The truth about the Rabbit R1 — your questions answered about the AI gadget

Rabbit R1
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We asked you guys in a recent TikTok video what you wanted to know about the Rabbit R1. For those unfamiliar with the Rabbit R1, it's an AI device designed to do things for you, from answering questions and identifying objects with its camera to ordering Uber rides and food from DoorDash. 

So what can the Rabbit R1 do? What does it cost? And do you need this thing if you already have a phone? I've answered all your biggest Rabbit R1 questions in our YouTube video and have summarized my (non-AI) responses below. 

What. Does. It . Do?

Not. Much. Well. 

The Rabbit R1 is a handheld AI device powered by a so-called Large Action Model. It's supposed to be capable of everything from voice search and making AI-generated images to live translations, music playback and voice recordings with summaries.

It can also sync with some third-party apps like Uber and DoorDash to carry out commands on your behalf — that is, when it’s working properly. The Rabbit can also identify objects with its camera Vision feature, but your phone can do that faster with features like Google Lens.

Rabbit R1

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

How much does it cost?

It’s $199, which actually seems like a good bargain compared to similar products out now, like the Humane AI Pin, but it is just made of cheap plastic. If you ask me, this neon orange square design is reminiscent of an iPod-Tamagotchi hybrid.

Keep in mind that to generate images, you'll need a Discord account and be signed up for Midjourney, which costs $10 a month. 

Is the AI able to have normal back and forth conversations? If so, does its personality evolve and adapt as it learns from the user?

I’m not really sure who wants to sit and have small talk with an AI device but yes it can continue on with topics without you needing to give it context every time.

For example, I asked, "Who won the Yankees game last night?" And I got the score. When I asked if there were any home runs, Rabbit was smart enough to mention Volpe, Verdugo and Stanton going yard.

It hasn’t really developed a personality in my time with it, but it certainly tries to be helpful and has a sense of humor. For example, it will sometimes say, "Taxi!” when I’m trying to book an Uber. 

Rabbit R1

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Does it work with the cellphone Bluetooth when not connected to Wi-Fi?

The Rabbit R1 syncs to your phone via Bluetooth, but your phone needs to have Wi-Fi or LTE connectivity in order for the device to actually answer your questions or look things up. That said, the R1 does have a 4G LTE SIM card slot, so it’s nice to know you can get connectivity without Wi-Fi. But you’re likely just better off pairing this device with your phone in hotspot mode when you’re on the go.

Connecting to Wi-Fi is a bit of a chore the first time as you need to enter the password with a tiny keyboard, but at least the touchscreen works when you flip the device over to landscape mode. 

Rabbit R1

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

How reliable is the action model? Can it order me a Big Mac? Get me an Uber? WITHOUT making mistakes.

The answer is not very reliable. And it's super slow, at least for now. When trying to order a Big Mac I waited over 30 seconds for McDonald's to show up, and then I clicked into the menu and saw only a few options. It didn't take me directly to a Big Mac meal, which is disappointing. 

When ordering an Uber, the Rabbit R1 asked me multiple times for my starting address when it should have known where I was already. Even when it got me through to the order screen, it would sometimes error out, saying there was a problem with the service. 


♬ original sound - Tom’s Guide

Doesn't Siri do this?

To demonstrate, I conducted a head-to-head faceoff between the Rabbit R1 and Siri, asking both the same questions. But what I found is that Siri is faster but can’t answer follow-up questions very well or execute actions with third-party apps like Rabbit R1, at least not currently.

We know that WWDC 2024 in June should bring a big update to Siri’s AI abilities, so who knows, Siri might be able to do many of the things the R1 does before the end of the year. 

Rabbit R1 shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Why is there a scrolling wheel like, didn’t we invent swipe to scroll like 20 years ago?

That’s a great question. The scrolling wheel is cute, but I feel like it’s unnecessary. After all, this has a touch screen. But I found that it only works in keyboard mode. Otherwise, there’s a lot of scrolling up and down, hitting the push-to-talk button to select and backing out of menus. It’s a throwback in a bad way, but at least the scrolling feels a bit faster after a software update. 

Is it a smartphone? Why would I carry another device around when my phone does it already?

The R1 is NOT a phone, and when I set out to review it, I didn’t expect the R1 to be a phone. It can’t make calls for me, it can’t take photos and it can’t be used for messaging. Instead, it wants to be a companion device to your phone for completing certain tasks. And it wants to be able to do them faster, but that wasn’t really the case in my experience. 

BUT it would be nice if this device could at least email or text you things, like the Midjourney images you create. 

Rabbit R1

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Most anticipated gadget says who?

In case you didn’t know, these kinds of AI hardware products are kind of having a moment. The Rabbit r1 became available right on the tail of the Humane AI pin, which got terrible reviews with its hand projection interface. It also cost $699 not including a subscription fee.

There was hope that the R1 would be a functional device at a fraction of the cost. The CEO built up a big community on Discord, and they apparently had 100,000 preorders. I’m guessing a lot of them will be returned. 

Rabbit R1

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

How is it? Worth it?

Now this is probably the most important question. Part of me didn’t even want to give my Rabbit R1 review a rating because it felt so unfinished and broken. There are some pretty cool ideas behind the R1, but most of them are not executed well at all, and I ran into way too many bugs, errors and inaccurate answers to recommend this AI gadget to anyone.

Will the Rabbit R1 get better over time? For sure, and Rabbit promises all sorts of future upgrades like point-of-interest research, navigation and a teach mode so the R1 can learn more things. But I just don’t see the R1 taking off because it’s yet another device you need to carry around. So for most people, it’s just not worth it.

Then there's the fact that smartphone AI is getting smarter all the time. The new ChatGPT-4o offers voice and vision features that surpass the Rabbit R1, and Google is rolling out a new version of its AI assistant called Gemini Live. And, of course, iOS 18 is on the way from Apple with a ton of AI upgrades and a new Siri.

But let me know if you feel gadgets like the Rabbit R1 have a future. I can also answer more of your questions in the comments here.  

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.