CLEVELAND -- Texting while driving is now illegal in the state of Ohio. That has some smartphone stalwarts looking for a way to communicate legally while on the road. Consumer Reporter Maureen Kyle decided to test some of the top rated "hands-free"apps to see which ones work best.
First up: Siri.
The downside, Siri is only available on iPhone 4s and iPhone 5. We asked Siri to text Channel 3 Photojournalist Barry Wolf. Siri operates by voice command, and took the provided information in verbatim. It worked very well. But when we tried to do the same with email, Siri got a little more complex. If a contact isn't in email, Siri had a hard time spelling out an email address.
Not everyone has Siri. There are apps that you can download. Some of them are free, others will cost a few bucks. For $2.99 we bought and tried out Voice Command designed for iPhone and iPad. You can ask it to do anything, or look up any kind of information. It worked very well, and accurately typed up our message. There was just one problem. You still have to hit send on the keypad. So it's not completely "hands-free."
Dictated email also works well, as long as the contact is in your phone. And once again, you have to hit "send."
We also tried Vlingo, which is a free app. The nice thing about Vlingo is that it works for iPhone, Android and just about any other smartphone. To activate, you have to hit tap and speak. It took us several tries to send a text message. To call someone, there is still some hand involvement too.
We tried several others but the free ones weren't always accurate or understood our commands as easily.
In all, Siri performed the best and required the least amount of interaction. Voice Command came in a very close second.
For Android users, EVA is most similar to iPhone's Siri. It's hands-free technology is a hit with users. But EVA isn't free. She costs just under $10.