Saturday, June 15, 2024

Hands-On With the Rabbit r1 Pocket AI Assistant


With the rise of ChatGPT and large language models (LLMs), AI-dedicated devices have started coming out. The Humane AI pin was widely lambasted earlier this month when it launched, and now the Rabbit r1 AI assistant is out. With rumors that Apple is delving into AI in a big way, we thought we’d check out the Rabbit r1 to see what it can do and how it measures up to an iPhone.

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Priced at $200, the Rabbit is a square-shaped pocket assistant that can answer questions, look up information, interface with food delivery and ride sharing services, play music, translate languages, and more. It’s a cute little device that looks right at home with the Playdate from Panic, but most of what it can do can already be done with an ‌iPhone‌.

Unlike the Humane AI Pin, the Rabbit r1 has a screen that you can interact with, which makes it much more functional. It comes with an old school scroll wheel for navigating the UI, and there’s a built-in camera for recognizing objects. It is Wi-Fi only by default, but you can add a SIM card, which is an added cost.

As a first-generation device, the r1 isn’t perfect. The setup process is bare bones without tips on how to use the device or what it’s able to do. You’ll almost certainly need to visit the website to figure out how to use it if you pick one of these up, so it could do with some on-device instruction to make using it smoother. There are, for example, hidden controls like shaking the device to get to the settings, and the settings are the only way to activate the terminal for typing.

The idea with the Rabbit r1 is to be less reliant on a smartphone, so there’s no app for it. That’s kind of a hassle if you want to get to the photos and other information that you’ve stored on it, because it’s only accessible through the Rabbit Hole website.

You can hook up services like Spotify, but it’s not super smart about suggesting songs. Asking it to play liked songs, for example, resulted in random song selections. The option to translate works well, but it can be slow, and it’s tough to get to.

In some tests, ordering food was successful, but not without hiccups. We didn’t test placing an order ourselves, but YouTuber Quinn Nelson did and the AI placed the order but didn’t ask for guidance on a tip and ended up being overly generous and tipping the highest suggested amount.

The Rabbit r1 can summarize documents, a task that it’s decent at, but that’s not really something that a smartphone can’t do. It is good at recognizing what’s around through the camera, but some things, like a classic Mac, did trip it up.

We need to spend more time testing the Rabbit r1, but so far, it seems like a neat device but also an unnecessary one that isn’t quite ready to replace a smartphone. Have an opinion on the r1? Let us know in the comments below.Tag: Artificial Intelligence
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