Quibi vs TikTok: Which short-form video app is best?

Quibi vs TikTok
(Image credit: Quibi; Tiktok)

TikTok, a land of fun viral videos, has been the name on the lips of teens and olds alike. But there's a new mobile-only video app in town: Quibi. And since neither video services was something most had heard about prior to last year, we're guessing that you're trying to figure out the difference between Quibi vs. TikTok.

While similar in format, Quibi and TikTok differ greatly when it comes down to how you consume their content as well as what exactly they offer. This Quibi vs TikTok face-off will break down the differences between these two services, so you can tell them apart and see which is right for you — and also not sound like you're out of touch when you're talking about either.

The good news, overall, is that you don't need to pick one or the other. It'll probably just be a matter of seeing which you like, and going from there. You should also check out my full Quibi review to learn more about how the app works.

Quibi vs TikTok: Price and ads 

Quibi CES keynote

Quibi pricing (Image credit: Quibi)

The best things in life are free, and so is TikTok. The app, which skyrocketed to popularity in 2019, lets everyone in the door without a fee. Quibi, on the other hand, has two paid tiers and no free package — though it's offering a 90-day free trial, so you've got a lot of time to test Quibi out before paying.

Quibi starts at $4.99, with an ad-supported version, and its ad-free version is $7.99. Quibi's ads themselves are pretty short, though TikTok doesn't have many ads (I just saw a Quibi ad inside of TikTok).

Quibi vs TikTok: Content and shows

The biggest difference in this Quibi vs TikTok face-off concerns the content inside both apps. Yes, both err on shorter form content, with TikTok going for a couple of minutes or less, and Quibi episodes running less than 10 minutes each, but that's where their similarities stop.

Quibi review

Quibi (Image credit: Quibi)

For starters, Quibi's shows work in both horizontal and vertical video modes. This works thanks to a feature called Turnstyle, which lets you rotate your phone 90 degrees for a seamless transition, so you can watch a show from a different angle, as Quibi shows are shot for both portrait and landscape orientations.

Think of Quibi as your local multiplex and TikTok as a comedy club that's letting everyone take the stage. Quibi shows and movies are much more polished, and filled with stars, like Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Chrissy Teigen (Lip Sync Battle) — while TikTok stars only become stars because of TikTok, and they're more niche names, that become viral celebrities. Notable TikTok celebs have included Charli D'Amelio, Chase Hudson, Addison Rae and Josh Richards, who are all between the ages of 15 and 19. 


Quibi (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Heck, even you can be on TikTok. The app itself is not just for consuming content, but creating it as well. You pick the audio track, you perform in front of the camera and then edit it all together, with hopes of viral success. 

And that taps into another difference: Quibi is made up of a wider range of content than TikTok is, offering dramas, reality TV, news, comedy and more. Check out our list of the best Quibi shows. TikTok, on the other hand, is more focused on pairing music or soundtracks with live performers.


TikTok (Image credit: Future)

Quibi vs TikTok: Outlook

Right now, Quibi's the new kid on the block, and it's trying to get people to put down TikTok (and every other app) to capture their attention for 10 minutes or less. Check out my full Quibi review to learn more about the service, and see if you should sign up for its 90-day free trial. That lengthy test-run time, before the $4.99 billing kicks in, is a huge factor that could set Quibi up for success. 

TikTok, however, shouldn't worry. Quibi isn't competing in the same lane as TikTok, and nobody else looks like they're pulling TikTok's creators away to make videos somewhere else.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.