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Humane Ai Pin reviews are in: Top 5 complaints about the ‘smartphone killer’


Humane Ai Pin reviews are in.

Critiques poured in on Thursday, with journalists voicing their harsh opinions on a device touted as the next “smartphone killer.”

Humane boasts that the Ai Pin, a display-less wearable that can project virtual information onto your palms and take voice-activated commands, is a revolutionary device that can potentially jumpstart a “screenless” future.

But the question is, is Humane blowing hot air — or is the Humane Ai Pin truly a future smartphone disruptor?

Reviewers bluntly answered this question with harsh critiques. But first, here’s a quick refresh on what, exactly, the Humane Ai Pin is.

What is the Humane Ai Pin?

Mashable’s Chance Townsend had a chance to have some hands-on experience with Humane Ai Pin at SXSW. But you may be wondering, what is it and why is it setting the internet abuzz?

Humane Ai Pin projecting onto a palm


Credit: Humane

The Humane Ai Pin, as its name suggests, is a pin with AI capabilities you can wear on your clothing. It doesn’t have a screen. As Mashable’s Cecily Mauran explained, it can do the following futuristic things:

  • Instead of relying on a display, it projects green virtual imagery onto your palm

  • It handles tasks, search, and commands via your voice. It can also answer questions by tapping into the AI that underpins it.

  • It can translate languages in real time.

  • It can identify objects and tell you about them (e.g., telling you how much protein is in a handful of almonds)

  • It can take photos and videos with a double-tap for the former and a long press with the latter

But of course, that just scratches the surface of its capabilities. Let’s dive into this review roundup so you can get a proper overview of the Human Ai Pin’s purpose.

Humane Ai Pin: 5 things critics disliked about it

This overview comes from a handful of reviews, from The Washington Post to The Verge. Here are the five most common complaints:

1. Humane Ai Pin’s on-palm projection is a fail

As mentioned, the Humane Ai Pin can project visual artifacts on your palm via the device’s laser projector display.

Humane Ai Pin palm projection


Credit: Humane

It’s a cool idea in theory, however, the execution has been poor, according to critics.

“I’m going to say it now: Humane’s laser projector display is never going to take off as a viable method of interacting with a gadget. It’s overly sensitive and slow to navigate.” – Wired

“The projector’s 720p resolution is crap, and it only projects green light, but it does a good-enough job of projecting text onto your hand unless you’re in bright light, and then it’s just about invisible.” -The Verge

“The projector is basically unreadable when you’re in the sun. Summer’s just around the corner, and it’s sure to offer plenty of warm days I don’t want my phone to get in the way of, but the Pin is much less useful in broad daylight.” -The Washington Post

On top of that, as you’ll find in the next section, interacting with this green projection has been challenging, too.

2. Humane Ai Pin gestures are painful to use

Because the Humane Ai Pin doesn’t have a screen, it heavily relies on users’ hand gestures (e.g., pinching and tilting one’s hand) to navigate the UI.

Unfortunately, many critics say that the gestures are too complex to use. In some cases, reviewers found that the Ai Pin failed to “understand” their intended selections.

“Even after two weeks, I still find myself struggling to select just the right menu options” -The Washington Post

“I swear to you, I never once managed to select the correct icon on the first time. It’s way too many interaction systems to memorize, especially when none of them work very well.” -The Verge

“Tilt too much and it moves past the icon you want, landing on the thing next to it. It’s just plain annoying. Using the projected interface to run through old text messages is also a chore.” -Wired

“Pinching can feel a bit awkward especially when keeping your palm open. Tilting and moving my hand farther out or closer to select numbers, to enter my passcode for unlocking the Humane AI Pin every time I attach it to my clothes, is a hassle.” –CNET

Humane’s co-founders are former Apple employees, but unfortunately, they haven’t been able to secure the Vision Pro’s beloved hand-gesture magic.

3. You must pay $24 a month to use it

The Humane Ai Pin absolutely requires you to pay $24 for a monthly subscription to T-Mobile’s network. On the plus side, you’ll get three months for free to start. But if that expires, and you fail to pay the data fee, the Ai Pin will become inoperable, Wired said.

Humane Ai Pin


Credit: Humane

The Washington Post remarked that this is “annoying,” particularly because you need an additional cellular connection that’s not connected to your existing number. Without it, it won’t answer your questions nor execute commands.

4. Sound is an issue, especially music

WaPo noted that while phone calls sounded good on the Ai Pin’s built-in speaker, if you’re standing in a crowd, it’s easy for that sound to get drowned out (though you can rectify this by connecting it to a pair of Bluetooth headphones like Apple AirPods).

Humane Ai Pin


Credit: Humane

The Verge took it one step further and tested music on the Humane Ai Pin. To its dismay, it only supports the Tidal music app (for now). Unfortunately, however, the reviewer discovered that the “connection is as broken as anything else on the AI Pin.”

After trying to play Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter album, the reviewer found that the Ai Pin failed to play the tunes they were seeking.

“Bongiorno [one of the co-founders of Humane] says this particular bug has been fixed, but I still can’t get Tidal to play Cowboy Carter consistently. It’s just broken,” The Verge said.

5. Thermal issues

Several critics noticed that the Humane Ai Pin would get warm — too warm.

Humane Ai Pin


Credit: Humane

“The Pin starts to overheat pretty quickly when you’re making back-to-back requests or using the Pin’s projector for too long […]. When that happens, don’t be surprised when the Pin cuts off contact for a while as it cools off.” -The Washington Post

“It’s pretty much constantly warm. In my testing, it never got truly painfully hot, but after even a few minutes of using it, I could feel the battery like a hand warmer against my skin.” -The Verge

“It emanates this light warmth that is still hard to ignore, especially if you’re wearing a light hoodie or a T-shirt. It just makes my body feel a bit warmer in that one specific area” -Wired

It’s worth noting that Bongiorno told The Verge that the warmth comes from overuse or issues with a poor connection. In these cases, the device is “aggressive” about shutting down when it gets too warm.

Is the Humane Ai Pin worth it?

On the plus side, some critics praised the Humane Ai Pin for its ability to translate languages, with Wired calling its real-time translation feature “solid.” Others praised its design in that it can be pinned in a location that is convenient (on your chest).

A few appreciated the Humane Center, a hub where you can find your photos and videos after taking them via the Pin. Keep in mind, though, according to Wired, you can only access it “when the Pin is on Wi-Fi and charging.”

Another cool feature some highlighted is the Ai Pin’s ability to identify objects in one’s environment before telling them some information about them (although some critics noted that the AI’s response was sometimes inaccurate).

However, when it comes to recommending the Ai Pin, all said no.

“Should you buy this thing? That one’s easy. Nope. Nuh-uh. No way,” The Verge concluded.





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