Uptime is a 5-minute learning, knowledge-hacking, and book summary app. It offers over 2,500 knowledge hacks in extremely creative reading, watching, and listening formats. In our Uptime review, we’ll explain exactly how it works, what it’s like, and whether it’s worth your time and dollars.
Whenever there’s a new book summary service, at Four Minute Books, we feel obliged to review it for you. In Uptime’s case, we’re excited to do so not just because of their creative approach to delivering the content, but also because their self-proclaimed goal is to replace doomscrolling with productivity, learning, and wellbeing. If that’s not a noble reason to start a book summary service, then what is?
The Uptime team not only summarizes books but also adds courses, documentaries, and podcast summaries to its quickly growing content library. It also has a lot of unique features that add a lot to the summary-reading experience. We’ve tried Uptime for the last few weeks, and now, we’d like to tell you all about it.
After our usual, quick summary and FAQ, we’ll show you the pros and cons of using Uptime, along with a detailed walkthrough of how it feels to use the app. We’ll also break down how Uptime’s “Knowledge Hack” format works, and we’ve even gathered some reviews from other users around the web. Finally, we’ll end on our conclusion and recommendation.
As always, you can jump to whatever section of this review seems most interesting to you thanks to our neat table of contents:
If you want to come back up here at any time, just hit the little up arrow icon on the bottom right corner of this page. Alright, let’s dive into our Uptime review with the most frequently asked questions about the app.
Can they turn your downtime into uptime? You’re about to find out!
Quick Summary of Our Uptime Review (FAQ)
1. What is the Uptime app?
Uptime is a knowledge-hacking app that gives quick summaries or “hacks” of all kinds of content, from books and online courses to documentaries and more. You can read or listen to hacks and leave bookmarks, download for offline listening, and see where you can purchase the course or book.
2. Is Uptime a good app?
Uptime is one of our favorite apps for learning from digital content. It’s easy to use, has all of the most important features like the ability to read or listen anywhere, and it’s got a ton of content. One of our favorite parts is that it lets you quickly figure out what the best books, courses, and documentaries are for you so you don’t have to waste time on content that doesn’t appeal to you. More on that later though!
3. Can you use the Uptime app for free?
You can download and use the Uptime app for free but you only get one free hack per day and you don’t get to choose it. The app does give a variety of free summaries between their different content types, including book, course, documentary, and podcast hacks.
4. How much does an Uptime subscription cost?
The regular price of Uptime is $19.99 per month if billed month-to-month. You can also pay yearly at the price of $79.99 per year, which comes to about $7 per month. We often find discounts though that let you purchase your first year for $49.99, or just over $4 per month on average.
5. Is Uptime worth it?
For just $4-$7 per month you get thousands of summaries of courses, books, podcasts, and documentaries that you can learn from to improve your life, learn a new skill, or just relax and enjoy interesting stories and ideas. This saves you hundreds of hours of your precious time. It also saves hundreds of dollars that you’d normally have to spend on all of this content. You can get just the main points for a fraction of the time and money, making Uptime 100% worth the cost.
Pros and Cons of Uptime
Uptime has so many cool features that we can’t wait to show you. Before that, though, we want to go over the main reasons that people love Uptime and also let you know what’s not so great about it. Let’s jump right into it with the many plusses of using Uptime!
Pros of using Uptime:
- It has over 2,500 summaries of courses, podcasts, and documentaries as well as books. This is the only app that we are aware of that offers shorter versions of courses, podcasts, and documentaries and we absolutely love it. We love digital content of all types, and the ability to find summaries of all kinds is wonderful because it really broadens the horizons of what you can learn from.
- Uptime will save you a TON of time and money that you could be spending consuming full courses, books, podcasts, and documentaries. We love this about all summary services but Uptime does an exceptional job here with all that it has to offer. Many online courses, for instance, cost between $150 and $1,000, so to be able to get the main points of as many courses as you want for just $4-$7 a month is an incredible deal. Not to mention that most courses, documentaries, books, and podcasts would normally take you at anywhere from one to 10 hours to complete. With Uptime, you can get the main ideas in a mere 15 minutes at most.
- The app already has phenomenal reviews in the Apple app store and many awards. It’s got a 4.8 out of 5 average rating and users are raving about it. Almost every review has a response from Uptime as well, both good and bad. It’s also currently an Editors’ Choice app in the Apple app store. We’ll get into more on what other users have to say about Uptime in the next section.
- The content delivery system is one of the best we’ve ever seen. You can read or listen to hacks and each is made up of mini lessons that you swipe between, so you’re never overwhelmed by a wall of text. They also get creative with the way content is delivered, occasionally including videos to give context to the lessons and make them even more clear. Plus, you can save any page within a hack so that you can easily remember your favorite parts of everything you read on Uptime.
- Their team is adding 40 new hacks every week. That averages to almost six new summaries every day. I’ve been using the app for a little while now and it’s tough to consume that much in a day, so I’m excited to know that I’m never going to run out of stuff to learn from within Uptime!
Cons of using Uptime:
- It’s a new app, so it might not have some of your favorites. However, because they are adding 40 new titles every week, their library is growing quickly and you’ll soon be able to find everything you want to learn from inside.
- You don’t get the stories and nuance that you’d normally have reading a full book. We’ve found that this is completely made up for in the fact that we end up using Uptime to find the best courses, books, podcasts, and documentaries, so we only spend our time and money on what we love. I might use Uptime to find a course that I really love amid a few that are just alright, so it’s much easier for me to decide to go purchase the full course. Plus, there are links to the full courses, books, and podcasts in each hack!
- Some of the courses give really generic tips. I found that I couldn’t go into as much detail with learning from courses as I would have liked to, and I’m sure the same applies for the rest of their content as well. I’d sometimes get to the end of a course hack and not feel like I’d learned how to do what the course was designed to teach. I will say that it was always a good preview of what I would learn if I were to purchase the full course, which made it much easier to be picky in which online courses I actually decide to buy.
What Is It Like to Use the Uptime App?
As we’ve already explained, the user interface in the Uptime app is one of the best we’ve ever seen. There are so many options for reading or listening, it’s super simple and visually appealing, and it lets you save anything you might want to access later.
Let’s get right into it with the main screen when you first open the app:
In the top right corner the little fire icon shows your streak and lets you customize your interests at any time. If you are using the free version of the app you’ll notice a diamond icon up there that shows your options for purchasing a subscription.
Next up, in the first main section of this screen, you’ve got the option to jump back into any hacks that you were partway through when you last opened the app.
After that begins a section of recommendations based on your previous reading. More suggestions follow, starting with the “Now trending” section just above the bottom menu. Below that you’ll continue to see more recommendations and other sections:
That bottom menu lets you navigate between four main pages within the app:
- Your home page, which is what you see above
- The “Browse” area, which lets you find new content by topic or collection
- “Sparks,” which are bookmarks of your favorite lessons
- My Uptime, which will show your streak, messages, settings, and your hacks, including downloads.
Let’s take a dive into each of these other sections, starting with “Browse.” Here is a screenshot of what this section looks like:
At the top you can search for any hack by title, author, or keyword.
Next you can browse by topic. This section includes all the major topics of books, courses, podcasts, and documentaries. You’ll see sections like Personal Growth, Money & Investing, Parenting & Relationships, Arts & Design, and more.
The “Deep dive into” section comes last, and includes links to all different kinds of hacks that Uptime has. These sections are:
- Book hacks
- Course hacks
- Documentary hacks
- Podcast hacks
- Editor’s picks
- Trending hacks
- New hacks
Note that collections are groupings of hacks based on all kinds of things, such as authors favorites, top documentaries, best books, how to be a leader, and much more.
Editor’s picks will show you hacks for current top rated content in all different categories.
I think my favorite thing about this is how simple it is to find content that you’ll love. Right away I can see genre’s that I like, but I can also sort through collections by my favorite authors or life events I might be dealing with.
It’s also not bogged down with too many sections. You get the search bar, the browse by topic option, and the deep dive area, and that’s it. I don’t ever feel like I have to waste time trying to figure out how to use this section, which saves me even more time getting right to the best lessons from all kinds of content!
After the Browse area comes the Sparks, which is like a personal library of your favorite lessons that you’ve saved from summaries. Here’s what the main screen looks like:
Sparks are organized into boards, and the default board they’ll go into is “My board” shown above. Once you go into the board, you’ll get to replay each of the sparks you’ve saved as if you were reading it within the summary that you saved it from.
Within each Spark you can also have a few different options:
First up is your typical share option. Below that you’ve got the big button that lets you add a note to your Spark. I love this idea because the library then becomes a living document that you can go back and record ideas and experiences living the principles that each Spark teaches.
Below that you’ll see the option to view the board that the Spark is in. You can also remove the Spark. At the very bottom is a link that will take you to the full hack that the Spark came from.
As with the previous sections, I love how simple this is. It’s just what you need and no more than that. It’s not overwhelming with too many options. I really think that if you used it right this could rival an Evernote library, but you’ll have to check out our review of Evernote to decide for yourself.
The last of the main sections in the Uptime app is “My Uptime.” Here’s what it looks like:
From the top right corner we’ve got the mail icon, which lets you join Uptime’s newsletter to get updates on their newest content. Next to that is where you can change the app’s settings, including going into dark mode, signing out of your account, changing your notification options, and more.
Next, you’ll see the “Start your streak” section. You’ll start and continue your streak by completing one insight per day from any hack. This a fun way to help you remember to keep learning.
Below that you’ve got the option to set up reminders so that you don’t lose your streak. I’ve found that this is really helpful because with so many apps on my phone, it’s easy to forget what I want to be spending my time on the most. I don’t usually allow many reminders on my phone, but Uptime is definitely one I’m considering letting notify me to remind me to keep learning!
In the next section you’ll see all the hacks that you’ve saved. You can view them by all, downloaded, unfinished, or your history.
At the very bottom you’ve got two last areas, one for your stats and the other lets you get in touch with Uptime:
I really love the “hours saved” widget, which shows you how many hours you would have had to spend reading full books and other types of content instead of using Uptime to get them summarized.
You’ll also see your longest streak, number of different topics you’ve covered, your favorite category, and more.
That does it for the main screens in the Uptime app, now let’s move on to get into the finer details of using Uptime!
How Do Uptime’s Knowledge Hacks Work?
I love reading summaries, also known as hacks, with Uptime. It’s simple but also goes in-depth in all the right places. For this section, we’ll focus just on book and course hacks, but podcast and documentary hacks are going to have the same look and feel. Basically, consuming these hacks feels exactly like watching stories on Instagram or Snapchat!
When you first press on any hack, you’ll be taken to a screen that has a summary, options to bookmark and download, and a link to the full content. You can then select whether you want to read, watch, or listen to the hack.
Once you start reading a hack, here’s what you’ll see:
At the top you’ll see a little bar showing you the name of the book and a notation of which section you are in of how many total sections there are in the hack. Next to that you can pause the hack, toggle listening on or off, and exit out of the hack.
The small bar below that shows the title of the section you’re in and has a slider showing how long you have left on this screen. Uptime automatically switches between sections in each hack, so this bar is like the timer telling you when your time on this section is up. You can pause at any moment though, so don’t worry about missing anything!
The body of the hack follows, and I love how this keeps things super simple for us and doesn’t have a wall of text or anything overwhelming. The content in this section changes as you go through, starting with the “in a nutshell” and moving on to the actual lessons:
This is an example of one of my favorite parts of Uptime. Rather than just telling you about an event or lesson, it actually gives you the video or other applicable content as much as possible.
In this instance, we see the hack mentioning when a news reporter had a panic attack while reporting on live TV and they actually show the footage of it! You can’t even get that when you’re reading a book normally!
This is just one small way that Uptime goes above and beyond when it comes to summaries. No more searching to try to find what a book is talking about, it’s right there for you to watch for yourself! We’ve never seen this kind of thing in a summary service before, and it’s one of the reasons we love Uptime so much.
Also while reading hacks you’ll have a few options at the bottom of the screen, starting with the “Spark this” button, which will pull up this screen:
Your Spark will automatically be saved and you can choose what board to add it to or create a brand new board. After pressing “Done,” you’ll return to the hack to continue reading, listening, or watching.
On the right side of the bottom menu while reading a hack, you’ll see the option to share and then a “More” button, which takes you here:
At the top you’ll still see the “Spark this” and “Share” buttons and a “Less” button to take you back to the hack.
In the middle, you’ve got options to save the hack to your library to read later, change the mode, download it for on-the-go listening or reading, and the option to change the reading speed.
The mode is pretty cool as it lets you change between three types of delivery:
- Story, which is the default option where it automatically moves from lesson to lesson.
- Audio, where the hack is presented in the same breakdown as story mode, but it’s just audio instead of text.
- Text, which lets you just read the hack at your own pace and move to each section whenever you want.
You can also toggle the auto-play in story mode. This lets you choose whether or not you want hacks to automatically play the next lesson and gives you the chance to move at your own pace more.
I like both options because sometimes it’s easier to focus when I know that the content will only be onscreen for a limited time but it’s also nice to be able to switch if I want to just take my time and think about the lessons as I go through them.
Another cool feature of Uptime is that it shows you ways to apply what you’re learning. I love that they emphasize this because a lot of the time with summarized content it’s easy to get caught up in consuming volume instead of taking a deep dive. Uptime fixes this by offering an “insight in action” for each lesson:
You get to see each insight in action at the end of the lesson, and a shorter summary of all of them together when you’ve finished the hack:
Sometimes it’s really tough to get the “what should I do about this?” out of non-fiction content like this. Many books we read have so much in them that we feel overwhelmed with everything we want to do about what they teach.
Uptime removes this problem by giving you the summary and focusing you on just a few main points from the content that you can apply to improve your life!
That’ll do it for Uptime’s main features! I told you it was simple and easy to use, didn’t I? It’s easy to see already that we love Uptime, but let’s wrap up with a quick summary of everything and our final conclusion of whether or not Uptime is worth it for you. Although I think you already know what we’re going to say about it!
Uptime Reviews By Users
As of this writing, Uptime has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 in the Apple app store and 4.0 out of 5 in the Google Play (Android) store. Let’s take a deeper look into what people have to say about Uptime in their reviews.
On the Google Play app store, the majority of negative reviews have to do with the cost of Uptime. Many of these people say that the content is great, they’re just frustrated with the price.
Looking through the reviews, I also couldn’t find a single one that Uptime hadn’t responded to, no matter whether it was critical or praise! And I scrolled through maybe a couple hundred reviews, too. These guys care about their users, and it shows.
Here are some of the main ideas from comments from app store reviews of Uptime:
- People love the concept of summaries for books, courses, documentaries, and other types of content as well as the way that Uptime delivers these.
- Tons of summaries and a very nice app but sometimes the summaries feel too simple and thin. I just want to point out here that as we mentioned in our pros and cons list above, this is inevitable with summary services and can actually be a good thing as it helps you decide what content is actually worth your time.
- One user referred to Uptime as “Snapchat for knowledge” and we couldn’t agree more.
- Comments mention that it gives people an opportunity to learn from books and other content that they’ve been dying to read but haven’t had the time for. Plus they love that it also leads them to books that they might never have found on their own!
- A review from just a few months ago describes how the user used to pick up lots of books and never finish them, but that Uptime has solved this issue for them!
I searched for reviews of Uptime on Reddit but unfortunately wasn’t able to find anything just yet. Give it some time though, and I’m sure people will start chiming in there to let us know what they think!
There are already hundreds of comments in reviews in the Apple and Google Play stores though. If you want more ideas to help you see if Uptime is for you, check out Uptime in each app store via the links below:
Now that we’ve seen what others think of Uptime and looked at it’s major pros and cons, it’s time to get into the awesome details of what the app feels like.
How Uptime Has Changed My Life for the Better
I love non-fiction content, especially from books and online courses. In just the last few years, I’ve probably spent a few thousand dollars on just courses and books.
The sad part about all of that, though, is that I’ve only actually finished about 25% of it all. If I had started with Uptime, I would have saved all that money and not left anything unfinished because I’d have got through all of that content much sooner at a far cheaper price.
I’ve only been using Uptime for a short time, and it already tells me that I’ve saved 57 hours by learning from 27 insights. If we were conservative and said that each of those was a book insight and the average cost of a book is $15, I’d be out $405 to read all of those books. Considering many of those were courses, the actual number is probably over $1,000!
What’s more, those 57 hours I’ve saved have let me spend more time on applying the content to improve my life and less time bogged down in the details that can make some non-fiction content difficult to get through. Without all that overwhelm, I’ve improved my life much faster than if it weren’t for Uptime.
Conclusion of Our Uptime Review: Is Uptime Worth It?
An Uptime subscription costs just $4-7 per month and lets you get the main ideas out of books, courses, and documentaries in a fraction of the time. Plus, you get to find out whether or not a book or course is worth it for you without spending all the money to buy it first. No more wasted time buying digital products that don’t meet your needs.
My conclusion is that Uptime is 100% worth the price because it’s one of the best all-around summary services out there. For just a few dollars per month, you get summaries of books, podcasts, courses, and documentaries, all in an easy-to-consume format with the ability to save and take notes on all of it.
If you’ve made it all the way here, congratulations, and thank you! If you’d like to give Uptime a try, please use the button below. We’d really appreciate it. As always, we hope we’ve helped you learn more in less time, and we’ll see you soon in our next review!
Looking for our other reviews of the most popular book summary apps, tools, and services? Here’s a list of all the reviews we’ve published so far:
- Academic Mastery With Roam Review
- Audible Review 2022 – Is It Worth the Price?
- Audiobooks.com Review 2022 – Is It Better Than Audible?
- Blinkist Review 2022
- Evernote Review 2022: Is It the Best Note-Taking App?
- getAbstract Review 2022
- Instaread Review 2022
- Scribd Review 2022 – Is It Worth It?
- The 17 Best Reading Gadgets to Make Reading Easier & More Fun
- Uptime Review 2022: Is This 5-Min Book App Worth It?