ChatGPT vs. Playground [Aug 2023]

If you are comparing ChatGPT vs. Playground, look no further. We broke down the key differences between the two OpenAI apps.

Before we jump into it, let’s briefly touch on each of the apps:

ChatGPT is now used by hundreds of millions of people across the world. The platform offers a simple chat-based user interface that allows users to have a conversation with an AI assistant powered by one of OpenAI’s models, such as GPT-3.5 or GPT-4.

Playground is a web-based platform that lets users interact with a wider range of OpenAI’s models. You can use Playground to explore the capabilities of different models to create your own projects. Playground provides a more detailed level of documentation, examples, and user guides.

Key difference: Playground does not have the same conversational ability as ChatGPT

In this post, we will share the primary differences between ChatGPT vs. Playground, as well as which platform is best for specific use cases like writing, coding, or building apps.

ChatGPT vs. Playground Overview

For most users, ChatGPT is the preferred option, while Playground is useful in specific use cases.

We put together the below comparison table to outline the preferred option within various categories.

Conversations✅ Preferred (optimized for human-like dialog)
Coding✅ Preferred (better for generating code)✅ Preferred (better for building AI apps)
API Building✅ Preferred (API available)
PriceDepends on usage (Free vs. Plus Plan)Free for limited usage (Pay per 1k tokens)
CensorshipContent moderation in place✅ Preferred (less restrictive)
UsabilityUser-friendly interface✅ Preferred (more flexible)
CustomizationLimited customization✅ Preferred (highly customizable)
DocumentationLimited documentation✅ Preferred (more detailed examples)
Real-time FeedbackAcceptable response times (faster with ChatGPT Plus)✅ Preferred (faster response times)
Community SupportActive prompt writing community on Reddit and TwitterMore technical community in OpenAI forums
Table: ChatGPT vs. Playground by Category

As you can see, there is no clear winner between the two platforms. ChatGPT and Playground each serve a variety of purposes.

ChatGPT vs. Playground Coding Experience

While ChatGPT allows users to switch between a couple OpenAI models, Playground offers access to both current and past AI models. This is perfect if you need faster text generations speeds or lower token costs.

OpenAI Playground list of AI models
Source: OpenAI Playground

Playground also offers a variety of different modes. These modes are designed to help users and developers interact with OpenAI’s models in a more structured manner.

For example, ‘Chat’ helps you create a chatbot, while ‘Edit’ lets you adjust or fix grammar and sentence structure for a particular input.

OpenAI Playground Modes
Source: OpenAI Playground modes

AI Content Censorship

Another reason to use Playground is to bypass some of OpenAI’s aggressive ethics guidelines on ChatGPT.

Playground does not have the same ingrained instructions, so often, responses are not censored.

With ChatGPT, users often need to rely on a ChatGPT jailbreak to get around these restrictions. Often these results can be mixed, so using Playground can be a simpler alternative.

ChatGPT vs. Playground by Use Case

ChatGPT’s simple and user-friendly interface lends itself to a wider variety of use cases.

If you’re in a job related to sales or marketing, ChatGPT can help you draft emails, brainstorm ideas, and organize data.

For coders, ChatGPT can help generate and debug code. It even formats code snippets with color coding and comments.

However, there are certain areas where Playground outperforms ChatGPT.

Examples where Playground might be preferred:

  • Fiction writing: Less restrictive with censorship than ChatGPT
  • App building: Playground offers different options for testing OpenAI’s APIs
  • Customization: Users can adjust temperature, length, and frequency
  • Multiple outputs: “Best of” feature lets users generate multiple responses simultaneously

Overall, Playground has a greater range of adjustable options that allow users to experiment.

Many beginners who started with ChatGPT might be turned off by Playground’s open-ended interface.

However, we recommend experimenting with Playground once you have got the hang of interacting with ChatGPT.

Use Case / Job TypeChatGPTPlayground
Customer Support✅ Preferred (efficient for handling queries)
Social Media Management✅ Preferred (better for generating content)
Coding & Development✅ Preferred (code suggestions & formatting)✅ Preferred (better for experimenting)
Data Analysis & Visualization✅ Preferred (insights & natural language)✅ Preferred (experimenting & exploration)
Gaming & Entertainment✅ Preferred (engaging and interactive)
Language Translation✅ Preferred (optimized for language tasks)
Content Generation✅ Preferred (more natural language output)
Machine Learning✅ Preferred (more control over training)
API Development✅ Preferred (better for testing APIs)
Educational Use✅ Preferred (better for teaching)
Table: ChatGPT vs. Playground by Use Case and Job Type

Code Generation and Formatting

For many non-coders, ChatGPT has offered an amazing new way to spin up simple scripts and apps. In our experience, we have found the best coding and debugging experience to be within ChatGPT Plus, using GPT-4.

Playground is also capable of generating code. However, it does not use a visually appealing code block format.

OpenAI playground code output example
Example: Playground code output
ChatGPT code example
Example: ChatGPT (GPT-4) code output

Key Difference in Usage

ChatGPT is specifically built to serve as a helpful chatbot. Most of us are used to using AI in this natural back-and-forth chat-based format.

Playground on the other hand only uses the context that you provide it. This means you need to be very clear about what you expect from the model, whether it’s text completion, question answering, or idea generation.

How to Reduce Cost of Using Playground

Unlike ChatGPT, Playground does not have a simple monthly subscription model.

Instead, OpenAI charges Playground users in the same way that it charges API usage.

OpenAI Playground and API pricing
Source: OpenAI Playground Pricing

Each month OpenAI bills you based on your token usage. One token is the equivalent of roughly 0.75 words.

Tips to lower the cost of using Playground:

  • Use a less expensive model: Playground offers different models, such as Davinci and Ada, that vary in capability and cost.
  • Set a limit on your usage: In your account, you can set a soft limit that alerts you via email when it’s passed, or you can set a hard limit that prevents further API usage once reached
  • Use Playground only for essential purposes: Use ChatGPT when suitable and only use Playground for specific use cases such as lower censorship, API testing, faster text generation, or customizability
  • Request a quota increase: If you use OpenAI models for more serious projects, it’s possible to request a higher usage limit. Depending on your volume, it’s possible OpenAI would consider a discounted rate

Is ChatGPT The Best AI?

Yes, for most users, ChatGPT offers the optimal AI experience.

While there are several alternatives, including Clause, Bard, and Bing Chat, ChatGPT offers the most consistent and natural conversational text platform.

ChatGPT also offers the easiest way to access GPT-4, which is currently considered to be the most powerful publicly available large language model. This requires a paid subscription to ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month.

Downsides to ChatGPT include:

  • Knowledge cut off in 2021
  • No access to the internet
  • Usage restrictions and censorship
  • Not open source

Related: ChatGPT open source alternative (Open Assistant)

Some of these challenges can be resolved with ChatGPT plugins, or using alternative options to access the same API, such as Bing Chat or Playground.


If you like ChatGPT, we recommend that you keep using it. But if you run into any issues around censorship or want to have more technical control over your AI experience, we recommend checking out Playground.

Related: ChatGPT Unblocked: Complete Guide

Playground is super affordable, and we found that each query costs fractions of a penny. We have yet to surpass the $10 per month API usage cap when just using Playground for experimentation purposes.

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About the Author

Andrew has over 10 years of experience in advising businesses on growth marketing and strategy. He earned his MBA from NYU Stern with a concentration in data analytics and marketing. Andrew is based out of New York and currently consults Fortune 500 clients and startups on data science projects, digital marketing, and finance.

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