Videos: Voice commands on Nokia Lumia 800 (and vs Siri)

| November 28, 2011 | 34 Replies

As you know, one of the many new features in Windows Phone Mango is more voice control. It’s not supposed to be a big selling piece like iPhone 4S’s Siri, the service on Windows Phone for voice is just there and it works well.

You may have been used to voice calling on Symbian, you may have even tried Vlingo which is pretty much the closest thing most will get to Siri other than TellMe on Windows Phone. To activate, long press the menu button anywhere. Don’t let go, just wait for the voice control box to appear.

Some things you can do on your Nokia Lumia 800:

  • Open Apps (I sometimes get too lazy to even tap and just tell my Lumia to “Open _name of app_” You can either say ‘open’ or ‘start’
  • Call. You can call contacts by first name, full name, set which number (house/mobile/work etc) and to set to speaker
  • Call phone numbers. Quite excellent if you’re reading a phone number.
  • You can command redial or voice mail
  • Search the web – just say your phrase. I often ask for the weather in Manchester. Not as glitzy as Siri.
  • Find a place – this will use maps to find that place
  • Text – very useful for short messages. Still haven’t worked out how to do punctuation though.
  • Reads your text (didn’t demo this)
  • Doesn’t need internet to work (obviously the search stuff does, but opening apps/texting/voice dialling is all from the phone)
It’s not quite Siri but I don’t think it was ever designed to (especially as Mango was out before we knew what would appear with Siri). There is also a case of initiating commands the programme is not aware of or cannot do. I don’t think Siri can open applications at the moment.  I do really like the accent of TellMe though, it seems more natural than most voice commands, even Siri.
Whatever the case, voice commands are pretty decent on the Lumia 800.

What else might be helpful?

  • Emailing options
  • Setting alarms and reminders
  • Setting contacts with alternate tags, e.g. Mum, Wife etc.
  • Possibly more natural form of speaking and improved presentation of data.
  • Recognizing your name
  • Play music/video
  • Tweet/facebook updates

Both Siri and TellMe have issues when you’re not in a quiet environment. My friends and I all say in the common room with our respective voice commands (BB/Android with Vlingo, Siri and TellMe) all failing when there’s too much background noise. It’s always funny watching friends play with Siri and them shouting at it in frustration though also equally impressive to listen to reminders, funny Siri conversations and pranking them by telling Siri to set  alarms at 4 o’clock in the morning (and then 5, and then 6 :p). It’s situations like this where the user doesn’t have to be aware of how to use a phone, just talk to it.

There are two things right now really impressing my friends. The Siri advert and the Kinect advert – both new forms of interaction with computers. The latter though impressed them more as there seemed to be more practical and innovative uses for that. I like both, the integration of which can be seen in Xbox Kinect games (which are stonkingly impressive if you ever get to play Kinect). Siri ads get annoying if you watch it next to people who don’t know anything about phones and because of Siri (which they somehow equate to Star-Trek like talking computers) they think it’s better than everything else. That said, that ad was brilliantly done, as always.

Unless Microsoft are going to do anything significant to improve TellMe, I think they should steer clear of comparing themselves against Siri. It’s just one of those situations where Apple decides what feature to push and everyone else trying to ‘copy’ and failing. e.g. touchscreens. Comparing to Siri only reinforces the need for voice control which Siri does better. Nokia and Microsoft need to focus on more WP/Lumia related things.

This video shows a very short ‘comparison’ of Siri and Tellme.

(cheers yoyo for the tip)

Just to add, I think it’s pretty cool that even my Omnia7 with an update could do this. You don’t need to buy a completely new phone just to have voice commands, eh 4S? But it’s still nice to have a new phone, especially when it looks completely different to my old one.

Here’s a video response to that Siri video above – cheers MDF. Didn’t get around to demoing the read text function .

Video by 



Category: Nokia, Video, Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]