A promising Siri rival, if currently too unreliable to be a replacement instead of a companion app.
by on March 7, 2012
Over in the US, and with the iPhone 4S, Siri is easily the best virtual assistant around. In third world countries like the UK though, it’s still lacking many of its most useful features, like being able to find nearby restaurants – and it’s increasingly clear that there’s no reason a regular iPhone can’t run it just fine. Evi aims to fix both of these things. It works on anything with iOS 4.0, and plugs into a wider set of services – the most important being Yelp, for business info.
Having access to data and delivering it are two different things though, and Evi’s performance is very inconsistent. Its speech recognition is fine, but the servers responsible for getting you an answer are slow compared to Apple’s, and more prone to giving up. Following its own prompt to ask ‘Is it light in Brisbane?’ for example, it sheepishly replied ‘I don’t think I can answer that’, needing a second attempt to answer. It also has some odd blind spots like basic maths questions, and when asked ‘What is 15% of £29?’ we got a quote from Proverbs 15:29 in reply. Siri may access fewer information sources, but it’s a more helpful – albeit predictably – assistant.
When everything works though, Evi can answer impressive questions that Siri won’t even touch. ‘What’s on TV right now?’ is no problem. Nor is ‘Where’s the nearest McDonalds?’ outside the US, or ‘What’s the sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo?’ – but admittedly, the success rate for most other novels we tried was slim.
Evi’s results aren’t always as well integrated and presented as when Siri manages to provide, but any valid result beats an apologetic shrug and a generic Google search. These successes aren’t enough to let Evi snatch Siri’s crown, but they do make it one to watch – especially if you’re not on iPhone 4S, or don’t want to wait for Apple’s missing features.
Download this app: Evi for iPhone
Best iPhone apps | Apple iPhone 4S review
Review courtesy of Tap!
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