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One hope for artificial intelligence is that it will enhance productivity by allowing us to process information faster. To that end, we tested nine AI text-summarizing tools, evaluating their ability to effectively shrink large texts into short blurbs or bullet-point lists. We found that Genei, Jasper, and ChatGPT Plus (the GPT-4 model) all provide the best summaries, with Genei leading the pack overall.
All three picks are impressive summarizers, tested across three different documents of varying lengths and complexity. Genei and Jasper were the most accurate, and Genei and ChatGPT Plus were the most versatile, capable of summarizing much larger documents.
If you feel uncomfortable handing over the summarization task entirely to an AI tool, Genei allows you to click on individual bullet points in its summary and then shows you where in the original document it got that information. This is particularly useful for fact-checking parts of the summary or jumping to specific sections of the document to read them in depth. The other tools require more trust.
Two of our picks have different subscription levels, but only one offers plans for businesses/teams. (See our pricing deep dive below.)
Overall, Genei is the strongest summarizer of the ones we tested. The Basic plan and the Pro plan performed similarly. If you’re just using Genei to summarize documents, we recommend the Basic plan.
- It provides very accurate summaries.
- It’s able to summarize large documents.
- You can click on individual bullet points in the summaries and it will highlight where in the document that information came from.
- There’s currently no business or team subscription plan.
- It summarizes at a slower pace than our other top picks. The Basic plan is faster than the Pro plan.
- The way it breaks up large documents isn’t always intuitive. For example, we gave it a PDF of a book, and it broke it up into a confusing mix of chapters and subsections of chapters. Ideally, it would have cleanly broken the book up into chapters.
ChatGPT Plus (GPT-4 model) is tied for second place. It’s highly versatile, adjusting outputs based on your feedback and letting you ask it anything about a document in question.
- You can install a plugin that allows you to upload large documents to summarize.
- You can adjust the summary to your liking by giving it feedback (e.g., “provide more details” or “shorten the summary to 200 words”).
- Its summaries were mostly accurate, but less so than our other top picks.
- Some of the facts in its summary were presented in a confusing order.
- Its initial reply can be long-winded and vague—we recommend specifying the length and level of detail you’re looking for.
Jasper is tied for second place. It provides very accurate summaries, but it can’t summarize long documents and it’s expensive because of the other tools included in the cost. If you’re just looking for a text summarizer, this might not be the tool for you given the steep price.
- It provides very accurate summaries.
- It summarizes text very quickly.
- It can only summarize up to 16,000 characters at a time, limiting the type of documents it can work with.
- You have to copy and paste the text you want to summarize.
- Since the product includes a wide range of tools, it’s more expensive than the other top picks.
There are dozens of AI text summarizers available to consumers, of which we tested nine: Jasper, Scholarcy, ChatPDF, TLDR This, Quillbot, Summarizer.org, Genei (pronounced ‘jee-nee’), Paraphraser.io, and ChatGPT Plus (GPT-4 model).
We first tested each tool’s ability to summarize the same 1400-word Time article: “Big Tech Has Layoffs All Wrong” written by Kevin Delaney, Charter’s editor-in-chief. For the next round, we then winnowed down the pool to four tools that had provided the best summaries: Jasper, Quillbot, ChatGPT Plus, and Genei. We then tested the remaining tools’ ability to summarize an 800-word article about a research study conducted by Charter and Qualtrics and a 30-page academic report from Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group, and picked our top three.
Our top pick is Genei, which has a Basic plan for $10.99 per month for individuals billed annually and a Pro plan for $33.99 per month for individuals billed annually (see below for more information comparing the two plans). In second place is tie between ChatGPT Plus (GPT-4 model), which you can purchase for $20 per month, and Jasper, which starts at $39 per month for individuals billed annually. The prices range considerably because some products, like Jasper, offer more tools—in addition to the summarizer—than others. Here’s how each of our picks stacks up on a few key features:
(Note: In this section, when mentioning Genei, we are referring to both the Basic and the Pro plan. We make a distinction between the two when necessary).
Accuracy of facts: Genei and Jasper provided the most accurate summaries, correctly presenting information from the source documents. ChatGPT Plus provided an accurate summary, but when summarizing a section of Delaney’s article, it defined furloughs as “giv[ing] extended leave with reduced pay,” omitting the second part of the definition Delaney provided: “or no pay.”
Accuracy of the main point: A summary can get all of the details correct but still miss the main point. Again Genei and Jasper were the leaders here, accurately capturing the nuances of each document’s argument and including most of the important elements. ChatGPT Plus got the facts right, but some of them were presented out of order in a confusing manner.
Word limit: Genei and ChatGPT Plus were the only two capable of summarizing the 30-page academic report. Interestingly, Genei didn’t give an overall summary, but instead provided summaries of each individual section of the report. Since most long documents have abstracts or executive summaries, we don’t see this as a significant downside. Jasper was not able to summarize the long report, as it limits inputs to 16,000 characters.
Ease of use: Genei is the easiest tool to use, letting you upload pdfs or paste URLs for articles you want to summarize. You can also click on individual bullet points in the summaries it gives, and it will highlight where in the document that information came from. This is useful for fact-checking, but it also lets you jump to sections of the document that you might want to read in depth. ChatGPT Plus comes in second for ease of use, letting you copy/paste text you want summarized but also letting you upload pdfs by installing a plugin. It also adjusts the summary it gives you based on feedback. Jasper is the weakest for this criterion, only accepting copy/pasted text.
Speed: Jasper is the fastest, followed by ChatGPT Plus. Genei is the slowest option, but its Basic plan is faster than its Pro plan.
Also consider: If you’re looking for a cheap, easy-to-use tool with a lot of versatility, consider ChatPDF. Its summaries weren’t accurate enough to make it one of our picks, but we like that it lets you have a conversation about the document in question, allowing you to go deeper than a simple summary. From our testing, it appears to be better at answering direct factual questions than questions that involve judgment (i.e., it’s better at questions like, “What does the document say about XYZ” than “Give me a summary of this document” or “What are the three most important points in this document?”). If you want to check its work—which we would recommend—you can ask for page numbers for the answers it provides. Its free version will likely be enough for most people’s daily needs, and its paid version—which lets you upload up to 50 PDFs per day (up to 2,000 pages each) and ask 1,000 questions per day—is $5 per month.
Also consider Quillbot, which was the fourth best summarizer we tested. It provides mostly accurate summaries, and it offers a solid free version, capable of summarizing up to 1,200 words at a time, and a premium plan for $8.33 per month paid annually and $19.95 per month paid monthly. And unlike two of our top picks, Quillbot offers a team plan.
Pricing deep dive
Because our top picks vary considerably when it comes to the other tools they offer, they vary widely in price. Jasper is the most expensive option, but that price also includes features such as a writing assistant that can match your tone, an image generator, and more. (For this review, we didn’t test any of its other features.)
Genei has two pricing options: Basic and Pro. It also offers academic options for both plans for anyone with an academic email, priced at a 40% discount.
- The Basic plan costs $10.99 per month billed annually, or $13.99 per month billed monthly.
- The Pro plan costs $33.99 per month billed annually, or $40.99 per month billed monthly.
The Basic plan has lower quality AI, according to Genei’s website. And with the Basic plan, you’re limited to 5GB for each individual file upload, though that wasn’t a problem for any document we tested, including a PDF of an entire book. (For more information comparing each plan, check out the pricing options on their website.)
Based on our testing, the Basic summarizer is just as accurate as the Pro summarizer. Its summaries were also shorter, and they took less time to generate. If you’re just using Genei to summarize documents, we recommend the Basic plan.
ChatGPT Plus currently only has one pricing plan.
- ChatGPT Plus costs $20 per month.
- OpenAI says it will release a business plan in the coming months.
(Note: You can also try out the GPT-4 model for free through Microsoft’s Bing, which can also summarize articles and documents. We did not include Bing in our review.)
Jasper has three pricing levels: Creator, Team, and Business.
- If you want to try out Jasper on your own, choose the Creator option for $39 per month billed annually and $49 per month billed monthly.
- If you want to try Jasper for your team (up to 10 people), choose the Teams option, which covers three people for the cost of $99 per month billed annually and $125 per month billed monthly. Each additional team member costs $49 per month when billed annually and $62 per month when billed monthly.
- If you want Jasper for your team of more than 10 people, check out the Business option (inquire for pricing).
How we chose what to review
We sourced our AI text summarizers by fielding ideas from employees at Charter and reading blogs and other product reviews. Based on what other reviewers consistently recommended—and an interest in testing out ChatPDF and the GPT-4 model (through ChatGPT Plus)—we narrowed down our testing to nine tools.
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