Quibi Review: Big Stars on New ‘Quick Bite’ Streaming Service

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Quibi is a video streaming service made for your cell phone.
Image Credit: Quibi.com/Clark.com

Editor’s Note: Quibi shared in October 2020 that it was shutting down. Read the full announcement here.


If you have a busy lifestyle and find yourself without time for full episodes of TV shows or movies, Quibi might be the solution to your entertainment needs.

The new “made-for-mobile” streaming service, which launched in April 2020, is geared toward consumers looking for short-form content (10 minutes or less) on their cell phone. The platform offers quick-hit entertainment options in popular categories like comedy, news, weather and sports — all with the promise of new content each day.

It also has big name stars like Jennifer Lopez, Liam Hemsworth, Reese Witherspoon, Chance the Rapper and Chrissy Teigen, on board to produce content for subscribers.

This is a new take on the fast-growing video streaming industry, so Team Clark decided to try it out to give you the lowdown. I downloaded Quibi and utilized a 90-day free trial offer. I’ll offer some of my experiences with the app in this review, along with some detail on pricing and content options.

Table of Contents

Team Clark loves helping our readers cut the cord and save money on their monthly entertainment bill.

This review is one of many we conducted as a part of our video streaming services series. You can learn more about Team Clark’s strategies for keeping your monthly streaming bill under $25 per month here:

Given the widespread availability of quality streaming content from major players like Disney, Netflix and Amazon, does Quibi belong in your streaming portfolio? Let’s find out.

What Is Quibi?

Quibi is a new streaming subscription service that focuses on short-form content. All of Quibi’s content is done in episodes that last 10 minutes or less and is formatted specifically for viewing on a cell phone.

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With more people turning to their phones for entertainment and spending less time on one piece of content, Quibi is making an educated gamble that the future of subscription streaming entertainment will be short-dose consumption conducted away from the convention “TV in the living room” setup.

You can get a better understand of how Quibi works from this quick promotional video:

How Can I Get Quibi?

Quibi launched on April 6, 2020 and is available for streaming now.

Devices

Quibi is specifically designed for consumption on Android and iOS devices. You can download the app for free on either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

At this time, Quibi is considered “mobile only” and not compatible with streaming TV devices like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Price

Quibi is a subscription service, so while it is free to download there is not actually any free content available.

There are two different pricing tiers for a Quibi subscription:

  • $4.99 per month with ads
  • $7.99 per month for ad-free experience

The service is offering a 90-day free trial, which you can sign up for by downloading the app and setting up an account with your email address. One drawback to the free trial is that you’re required to put a payment method on file (if you use Google Pay or Apple Pay, your phone may default to using that). This means you will have to set yourself a reminder to cancel the service prior to the first monthly charge, though Quibi does advertise that it will email you a reminder prior to charging you for the first time.

Here are a couple of screenshots from the signup process that will help you understand the type of agreement required:

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Quibi has two paid subscription options.

You will be required to put a payment method on your Quibi account to enjoy the free trial.

T-Mobile Promotion

Cell phone provider T-Mobile is offering some of its customers free access to Quibi. It comes with an interesting catch, though. T-Mobile included the following message in its “Quibi On Us” announcement:

“After a full year of Quibi on Us and Netflix on Us, customers can choose to continue with one or the other.”

Many streaming customers joined T-Mobile in part to enjoy complimentary access to a basic Netflix plan. It will be interesting to see if Quibi can make a big enough impression on T-Mobile customers to perhaps convince them to keep the new service instead.

Content Available to Stream on Quibi

Original Series

Here’s a sampling of the type of original content you’ll find on Quibi

  • Punk’d: Chance the Rapper revives the old Ashton Kutcher celebrity prank show that aired on MTV
  • Murder House Flip: A twist on your conventional home renovation show which involves remodeling homes that were once the site of a murder
  • Chrissy’s Court: Chrissy Teigen hears both sides of real court cases and makes real rulings in a show reminiscent of Judge Judy or The People’s Court
  • Most Dangerous Game: Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth portrays a desperate man in debt in this thriller
  • The Rachel Hollis Show: Daily motivational and lifestyle inspiration show from the best-selling author
  • Flipped: Will Forte stars in a comedy that portrays a house-flipping couple being duped by the Mexican drug cartel
  • Fierce Queens: Hollywood star Reese Witherspoon narrates a docuseries about females in the animal kingdom
  • Thanks A Million: A “pay-it-forward” themed show produced by Jennifer Lopez where 10 celebrities like Kevin Hart and Kristen Bell surprise unsuspecting people in need with $100,000 to help them along
  • Last Night’s Late Night by Entertainment Weekly: A daily recap of all the top clips from late night comedy shows from the night before

Here’s a look at a trailer from Thanks A Million, which features a new celebrity on each episode:

News, Gossip and Sports

The news, gossip and sports offerings are daily rundowns that typically last between six and eight minutes. Almost like a highlight show of the day’s biggest events. You can slide through one topic and move to the next based on markers within the episode that show you what is coming up.

  • Around the World by BBC News
  • The Report by NBC News
  • The Replay by ESPN
  • Pulso News by Telemundo
  • Close Up by E! News
  • No Filter by TMZ
  • Weather Today by The Weather Channel

Here’s a quick look at what The Replay by ESPN produces each day for an example of what to expect:

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Content for Kids

If you’re looking for kid-friendly content on your phone, Quibi does not appear to be a viable option — at least not yet. I did a handful of searches of the content library in search of something that might be suitable for the children in my own home, and I came up mostly empty. There is an animal-centric show called “All the Feels by Dodo” that may interest some children.

It will be interesting to see if there is a focus on this demographic as the new streaming service grows.

User Experience With Quibi

Now that you know what Quibi has to offer, you may be wondering how easy the app is to use. I spent quite a bit of time shuffling through shows and using as many aspects of the app as possible. Here are some of the quick takeaways:

How Bad Are the Ads?

Remember, even though Quibi is a subscription service you’ll still have to deal with ads on the $4.99 monthly subscription level. To upgrade to an ad-free experience, you’ll have to pay $7.99 per month.

As a part of the 90-day free trial, you are subjected to advertisements as though you are paying for the $4.99 subscription. To be honest, it really wasn’t that bad. I was exposed to one 10-15 second commercial from brands like Tide, Progressive or T-Mobile before the start of each new episode I watched. There was no interruption during the content, which was a pleasant surprise.

If Quibi continues to make the commercial viewing process so painless, I could see choosing the lower-priced subscription as a cost-saving measure.

User Interface

Quibi is set up for easy navigation. There are four menu options across the bottom of the screen that guide the user experience: For You, Browse, Following and Downloads.

For You is a curated landing page when you pull up the app. It shows new episodes that might interest you based on your viewing history. Browse has a search bar that lets you look for content with search terms. You’re also able to sort content by genre here. Following is a curated list of content based on the shows you decide to follow. Downloads is where you quickly reference any of the content you’ve downloaded for offline viewing.

Here’s a quick look at the user interface:

Murder House Flip is one of the original shows available on Quibi. The Replay by ESPN is a daily rundown of the top news stories in sports.

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Landscape and Portrait Compatibility

My favorite part of the user experience was how flawlessly the content adapts to the user changing from portrait to landscape mode. As I was testing it out, I made a point of rapidly moving my phone back-and-forth between the viewing angles to see how the service adjusted. It was so good that I found there to be no interruption in the viewing experience.

Content on Quibi also is tailored to change with your phone’s orientation. For example, if news content has graphics overlaying the story, those graphics will change in size and shape to fit the orientation of your phone. I hoped to share a screenshot of this experience, but Quibi does not allow for screenshots within the app while original content is displayed.

Tips for Enjoying Quibi

Has some of the available content caught your attention? Here are some tips for enjoying it on Quibi:

  • Follow Your Favorites: When you tag a show to be followed, all of the latest episodes for your hand-picked shows are curated into one tab for easy consumption. You also can set an alert so that you receive a notification on your phone when a new episode of your favorited show goes live.
  • Download Content Before You Go: Quibi makes it really easy to download an episode to your phone. If you download a show to your phone, you should be able to avoid any potential cell reception and data concerns. And since it’s a relatively small file due to the duration of the content, it shouldn’t take too long to complete a download via WiFi.
  • Exit the App As You Please: I was happy to find out that you can leave the app in the middle of watching content and return to that content without missing a beat. If you get a phone call or text message, you’re not going to lose your spot in the episode. This is true even if you close the app and return hours later.

Final Thoughts on Quibi

Still trying to decide whether or not you should add Quibi to your streaming portfolio? Here are some pros and cons to think over:

Quibi: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Quick bite content makes for easy on-the-go consumption Must watch the content via phone app
Generous 90-day free trial No long-form content
New content available daily Must pay $7.99 per month to avoid ads

Bottom Line: I’ll admit it. I started this review as a skeptic of the idea of a mobile-only streaming service. I need to see things on my big screen at home!

But after playing around with Quibi, I think I’m on board with the idea of quick-bite content on my phone. Compelling short-form content can be a great way to pass the time if you show up a few minutes early for a meeting or are killing a time in the backseat of an Uber.

If you are the type of content consumer who is more likely to watch an engaging live Instagram stream from your favorite star than you are to binge watch 20 hour-long episodes of the latest drama, Quibi may be the perfect subscription streaming solution for you.

And, with a generous 90-day free trial, we all get an ample chance to decide if we like it for ourselves.

Do you have experience watching the Quibi streaming service? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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