Evi Siri-Alike Tries Hard To Please [Review]

Evi gets facts

Meet one-eyed Evi, a one-dollar alternative to Siri which works on older (non-4S) iPhones.

She’s had a bit of a rough introduction to life, thanks to a much-hyped launch followed by 24 hours or so of struggling to keep up with demand.

All my efforts to get useful information from Evi yesterday came to nothing, constantly met with a request that I try again later. But this morning things are much improved (no doubt as a result of Evi’s makers rushing to give her a helping hand) and the answers started to appear.

Evi does science

The first thing to note is that Evi isn’t a personal assistant like Siri. Evi is better described as an information assistant, delivering answers to specific questions. She can’t send a text for you (although her Nuance-powered voice recognition is excellent), she can’t set reminders or alarms or calendar entries.

But she can do simple calculations, currency conversions, and fact-finding.

Sorry Dave, I can't do that

And like all good virtual assistants these days, she knows that she’s not supposed to open the Pod Bay doors when you ask, and that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42 (of course).

That’s because Evi is powered by True Knowledge, a Cambridge (UK)-based information service that calls itself “the internet answer engine”. True Knowledge knew 635,025,637 facts at the time of writing, and is learning new ones all the time. Chances are the nugget you need might well be hidden among them.

It really is the place to go

Evi’s local knowledge is better than I expected, too. I live in a small market town but she knew about the award-winning Thai restaurant down the road, and how to get to my nearest pub. Well done Evi. As long as your server issues don’t continue to bog you down, you’re worth a dollar for those of us who can’t use Siri because our phones are too old.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Related
  • Jordan Clay

    i don’t think the search function of Siri is what people want, at least it isn’t what I want at all.   I want the ability to send text messages, add Calendar events and dial friends.  If you want a voice search we have had the Google App for years…it just isn’t as smart-alec as Siri. 

  • Mark Pointer

    Here in the UK Evi is extremely slow and so pretty disappointing!

  • Mark Pointer

    Here in the UK Evi is extremely slow and so pretty disappointing!

  • BluefusioN

    Not sure why, but when i ask Evi the Time (uk) , the reply back, is 20 minutes out?

  • ddevito

    Apple wants to woo you away from Google.

  • ddevito

    This app, along with Siri, are okay as “apps” but don’t do much as an integrated experience. If Apple made (or will make) Siri transparent to the OS then I think there is huge potential for it.

    The fact that it takes you out of whatever you were doing makes it more of a stand alone app.

    However, I think it’s the future of Apple and the future looks good.

  • MacHead84

    For one, Siri is still in beta…lets not forget. Secondly, Siri as an App isnt near as useful as the way it currently functions. It can be launched from anywhere by holding the home button. No dedicated apps required. Give apple time to improve something thats only be on the phone for 3 months.

  • ddevito

    Seriously? my comment was flagged?! I wrote nice things about siri.

    It just goes to show you the iSheep are ignorant

  • ddevito

    yes, I know how it launches, but it still takes you away from iOS and into its own app (was my point).

  • Nellie

    my classmate’s step-sister makes $82 every hour on the computer. She has been without a job for 9 months but last month her pay was $7548 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here LazyCash4.com

  • stewm

    If I ask Evi for the time I always get told they are having trouble with their servers?  Then on one occasion 25% of battery and and hour of watching that one eyed monster swinging it’s eye from side to side it replies with the time from an hour ago.  

    I guess the only true way of getting Siri style response times is pay for the iPhone 4S and get Siri.   All the Functionality that Evi, has can be found in the Google Search Application.  Better still, you get an actual response from it, maybe not spoken but at least it is a response!

  • darttabb

    I wouldn’t characterize the Google Search Application as an information server. In my experience, although it gets the words correctly, it cannot figure out context. Ask it this, for example:

    What is the capital of Australia?

    You will get dozens of search results concerning economic capital markets in Australia, but not one that mentions Canberra. It is what it is, which is a search engine, but it’s far-fetched to say all of the functionality of Evi can be found there.

  • afadal

    Can you review kngine (kngine.com) as well, make a comparison beteewn Siri (iPhone 4s), Evi, and kngine

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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