When exploring China, you don’t want to be weighed down by textbooks.
While you’re busy eating the fantastic local cuisine, you might not have time for a conventional language course.
If you spend all your time in the wild researching pandas, you might not have any humans to speak with (and pandas are not exactly known for their conversational skills).
But regardless of the adventurous lifestyle you’re living in China or elsewhere, there’s one tool you can use to learn Mandarin wherever you may roam: Chinese learning apps.
The only things limiting you may end up being your WiFi connection and/or device.
Devices can seem very limiting, though. Some developers only offer iPhone apps, so even when you, an Android user, find what seems like the perfect app, you may realize that app isn’t available to you.
Luckily, there are plenty of terrific Chinese learning apps for Android; you just need to know where to look.
These eight great apps can make your learning options virtually limitless.
How to Select the Best Chinese Learning App(s) for Your Android Device
Consider your personal goals.
Your unique learning goals can greatly influence which app is best for you. After all, if you’re just trying to learn a few of the most common Chinese characters, you may need a different app than you’ll need if you’re practically fluent. What do you hope to get out of an app? How do you hope to use it? Considering these things can help you narrow your app candidate pool.
Pay attention to features.
Each app has different features, so pay careful attention to what exactly they offer. For instance, if you don’t have a Chinese keyboard installed on your Android device, you might need to find an app that offers an input method. Similarly, if you’re already skilled at Chinese, you might prefer an app that focuses on practice activities. If you’re just starting out, though, you may benefit from more structured lessons.
Try multiple apps.
Go for it! Try as many Chinese learning apps as you like. Trying multiple apps gives you a better idea of what’s out there. You might find that you don’t like the interface of some or that some lack the focus you’d hoped for. Regardless, trying out several apps will help you find the best app for you.
Consider mixing and matching.
There’s nothing limiting you to just one app. In fact, to maximize your learning potential, you might try mixing and matching several. Each app can serve a different purpose in your study routine. For instance, flashcard apps are a great way to learn new vocabulary, but if you’re looking to learn Chinese for business, you might look for an app that targets this skill more directly.
Chinese Apps for Android: 8 Fabulous, Accessible Options
Whether you’re an expert speaker or just starting out, FluentU is an innovative app that can help you improve your skills while having fun.
You'll find a wide range of contemporary videos that cover all different interests and levels, as you can see here:
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up.
All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
From the description page, you can access interactive transcripts under the Dialogue tab, or review words and phrases under Vocab.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your learning. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. In other words, you get a 100% personalized experience.
Try FluentU in your browser or, better yet, download the FluentU iOS or Android app today!
FluentU makes for a great main study app as you can use it anywhere from a few minutes to hours at a time!
Could 5,000,000+ users possibly be wrong? Well, they could be, but they’re probably not. Let’s be realistic.
Yes, HelloChinese has an awful lot of users, and for good reason.
HelloChinese aims to help students reach a conversational level of proficiency quickly. To do so, it offers tons of great features.
For instance, to help improve your speaking skills, HelloChinese offers audio by native speakers. The app also features speech recognition to help you practice actually saying what you’ve heard.
But HelloChinese doesn’t stop there. The app also works with you on handwriting, teaching you stroke order for characters.
And of course, you’ll learn plenty of grammar and vocabulary along the way.
In addition to having one of the cutest logos out there, LingoDeer has some powerful Chinese learning tools for you.
Designed for beginning through intermediate learners, LingoDeer aims to teach basic reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in just 10 minutes a day. Users experience interactive lessons as well as review exercises to teach and reinforce material.
Another feature of LingoDeer is that you can choose which alphabet you want to use: Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese or pinyin.
Plus, LingoDeer has an offline mode, which is perfect for long flights.
Want to try learning Chinese without spending a dime? Check out Pandarow! Not only is it free, it also doesn’t have ads, which allows you to focus squarely on the task at hand: learning Chinese.
Pandarow offers a course, a dictionary and the opportunity to interact with native speakers. It features courses for four levels of students, ranging from beginning through advanced. The dictionary is searchable in Chinese, English and pinyin and features audio and example sentences. It even allows you to check your pronunciation. Have a question or wish you could connect with a native speaker? Pandarow has a service called AskPanda that allows you to do just that.
And your parents told you you couldn’t get something for nothing…
Do you only have five minutes free each day but wish you could find the time to learn Chinese? Well, guess what. The Drops app will help you learn valuable Chinese vocabulary in just five minutes a day.
The app is heavily illustrated, allowing you to connect words directly to their meanings rather than needing to translate to your native language. It features addictive games to make learning Chinese even more fun.
Drops features 1,700 Chinese words and no grammar, so it’s ideal for any learner looking for rapid vocabulary growth.
Learn Chinese Mandarin Words
Learn Chinese Mandarin Words by ChineseSkill is a flashcard app designed to help you learn Chinese vocabulary.
The app uses an SRS (Spaced Repetition System) that’s intended to improve your learning efficiency. Plus, the app pays attention to what words you’re struggling with in order to expose you to them more. Once you’ve nailed words, though, the app will automatically select new words for you to work on.
The flashcards feature lots of good information, including the word in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and pinyin (though some users report only the Simplified text showing). Flashcards also feature translations and audio pronunciations of words.
The app has over 5,000 words, so beginning through advanced students should be able to benefit from it.
Learn Chinese Free – ChineseSkill
If you like the Learn Chinese Mandarin Words app but want to take things to the next level, try Learn Chinese Free by ChineseSkill. This app is by the same developer but offers a wider array of features.
Designed for beginners, this app features over 2,000 characters, along with over 1,000 phrases and more than 150 grammar points. Interactive activities and games help you learn and practice the material, making for a fun and engaging experience.
The app even offers stroke order practice and podcast lessons for a more well-rounded learning approach.
Learn Chinese Offline
Learn Chinese Offline has a relatively simple, straightforward format. It’s a phrasebook that offers over 1,300 words and phrases organized in thematic categories.
Each entry is accompanied by Chinese text, pinyin text, audio pronunciation by a native speaker and the English translation. You can even “favorite” words and phrases to study later.
Perhaps best of all, the entire app is available offline, so you can use it whenever you want without sucking data, which is perfect for your next trip to China or Chinatown.
With these eight great Chinese learning apps for Android, nothing can stand in the way of you learning Chinese!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.