TomTom Via 130
The Via 130 is the first TomTom satnav to feature full voice control. Its big electronic brain recognises over 1,000 commands, and means you can input a destination without taking your hands off the wheel: just bark out an address, point of interest or simply tell it “take me home” and it’ll plot a new route. The device also lets you make hands-free calls.
Samsung Galaxy S3
Samsung’s new flagship smartphone comes with S Voice, the Korean company’s response to Apple’s Siri technology. And it’s not a bad response by any means: it allows you to initiate calls, of course, but also wake up the phone, send texts and emails, request a particular song, adjust the volume, take a photo, open up the calendar and bring up a weather forecast. And snooze the alarm, for when you’re too tired to even move your arm. And it’ll work with eight languages on launch. When Samsung rips something off, it does it properly.
Xbox 360 Kinect
Add Kinect to your Xbox 360 and you’re not just getting a camera for motion control – you’re also getting a fat slice of voice recognition loveliness. Find anything on your Xbox using Voice Search with Bing, or play, pause and rewind whatever you’re watching using voice commands. Some games even feature voice control for certain actions, such as Skyrim, which recognises around 200 commands.
Probably the best known use of voice control technology in the world, the iPhone 4S’ Siri “personal assistant” demonstrates an almost frightening level of voice recognition. Siri is so advanced that you don’t have to think too hard about how you phrase a question or command – just speak and, chances are, Siri will understand what you’re getting at. It even has a sense of humour, as you can see when the Stuff team put it through this rigorous testing process…
Finally, a smart TV that feels like it’s genuinely smart. The ES8000 is the first goggle box to offer voice recognition, giving true couch potatoes the effortless control over volume, channel hopping and much, much more. Samsung has engineered it to understand regional accents, and you can even control connected device – a Sky box, for example – using the included IR blaster. It’s an excellent feature on a TV that already delivers in so many ways.