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Has anyone tried Babbel or Busuu?
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I tried them both numerous times but didn't remember either, so I downloaded them again and paid for a year on each. In the name of science.
This is for the Android apps only and not the full-on website experience (where applicable).
Word on the street is that Babbel is better, but if I had to choose one, I'd go with Busuu. For me Babbel's app is frustrating. It's hard to explain. Things like not auto-advancing to the next question and so on. You can't skip around as much. You can't swipe past vocab you know but instead have to tap the button to play the audio, and then a button appears that you have to tap to get to the next word. Their keyboard makes me crazy. (With most apps you can use your phone's keyboard, which is fantastic if the app allows allow glide/swipe.)
Upgrading from trial to paid didn't seem to improve the experience on either app. It just unlocks more content. After I've used them a bit longer I'll be able to talk more about how well they teach.
Two of Duolingo's huge strengths are 1) multiple answers accepted for the translations and 2) you can see the q&a from other users and thereby learn about the nuances between the answers. I learned a TON of grammar from that, and there were often links in the comments as well. TBH, I don't think anyone can come near to Duo without offering something similar. And Duolingo is free.
(I've kicked Duo money and I've upgraded to premium on Memrise, so it's not really about the price. I wish
I could find more awesome apps and I'd happily pay for them.)
Actually, I have a few more recommendations:
Beelinguapp - Short stories translated and narrated by native speakers. Content provided by volunteers. Mostly free.
Lingvist - Another flashcard app, but you learn the words in sentences/context. I appreciate that the sentences are sometimes more complex, so you get grammar exposure. Free.
Clozemaster - You're presented with sentences and you have to fill in the blank. It's supposed to be a 'What to do after finishing Duolingo' solution. Free.