Honest Headway App Review — Is It Value For Your Money? [Jan 2024]

Full review & a great alternative book summary app (+ a cool 40% discount)

Ilam Padmanabhan
11 min readJan 1, 2024

You’ve made an effort to be here, so I’ll give it to you straight.

Headway app is great, but isn’t the best in the market. Blinkist is the best book summary app, by a long distance. No other book summary app comes even close to delivering the value Blinkist does for the price you get it for.

Try Blinkist with a 40% Discount!

If you’re specifically interested in learning more above the Headway app, don’t worry — I’ve included a very detailed review of it is in this blog.

Let’s look at my top 3 book summary apps first (and yes, Headway App is in my top 3)!

Disclosure: Some of these may be affiliate links. I may earn a coffee or two when you buy a subscription (at no extra cost to you). I live in Denmark, and at the current discounts and the Danish prices, probably only a shot of Espresso.

#1- Blinkist

Why Blinkist?

It offers the best value for money

  • 6500+ titles (& fast expanding library): Most of the best-sellers covered, adds 30–40 new titles every month
  • Excellent book summary quality: The summaries nail it most of the times, clever use of music/sounds to keep you engaged in the learning process
  • Affordable pricing (+ frequent promotions): Costs only around 20–25 cents a day!
  • Great market feedback — 29 million downloads ( iPhone: 4.8 star / 116K ratings, Android: 4.5 star / 113K reviews)

Why not?

  • Not as big library as getAbstract which has 25000+ titles
  • Book summaries may not be for everyone (I had to find at least one more)

Price

  • Approx. $8 per month, paid annually (or $15 paid monthly). Blinkist offers frequent promotions, you might get lucky and get even a 50% discount. You either get a FREE trial or a 14 Day money back guarantee.

Try Blinkist with a 40% Discount!

Here’s a video version of my Blinkist review.

#2- Headway App

Headway App review

Now coming on to the next in line, the Headway app.

It may not be as popular as Blinkist, but still has a decent market recognition with 30+ million users. The basic premise of what Headway offers is the same as every other decent app, but let’s dive into what makes it better than others (except Blinkist, of course!).

Why Headway App?

  • Decent book summary quality — key insights from the entire book is adequately covered
  • Affordable pricing (only on annual plan) — and if you are lucky!
  • Highly personalized approach to gamify learning (Headway and other apps are learning a thing or two from Facebook/Instagram)

Why Not?

  • Much smaller title collection (1000+) compared to Blinkist
  • Expensive monthly plans ($11-$22 per month), gets cheaper with annual billing though
  • No web version, available only on Phones

Price

  • $7-$10 per month, paid annually (or $15-$30 paid monthly). However, I’ve noticed that the pricing keeps changing depending on the time of the year & location etc.,

Try Headway for a Discount or FREE (& check pricing for your location)

Here’s a Headway App review video version if you prefer that over text.

getAbstract is my number 3 choice. More about it in the Headway vs getAbstract section.

Headway App Full Review: Features, Advantages, and Limitations

Content and Quality of Summaries

Headway’s summaries offer insightful and in-depth overviews of each book, boasting exceptional readability. The app curates recommendations across a broad spectrum of topics, organizing book highlights in an easily navigable manner.

Key messages are summarized in each section, with options to share or bookmark them. The app provides summaries in both audio and text formats, catering to different preferences.

With over 1000+ titles, Headway’s collection spans a wide array of non-fiction genres, including many bestsellers.

User Experience and Habit Formation

The app’s interface is intuitive and user-friendly, simplifying the search for desired titles. Headway excels in distilling complex books into 15-minute summaries without losing the essence of the original text. This format is ideal for learning during short breaks, transforming idle time into productive sessions.

Headway also includes additional features like 28-day programs and self-improvement challenges to help users apply their learnings and track progress. The spaced repetition feature aids in reinforcing knowledge over time.

You’ll notice the great user friendly interface as you sign up. I’ve added some screenshots for giving you the taste of how using the app will be.

Sign up

The process takes a couple of minutes, and designed like a game. Here are a few screenshots.

Pros and Cons Comparison

Pros:

  1. Ideal for busy individuals wanting to quickly absorb book contents.
  2. User-friendly app design.
  3. Competitive pricing, particularly with the annual plan (additional 8% discount available through certain links).
  4. High popularity and market validation.

Cons:

  1. Limited title range compared to getAbstract (over 25,000 titles) or Blinkist (over 6,500 titles).
  2. Monthly subscription is relatively more expensive than Blinkist, considering the smaller library.
  3. Limited flexibility in pricing plans, although this is common among book summary apps.

Here’s a video comparing the top book summary apps!

Understanding the Headway App

Headway, developed by GTHW App Limited, is a compact learning tool designed for efficient knowledge acquisition. This app stands out in the realm of book summaries, enabling users to grasp essential ideas from a plethora of popular books with ease.

It boasts a straightforward, uncluttered interface, which, coupled with its excellent navigability and readability, makes it an ideal choice for readers who wish to maximize their reading efficiency.

Advantages of Using Headway

  • Boost in Productivity: Headway facilitates the quick absorption of key concepts from well-known books, aiding in enhancing productivity during reading sessions.
  • Time-Efficiency: The app’s user-friendly design and effective readability cater to the needs of readers with tight schedules, helping them gain more from limited reading time.
  • Cost-Effective: Headway primarily offers a Premium version, with pricing that varies based on subscription length. Its competitive pricing makes it a value-for-money choice in comparison to its counterparts.

Top Features of the Headway App

Diverse Titles Library: Although its collection of over 1000+ non-fiction books may not rival the libraries of Blinkist or getAbstract, Headway’s selection is varied and appealing, covering topics like self-growth and business. Noteworthy titles include “Atomic Habits,” “Think and Grow Rich,” “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” and “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” among others.

Elegant and User-Friendly Design: The app is tailored for both reading and listening, with options to choose audio versions if preferred. It also suggests future reads or listens based on your history and preferences.

  • Text and Audio Summaries with Search Function: A standout feature of Headway is the ability to switch between text and audio formats. The app also includes a search function for quick reference and exploration.
  • Spaced Repetition for Memory Retention: The ‘Remember’ button, conveniently located on the screen, allows users to mark and revisit key lessons, enhancing long-term retention through spaced repetition. Your learning progress is made visible and obvious and keeps you engaged.

Understanding the Cost of the Headway App

Addressing the crucial question: What is the cost of using the Headway app?

Headway App: Subscription Options and Pricing

Headway offers two main subscription models: free and Premium.

The free version essentially offers just 1 free summary per day — picked by Headway App team.

The Premium subscription offers unlimited access to the entire library. Cost varies, ranging from approximately $11-$20 monthly to $80-$110 annually, depending on location, promotions, time of the year etc.,.

Please refer to the Headway App for current rates.

Here’s the pricing as of 30th December 2023 (in Germany).

Free Trial Period

Sometimes Headway provides a 7-day free trial, granting temporary access to its extensive library usually reserved for paying members. It’s important to note that there isn’t a permanent free version of the app; this is just a limited-time trial.

To make the most out of the trial, it’s advisable to explore as many titles as you can. A good strategy is to start with summaries of books you’re already familiar with, which can help you evaluate the quality and accuracy of the summaries.

From time to time, free trials are removed and replaced by heavy discounts.

Please check what you get with the link here.

Headway App offers varied pricing

For those unsure about which plan to choose, starting with the monthly option and then considering an upgrade to an annual plan once satisfied with the service is a practical approach.

This allows for flexibility and ensures that you’re making an informed decision based on your experience with the app.

Alternatives to the Headway App

While Headway is a strong contender in the book summary service market, it’s not the only option available. Two notable competitors are Blinkist and getAbstract. Here’s a brief comparison to help you understand their offerings relative to Headway.

Blinkist vs Headway

Both Headway and Blinkist are popular brands, but Blinkist offers more value than any other app in the market.

Blinkist’s Strengths:

  • Quality of Summaries: Blinkist generally provides high-quality summaries. Having listened to over 120 summaries on the platform, I find that they often capture the essence of the books effectively, aiding in decision-making about whether to purchase the full book.
  • Extensive Library: With more than 6500+ titles, Blinkist’s collection is significantly larger than Headway’s 1000+ titles.
  • Affordability: Blinkist’s monthly subscription is more budget-friendly (around $8 — $12) compared to Headway, with substantial discounts for annual subscriptions.

Why Choose Blinkist? Blinkist is my top recommendation, it offers the best value for money. Period.

Try Blinkist with a 40% Discount!

getAbstract vs Headway

getAbstract is another major player, co-founded by Rolf Dobelli, author of “The Art of Thinking Clearly.” This platform also excels in condensing complex ideas into digestible summaries.

getAbstract’s Advantages:

  • Superior Summary Quality: The summaries on getAbstract are often more insightful and impactful compared to those on Headway (even on those short summaries).
  • Massive Selection: Boasting over 25,000 titles, getAbstract’s library dwarfs that of Headway.
  • Cost Considerations: While getAbstract’s monthly fee is higher (around $30), there are significant discounts for annual plans. Notably, they offer a completely free version for students.

Which to Choose, getAbstract or Headway? Given its superior features and vast collection, getAbstract is a strong choice, especially for those willing to invest a bit more. The platform also offers a 3-day free trial, allowing users to explore its offerings before committing.

Try Headway for FREE

Try getAbstract for FREE

Frequently Asked Questions About Book Summary Apps (& Headway App)

Why Do Book Summary Apps Focus Only on Non-Fiction?

Book summary apps typically concentrate on nonfiction books because these books can be effectively summarized to their core ideas. Fiction, on the other hand, relies heavily on narrative progression, which doesn’t lend itself well to summarization.

Who Benefits Most from Book Summary Apps?

These apps are ideal for those looking to grasp the essence of a book without reading it in full, saving time and money, and exploring new topics efficiently.

Is Headway Worth It?

Headway app is a great, but isn’t the best. Blinkist offers 5–6 times more titles (6500+ on Blinkist vs 1000+ on Headway App) at a similar price point ($7-$8/month). The quality of summaries are also slightly better and engaging on Blinkist.

Blinkist is like an iPhone, but at Android prices.

What is the Headway App?

The Headway App is a popular book summary application that distills the main concepts of non-fiction books into concise text and audio formats.

Is There a Free Version of Headway?

While Headway is free to download, it offers only a daily curated summary for free users. Full access requires a paid subscription.

Is Headway Better Than Blinkist?

Blinkist offers much more value, with a larger title selection at a similar price point and slightly higher quality summaries. Headway, however, includes infographics for some titles, while Blinkist provides podcasts/shortcasts.

If you are in doubt, go for Blinkist. No other book summary app even comes close in delivering the value that Blinkist does.

Is Headway Legit?

Yes, Headway and similar apps legally obtain rights from publishers and authors for their book summaries. Check with the Headway customer support requests portal if you have a specific question on how they work with the authors to get the legal rights.

What If I Forget My Headway Password?

Simply use the password reset option. Don’t let this be an excuse to miss out on valuable reading material. The app is easy to use and connected to your Apple/Google IDs.

What Are Some Free Alternatives to Blinkist?

While Blinkist offers a free trial, alternatives like Headway App and StoryShots provide free options. Also, Blinkist’s daily free summary feature is worth noting. If you really want it, even ChatGPT can write book summaries, but is usually below par on keeping you engaged.

How Much Does Headway Cost and What’s Included?

Headway’s premium membership varies in price, generally between $14.99 to $19.99 per month or around $85 annually. Please check link below for pricing in your location.

Does Headway Offer Animated Summaries? As of now, Headway does not provide animated summaries.

Can I Cancel My Headway Subscription Anytime?

Yes, you can cancel at any point and won’t be charged for the next billing cycle. Feedback on support reliability varies, but many users report positive experiences.

More about Book Summary Apps

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Ilam Padmanabhan

Love to read and write about Software Engg, Agility, QA, Future of Humanity, AI, Books, Travel, Politics, Climate Change, Personal Finance, Writing & Life!