My Babbel Review: Useful but somewhat unremarkable
Babbel review: Babbel has grown to be one of the biggest online language course providers. In this post I share what's good about Babbel and what not so good.
Babbel is a very affordable online language course provider, that features familiar quiz-style course elements combined with exercises, pronunciation and grammar trainers as well as vocabulary practice tools. They offer English speakers 12 languages to pick from, with each subscription being purchased separately.
Babbel Review Index
- Babbel Lessons
- Languages Available
- What does Babbel cost?
- Pros and Cons
- Babbel Alternatives
The lessons are typical quiz-style, which remind me a lot of the styles used on Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.
Seems like this is somewhat of a standard in online language courses these days.
The amount of lessons per language seems to vary tremendously. Danish had 70 lessons in the main course series, but only at beginner level.
When I checked out the French counterpart there were at least double the amount of beginner lessons, plus double the amount of that again in intermediate lessons. One can only hope they will add to all their languages as they go along.
Since their free trial is restricted to just one lesson, unfortunately this is everything you'll see as a trial member. You'd have to pay to unlock the other teaching elements, which is a shame. I would've liked to see them display what else Babbel does other than just this vocabulary, picture-matching quiz-style learning.
Audio Recording Quality
As I was testing out their Danish course (they offer the first lesson free to try for all their languages) I was not super impressed with the quality of the Danish recordings. It sounded very artificial.
To me the most important feature of any language learning tool or course is that the lesson materials are not only of the highest possible quality, but also that they reflect reality.
It's definitely a native speaker, but I just don't like how the recordings are extremely dragged out. Like saying “Goooooood mooorning” instead of what normal people might actually say on the street.
Since it's spaced repetition there's really no point in offering a slowed down, over-exaggerated version of the language – this is only a unnecessary detour to actual fluency (hah!).
Of course I only tested 1 module of 1 language, so I can't say if it's a trend or just the Danish an unfortunate stand-alone incident.
Languages Available on Babbel
Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish, Danish, Russian, Norwegian, Polish.
All courses are taught in English.
What Does Babbel Cost?
Babbel is a pretty affordable service, costing between $6.95 to $12.95 per month (per language).
The price you get is dependent on how long upfront you commit for. Check out the prices in euro here.
What I like
- Lot of content to dig into even for the smaller languages
- Easy to use interface both on desktop and mobile
- Variety of learning options
- Pretty affordable.
What I don't like
- Possibly unnatural recordings
- Way less content on some courses compared to others
- No content for upper intermediate and beyond
- Somewhat boring/unimaginative way to learn languages: Definitely not for everyone!
Babbel Review Conclusion
Is Babbel worth it?
Babbel offers nice little quiz-style courses at extremely affordable prices. For your investment you get real recordings and access to a handful of learning options and tools to help you learn better.
I'd say, due to the extremely low price, that Babbel is definitely a competitive player in the quiz-style market falling somewhere between Duolingo (free) and Rosetta Stone (somewhat more expensive.)
I'm not a huge fan of this method of learning languages, as it simply bores me out too quickly. That has nothing to do with the quality or effectiveness of the method, but more about my language learning profile and personality.
Best I can advise is to give it a try and see if their methodology works for you. According to their website they have millions of users. They can't all be there by accident.
- I recommend LanguagePod101/LanguageClass101 – they offer audio courses for 35+ different languages and I think that method is way more exciting than the Babbel format. It's similarly priced.
- Duolingo – does pretty much the same as Babbel. The big advantage is that it's free. The downside is that the audio is machine generated which is not ideal. However you do get a lot of lessons in the app, and apart from a few ads it's completely free to use.
- Consider using apps such as Memrise or Clozemaster. They will give you a similar learning curve, and are both free to use for basic features. They don't have quizzes with pictures, but you learn fast nonetheless.
This has been my babbel review. Check out my other reviews.