The TaylorMade R1 driver performs as advertised, which is to say: better than the R11S driver. Higher ball speed off the face means more carry yards. Not many more, but more. About 1-3 more carry yards in our testing, but notably with much lower spin, which means golfers see more roll-out for more overall distance.
The look of the clubhead is not at all classic. The sole view reveals all the moving parts and looks cumbersome, including a compass-looking face angle adjustment dial that would have Lewis and Clark doing cartwheels. The sound of the driver is solid - more of a thwack, and less "tink" than TaylorMade's last model R11S driver. The stock shaft offering of Aldila RIP Phenom 55 is fine, but I'd personally prefer a return to the Matrix line of stock shafts. The Aldila feels a little whippy, perhaps even too light at 55 grams. That's OK for many of us, who can use a little bit more clubhead speed, but might be too light for the higher-swing-speed players.
Taylormade has used an adjustable hosel for some time, but this one does so much more. It is adjustable from 8* to 12* loft and a variety in between. The stock setting is 10*. I found that the adjustability really works. I dropped it down to the lowest setting and I was hitting much lower shots than normal and t cranked it up to 11.5 and found that it resulted in much higher shots. I was impressed by the change that was visually noticeable on the course just by changing the hosel a little bit. I settled on the 9.5 setting, it just gave me the best launch angle.
Once you have your loft dialed in, then you can adjust the giant compass on the bottom to the desired face angle at address. This plate goes up and down depending on your desired look of the head at address when you sole the club. It doesn't change the face angle if you hover the taylormade sldr driver, but if you sole it and grip it, you can get a little help with a fade or a draw. Again this "compass" isn't the most attractive, but it works.
But if the only exploring you are set on doing is finding the center of the fairway, TaylorMade's R1 driver gives you a very good shot. Once you dial in the specs to optimize your flight - and we might suggest a good clubfitter could help - that should be all you need.