In a world that is now heavily betting on AI, countless AI tools are popping up. Yet, there's something that causes one to wonder about two of the most popular AI chatbots out there – ChatGPT and Copilot – and how they compare, especially their paid subscriptions since they're sort of distant cousins and enjoy a lot of similarities.

For starters, both ChatGPT Plus and Copilot Pro cost around $20 per month, and both of them promise to change how we approach tasks, coding, and information retrieval. So, which one should you go for if they're so similar?

It's true that while there are similarities, there are also some subtle and other not-so-subtle differences between them. So, here's a rundown of both subscriptions so you can choose the one that better suits your needs.

ChatGPT vs. Copilot

Although it hardly needs any introduction, here's one anyway. ChatGPT is the widely popular chatbot from OpenAI, the OG A.I. chatbot that broke all records when it was first released in November 2022.

It's a versatile tool that can be used for a wide range of applications, from writing assistance and content creation to complex problem-solving and learning.

Copilot, on the other hand, is the chatbot from Microsoft, formerly known as Bing Chat, that has been integrated into various Microsoft products since its initial release in early 2023 as a generative A.I. chatbot baked into the Bing Search Engine – hence, the rebrand.

Copilot can also help you with creative writing, coding, designing, researching, and learning, just like ChatGPT.

What Other Similarities Do They Share? OpenAI's and Microsoft's relationship is no secret. Microsoft made a deal to invest more than $10 billion over the years in the former company, with benefits extending both ways. OpenAI gets access to Microsoft's resources, like their cloud computing platform Azure. And Microsoft gets access to OpenAI's technologies, with a 49 percent stake in their for-profit arm.

Not getting too much into their history, this partnership means both ChatGPT and Copilot are powered by the same OpenAI technologies and enjoy many of the same features. These include OpenAI's Large-Language Models (LLMs) like GPT-3.5, GPT-4, and GPT-4 Turbo, and the image generation model DALL-E 3.

However, the rules they follow are different. While Microsoft has trained its version of GPT-4 with OpenAI's help and expertise, it doesn't have the exact same rules and guardrails as ChatGPT, which makes both chatbots slightly different. This means that both these chatbots, while similar, are meant for different use cases.

Microsoft's version, for instance, adds its own meta-prompts at the end of user's queries that are instructions for the chatbot to behave a certain way. Microsoft has also trained the chatbot for its apps specifically.

ChatGPT Plus vs. Copilot Pro Differences

ChatGPT Plus is the premium version of ChatGPT. And Copilot Pro, in the same vein, is a premium subscription for Copilot. As mentioned above, both are priced at around the same range.

While there are some core differences in both chatbots, both are rather capable because they share the same underlying technologies. So, when it comes to comparing their subscriptions, it boils down to what each subscription offers and which is the best for you.

ChatGPT Plus offers faster response times than ChatGPT, priority access during peak hours, and advanced capabilities in understanding and generating text-based content. With ChatGPT Plus, users also get access to GPT-4, GPT-4 Turbo, and DALL-E 3, and Web browsing.

But what makes ChatGPT Plus subscription even better is the access to Plugins and the GPT Store that has thousands of custom GPTs. With custom GPTs that you can create yourself or get from the store, and custom instructions, ChatGPT can prove to be very flexible in helping with your specific use cases.

Copilot Pro, too, offers accelerated performance over Copilot, priority access to GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo even during peak times, and faster image creation than Copilot with DALL-E 3. Copilot also has a few plugins, but they are far fewer in number than what you can get access to in ChatGPT. (Plugins in Copilot are available even for free users).

But the more attractive part of the subscription is the integration with Microsoft 365 apps, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

Copilot Pro behaves differently when being used in Microsoft 365 apps, as it has been trained specifically. For example, for Excel, the AI has been fed on long lists of common spreadsheet mistakes. The "temperature" setting – which controls the system's randomness and hence, its creativity – has also been set differently for each use case. Again, taking the example of Excel, the temperature has been configured to be very low. So, with the Copilot Pro subscription, you get specific Copilot assistants for different apps.

Here's a quick summary of the things you can expect from each subscription:

ChatGPT Plus Copilot Pro
Cost 20 USD/month 20 USD/month
GPT Models GPT-4 & GPT-4 Turbo GPT-4 & GPT-4 Turbo
DALL-E 3 Yes Yes
Plugins Yes Yes, but not as many
as ChatGPT
Custom GPTs Yes Not Yet
Custom Instructions Yes No
Access in Microsoft
365 apps
No Yes

Which is Better for You?

The similarities and differences between the two make it very clear that the subscription you should opt for will boil down to your particular use case.

If you're someone who's day-to-day involves working with Microsoft 365 apps, you'll want to consider a Copilot Pro subscription rather than ChatGPT Plus. However, it must be noted that a Copilot Pro offers considerably fewer features than the original Copilot for Microsoft 365 subscription that Microsoft introduced for businesses. Moreover, you also need a separate Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription to use Copilot in these apps.

But if the Microsoft 365 integration makes no difference to you whatsoever, then ChatGPT wins outright. It has a better interface than Copilot and also feels considerably faster than Copilot most of the time.

That's not to say that Copilot is not very useful or does not have its own perks. The suggestions for prompts it provides after each response keep the conversation going longer, and it can assist you while searching.

It also mostly knows what you're talking about, even if the topic is considerably newer and not a part of the GPT's training. While ChatGPT Plus, as of late, skips browsing the internet even when it does not know what the user is talking about and hallucinates more. You have to instruct it to browse the internet explicitly sometimes.

However, these benefits of Copilot are also available without the Pro subscription. So, with a ChatGPT Plus subscription and Copilot free access, you can still get the most out of these chatbots, which is a win-win, in my book.

Both ChatGPT Plus and Copilot Pro offer valuable capabilities for users through their paid subscriptions. For general use across a wide range of tasks like writing, coding, and research, ChatGPT Plus has a slight edge due to its more extensive plugin ecosystem and ability to create custom GPT models. However, for those who primarily use Microsoft 365 apps on a daily basis, the tighter integration of Copilot Pro within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other apps makes it a better choice.