If cloth-eared Siri frequently gives you the urge to hurl your iPhone out of the nearest window, you’ll be pleased to hear that Alexa has flown in to rescue you in the form of a new app.
Although it’s not an official Amazon app, Reverb (£free, iOS 10, Android, MacOS) provides almost full full access to the voice assistant without the need for a Dot or Echo.
What’s the catch? The main one is that you can’t use it to play music from the likes of Amazon Music or Spotify. But if that’s not a deal-breaker, Reverb is a great, free way to get a taster of Alexa and see how she fares when controlling your smart home kit like Philips Hue.
To ask Alexa a question in Reverb, you just hold the familiar blue circle and talk into the microphone.
There seemed to be very few limitations on questions when we tried it, with Alexa responding to requests to set a timer, change our phone’s volume and patiently answer all of our favourite easter egg prompts. She even told a fairly solid joke: “how much do dead batteries cost? Nothing, they’re free of charge.”
You can also enable skills (Alexa is now up to 10,000 and counting) by pressing the shortcut button in the bottom left-hand corner.
Is Reverb a complete replacement for Siri? Not quite. The main issue is that, unlike Siri, you can’t access Alexa from your lock screen, which means you lose some of her hands-free handiness.
Reverb can also occasionally get stuck in a ‘thinking’ impasse, but this seems to improve once you’ve got Alexa on a roll with some other questions.
Still, for a free app, it’s an excellent way to trial Alexa before buying a Dot or Echo. Or, if you don’t need voice-controlled music, even take over from Siri as your iOS voice assistant of choice. Now all we need is lock screen access and Apple Watch compatibility – but we have a feeling Siri might veto it.
For more info head to the app's creator Rain