24 hours with Rabbit R1, and I'm not completely sold... yet

Rabbit R1 propped up in case
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

The Rabbit R1 is the latest AI-infused hardware to hit the market, and after managing to get my pre-order in for "Wave 1," it finally landed on my doorstep. This has been my first experience with such a device — as I decided against the Humane AI Pin and have yet to grab the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses — and I have a few thoughts on my first day with it.

That's not to say that I haven't dabbled with AI as I continue to tinker with a combination of ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and Perplexity. But the Rabbit R1 intrigued me for a few reasons, namely the much lower price compared to the AI Pin, along with the idea of having a smart device without relying on apps.

The Rabbit R1 is incredibly sleek

Close-up on the Rabbit R1 logo

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

By now, you've probably seen at least an unboxing or two, but I have to point out how sleek and elegant it really is. It's about as minimal as it gets. Seriously, all you'll find inside the cardboard box is the R1 being held in place by a transparent carrying case. Rabbit doesn't even include a charging cable, although that probably won't be much of an issue for many.

Okay, with the R1 out of the box, I have to admit that despite the plastic build, it's an extremely elegant design. Outside of foldable phones, the only other device to invoke a sense of appreciation was the Nothing Phone 2, which Teenage Engineering also had a hand in designing.

Rabbit R1 next to Nothing Phone 2

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

On the outside of the clear case is a QR code that you'll need to scan to get the R1 set up. Unlike some other R1 owners I know, I didn't have any issues creating a Rabbit account and attaching it to my R1. After connecting it to my home Wi-Fi network, there was a day-one update, and it immediately started to download.

In the meantime, I perused the "rabbithole," a web portal for connecting the likes of Spotify, Uber, DoorDash, and Midjourney to the R1. It's also home for your "journal," where your various interactions will appear. This is actually a pretty cool concept, although I do wish there was an accompanying app.

Putting the R1 to the test

Rabbit R1 next to Miyoo Mini Plus and Game Boy Advance SP

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Enough of all of the mundane stuff. Now for the "fun" stuff. Although I watched the initial announcement keynote, I haven't paid much attention to the R1 otherwise. I didn't even watch the Live Unboxing from a special event in NYC, meaning I've gone into this thing somewhat blind.

After the update was finished, the first thing I did was ask the R1 a few basic questions.

  • Who won the Orioles game yesterday?
  • When is the next Capitals game?
  • What's the weather going to be tomorrow?

A few moments later, the R1 responded, answering the first two questions correctly, complete with the score of the Orioles game and the time of the Capitals game. When asked about the weather, I was surprised to see the screen light up with an hourly forecast. I expected a three or five-day overview, but I was okay with the hourly breakdown as it was another excuse to make use of the scroll wheel.

Rabbit R1 weather forecast

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Those are menial questions that I could've asked Siri or Gemini about, so we can say that the R1 succeeds in the mundane. But this thing has a camera and its "Vision" mode can essentially act as a standalone Google Lens device.

I double-clicked the side button, pointed it at the back my iPhone 15 Pro Max, and asked "What model iPhone is this?" I chuckled to myself as the R1 told me that it's "an iPhone 13 Pro based on the camera layout and design of the device shown in the image."

The R1 mistaking the iPhone 15 Pro Max for an iPhone 13 Pro is genuinely hilarious.

From there, I wanted to see if I could actually use the Midjourney integration. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to get the R1 to actually take advantage of this feature. Instead, I've been met with messages such as "Apologies, there was an error generating an image. It may be due to maintenance or login issues." I've seen that others have been able to use Midjourney on the R1, so I'm not really sure what's going on here.

Vision mode on the Rabbit R1

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

On the bright side, I have been able to take advantage of another integration, using the Rabbit R1 as a Spotify controller. First, I just asked it to play some John Mayer, and within a few moments, it started playing "Gravity" from Mayer's "Continuum" album.

It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, but the speakers aren't exactly going to fill the room. However, since the R1 includes Bluetooth, I decided to pair a set of wireless earbuds with it so I could walk around listening to music. It works pretty well, as long as you don't want to adjust the volume or skip tracks from the R1.

Settings menu on the Rabbit R1

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

That's because you can only change the volume on the R1 itself from the Settings menu. I assumed that just using the scroll wheel would work, but I found that nothing happened. I couldn't even adjust the volume from my earbuds while the music was playing. Hopefully, this is just an oversight and something that Rabbit solves.

In terms of just pairing your earbuds to the R1, the process is pretty easy. Shake the R1 a couple of times in your hand to open the Settings panel, scroll down and open the Bluetooth menu, enable Bluetooth, and then select your earbuds from the list. 

Takeaways from the first day

Rabbit R1 Midjourney fail

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Part of me keeps asking myself why I bothered to spend money on such a device when the smartphone in my pocket can already do everything this does and more. Part of it has to do with the idea of the Rabbit R1 being part of a new product category. While being on the "ground floor" has its benefits, it's clear that the R1 isn't quite as polished as it was initially shown to be.

For instance, I asked the R1 to set a timer for me to get my son's bottle off of the warmer. The R1 told me it couldn't do that. I then asked the R1 to remind me to take the trash out. It told me that it couldn't do that either. So, while it's cool that you can order DoorDash or use it as a cloud-based MP3 player, I kind of hoped that the "basics" would have been covered.

You can't even set a timer with the Rabbit R1, which is just mind-boggling.

Then there's the battery life, and man oh man, is it abysmal. Supposedly, there's already an update planned that will "make further improvements." But, even with a 95% charge out of the box, I had to recharge the R1 twice on the first day. Then, I went to bed, leaving the R1 on my desk in another room with about 75% battery, came back the next morning, and it was completely out of juice. Mind you, that's just with it being connected to Wi-Fi, as I've yet to put a spare SIM card in it.

Trying to set a timer on the Rabbit R1

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

I'll save my thoughts on product launches and updates for another day, but I'm really, really hoping that Rabbit can stay on top of software updates to expand its usefulness. I have a vague idea of where the R1 will fit into my daily lifestyle, but it's just not there yet.

Speaking of which, the company already has a slew of features it plans to add, as I noticed in a tweet from Ryan Haines of Android Authority. The list includes obvious features such as alarms, calendars, and contacts, but there's much more on the roadmap. I just have to keep my fingers crossed that Rabbit follows through and doesn't just abandon the R1 in favor of whatever it wants to build next.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.