Version Reviewed: 1.1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Evi is not Siri, it’s Siri’s slightly less intelligent cousin. But, for any iPhone users that aren’t in possession of an iPhone 4S, Evi is probably the best substitution I’ve run into so far.
Let’s start with the important questions, does Evi answer questions like “What’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything?” or “Open the pod bay doors.” Yes, Evi does. The answer to life, the universe, and everything is “The meaning of life depends on the life in questions. 42 is a good approximation.” And, of course, the answer to “Open the pod bay doors” is “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
In all seriousness, Evi answers most questions, especially the basic ones, admirably. Like most speech-related apps, the user has to be precise in asking what he or she wants. For example, I asked Evi “Where can I get something to eat?” and received a page from ChaCha Answers from someone saying something like “Eat a sandwich.” While Evi completely failed that time, when I asked “What restaurants are near me,” I received five restaurants in close proximity to me. The answer was apparently powered by Yelp.
Any weather related questions that I asked were replied with a link to AccuWeather and BBC Weather. This wouldn’t have bothered me if those links were to the weather in my current location. I even would have been satisfied if the links went to my area’s weather when I specifically mentioned my hometown in the question. But in all weather-related questions, I simply received a link to those two sites and was asked to input my location. (Yes, I allowed Evi to access my location data when I first started up the app.)
Surprisingly, Evi performed poorly in a few basic areas, like weather, but it was able to answer some more complex questions rather successfully. I asked “What was Brandon Sanderson’s most recent book?” and received an answer of “The Way of Kings.” Not only was that the correct answer, but it was a great book! When I asked, “Who is Philip Seymour Hoffman,” (I had just watched Moneyball) I was hoping to get a link to an IMDb page. But I still got quite a bit of information on Philip Seymour Hoffman. Evi replied with his name, date of birth, and “the Academy Award-winning American actor.” In a link, it also provided more details. But I would have liked to see a source of those details.
Evi’s speech technology is powered by Nuance, popular creator of Dragon Dictate software. But text input is also possible. Certain frequently used question starters are even provided for quick access on the text input screen (e.g. How, Find, Buy).
Evi is not Siri. But for someone looking for a Siri-like application on something other than an iPhone 4S, this seems to be the app to go with. Most of the questions and answers during my time with Evi are in the gallery below.