Babbel

A slick app for learning a language in bite sized chunks

PROS
  • - Nice Design
  • - Realistic Lessons
  • - Bite Sized Chunks
  • - Actually Teaches Grammar
  • -
CONS
  • - Paid Subscription
  • - Word Review System is a Bit Basic
  • - Speech Recognition is Poor
  • - No Sync with Desktop Version
  • -
EASE OF USE
The babbel app is undeniably easy to use. But it loses a mark here for one aspect: unlike in the desktop version, I found the speech recognition to be difficult to work with. Either I'm saying the things terribly or it isn't very accurate. This made it a generally delightful experience with moments of irritation!
DESIGN
Babbel is nicely designed. The design tends to focus around intuitiveness, rather than the outright beauty that some apps aim for. So it's not as pretty as some, but it's no ugly duckling.
FUN
Babbel spoon feds little bits of grammar into the flow of the more fun elements. That's essential for learning a language and it's a great approach.
WORDS
The babbel app teaches words and has an SRS based review system with flashcards or typing. That's great, but it's basic and pales in comparison to the specific apps like Memrise.
GRAMMAR
The Babbel app balances all elements well, including grammar. Which in a world where many apps just leave grammar out because it's too difficult to achieve is a commendable achievement. Go Babbel!

I’ve used Babbel before, but almost exclusively the desktop app version. As I’m learning Spanish now, it was time to try the App version.

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Babbel is one of the few apps that teaches grammar alongside the other elements of a language and teaches it well. It’s broken into little chunks that are brought up when needed, just as the lessons are broken into chunks that make it feel like you can squeeze a lesson in here and there without it becoming a huge commitment.

The app has a variety of exercises that you can carry out, from typing in words, selecting the correct one, to following along and filling in the blanks in conversations. The latter doesn’t hold back from presenting words and sentences that you haven’t seen before but that you can guess from the context, which is a great method of learning.

Compared with the likes of Duolingo, Babbel opts for content that you’re likely to come across in real life. That means that you will see usable results quicker. But the more significant amount of work that goes into designing these courses shows in the lack of content in some areas (Dutch, for example).

I found the experience of using the Babbel app intuitive and fun. This is one of the few apps that I’d gladly pay for. But it’s not without its niggles. Whether it was me or the quality of the voice recognition, I found the voice recognition exercises irritatingly inconsistent in picking up what I was saying (ironically, when I previously used the desktop version the voice recognition was great!). Another problem I had that was it never synced with the desktop version.

PRICING
FREEThe first lesson in every course, in every language, is free to try
9.95 euros per monthRecurring monthly subscription
6.65 euros per month Recurring quarterly subscription
5.55 euros per monthRecurring half yearly subscription

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