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Siri, like it or not, popularised voice control and is seen by many as the leading system on smartphones today.
What Siri excels at, particularly in comparison to some of the other systems in this test, is understanding natural language.
For example, Say "I want to take a picture" and Siri will open the camera app or you can just say "open camera".
It's also really good at recognising what you're saying and giving you pointers along the way if you're new to the phone. For example, you can send email using Siri but if you haven't set up your account first it will tell you to do that, rather than just return an error.
The range of functionality with Siri is quite broad but dependent upon the key partnerships Apple has put in place, so can vary depending on what you are trying to do. It's tied into most of the core apps in iOS so making or changing a calendar entry, sending a text, or getting information about a particular event is a breeze.
However, at points the information is very superficial, for example, asking when the next Formula One race would take place returned the correct answer immediately but when I asked where it was, Siri just repeated the date. Similarly, when I asked when the last race of 2013 would be, Siri said it could not get information about Formula One and offered to search the internet instead.
One of the strengths of Siri is the tie-in with Wolfram Alpha giving great results for computational answers. Ask Siri a maths question and the answer will pop straight up but ask it to switch on Bluetooth and it can't help you out.
When I asked Siri to "take me to London Bridge" it replied by popping up information about London Bridge, as well as saying how far away it was.
Siri's biggest weakness (in the UK at least) for me is the local information. Ask where the nearest Nandos is and it says "I don't know what that is" and offers to search the web.
You can also use Siri for things like taking notes, playing music or videos, checking the weather or listening to notifications.
While Android has included voice commands for some time, the most recent version – Jelly Bean – also has Google Now, which isn't quite the same thing as Siri or S-Voice as it's based around Search and other Google services. Nor is it the same as the other stock Android Voice commands system that focuses more on hardware control. That's not to say Now can't be used for handset control functions too, although it is a little more limited in this department than some of its competitors.
For example, while you can say "where is the nearest Nandos?" (it gave the best answer of the bunch, pictured above) or "navigate to nearest petrol station" and it will do what you ask, you can't carry out system functions such as turning Wi-Fi on or off. I could only seem able to open certain Google-made apps through Now. Given the integration with things like Google Maps, telling it to take me to London Bridge automatically popped open Google Navigation with a route all loaded.
The level of voice recognition and understanding of Google Now was very impressive, with it easily understanding individual words (particularly ones that are easy to misinterpret) or slightly vague questions, such as will I need a coat tomorrow, which it answered with ease. Google Now's voice recognition was easily the best overall at understanding what is being said.
Google Now, is in some ways limited by its lack of ability to perform some system functions, but it can do things like open third-party apps that you've installed on the phone.
Open Now and ask it to send an email, call or text one of your contacts and it will have no problem understanding the words, but bizarrely – in my testing at least – word recognition when asking it to add one number to another was atrocious; it simply couldn't understand the word 'add' or 'sum'.
If I told it divide, multiply or work out the square root it got there first time, though.
Strangely, while newer Android phones have Now and the older Voice Control both apps are accessed separately.
S Voice is Samsung's voice control system found on handsets, like the Galaxy S3 or in this case its Galaxy Note II 'phablet'.
Like the other systems in the test here, S Voice is well skilled in performing tasks like switching Bluetooth on or off on the phone, or sending a text message to a contact. Weirdly though, the S Voice system can't seem to send an email. You can also use it to update third party apps like Twitter or Facebook, though.
On the occasions that S Voice doesn't quite hear the instructions clearly (or correctly) it will search for the nearest match to what it heard. The system also does better than some of the others in the test with things like scheduling. For example, if you try and schedule an appointment for the same time as another that is already in your calendar, it will warn you and pop the other meeting info to check you want to schedule two things for the same time. The BlackBerry voice system doesn't do this, but Siri does.
S Voice was also one of the only other systems (in addition to Siri) to correctly put a reminder in the calendar when asked to "buy flowers on Valentine's day". It also did pretty well on the Nandos test – asking where the closest was automatically resulted in a web search, though there was no mapping result to be found.
However, asking S Voice "how to get to London Bridge" resulted in Google Navigation popping open an address box that required pressing a button to select the precise destination.
For me the voice recognition seems to be a bit hit-and-miss with S Voice: on some occasions I was impressed that it could pick up what I wanted it to do, but in others, it repeatedly got things wrong, such as when using the calculator. It also doesn't seem to understand computational function, as when it did finally recognise me telling it to add 460 to 320 it responed: "I don't know if I can answer that properly, do you want me to search the internet for 460 + 320?".