The Samsung Bixby digital assistant lets you control your smartphone with voice commands. You can open apps, check the weather, play music, turn on Bluetooth, and much more. You’ll find everything you need to know about Google Assistant‘s biggest mobile rival below, including how to access it, the features it offers, and which devices it’s available on.
What can Samsung Bixby do?
The most interesting and useful component of Samsung’s digital assistant is Bixby Voice, which lets you use voice commands to get stuff done. It works with all Samsung apps and a few third-party apps, including Instagram, Gmail, Facebook, and YouTube.
With Samsung Bixby Voice, you can send text messages, check sports scores, turn down the screen brightness, check your calendar, launch apps, and more. The digital assistant can also read out your latest messages and speak in a male or female voice. The feature can also handle more complicated two-step actions, like creating an album with your vacation photos and sharing it with a friend.
Bixby Voice is the most useful feature, but there are accessibility tools and others, as well.
Bixby Voice also supports quick commands, allowing you to perform multiple actions with a single phrase. Instead of telling Bixby to open the camera app, change the mode to super slow-mo, and start recording, you can pre-program all these steps as a quick command and launch it by saying “slow-mo.”
Another element is Bixby Home, which lives on your home screen. It’s similar to Google Feed and HTC Blinkfeed, showing social media updates, trending YouTube videos, the weather forecast, reminders, and so on. You can customize it to only display the info you’re interested in, and change the order of the Bixby Home cards by moving the ones that matter to you most to the top.
Bixby has a few other features as well, such as Bixby Vision, an alternative to Google Lens. Bixby Routines is another useful component that learns your daily patterns to recommend actions right as you need them. There are also a number of accessibility tools for the vision or hearing impaired.
How does Bixby compare to Google Assistant?
Despite the efforts made with Bixby 2.0 (more on this later), Samsung Bixby still lags considerably behind Google Assistant, at least when it comes to understanding natural speech.
Bixby is quite powerful when it comes to controlling your device, like turning off Wi-Fi or enabling dark mode, but it struggles with context. Asking two related questions in a row will yield completely different results. It isn’t too surprising that Google Assistant consistently nails this, as after all it is made by the largest search engine in the world.
Bixby lags behind in general queries, but does have some powerful features like Bixby Routines.
We were underwhelmed when testing Bixby on the Galaxy S9 back in 2018, but come out pleasantly surprised when testing it again at the end of 2019. It still lagged behind in general queries, but the addition of Bixby Routines impressed us. It allows you to pre-program a list of actions using the ITTT (If This, Then That) principle. For example, one default routine saves battery life by turning off Bluetooth, Always on Display, Wi-Fi, and mobile data at night.
YouTuber Mrwhosetheboss ran a comparison of Bixby, Assistant, Siri, and Alexa in 2020, and the results put Bixby tied for last place alongside Alexa. It managed to answer just 27 out of 50 basic commands, whereas for Google Assistant that number was 43.
How to use Samsung Bixby
Let’s start with Samsung Bixby Home. You can access it by pressing the dedicated Bixby button on a device that has one, or by swiping right on your home screen. If you keep pressing the button by accident, you can disable it. While it used to be impossible to remap said button, Samsung has been allowing it to happen with some devices.
The same button that launches Samsung Bixby Home can also launch Bixby Voice. Press and hold it, say your command, and release it. It’s similar to using a walkie-talkie. Alternatively, you can activate it by saying, “Hi Bixby,” but you may need to enable this ability first by launching Bixby Home and going to More Options > Settings > Voice wake-up.
Which devices and languages does Samsung Bixby support?
Unlike Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby is exclusive to Samsung devices. It debuted on the Galaxy S8 series, but is now all over Samsung devices. Here is a list of all supported devices at time of writing, but keep in mind that any Samsung device released after 2017 should have it.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 series
- Samsung Galaxy S20 series
- Samsung Galaxy S10 series
- Samsung Galaxy S9 series
- Samsung Galaxy S8 series
- Samsung Galaxy S7 series
- Samsung Galaxy S6 series
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
- Samsung Galaxy Fold
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
- Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
- Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
- Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017)
- Samsung Galaxy J4 (2018)
- Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)
- Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
- Samsung Galaxy J7+ (2017)
- Samsung Galaxy J6 (2018)
- Samsung Galaxy J6+ (2018)
- Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20
- Samsung Galaxy A80
- Samsung Galaxy A71
- Samsung Galaxy A70
- Samsung Galaxy A51
- Samsung Galaxy A50
- Samsung Galaxy A30
- Samsung Galaxy A9
- Samsung Galaxy A8 Star
- Samsung Galaxy A8
- Samsung Galaxy A7
- Samsung Galaxy A6 series
- Samsung Galaxy A 8.0
- Samsung Galaxy A10.5
- Samsung Galaxy C8
- Samsung Galaxy Home
- Samsung Galaxy Watch
Bixby-powered smart speakers, TVs, and other products available as well
In addition to smartphones and tablets, Bixby runs on Samsung’s Family Hub 2.0 refrigerators and a couple of other devices. The digital assistant can also be found in other appliances like smart speakers and TVs. It is also slated to be a key feature of the Samsung Galaxy Home, which has yet to be released despite being announced back in 2018.
Bixby understands English (both British and American), Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese (Brazil), French, German, Italian, and Spanish. For comparison, Google Assistant supports 44 languages on smartphones and 13 languages on Google Home.
What commands does Samsung Bixby understand?
Samsung Bixby understands thousands of commands. We won’t list them all in this post, but here are some of the more useful ones:
Calls and texts
- Hi Bixby, call Andy.
- Hi Bixby, video call Paul.
- Hi Bixby, send a text to Adam.
- Hi Bixby, show recent call history with Jimmy.
- Hi Bixby, show Andrew’s contact information.
- Hi Bixby, call the most recent number.
- Hi Bixby, show missed calls.
- Hi Bixby, show the call duration until now.
- Hi Bixby, block the last number called.
- Hi Bixby, add the last number called as a new contact.
- Hi Bixby, delete all missed calls.
- Hi Bixby, add John to speed dial 2.
- Hi Bixby, show me the Contacts tab.
- Hi Bixby, move all my contacts to Secure Folder.
- Hi Bixby, show Quick decline messages.
- Hi Bixby, open Camera.
- Hi Bixby, change camera mode to panorama.
- Hi Bixby, take a picture in panorama mode.
- Hi Bixby, take a picture.
- Hi Bixby, record a video.
- Hi Bixby, turn on the front camera.
- Hi Bixby, turn on flash.
- Hi Bixby, turn on HDR.
- Hi Bixby, show me pictures.
- Hi Bixby, apply deep filter.
- Hi Bixby, turn on Tracking AF for the rear camera.
- Hi Bixby, change Grid lines to 3 by 3.
- Hi Bixby, take a picture and share it.
- Hi Bixby, adjust the shutter speed of Pro mode.
- Hi Bixby, select 10 seconds for Timer and take a picture.
- Hi Bixby, open Messages.
- Hi Bixby, show me the most recent message.
- Hi Bixby, pin the conversation with the most recently received text.
- Hi Bixby, forward the most recent text to David.
- Hi Bixby, share the most recent text.
- Hi Bixby, delete the most recent text.
- Hi Bixby, show me the texts I received today.
- Hi Bixby, read me the texts I received today.
- Hi Bixby, search texts with the keyword Adam.
- Hi Bixby, send a text that I’ll be late in the conversation with Jimmy.
- Hi Bixby, delete the text that says See you.
- Hi Bixby, take a picture and send it to the conversation with John.
- Hi Bixby, send Jane’s contact info to Andrew.
- Hi Bixby, delete all message drafts.
- Hi Bixby, set message font size to the maximum.
- Hi Bixby, remind me to take medicine at 3 pm.
- Hi Bixby, show me my most recent reminder.
- Hi Bixby, show me my completed reminders.
- Hi Bixby, delete all of my reminders.
- Hi Bixby, set all of my reminders as completed.
- Hi Bixby, change the color of my most recent reminder to blue.
- Hi Bixby, add my most recent picture to the most recent reminder.
- Hi Bixby, complete this reminder.
- Hi Bixby, save my parking location.
- Hi Bixby, delete the Shopping reminder.
- Hi Bixby, open YouTube.
- Hi Bixby, show me the videos trending.
- Hi Bixby, show me my subscriptions.
- Hi Bixby, show me all channels I’ve subscribed to.
- Hi Bixby, record a video and upload it.
- Hi Bixby, search for Android Authority.
- Hi Bixby, add this video to my favorites.
- Hi Bixby, connect to my TV.
In October 2017, Samsung announced Bixby 2.0, an upgraded version of its digital assistant, which launched on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 in 2019. While there were some hiccups with the upgrade, it brought Bixby one step closer to competing with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Siri.
Bixby 2.0 brought forth better natural language recognition, making it more conversational. Bixby users were previously limited to simple commands, like the ones listed above. Bixby 2.0 also included more languages and support for a wider variety of markets. It can even recognize users, learn about their habits, and better assist them with daily tasks.
The upgraded software was also an attempt to turn the digital assistant into a full blown ecosystem for internet of things (IoT) and smart devices, hence the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Home, a smart speaker much like Google Home and Amazon Echo. This hasn’t entirely become a reality yet, although it is included in many new Samsung appliances.
In their efforts to further expand the digital assistant to the world, the Korean giant has also opened Bixby up to third party developers. This allows for the creation of new apps, products, and services. As of the June 2019, the Bixby Marketplace has been launched and is ready for devs to take action.
Learn more about Bixby and other digital assistants: