Siri vs Voice Actions vs TellMe, OS Voice Command Comparisons


Most people know about iOS’ Siri is, but how many of them know about Android’s Voice Actions or Windows Phone’s TellMe? The answer is obvious. Not many of them. But that question isn’t the point of this article. No, the question we’re asking is how do these other voice command systems stack up against the iPhone’s Siri when it comes to real life performance?

We ran a few tests on each mobile operating system’s (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone) voice command software to see how they compare. We ran each test at the same time on all three phones so there wouldn’t be any excuses about how clear we spoke a given command. Here are our results:

Asking for the weather:

When we asked the three phones for “weather”, all three processed our request correctly displaying the weather based off of our current location. So in this test, it is a three way tie between iOS’ Siri, Android’s Voice Actions, and Microsoft’s TellMe.

Asking for movie showtimes:

When we asked each phone for “movies”, both Siri and Voice Actions processed our command in the way you’d expect. TellMe, on the other hand, just did a Bing search for movies instead of displaying actual showtimes. So we rephrased the command to “movie showtimes” to see if that would work. And it did, on all three phones this time. Because TellMe didn’t get the command right the first time, this test’s winners are Siri and Voice Actions.

Solving  a math problem:

What happened when we asked each phone to add up 5 + 5 + 10? Both Siri and Voice Actions gave us a (correct) answer of 20. And TellMe? It made a Bing search for 5 Foot 5 Foot 10. Not to useful when I’m trying to do math on the fly. Winners: Siri and Voice Actions.

Asking for a reminder:

Our next test involved asking each phone to remind us to eat in 15 minutes (like I need reminding). In this test, only Siri recognized what I was asking it to do. So we rephrased the question to “set alarm in 15 minutes” to see if the other two would catch on. The result? This time Voice Actions worked in addition to Siri, and TellMe just did another Bing search. Because Voice Actions didn’t respond correctly the first time, and TellMe didn’t respond correctly at all, the sole winner of this test is Siri.

Asking for the answer to a question:

The next test we ran was to ask each phone “When was Martin Luther King born?” Both Siri and Android Voice Actions gave us a direct answer. Siri in its own window, and Voice Actions at the very top of the web page. Even though technically the answer showed up on the screen for TellMe, it was in the search results and not a direct answer. Winners: Siri and Voice Actions.

Asking for directions:

In this test, we asked each phone for “directions to Best Buy.” Again, in this case both iOS and Android responded to our request in the way you’d expect. TellMe, which seems to be its go to response, just did a Bing search for the phrase. The winners here are Voice Actions and Siri.

Telling the phone I’m drunk:

In this test we told each phone “I’m drunk” to see how they would respond. Android’s Voice Actions and Windows Phone’s TellMe both just did a web search of the phrase. iOS’ Siri was able to understand what we were implicating, and offered to search for local taxi companies.

Your wish is my command…?

The voice recognition software on all three of these operating systems recognized what we were saying accurately. During our tests, none of them incorrectly heard what we had just said (except for TellMe on the math question). But correctly recognizing speech is different from correctly responding to that speech. Of the three, Siri is the clear winner here with Android’s Voice Actions coming in a close second. TellMe, if it wishes to compete, still has a lot of work to do in our eyes.

Each correct response to our voice commands yielded one point (including when we rephrased the command). Here is the official tally:

1st place: iPhone’s/iOS’ Siri with a score of 9/9.

2nd place: Android’s Voice Actions with a score of 7/9.

3rd place: Windows Phone’s TellMe with a score of 2/9.


About Author

David Rahimi is the editor-in-chief at Ever since he got his first smartphone, he has been obsessed with mobile technology and all that it has to offer. Other interests include business, investing, and neuroscience.