Language Drops

A beautifully designed, simple, word learning app that belongs on every language learner's phone.

PROS
  • - Beautifully Designed
  • - Intuitive
  • - Free (with paid option)
  • - Spaced Repetition
  • - 30 Languages
CONS
  • - Sometimes unclear imagery
  • - Sometimes crops text
  • - No Grammar
  • -
  • -
EASE OF USE
The word learning exercises in Drops are generally intuitive and easy to use. Drops loses a point here because sometimes the imagery used isn't clear for the word and text is unexpectedly cropped in some languages.
DESIGN
Drops is, simply, beautifully designed.
FUN
Drops scores highly in the fun section because you use it for a limited time each day. There are, however, a limited set of exercises and these would get repetitive if used for long intervals.
WORDS
Drops separates words into sections and repeats words from earlier sections when you're learning later sections. Drops is well executed as a word learning system.
GRAMMAR
Drops doesn't teach grammar.

It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful app for learning words in a foreign language than drops. From lovely gradient backgrounds, to intuitively designed exercises, the Language Drops App is what other apps should’ve been in terms of design.

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Despite it’s undeniable good looks, it has its problems. The content, for example, consists of a single list of words that is divided into categories and translated into all of the 30 languages that Drops currently supports. That means that the amount of content is much smaller than some competitors (for example, Memrise). Whether you consider that a problem though, is a matter of personal decision – you could well take the opinion that by the time you’ve learnt all the words in Drops then you could start learning new words through reading books rather than through apps.

But then there’s those 30 languages. It’s clear that drops has been designed with a few languages in mind and then quickly broadened out to add more languages. In Japanese, for example, words are regularly cropped and in some cases that leaves the user guessing or unable to answer. Leaving me feeling that it’s a shame that expansion was more important than maintaining the visual quality of the original.

But there’s also conceptual problems. Drops teaches words by showing you icons describing them and you then perform various exercises. This works great if the word is “spoon” but fails if the word is more conceptual, like “please”. Then the icons tend to be confusing and similar to each other. They thought of this, if you tap on the icon it gives you the English word. But that takes time, and as limited time is a component of the game play, that’s a problem!

But they’re also problems that anybody would overlook to be able to play this game for 5 minutes a day. Strictly, Drops limits you to 5 minutes every 12 hours. But if you’re human and need sleep, that means 5 minutes a day in practice. To do more you need to purchase one of the subscriptions. Although you also get regular amounts of bonus time. This is a sales model that doesn’t make sense to me. Drops is perfect for 5 minutes a day. There’s enough game play there to enjoy the 5 minutes and for it to become some sort of habit. But I’m not sure it’s a game for longer periods. Like all word learning games it has, after all, a limited amount of exercises and if done too much they’ll start to get repetitive.

This is an app that’s definitely staying on my phone. But I don’t see the need for the paid options, and frankly there are so many paid options that I don’t understand them!

PRICING
FREEFree use for 5 minutes per 12 hour time period. Drops shows an advert after your 5 minutes in free mode.
2.99 - 64.99Too many price points to mention! Various options for per language time or for all languages. Drops offers lots of 'special offer' prices.

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