QuizUp review: Social trivia that keeps you coming back

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The Good QuizUp has hundreds of trivia categories, so you're bound to find a topic that matches your knowledge.

The Bad You have to be online to play, and poor connectivity can negatively affect game play.

The Bottom Line Whether you're playing against total strangers or your friends, QuizUp is a fun, challenging, and frequently-updated trivia game.


8.0 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Interface 9
  • Performance 7

QuizUp (Android | iOS) is a trivia game that tests your knowledge of TV show quotes, world geography, cooking, and hundreds other topics (433 to be exact, according to the developers). You can challenge random strangers, or go head to head with your Facebook or Google+ friends to earn more points and level up.

With an overwhelming number of topics, you're bound to find at least one that you can conquer, whether it's grammar and spelling or baseball and Disney movies. While it's much easier to battle against strangers, it's far more rewarding to challenge your friends, obliterate them in the "Name the Pop Star" category, and brag about it endlessly. But maybe that's just me.

Get social
Since this is a social trivia game, the easiest way to get started is to sign in with either your Facebook or Google+ accounts. One downside to this is that you need to have the Facebook app installed on your phone to use your account to login, you can't just enter your credentials in the app. It's easier to sign with your Google account, since you can use whichever account is tied to your phone. Once you're signed in, the game will find your friends who also play QuizUp.

If you don't want to tap into your social networks, there's an option to sign up with a email address too, but that makes it harder to find other friends who use the app to challenge, because you haveto manually connect with them.

One of my favorite parts about QuizUp is its design. It's clean, colorful, and mostly easy to get around. The main screen has groups of trivia categories, each with bright backgrounds.

When you start a new game, you see your social media profile picture and cover art, which are pulled from either Facebook or Google+, if you connect those accounts. That's a nice touch that makes the app feel polished. There are also other small design touches throughout the game, including fun achievement badges, funky animal-themed avatars, and animations.

QuizUp shows new themed trivia topics on the home screen each day (left). You can also keep track of how you're friends are doing in the game (right). Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Get online
Like many social games, such as Words with Friends or Draw Something, you need to be online to play QuizUp. That's because you need a connection to play in real time against other players.

However, the app won't even open if you're offline, which is disappointing. That means you cannot view your high scores or browse topics without a data signal or Wi-Fi. There's also no way to play against a computer. And, if you have connection problems during a game (say if you're commuting on the train and lose your signal for a few seconds) the app can get stuck or force you surrender a match accidentally. More than once during the game, either I or my opponent had connection problems and the app froze.

Test your trivia knowledge
When you do have a connection, you can pick from hundreds of trivia topics to play. The main screen shows your favorite topics (those you've play the most), plus that day's themed topics, such as "TV Tuesday" or "Middle Earth" for some J.R.R. Tolkien-themed trivia. Though popular categories are updated frequently, but I would often get the same question over and over, which made the game feel stale. What's worse is you need to replay the same categories to reach higher levels and earn achievements, so you're bound to encounter the same question at least once or twice.

For each topic, there are two game modes. You can either choose to "Play now" and be matched with another player you don't know, or you can challenge one of your friends. If you choose to get matched, the app will take a few seconds to find you a challenger. I've played against people from all over the world, from Saudi Arabia to Finland.

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