in a situation when I’d actually need them. They’re unreliable and often inaccurate. It did a passable job with Urdu and Arabic but stuttered a lot with Hindi. Again, Google Translate exists and is free, so the middling translation abilities of the R1 didn’t impress me.

6. Poor location services

I should have guessed this device has no idea where I am when I asked for a weather update and it gave me the weather report for Anaheim, California (I’m in Manhattan). It did eventually get it right but I could have spent half that time checking the weather app on my phone.

Though the R1 boasts GPS services, it got my zip code completely wrong upon asking. I corrected it and it apologized for the error, but still recommended a Starbucks in Indiana when I asked for the closest one.

7. Connection drops with RabbitOS

I was often asked to wait after making a request because of an unexplained connection drop with RabbitOS. The R1 would take a while, tell me it’s working on reestablishing the connection, and then get back to my request. This could be fixed with the next software update, but it’s pretty bothersome.

8. Incredibly short battery life

The 1,000 mAh battery on this device lasts around five to six hours and takes an hour to recharge. Even with the recent software update that slightly improved idle battery performance, I don’t see this gadget as something that could be my all-day pocket companion. It went down by 6% when it was just on standby for two and a half hours.

9. Your sim service is the subscription fee

The folks at Rabbit made sure to reiterate multiple times that, unlike the AI Pin, there’s no monthly subscription fee on the R1. But you still need cellular service (along with Wi-Fi) to operate it. So you’re still technically paying a monthly fee to be able to use this device. The monthly expense on the AI Pin is $US24, and getting another phone line for the R1 is going to cost you roughly the same.

10. Not as context-intelligent as advertised

The demo video showed Rabbit’s CEO asking the R1 to play a song, and then asking it to play “another song from the same album.” The device’s memory and the ability to understand context were the main capabilities being marketed here. I tried the exact same prompts countless times. It couldn’t get it right even on one attempt. Half of the time, it played a completely random song, and on other occasions, it asked me what album I was talking about.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.