Best online dating sites and apps review

best dating apps in usa

Looking for Love?

Whether you are looking for a long-term relationship or a quick booty call, there is a dating app out there for everyone. From the hyper-specific—FarmersOnly, JDate, 3Fun—to the ones we review here, which cast a wider net, what do you need to know to find the love of your life…or just your love for the night? Bars, nightclubs, and other traditional meeting places may be starting to reopen, but how safe are they? Dating sites and apps are the way to go these days, and many even have special video services they have introduced specifically to deal with dating in the time of the coronavirus, as we will explain later.

Getting Started With Dating Apps

The first thing you need to decide is how committed you are. As in, how much do you want to pay to make your heart go pitter-patter? Some apps, like Plenty of Fish, let you view profiles and send messages free. Most of the others let you view your potential matches without charging, but they make you pony up and subscribe if you want to actually reach out to them without limits—especially if the interest is one-sided. While the monthly charges for the apps, we review here range in price from $10 to more than $40, most offer a discount if you commit to a long-term subscription such as six months or a year. (You are not afraid of commitment, are you?)
Then there are all the add-ons. Options—letting you pay to boost your ranking in search results, letting someone know that you are really, really interested in him or her or them, or undoing a dreaded left-swipe that was supposed to be a right-swipe—will cost you extra. While some apps may advertise themselves as free, all of them will try to get a buck from you in the end. Only Facebook Dating is very free, and that is only if you do not consider your existing personal Facebook profile data to be currency.

Selling Yourself

When it comes down to actually putting yourself out there and creating a profile, all apps ask for the basics: name, age, location, a photo, a short blurb about yourself, and (usually) if you can stand a person who smokes. Beyond that, it can be a bit of a crapshoot. Some apps, like Tinder, value photos over personality. Others, like eharmony, make you fill out an endless questionnaire before you can even think about browsing for your match. Still others, like Zoosk, ask so little that you are left to wonder what is being used to actually match you with like-minded love-seekers.
If you do not fall into the cis-hetero dating pool, most of the apps reviewed here are inclusive. Even eharmony now finally allows for same-gender couples. However, some are friendlier to the LGBTQ community than others are. For example, OkCupid goes beyond forcing users to choose between being a male or female, including options like Hijra, genderfluid, and two-spirit.

Time to Connect

Once you pick that perfect selfie and write paragraphs to sell all your best attributes to your future mate, it is time to start browsing. This is where the big differences between these apps are apparent. For instance, Tinder, with its famous hot-or-not swiping interface, makes it quick and easy to find your next date. Bumble, on the other hand, puts all the power in women’s hands; men cannot even contact a woman unless she has expressed interest first. Others, like Match and OkCupid, have robust profiles that let you dive deep into a user’s personality (or at least the one he or she has decided to present to you), before you decide to go on the pursuit. Hinge lets users create profiles that are a beautiful blend of visuals and text.
Now that you have perused the dating pool and have your eyes on that special someone, it is time to bite the bullet and actually reach out to them. Each app offers different ways of showing your interest. Match will let you Wink at a fellow member free, and Plenty of Fish does not charge for messaging. In most apps, messaging is also typically free when both users like each other. However, free users only get so many likes per day, with Hinge being especially limited. In other instances, you are going to get charged for the reach-out. If you are not ready to express your feelings in words, Bumble lets you send Bumble Coins to prospective matches, for $2 a pop. Zoosk offers the slightly creepy option of giving Coins to other users to express your interest (for an additional fee, of course).

Staying in Touch

As this is 2021, all of these services, even the decades-old Match, offer both iPhone apps and Android apps. Most also have desktop counterparts for when you are at work and want to take a break from your spreadsheet to set up a weekend tryst. Just be aware that the functionality can vary substantially between the app and desktop interfaces. For example, there is no swiping on Tinder’s browser version. Facebook Dating and Hinge are only available as mobile apps.
Once you have installed these apps and signed up for the services, get ready for a barrage of notifications and email. Some, like daily match suggestions, are helpful, while others, like alerts that tell you every new “like” you get, can just be annoying. The good thing is you can easily tweak these alerts by drilling down into the settings menus in each of the apps.
Any activity that involves meeting strangers from the internet carries some safety risks. If you find yourself in a toxic situation and need to cut off contact, all of these apps let you block and report users who haven’t taken the hint. These services try to vet their profiles and keep unwanted inappropriate material from appearing. Bumble blurs nudes with AI. Tinder lets you secretly alert emergency services if you’re on a particularly bad date. There are even third-party solutions. UrSafe is a hands-free, voice-activated personal safety app with features for online daters who are looking to meet up with their matches in-person. Not having to use your hands is especially appealing during a viral pandemic, which brings us to our next section.

Dating While Social Distancing

In case dating was not difficult enough, right now our social lives have all been upended by the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Ideally, online dating should lead to meeting up in real life. However, right now, the responsible thing for everyone to do is to stay home, and that is creating quite a dilemma for dating apps. Fairytrail, a dating app for connecting via shared travel destination dreams, has seen a bittersweet increase in use.
The most straightforward virtual dating solution is video chatting, allowing users to at least see each other face to face instead of just through texting. Bumble, eharmony, Match, and Plenty of Fish all offer video chat. Apps with more specific target audiences are also adopting this feature, including the mobile-only Muslim dating app Muzmatch.
Even apps without video chat acknowledge the crisis in their own way, though. Hinge lets users set up a video chat, just on a different app. Tinder lets you match with college classmates or people in other countries free for a limited time. OkCupid added personality questions about how you are coping with the pandemic. Facebook Dating users can choose to use other Facebook communications apps such as Messenger or the experimental Tuned, an app specifically for quarantined couples.

Which Dating App Should You Use?

Dating is hard work, so we did some of the legwork for you by taking a deep dive into 10 of the most popular apps. We were not popular enough to get into The League, the dating app for celebrities. Everyone’s needs and wants are different, so not every app will be a great fit for you. Match and Tinder are both Editors’ Choice picks because they excel in their respective lanes, lasting relationships and fast hookups. Other apps have strengths too, and you can learn more by reading our in-depth reviews. If we can help play a part in uniting you with your forever person or your Friday-night fling, we are here to help. Just do not forget to invite us to the wedding.

Hitch Fit review

hitch fit reviews

Hitch Fit creates customized workout plans and programs to help you achieve a number of health and fitness goals, whether you’re training for a bodybuilding event, toning up for a special occasion, or looking to boost your overall fitness and mobility. The plans vary in terms of cost, and for the price, you get fitness and diet advice, making it one of the best online fitness programs for tackling you are eating habits too.
There are Hitch Fit plans for all ages, including seniors, and for people of varying fitness abilities from beginners through to semi-pros (for example, people who take part in bodybuilding competitions). When you sign up you will get access to workouts that you can watch and follow along with, plus printable training guides, personal exercise plans. You will also get weekly feedback to help you stay on track and adjust your approach as needed.

Hitch Fit Overview

Hitchfit subscription options:
1 month plan – $85.99 per month ($85.99 total cost)
We will say straight away that Hitch Fit is not ideal if you need an online fitness program that you can access via an app, as there is not one, unlike wit Daily Burn. You can, of course, watch your Hitch Fit workout videos and view your training plans via your laptop or even your smartphone if you are away from your computer, though the videos may be too small for you and the user experience will not be so good.
Via the Hitch Fit YouTube channel, you can watch numerous short instructional videos that demonstrate proper form and technique for various exercises. This is helpful, as too often those of us who are new to exercise can develop an injury from poor form or technique when trying new workouts.
Once you purchase a Hitch Fit plan, you own the workout video outright. That means you can continue to workout in your home gym, using the exercises suggested for your fitness goals, long after the initial program is over. This will help you maintain the healthy habits you have developed throughout your Hitch Fit training.

Hitch Fit Getting started

When you first visit the Hitch Fit website for home workouts, you will see a range of before and after photos of people who have already completed various Hitch Fit exercise plans. It is important to remember that your personal results will naturally vary, so do not choose a plan just because you like the look of someone’s body in their after photo. Why? Because you are natural body shape might be different, or the workout plan they followed might not be suitable for your current fitness or goals.
Hitch Fit custom workout and meal plans usually take around 12-36 weeks to complete, and yes you can revisit specific elements of them once your program has finished. Hitch Fit’s owners, transformation coaches Micah LaCerte and Diana Chaloux-LaCerte, who are also available to answer questions regarding your workout plans and aims, create the customized plans.
Once you purchase a Hitch Fit workout plan based on your fitness goals, Hitch Fit sends you a questionnaire and a link to download a video and eBook. The eBook has general information on fitness and nutrition, while the video has demonstrations for the various exercises you will use. This gets you started while Hitch Fit’s trainers create your actual personalized exercise and diet plan.

Hitch Fit Cost and plans

Each program contains 12-36 weeks’ worth of workouts, depending on how often you exercise and which workout plan you select. The programs are divided by difficulty level. For example, the Bikini Model program is more intense than the Lose Weight, Feel Great program. In addition, individual exercises have suggestions to adapt them to beginner, intermediate or advanced levels.
The Hitch Fit personal trainers provide support via weekly emails. Once a week, you will need to contact them with your weight, waist and hip measurements so they can track your progress. Obviously, the downside to this is that you are accountable for keeping tabs on your measurements and for checking in with them, so you need to be motivated.
The weekly check-in is also your chance to tell them how you are feeling and what is working or not working for you. They will get back to you with changes you can make to your plan if you are struggling with certain exercise or with words of support if you need some extra motivation or encouragement to stay on track.
While Hitch Fit provides online personal training, the website lacks resources for tracking your progress and stats, so you will need to find other tools for this. In terms of calorie active minutes tracking, we would recommend the best fitness trackers. Hitch Fit does have a Facebook group, plus a blog and group support, so you are never far from a fellow Hitch Fit workout buddy.

There are 16 Hitch Fit plans, with the more popular plans costing the following:

Lose Weight Feel Great – $267.99
Build Muscle – $412.99
Couples Bootcamp – $435.99
Plus Plan (lose up to 100lbs+) – $407.99
Get Big Get Ripped – $602.99
Bridal Bootcamp – $299.99
Post Pregnancy Weight Loss – $267.99

Hitch Fit Effectiveness

Hitch Fit’s strength lies in its specialized workout plans with dietary advice, and are essentially a way for you to work with experienced personal trainers from the comfort of your own home. So no visiting a gym or having to get through endless physical tests. If you are interested in something more specific than general health, you can easily find a workout routine and diet plan to meet your goals here.
There is plans for people on a vegetarian or gluten free diet, and plans for those who want to build muscle or even get in shape for their upcoming wedding. The most unique workout plan offered by Hitch Fit is the Faithfully Fit exercise plan, described as ‘faith based fitness transformation’.
Hitch Fit offers a couples bootcamp workout plan for you and your partner to get fit together, as well as a Plus Plan for people who have up to 100lbs+ to lose. There is a wide range of before and after photographs on the website showing the various physical transformations of people who have followed one of the plans, with the Weight Loss plus Plan being one of the more popular plans for lowering excess body weight.
This plan ranges from 24-36 weeks to complete, and comes with a customized meal plan and a Mental Preparation Guide to get you in the right mindset.

Should I buy a Hitch Fit plan?

Hitch Fit offers a decent variety of specialized programs, all with custom meal plans and proper personal trainer support from the comfort of your own home. This means you can find a workout routine and diet plan to meet your specific fitness goal. The trainers are qualified, enthusiastic and experienced, and you have weekly check-ins with them via email to keep you on track.
Although it lacks some of the online capabilities most other services have, most notably a mobile app and tracking tools, Hitch Fit is worth considering if you want a more specialized, one-on-one home workout program that does not require specialist cardio or weights gear such as the best treadmills or exercise bikes.

Pros
Personalized workout programs
Helps you figure out your goals
Aids weight loss and muscle gain
Suitable for a range of ages
Cons
Some plans are very expensive

Bottom line

With its wide variety of workout programs and personalized workout plans, Hitch Fit is worth considering if you have a specific goal you are trying to achieve, or you need more attention from a personal trainer when working out at home.

FitFusion review

fitfusion

FitFusion by Jillian Michaels offers numerous workouts, often featuring some of the world’s top fitness trainers, including Jillian herself. Unlike some of the best online fitness programs, FitFusion does not offer customized workout plans or any contact with its personal trainers. That means you have to find videos that work for you and come up with your own specific exercise routine and schedule.
If you had rather work closely with a qualified personal trainer, or work to a fitness and diet plan that has been customized for you, look at Hitch Fit instead.
FitFusion does offer healthy recipe videos to supplement your workouts, as nutrition is a vital part of weight loss and toning. Unlike Daily Burn, you do not get a companion app with FitFusion either, but the website is optimized to work on your smartphone for workouts away from home.

FitFusion Overview

FitFusion costs $9.99 per month or $89.99 per year and has a number of different workout categories, mostly based around helping you lose weight, tone up and build lean muscle. The exercises are effective for boosting your cardio health, and, when used in conjunction with a healthy diet, could help you maintain existing weight loss. We would also recommend using one of the best fitness trackers to monitor how many calories you are burning during your workouts.
The cost of a FitFusion subscription is the same as Fitbit’s digital service, which you can read more about in our Fitbit Premium review.
In addition, FitFusion includes workouts for short-term goal achievement too. For example, one-week shred workouts, designed to give you a quick boost. Do not follow these and expect to look like the instructors after just one week though – they have been honing their physiques for years.
The online fitness service also has a blog, with articles on topics such as workout playlists and sportswear.

FitFusion Cost and workouts

FitFusion subscription options:
1 month plan – $9.99 per month ($9.99 total cost)
Annoyingly, FitFusion does not rate all of its exercises by difficulty, so it is not always clear whether the workout you have chosen is beginner friendly, intermediate or advanced. FitFusion also lacks programs designed specifically for seniors.
FitFusion offers exercises for pregnant women (get sign-off from your health practitioner first) and even has workouts designed around each trimester. You can find both yoga and Pilates classes with this service as well, plus indoor cycling workouts, which you could use with the best exercise bikes, making it a good all-encompassing workout service.
It also has 34 individual stretch and restore videos, which are great for helping you warm up and down before and after exercise. To boost recovery further, also look at the best handheld massagers, including percussive massagers.
The main workout areas covered include:
Abs/core
Ballet/barre
Boxing/kickboxing
Buns n thighs
Cardio
Chest/arms/back
Dance
HIIT
Indoor cycling
Pilates
Pre/post-pregnancy
Yoga

The service also includes meditation, though we have experience a better quality of meditation exercises, as well as soothing sleep sounds, via the best meditation apps.
As mentioned, FitFusion costs $9.99 per month or $89.99 per year (the best option for saving money). As with other fitness services, canceling is as simple as pressing a few buttons, so you do not have to worry about being stuck with a contract, like you would with an actual gym membership.

Should I sign up to FitFusion?

FitFusion does not offer any sort of custom exercise routine, so you will have to find videos that work for you and come up with your own workout regime. While some people prefer this, it is nice for a fitness program to give you the option of its own predesigned routine to eliminate the guesswork.
FitFusion has numerous exercise videos, so you are unlikely to get bored, and is ideal for those who have little space for home gym equipment, such as the best treadmills or the elliptical machines, yet want to workout at home instead of shelling out for a pricey gym subscription.
We feel FitFusion is mainly aimed at a female audience, and serves women well with a variety of workouts, including pre- and post-pregnancy exercises. However, we would like to see more options to customize plans, and a greater volume of dietary advice included with the cost.

Pros
Wide range of workout videos
Great variety of trainers
Cons
No custom plans
Need to create your own routine

Bottom line

FitFusion requires you to be self-sustaining and self-motivated, but you will find numerous exercise videos with this service.

Fitbit Premium review

fitbit premium

Fitbit Premium is the main exercise platform from the health and wellness giant, and has become one of the best online fitness programs for people who enjoy a variety of workouts, as well as wellness practices such as mindfulness sessions from leading teachers including Deepak Chopra. As we explain in detail throughout our Fitbit Premium review, this is Fitbit’s main paid-for subscription based digital service that can be accessed via a wrist-based wearable, your phone or another compatible device.
Fitbit, of course, makes some of the best fitness trackers for beginners and exercise enthusiasts, and Fitbit Premium offers a raft of workouts and wellness features that work beautifully with your activity tracker. This includes content built around helping you to sleep better at night, and to figure out what might be affecting your slumber. When you sign-up for a free trial or paid-for subscription, you can immediately access a large range of on-demand training programs, guided breathing exercises, and even a personalized, printable wellness report.
In our Fitbit Premium review, we look in-depth at what exactly is on offer, and if you need to pay for it, when you buy a Fitbit or whether you can access it free. We will also look at whether Fitbit Premium is worth it overall, to really help you on your way to a healthier lifestyle or whether you are had better off investing your money in an alternative service instead.

What do you get?

200+ workouts to keep your fitness regime varied
15+ Guided Programs focusing on specific exercises, sleep and nutrition
100+ mindfulness sessions to boost your sense of calm
Premium workout challenges to motivate you to keep going
Advanced stress management tools (only with a Fitbit Sense)
In-depth health and wellness stats, including sleep and nutrition
Detailed heart rate tracking
Personalized Sleep and Wellness Reports
Fitbit Premium pairs with the Fitbit app accessed via your smartphone or a similar compatible device. Naturally, it also works with any of the devices in the Fitbit range, including the Fitbit Charge 4 and the Fitbit Versa. There are always plenty of deals up for grabs with Fitbit devices so be sure to keep an eye online.

Membership cost and free trials

Fitbit Premium costs $9.99 a month or, if you prefer, you can pay $79.99 a year and save over 30% compared to the cost of paying monthly for a year ($119.88). There is also the chance to try it out free first, with a generous 90-day trial. That free trial is applicable to everyone who has not signed up for one before, regardless of whether you have just bought a new Fitbit or your tracker is a couple of years old.
If you want to take things even further with one-on-one support from a specialist fitness coach, you can pay $54.99 a month for Fitbit Premium + Health Coach (we cover this below). This also comes with a seven-day free trial.
When signing up for a free trial of any product, it is important to know how to cancel it and what your rights are. Fitbit won’t charge your card if you decide to cancel within the free trial period, but you will have to cancel your subscription via the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android), depending on where you purchased your Fitbit Premium subscription.
Fitbit Premium: Get a free 90-day trial
If you are new to Fitbit Premium, you will not pay a cent for the first 90 days, as the trial is completely free. This gives you ample time to figure out if it is the right choice for your sleep, fitness and nutrition insight needs.

Classes and ability levels

There is a good selection of different activities available on Fitbit Premium to suit a range of fitness levels, from beginner to pro. The workouts include HIIT, yoga, boxing and dance, and there are specific guided programs for runners, general aerobic fitness, and body strength training. Many of the videos are led by well-known fitness brands such as Barre3 and Daily Burn, so registered personal trainers here are teaching you.
Fitbit Premium classes are varied, though there are not as many on offer compared to some of the bigger online services such as Peloton. Variety is very important, as boredom is one of the biggest challenges for many people trying to maintain a new fitness regime. The videos vary in length too, so even if you are short on time, you should still be able to get your exercise fix for the day and slot it in around your schedule. Here is a little taster of what you can expect from Fitbit Premium…
If you want to step things up, you can also take on some of the Fitbit Premium Challenges, which enable you to compete against other Fitbit users to introduce some friendly competition into your workout. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can opt for a custom challenge and set your own milestones with different distances or step counts. This is brilliant if you think you have plateaued in your training and need to raise the bar a little further.

Guided programs

When you sign up to Fitbit Premium, you will also have access to guided training programs, which include the following:

Get Active (two-week program)
Push-up Prep (three weeks)
Habits for restful sleep (two weeks)
Intro to Healthy Habits (one week)
Run Training (three weeks)
Mindful Eating (one week)
Beginner’s Running (three weeks)
Kick Your Sugar Habit (one week)
Full-Body Strong (three weeks)
Eat to Beat Cholesterol (16 days)
Kick Your Salt Habit
Beginner’s Bodyweight (three weeks)
Understand Calories (two weeks)
Intro to HIIT (three weeks)
Tone and Lift Your Butt (three weeks)

As you can see from the above, there are plenty of guided programs designed for newcomers who need a good grounding in how to exercise, and how to develop healthy habits, including nutrition and getting decent shut-eye.
The Full-Body Strong is one of our favorite Fitbit Premium Guided Programs, spanning three weeks of strength and mobility work. Week 1 is mostly short sessions designed to prep your body for strength training, while the third week focuses on different body parts per session (arms, legs), before wrapping it all up in an effective full-body session. If you do not have room for one of the best home gyms for strength training, a program such as this could still help you develop and strengthen various muscle groups.
Are you interested in learning how to run? Fitbit Premium has you covered there too with two different programs that can be used for outdoor running or if you own one of the best treadmills for home use. The Beginner Running three-week program involves three running workouts a week to take you from walking to running. When you are ready, or if you already have some running experience, you could move on to the Run Training program. This comprises a structured workout plan, cross-training video workouts that you could do on an elliptical machine, as well as pro tips from Fitbit’s running experts.
From a wellness perspective, Fitbit Premium wants you to focus on better sleep, practicing sleep hygiene, and keeping stress to levels that are more manageable so that you are not on a one-way ticket to burnout. The Get More Sleep program takes two weeks to complete, running you through sleep goals, bedtime routines, and how to relax before bed.

Features

In addition to over 200+ exercises classes and all those extended Guided Programs, Fitbit Premium includes a feature called Insights. This works with your Fitbit device and to report back on health and wellness metrics including your weight (bathroom scales needed), heart rate tracking, and a daily sleep score.
While not all the information will be of use to you, the idea with Fitbit Premium is to provide guidance for a healthier lifestyle based on your current data and habits. Fitbit Premium will then send you updates and reminders based on this data, and suggest changes where appropriate so that you can live a healthier life.
If you want to keep a record of your health data, or share it with your healthcare professional or personal trainer, you can also generate and print off a wellness report, which shows 30 days’ worth of data (or up to a year’s worth, should you need it). The Wellness Report includes data graphs, as well as analysis of your activity, heart rate, sleep and weight over specific periods. Therefore, if you are keeping an eye on specific aspects of your health, this feature alone could be of use to you.
As mentioned earlier in our Fitbit Premium review, there are features to help you wind down too, mostly via a selection of mindful audio tracks ideal for bedtime. There are a limited number of soothing sleep sounds on offer, but for a much larger range, we would recommend Calm, the world’s best meditation app. Meanwhile, the sleep-tracking feature on the Fitbit Premium should also be able to assess your slumber by monitoring your data including your heart rate when sleeping, how long you are asleep for, and even how much you shift position in your sleep.
You will then be given an overall sleep score and tips on how to improve on it if it is low. Now, it is important to keep in mind that not all sleep trackers are reliable, so we would advise taking this data with a pinch of salt. If you are getting seven to nine hours sleep a night on average, and are waking up feeling refreshed, you are getting enough sleep for you. Period. To learn more about this, read our feature on why is sleep important.
Another feature that may come in handy, depending on your health goals, is the average calories burned for each type of workout. For example, a 33-minute Clear Vision Walk burns 150 calories on average; while a 30, Minute Cardio Dance Party burns 300 calories on average. These are just averages, and you may burn more or less depending on your body weight and how hard you are working.

How do you cancel Fitbit Premium?

If you take up the free 90-day trial then you can cancel at any time within that period without paying a cent. If you decide to stick with Fitbit Premium and start paying an ongoing monthly subscription fee, this is also easy to cancel by logging into your account online and going to the settings, or you can also cancel via the Fitbit app and clicking on the ‘Subscriptions’ section.
The pay annually subscription cost for Fitbit Premium should be self-explanatory, so you will not be able to cancel that one once you have paid for it. However, you can cancel it before it renews for another year.
To cancel a Fitbit Premium subscription, follow these systematic instructions:
Open the Fitbit app on your device
Click on your image or the photo circle in the top right-hand corner
Scroll down to Manage Subscriptions. Follow the instructions from there for the type of device you are using.
For iOS, this means clicking on the Fitbit app icon and clicking the red Cancel Subscription button.
You will then be told how much longer you will have access to Fitbit Premium for before your current access expires.

Is Fitbit Premium worth it for you?

If you need the motivation or are looking to improve your health and fitness on various levels, then Fitbit Premium is a fun and connected way to get started and to really get under the hood of different types of exercise. We would 100% recommend using the 90-day free trial period, and focusing on the types of exercises that you enjoy doing. The Guided Programs are of an excellent quality and would suit beginners as well as people returning to exercise after a break.
The only downside with Fitbit Premium is that it does not offer as many on demand and live classes as its biggest competitors, which include Peloton Digital ($12.99 a month) and Gaia ($11.99 a month) for yoga and meditation. Echelon FitPass ($19.99 a month) is another competitor that outpaces Fitbit in terms of variety.
That said, Fitbit Premium is cheaper than all of them, so could be the only choice for someone with a smaller budget, or for people who want to dip their toes into training this way without committing to a higher budget each month. It is relatively simple to cancel Fitbit Premium too, so you can get out of it quickly when needed.

Pros
Free 90-day trial
Guided Programs for running and strength
Helps you understand nutrition and sleep better
Cheaper monthly cost compared to competitors
Cons
Advanced users will need more variety

Bottom line

Fitbit Premium is a fun way to get started with regular exercise, while keeping an eye on your sleep and stress levels too. It does not have as many on-demand and live classes as some competitors, but what the content on offer is of a high quality and will help you prioritize your physical and mental health better.

Peloton App review

peloton app

Peloton Digital is an online workout program accessible to people of all ages and fitness abilities, making it one of the best online fitness programs for beginners through to people with more workout experience. Peloton might have one of the best exercise bikes around, but not everyone can spend $1,895 to get in shape. With the Peloton App and membership, we joined the brand’s popular, on-demand workout class cult for just $12.99 per month.
The Peloton App supports spin classes, and even running classes for Peloton’s own treadmill. However, the service also includes virtual yoga, high intensity interval training, stretching, strength training and more — and you often do not need any additional equipment to get your calorie burn on. It helps to own a smartwatch and compatible smart TV, though.
This Peloton App review lets you know what to expect when you enter this community of high-energy fitness junkies.

Price: $12.99/month
Language: English, German
App compatibility: Amazon Fire, Android, iOS, Roku
Daily live classes: +10
Total class selection: +1,000
Optional equipment: Yoga mat, free weights, treadmill, spin bike

Peloton App price

The Peloton App is free to download, but the membership costs $12.99 per month, plus tax. When you sign up, you will get the first 30 days of your membership free.

Before we launched Peloton App membership, we suspected the class selection would be no different from the dozens of workout programs we have tried. Peloton proved we wrong. Upon opening the app, not only did we see dozens of live classes scheduled each day, but we could search a catalog of thousands of past classes for playback, too.
Peloton offers 10 total workout class types: Strength, yoga, cardio, meditation, indoor running, outdoor running, cycling, stretching, bootcamp and walking. You can take streamed classes in each of these categories individually, or embark on multi-week, goal-oriented exercise programs. Peloton made it simple to mix up our activity, suggesting new classes based on ones we completed and rated.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Peloton App’s class selection is the duration options. Classes range in length from five to 60 minutes, meaning there is a guided way to get active no matter how much time you have. On most days that we worked out, we found myself taking a few 10 minute classes spanning arm intensives, core busters and HIIT, but also appreciated uninterrupted 45-minute yoga flows.
We struggled to accommodate live classes into our schedule, but we partially blame that on the limited options for non-bike-owning members. For comparison, there are about 10 live spin rides per day, but only one live meditation. We happen to love spin classes, so we might consider buying an affordable exercise bike to capitalize on the Peloton App.

Peloton App review

The Peloton App packs features designed to keep you motivated, whether you use it on your smartphone, tablet or smart TV. The Peloton app is available on Roku TV devices and Amazon Fire TV devices, which is great for getting working classes on a big screen.
Your Peloton profile features a calendar with your active days, exercise steaks and achieved milestones. Similar to Apple’s Fitness app badges, Peloton’s milestones add a bit of gamification to getting fit.
After you have completed a class, you can view your metrics from that workout like your heart rate and calories burned if you wore a compatible fitness tracker with ANT+ like the Apple Watch 6 or Garmin fenix 6. In addition, if your smartwatch integrates with Strava, like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 you can use Peloton’s Strava integration to track exercise data.
In ours experience, Apple Watch integration is a major perk of the Peloton Digital Membership. Not only did the Peloton app show live heart rate in a boxout on screen during class, but also it automatically tracked activity without needing to open the workout app. This convenience is something we going to consider when trying out other workout programs in the future.
In a month with the Peloton App, we found most of the appeal does not come from the quality of workouts or even the class selection. Instead, it is the sense of community that pushed us to stick with consistent activity. We find a virtual workout that maintains a true feeling of group fitness.
Peloton’s pack mentality shines through in a few places. First, there are the instructors. Each coach is clearly experienced and high-energy as they complete the workouts with you from a professional studio. In some classes, instructors will even shout out users who have recently reached class milestones.
Then there is the music. Before you start each class, you can review the playlist to see if there are tracks, you like. Classes are even labeled by genre, so you know what you are getting yourself into. We loved working out to familiar music, especially since the last workout program we tried relied on what could have been royalty-free beats.
Finally, there is activity sharing. While you can certainly choose to keep your progress and class history private, having a public profile lets other Peloton members follow your activity. You can also coordinate buying Peloton merch within the app, although we have not reached that tier of loyalty.

We once assumed Peloton was just a quarantine fad, but spending a month with this popular workout program made a believer. We impressed with the expansive library of workout classes, even if they make getting fit feel a little cultish. Still, Peloton doesn’t force you to drink its Kool Aid.
For $12.99 per month, the Peloton App and membership is a versatile way to get active. It’s what Apple Fitness Plus is trying to become, even if Apple’s take on holistic fitness only costs $9.99 per month. The class selection is stellar, although the live class schedule tries to guilt you into buying the Peloton Bike or Peloton Treadmill at times. It’s possible we’ll opt for a less expensive bike, and while it might not give us all the Peloton spin features, it might convince us to keep up with the membership even when (or if) in-person workout classes return to normal.

Pros
Endless class options
Automatic tracking for Apple Watch
Customizable experience
Cons
Some classes require additional equipment

Bottom line

The Peloton App and membership ($12.99/month) offers hundreds of workout classes that are interactive, yet intimate at the same time. Automatic activity tracking with compatible smartwatches is a bonus.

Rocket English Review

rocket languages review

It is hard tо оverstate the impоrtance оf learning tо read, speak, and write English. English is used in a large number оf cоuntries including the United States, the United Kingdоm, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It’s alsо the main language used fоr internatiоnal business, nоt tо mentiоn Hоllywооd films.
With many peоple wanting tо imprоve their English skills, there are a number оf cоurses tо meet the demand. оne оf the mоst affоrdable оnes is Rocket English. We tооk it fоr a test run and share оurs experiences in this review. Here yоu will be able tо read the majоr prоs and cоns оf this prоgram. Yоu can alsо see hоw it cоmpares tо sоme оf the оther pоpular English cоurses. Finally, we give оurs оpiniоn оn the оverall quality оf the cоurse.

Hоw much dоes it cоst?

The premium cоurse retails fоr $99.95 but there is the RocketDEAL cоupоn, which reduces the price tо $69.95. This is a оne-оff payment, which gives yоur lifetime access tо the cоurse. It alsо includes the bоnus material free оf which the equivalent value wоuld be $49.95.

rocket english cost

Hоw dоes it wоrk?

Rocket uses a mixed methоd tо teach English. The cоurse has listening, reading, writing, and speaking cоmpоnents. This is knоwn as the VARK оr visually, aural, reading, kinesthetic mоdel develоped by Neill Fleming. Everyоne learns slightly differently, and sо it is impоrtant tо use different learning apprоaches. Hоwever, оverall it is an audiо-based cоurse. Rocket English will wоrk best fоr peоple whо prefer audiо learning. If yоu have a tendency tоwards visual learning, then there are better cоurses such as Living Language.
Twо native English speakers Rebecca Miller and Rick narrate the cоurse. These twо audiо tutоrs take yоu thrоugh the cоurse material and share persоnal insights, which make it mоre fun tо learn. Each lessоn is brоken dоwn intо 30-minute audiо sectiоns. These lessоns fоcus оn a key piece оf vоcabulary suppоrted by cоnversatiоn. In tоtal, there are 32 оf these languages lessоns.

Hоw it cоmpares tо оthers

In terms оf price, Rocket English is a very attractive оptiоn cоmpared tо оther cоurses. Living Language оnline cоsts $150, Tell Me Mоre cоsts $484, Rоsetta Stоne cоsts $384, and Pimsleur cоsts $119.95. Therefоre, if yоu are оn a budget, yоu may want tо chооse Rocket.
Rocket English is limited in cоntent and sоphisticatiоn оf the cоurse cоmpared tо Living Language оr Rоsetta Stоne. While Living Language is mоre expensive, it is still affоrdable fоr mоst students. In additiоn tо the 46 lessоns that yоu get with Living Language, yоu alsо get access tо an оnline tutоr. This allоws yоu tо practice English with a native speaker and ask any questiоns. This kind оf persоnal attentiоn is wоrth the difference in price between Rocket English and Living Language.
As nоted abоve, the technоlоgy used in this prоgram is оutdated. Rocket English dоes track yоur prоgress, but it is very unsоphisticated cоmpared tо the tracking and adaptive learning оn оffer at Tell Me Mоre (my review). Rоsetta Stоne and Tell Me Mоre alsо use full videо and vоice recоgnitiоn technоlоgy. This allоws yоu tо simulate the experience оf having a cоnversatiоn in English.

Prоs
Guides give the cоurse a persоnal feel – The twо English native speaking guides, Rebecca and Rick, give the cоurse a persоnal feel. Having the same guides thrоughоut the cоurse gives Rocket English a sense оf cоntinuity that is lacking in оther cоurses where yоu are nоt prоperly intrоduced tо the tutоrs. Rebecca and Rick alsо share persоnal experiences and tips, which enhance the learning prоcess.
Persоnalized dashbоard is useful – The cоurse includes a persоnalized dashbоard. Here yоu can receive recоmmendatiоns abоut which exercises tо perfоrm based оn yоur preferred learning style. Yоu can alsо quickly see hоw yоu are prоgressing thrоugh the cоurse and hоw tо best use English Premium.
Uses the chunking apprоach – Rocket uses a chunking apprоach tо teaching English. Each оf the lessоns is brоken dоwn intо 20-minute sectiоns, which is believed tо be the оptimal length fоr recall.
Excellent value fоr mоney – At оnly $69.95 fоr the cоmplete cоurse Rocket English is excellent value fоr mоney. As yоu can see belоw, this is significantly less than the cоst оf оther English cоurses.
Writing practice included – The prоgram includes what is called the Write It! self-testing tооl. This invоlves listening tо an English speaker and then writing what yоu have heard in the empty space prоvided. This is an excellent way оf develоping yоur ear fоr English and translating this intо the written fоrm.

Cоns
Quizzes are limited – The quizzes are limited. They use a multiple-chоice apprоach, which dоes nоt give yоu a very accurate gauge оf yоur prоgress. Cоmpared tо the quizzes оn оffer at оther cоurses such as Living Language these seem primitive.
Nо language specific cоurses – Mоst оf the оther majоr language cоurses оffer language specific ESL (English as a secоnd language) cоurses. Fоr example, Living Language оffers ESL cоurses fоr Spanish, Japanese and Chinese speakers in additiоn tо their main English cоurse.
Technоlоgy can seem оutdated – Cоmpared tо the sоphisticated vоice recоgnitiоn technоlоgy that cоurses like Rоsetta Stоne and Tell Me Mоre оffer, it can seem very оutdated. The “fill in the gap” sоftware is hardly what yоu wоuld expect frоm a mоdern multimedia language cоurse.

The twо “tоur guides” give the prоgram a persоnal feel…
There are plenty оf оptiоns tо persоnalize the cоurse.
The chunking methоd makes the prоgram entertaining tо use.
The self-testing tооl fоr writing practice is helpful.
Lоw price ($…95 in tоtal fоr lifetime access)
The cоurse language is English. Therefоre, instructiоns can be difficult tо understand fоr fоreign speakers.
Limited quizzesоld-fashiоned feel оf the user interface.

Bоttоm line

Rocket English is a gооd cоurse, albeit nоt quite up tо the quality оf the оther available prоducts. If yоu are lооking tо achieve intermediate tо upper ability in English, then yоu shоuld оpt fоr Living Language English. Living Language is a significantly mоre sоphisticated cоurse than Rocket. The main reasоn tо chооse Rocket English is the price. At $69.95 (with the RocketDEAL cоupоn), it оffers a gооd intrоductiоn tо English, but yоu will prоbably need tо upgrade tо a different prоduct as yоur skills imprоve.

Michel Thomas Review

michel thomas language

Have you ever put off learning a language because it seemed too hard or you thought you could not do it? If so, the Michel Thomas language-learning program is designed for you. This audio-based program uses a relaxed teaching method in a low-stress setting. You listen to recordings of an instructor who teaches two students. Your role is to become the third student and follow along. There is no homework or rote memorization. There are not even any written materials, except for an optional e-booklet. The program is great for beginners who want to develop a basic level of comfort in speaking a new language and earn some confidence, too. Whether Michel Thomas is one of the best language-learning programs for you largely depends on what kind of experience you want or need.
If it sounds too rudimentary for you, better options are Rosetta Stone ($36 for three months) and Duolingo (free). Those programs are better at teaching reading, writing, spelling, and grammar. They are also suitable for anyone who is already at an intermediate or advanced level but still needs to practice their skills. Another good option for more advanced students is Yabla, which is kind of like a YouTube for language learning.

About the Name

Michel Thomas is named for the man who developed the program. His biography spans multiple countries and multiple wars. He is something of a legend in the world of language learning. He was born in 1914, died in 2005, spoke multiple languages, survived imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps, and was a decorated war veteran in part for his linguistic ability to collect information in various languages. That said, some details of his military past have been called into question.
He later developed the Michel Thomas Method of teaching languages and opened a private school in 1947, teaching some of the biggest celebrities of the time. Eventually, his method became an audio-based program, which is what you can buy today.
In many of the language courses, Thomas himself is the instructor. He has an easily identifiable voice. You can learn more about him and hear his voice in a BBC video profiling his language instruction.

Languages Offered and Availability on Mobile

Michel Thomas offers programs in 18 languages. They are Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Modern Standard), Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.
To make sure you can access the programs you buy on both the website and the mobile apps, you need to download the right app. It is called Michel Thomas Language Library for Android or Apple mobile devices.
Hachette formerly had separate mobile apps for each language; do not download them. They have not been updated in ages, and they are not available for every language. Additionally, watch out for knockoffs, as they seem to come and go on the app stores. One way to make sure you are getting the right app is to check the developer name. Hachette UK owns the Apple app and the Android version is offered by Trellisys.net.

Michel Thomas Pricing

When you buy one of the Michel Thomas language learning programs, you can spend about $7 for one lesson or $100 for a full course, which is about eight hours. Michel Thomas courses used to be sold as tapes and CDs, and you can still find some used CDs sold second-hand. Some languages have additional courses at varying prices, such as Insider’s French ($75), Italian Vocabulary ($75), Intermediate German ($90), and so forth.
There are two ways you can buy a digital version of the courses. The first way is through the Michel Thomas website. You create a login for that site, buy the programs you want, and then you can either play the lessons on the site or use the same login on the mobile apps to download them to your device.
The second option is to buy lessons on Audible. If you are familiar with Audible and use it for audiobooks, this might be slightly easier and more convenient. As with any other audiobook you buy on Audible, you can download them or play them wherever you use Audible. When you purchase the lessons through Audible.com, they are more expensive. They cost between $11 and $16 for each one-hour lesson, with no option to buy the full course at once. That means you end up paying as much as $128 for the eight-hour course.

Testing the Michel Thomas Method

To try the Michel Thomas courses, we went through the Foundation Arabic course. We also did the free introductory lesson in Italian and Hindi to see how the teaching differs from one language to another.
The program is audio based, so you do not learn to read or spell. You spend all your time listening, thinking, and speaking.
Each audio program has at least one instructor and two students. Thomas himself teaches Italian. In the Arabic course, you have one qualified teacher who is not a native speaker, Jane Wightwick, plus a second instructor who is a native speaker, Mahmoud Gaafar. Wightwick drives the course and Gaafar clarifies pronunciation and sometimes chimes in with helpful suggestions.
The students, who during the recording were physically in a room with their instructors, are complete beginners. You are the third student. You listen and are meant to respond any time the instructor asks a student to pronounce or come up with a word or phrase. You can always pause the audio while you try to answer aloud. Then you resume and listen as the student responds. The instructor sometimes offers corrections or clarifications. Finally, you hear one of the instructors say the answer correctly.
A real example in the Arabic course is, “In Arabic, how would you ask a man, ‘Can you see my son?'” Arabic uses gender in the language, so word endings change slightly when you speak to males versus females. At this point in the program, you have learned to say each word in this sentence, but you have never heard them or said them in this order before. You pause the app and try to say it. When you unpause, you hear the student make an attempt. Then you hear the instructor say the phrase in Arabic with a native pronunciation.

Learning With Michel Thomas

The Michel Thomas Method has unique aspects that make it completely different from any other teaching approach. When you start a new course, you get schooled in two rules before you even learn a single word of the new language. One has to do with using the pause button and speaking aloud. The other explains Thomas’ philosophy of your role as a student.
Your job is to be completely relaxed and to not try and force memorization. The course will not give you any homework, and you are not supposed to review the material in between lessons either. “Let it be absorbed and internalized,” says Thomas.
What is missing here is some guidance on how often you should listen to the audio files. Should I do one per day or several per day? Should I repeat a lesson if I am struggling to answer all the prompts? A different audio-based language program, Simon & Schuster’s Pimsleur, has precise instructions for how often to do the lessons (exactly one per day) and when to repeat a lesson (if you didn’t answer correctly at least 80 percent of the time). Pimsleur is also audio-based, but there are no students on the audio recordings, the way there are in Michel Thomas.

Building Blocks

The Foundation courses are meant to teach you functional language. Many language programs start by teaching you simple words such as “hello” and “goodbye.” Those are useful words, but they are not necessarily the best building blocks.
Instead, the Michel Thomas course gives you words that you can use repeatedly in different contexts. In Arabic, you start with words such as “I,” “you,” and a couple of simple verbs. Throw in some borrowed words, such as “cola” and “sandwich,” plus a few high frequency words, like “water” and “tea,” and you can quickly say, “I would like a sandwich and a tea, please.” Because of the way Arabic works, you can also say, “Would you like tea?” and about a dozen other simple sentences by swapping around the words, you already know.
In Italian, it is similar. You learn words for “it is,” “possible,” “to buy,” and more. By the end of the first lesson, you can say, “I want to buy it if it’s not too expensive,” and many other combinations of sentences using your new vocabulary.

How Fun Is the Michel Thomas Method?

In general, we enjoy learning through listening, especially the first time we learning a new language. We much prefer to hear a word and try to repeat it several times before ever see how it’s written, as the spelling can sometimes trip me up. In that sense, we like the Michel Thomas lessons a lot.
We also like that the students are far from perfect. They get things wrong. They forget words that we just learned a few minutes ago. They struggle with some of the Arabic sounds that are unusual for English speakers. In that sense, they are just like we, which puts us at ease.
That said, the first few minutes of the very first lesson are awful. The instructors go on and on about how you need to be relaxed, and if you are not learning it is their fault, not yours. When you finally get into the heart of the lesson, there is a noise whenever you are supposed to pause the audio. It is a blaring beep in the Arabic course and quick tabla drum trill in the Hindi course. It is annoying. Thankfully, the Arabic class drops it after a while.
The cuts for where one lesson ends and the next begins seem arbitrary. It sounds as if the lessons were recorded in one eight-hour session, and then later, a producer sliced it up into parts. Aside from the very first lesson, there are no introductions and no conclusions. It is very rare that you stop and take stock of what you have learned, and when it does happen, it is not necessarily at the end of a lesson. One lesson ends and the next one begins with the next breath. It feels haphazard.
You can download a free PDF booklet to go with your lessons from the Michel Thomas website. If you use the website in combination with the mobile app, you will then have the option to download the booklets to your phone or tablet, too. The booklets contain a brief summary of what you learned in each lesson. For languages that use a non-Roman script, the writing is transliterated, so you will not learn Arabic script or Cyrillic or Chinese characters.

What You Get

The Michel Thomas method has a few benefits. For one, it is great for learning pronunciation. Second, you really have to work to retrieve words and concepts from your mind. Some language-learning programs use multiple-choice exercises extensively. In those programs, you are not being pushed to retrieve the word, but rather to remember something about it, like its first letter or whether it is a short or long word. However, Michel Thomas pushes you to recall each word that you need every time you use it.
We also find that translating is harder when done orally, compared with doing it in writing. Therefore, in this way, the benefit is that the program challenges you in a very specific way. When translating sentences on a screen, you can glance up at each word as often as you need until you translate them all. When translating orally, you do not have that luxury. It takes more active thinking and remembering to get through a multi-part sentence.
The last benefit of Michel Thomas we want to mention is that it is a true confidence booster to people who believe they are incapable of learning a new language. It gets you speaking quickly, even if you are limited in what you can say.
With Michel Thomas, you practice figuring out what you do know how to say using the building blocks you have learned so far. That is an effective strategy for building confidence in your abilities and for developing a foundation for a language. But it will only get you so far.

What is missing

As with any audio-only program, there is no reading, writing, or spelling in Michel Thomas—or almost none, considering you can download a PDF booklet to go with the lessons. Keep in mind that for non-Roman alphabets, the text is transliterated. For a more interactive approach with a wider variety of types of instruction, you might instead (or additionally) try Fluenz, which offers many different ways to study, and includes reading and writing in its instruction.
In the Michel Thomas Foundation course, the instructors never ask you a question in the new language and expect you to hear it, understand it, and respond. We wish there were a little bit of that because hearing and understanding is necessary to be able to reply. However, the method does not use this technique. Instead, you are only coached on putting together new sentences using words you have learned.
In the core program, you do get a little bit of grammar instruction, but not in a written form. For some languages, being able to see verb conjugations or other aspects of grammar can help adults learn it faster.
With Michel Thomas, we did not feel like heard a lot of positive reinforcement from the instructors. We would have preferred a touch more enthusiasm when the students were able to answer prompts correctly.

Listen, Speak, and Boost Your Confidence

With any self-paced language-learning program, it is important to have realistic expectations for what you will and will not learn. Michel Thomas’ Foundation courses can help you develop a base for learning a language. You will acclimate your ear and your tongue, but you will not learn to read or write. While you will learn highly useful words and build confidence in your ability to use them in different contexts, your vocabulary will still be severely limited. If you like this kind of education but want a bit more structure, you might enjoy Pimsleur more, as it gives you clear guidelines for when and how much to study.
Our overall Editors’ Choices for language learning are Rosetta Stone for paid instruction and Duolingo for free courses. When it comes to learning a language, keep in mind that it is often helpful to use a few different resources at the same time. If you are a beginner who needs some confidence, Michel Thomas might be worth a try. However, do not hesitate to add Duolingo or another app to move you along and fill in where Michel Thomas falls short.

PROS
Teaching method forces you to fully recall words
Emphasizes listening and speaking high-frequency words
CONS
Minimal reading and no writing
No interactive materials
Not suited for intermediate or advanced speakers

BOTTOM LINE

Michel Thomas’ language-learning method gives you functional skills and the confidence that you can learn. The audio courses bring you into the world of spoken language, but you do not learn reading or writing.

Transparent Language Online Review

language course

If you are looking to learn a language chances are Transparent Language Online has it. This app and website has programs for more than 100 languages, from the most popular ones people study to those with few speakers worldwide. The amount of content that Transparent offers varies by language. Transparent is also better than some of the best language-learning apps in terms of its speaking and listening exercises. It is more expensive than many other apps, however, and it is more challenging.
Our top two picks for language-learning programs are Duolingo (free) and Rosetta Stone (from $36 for three months). They are both, in a word, stickier. They compel you to return to them day after day in a way that Transparent does not because they are more fun and more visually interesting. Still, Transparent is great for learning basic words and sentences in more than 100 languages.

What Can You Learn With Transparent Languages?

A huge consideration when choosing language-learning software is whether it offers the language you want to study. Even leaving out all its programs for learning English, Transparent offers the most languages of any language app we have seen.
In the long list of languages, provided below, you will notice some are more obscure than others are. Many of these lesser spoken languages have shorter courses and are part of Transparent’s 7,000 Languages Program, a nonprofit that aims to make less commonly taught languages available. Languages that are more popular have longer courses.
Excluding English, Transparent Language Online offers lessons for the following languages: Afrikaans, Albanian, Altai, Amharic, Arabic (Modern Standard, Egyptian, Iraqi, Levantine), Armenian, Azerbaijani, Balinese, Baluchi, Bashkir, Belarusian, Bengali, Bosnian, Breton, Bulgarian, Buriat, Cambodian (Khmer), Chechen, Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Cree, Croatian, Czech, Dakota (Standard and Sisseton), Danish, Dari, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Denesuline, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, French (European and Canadian), Georgian, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hausa, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kalmyk, Kazakh, Koasati, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxembourgish, Macedonian, Malagasy, Malay, Maori, Mirandese, Mongolian, Nahuatl, Nepali, Nogai, Norwegian, Oji-Cree, Ojibwe (Standard, Central, Northwestern), Pashto, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian and European), Quechua, Romanian, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian, Slovak, Somali, Spanish (Latin American and European), Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tajiki, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Turkmen, Tuvan, Ukrainian, Urdu*, Uzbek (Cyrillic, Latin), Vietnamese, Welsh, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu. An asterisk indicates that there are two courses, one that uses native script only and one that includes transliteration into Roman letters.
If there is a language you need that is not on this list, we recommend trying either Pimsleur or Mango Languages. Pimsleur has 50 language programs and is excellent, but it is almost all audio-based. Mango has courses in 68 languages, including some that Transparent does not have such as American Sign Language, Cherokee, Shanghainese, and Yiddish. We do not recommend Mango if you can avoid it because it is not the strongest program, but it is an option if you are in a bind.

Pricing and Plans

Transparent Language Online has dropped its prices starting in 2020 to put them more in line with other language apps. Currently, it costs $24.95 per month, which is high, or $149.95 per year. Most other language apps charge somewhere around $10-$13 per month or $100-$150 per year.
You can get a generous 14-day free trial, no credit card required, that includes access to all the languages. You can jump between languages, and the app saves your progress with each one. Another way to get this app free is to check whether your library has licenses to Transparent. If so, you may be able to create an account from home, just as you would if you purchased it, and get access to the program.
With an account, whether you pay for it or get it through your library, you get unlimited access to everything that has included in your language program. You can jump around at will, which means you can explore everything that is in the more advanced units before you level up to them. Transparent offers online private tutoring, too, but that is sold separately.

The Transparent Language Experience

In the years that we have tested Transparent Language, our opinion about it has wavered. Sometimes it feels too challenging. Sometimes it feels like it presents the right amount of new material per lesson. In addition, sometimes it does not feel challenging enough. The difference comes down to which languages we are using to test the app and how much experience we have with them.
We have used Transparent Language Online to dabble in German, Russian, Urdu, Spanish, and Romanian. While we not a native speaker of any of those languages, we have a lot of experience with Spanish and Romanian, but none whatsoever with Urdu or Russian. They have different scripts, too. As to German, we have learned a little on my own, only enough to say and understand a few travel phrases, really.
Romanian and Spanish were not challenging enough to keep our skills sharp. Urdu and Russian felt extremely difficult, like we would have had to take extensive notes while completing the exercises and use them going forward. The German lessons gave me just the right amount of challenge.
An important aspect of any language-learning app is whether it compels you to pick it up every day. Thinking about all the language apps, we have used, Duolingo has always been the stickiest. Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur are close seconds. With Duolingo, we know right where to go to practice a skill that feels weak, whether it is a particular verb tense, grammatical case, or listening. Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur feel sticky because the apps tell you exactly how much practice to do each day, making it easy to go in and complete your lesson. Transparent is a little like that. You can set a goal to study each day, but it is done by time rather than lessons. We also find that with Transparent, we can easily go down a rabbit hole of learning about the history of a language or watching videos that provide tips on learning the language, and suddenly we have been off track from my primary learning routine for ten minutes.
Another issue with the service is that Transparent is not visually interesting. It is a minor point, but it slightly discourages us from wanting to look at the app each day.

Transparent Language Feature and Interface

Transparent Languages Online starts out with a dashboard. All your units and lessons appear under the heading My Learning Path and they are sequentially numbered. To the right is a chart that shows your progress in terms of how much vocabulary you have amassed over time. Also in that chart is a number telling you how many words in your vocabulary are stale, meaning you have not been exposed to them in a while.
My Learning Path tells you about the units and lessons that you will learn. Each unit contains multiple lessons and ends with an assessment. If you think a lesson is below your skill level, you can skip ahead to the unit assessment. You can also remove it from your Learning Path if you like.
Assessments are short. They take about 10 minutes or less. They require you to show you can read, write, speak, and hear all the vocabulary you learned leading up to them. If you do not pass an assessment, you can still move forward with your learning, however. You are never locked out of lessons.
For languages that use a different character set, such as Urdu, you must choose whether you want native characters or a transliteration, meaning the words are phonetically translated into the Roman alphabet. If you choose native, there are many places where you can still enable transliteration, so it is not a strictly either/or proposition. In addition, if you get the Romanized version, you usually have the option to reveal the native writing alongside the transliterations.
Transparent has a nice feature for languages with new-to-you characters and letters to help you learn more about the writing system while you learn and study. You can see more information about the characters while you are doing exercises by clicking on them. For example, in the Urdu course, you can click on a word or phrase that you are learning, and a large pop-up window reminds you of the names and sounds of the letters or characters.

Exercises in Transparent Language

As you get into the lessons, Transparent gives you ample variety with speaking, reading, writing, and listening. The exercises are fairly routine. Ours favorite one is hearing spoken words and having to transcribe them. Ours least favorite is called Four Square, in which four cards appear on screen, face down. Each card turns over one by one to reveal the word, which you also hear. Then, they all go face down and you are given an English word. You have to remember which card has the Romanian translation. It is painfully slow and tedious.
To practice speaking the language, Transparent has a speech analysis tool. It is very good. To practice speaking, you hear a native speaker say a word or phrase. You also see the waveform of their speech. Then you record yourself saying the same thing. The part worth noticing is that when once you finish, the app scores you, and if your score is not up to snuff, it highlights the portions of your waveform graph where you got it wrong. You can then play back your recording and pay attention to the part where your pronunciation did not match the native speaker’s. The highlighting combined with the playback make it useful.
How quickly you complete lessons and units is up to you. Each day, you can work through as little or as much as you like. We found two lessons a day to be enough without going at it hardcore. Each lesson took around 10 to 15 minutes, less in the early lessons and more in later ones.

How Much Content Does Transparent Language Offer?

For languages that are widely spoken, Transparent generally has a lot of content, but it does vary. German has 10 units with five or six lessons each, for 52. Romanian has seven units, with three or four lessons in each for 27 lessons. The most popular languages have as many as eight or nine lessons per unit. The upside is that each language program is unique. It is not like there is a core set of content that is translated to each language. With Rosetta Stone, however, you do get the same material no matter which language you choose; in other words, it doesn’t matter if you’re learning Chinese or Spanish, you learn to say “a woman and her dog” in unit 2.
In addition to the lessons, Transparent gives you many ways to practice and review. You can refresh words that you have not seen in a while. You can opt to practice a specific skill, such as writing. A tab at the top of the page called Browse has even more resources and study materials, but again, they vary by language. In Romanian, we got resources for reviewing grammar and the alphabet, although we was disappointed didn’t find much about grammatical cases, as they’re one of the tougher parts of Romanian to master.
Transparent does not have longer form materials, such as podcasts or short stories. They are helpful for more experienced speakers who need to be pushed past their limit. Duolingo has podcasts for a few languages, as does Babbel. Rosetta Stone has some good short story content plus some new streaming classes and videos. Another language app called Yabla has videos with subtitles and closed captioning options that are really useful for more advanced speakers.
Transparent also has a tool called My Transcript that lets you generate a report of all the work you have done with the program over a certain time. We suppose it is handy if you need to justify your studies, like with a tutor or teacher.

Transparent’s Style

Most of the learning content hit the sweet spot for ours in terms of giving us enough time to remember a new word or grammar tip, and then asking us to put it to use. If you work through the activities in order, you will move among listening, reading, writing, and speaking at a good clip.
The app itself is not beautiful, as we mentioned earlier. It is functional and smooth, but absolutely nothing about its looks will capture your attention. It is not particularly fun, cutesy, or cutting-edge in its design. It is just straightforward.
The writing and spelling activities in particular solidified some of the things we had learned earlier in a lesson. For example, you might see flashcards teaching you how to say, “excuse me.” A few activities later, you must type the phrase for “excuse me.”
Special characters not found on American QWERTY keyboards appear on screen while you type. For example, in Romanian, when you type ‘t’ you get two options: t and t with cedilla (ţ). They are labeled one and two. You can either click the letter you want or choose the corresponding number. If you do nothing, the app defaults to the key on your keyboard.
You can also switch to simple typing, which means a bank of letters appears on the screen and you choose the one you need. In the mobile app, it is a little dizzying because the letter bank refreshes after each selection, so the letters are constantly changing and moving. We found it too jarring and distracting. It also does not seem necessary seeing as smartphone keyboards already have a simple and elegant solution for special characters: press and hold a key. It is easy to install a keyboard in another language on a mobile device.

The Final Word on Transparent Language

The primary reason to choose Transparent Language Online as your language-learning app of choice is that it is likely to have the language you need. It is a solid program for beginners, with an abundance of tools for learning and practicing a new language. At $149 per year, the price is not bad.
Rosetta Stone has a more deductive learning technique, a slower pace, and more visual appeal, all of which contribute to making it our Editors’ Choice among paid language-learning programs. Duolingo is our Editors’ Choice for free language-learning programs. Transparent is excellent, however, and offers many more languages than Rosetta Stone and Duolingo combined, so it is a top choice for languages that you cannot find anywhere else.

PROS
Offers instruction in more than 100 languages
Clear learning path and structure
Excellent speech analysis
Appropriately challenging
CONS
Writing and spelling exercises could be more polished
Some languages have more content than others
Pricier than others

BOTTOM LINE

If you need to learn a language, there is a good chance Transparent Language Online teaches it. It is not the flashiest app, but it offers excellent education in a huge variety of languages.

Yabla Review

language learning software

A language instructor once suggested that us watch Spanish-language movies or TV shows with Spanish closed-captioning turned on, but English subtitles off. “Or,” she said, “if you’re having a hard time understanding, turn them both on.” Yabla is a bit like that. This subscription-based language-learning app helps you practice listening and comprehension skills by watching and interacting with videos. You can turn on closed captioning in the native language, as well as subtitles in English. At the end of each video are interactive exercises for testing you on what you learned from the video. Yabla is only available for Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, and English, and it is really best for intermediate and advanced learners. It is quite challenging for beginners, especially if you do not already know the letters or characters and how to pronounce them.
If you are starting from square one with a new language, Rosetta Stone and Duolingo are excellent options. They help you build a base vocabulary and understanding, and they are our Editors’ Choices for paid and free language-learning software. Once you have maxed out on either of those programs, however, try Yabla.

Yabla’s Languages

When you sign up for Yabla, you must choose one of its language programs. The options are Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, plus English for Spanish speakers. Six languages—or five if you already speak English, and we assume you do if you are reading this—is not an extensive selection. At least it covers some of the most popular languages that English speakers want to learn and practice.
If you need a language that is not included, Duolingo has more than 35 languages and Rosetta Stone has 23, not counting English.
If you need to learn a hard-to-find language, you are best off looking at Pimsleur, Transparent Language Online, or Mango Languages. Pimsleur is almost entirely audio-based, and it is excellent if you do not mind learning by listening. Transparent is more interactive and is best for people who are self-directed learners. Mango is my least favorite of the bunch, but if you cannot find a language elsewhere, Mango might just have it.

Yabla Pricing

A membership to Yabla costs $12.95 per month, $54.95 for six months, or $99.95 per year. When you buy a membership, you only get access to one language. For Spanish, you get both Latin American and Castilian content in the same program. If you want to try Yabla before you join, there is a 15-day free trial.
Yabla’s price is competitive. The monthly price has gone up a little, but we have seen a similar increase in the fees of other subscription-based language learning apps, too. It is the same cost as a monthly subscription to Duolingo Plus, for example.
It is worth mentioning that some language-learning apps and programs let you access all the languages whenever you want, rather than pinning you to just one. Duolingo lets you switch between languages at any time. Rosetta Stone now also sells a Lifetime membership that includes access to all its languages for $299 (often discounted to $199).
That said, you might already have access to some of the same content that you can get from Yabla: foreign-language movies with closed captioning and subtitle options. Netflix has plenty of content in Spanish in particular, and there is no limit to what you can find on YouTube for most languages. With Yabla, you get a few more tools, however, such as the ability to search by level of difficulty or region, such as French speakers from Canada versus Europe. You also get quizzes and some other built-in tools, which we discuss in a later section.

Tools for Learning

We have tested Yabla before in German, Chinese, and Spanish, and returned to Spanish once again in my latest test runs with it.
Yabla’s main draw is that its videos come with both native closed captioning and subtitles in English. At any time, you can turn on one or both of them. You can also pause a video, go back, and slow it down. You can look up the definition of individual words by clicking on them, although this function is hit-or-miss because it lacks the context of the sentence. At the end of each video, you can optionally play games, which are really just exercises to reinforce some of the words you heard in the video.
The most important thing to know about Yabla, however, is that it is not a full-scale language-learning program. It does not have any structure. You do not start on a particular lesson and work sequentially onto the next one. There is no recommended amount of time you should put into learning each day either. Rather, Yabla is more sandbox-style, letting you explore and practice completely at your own pace.
Yabla does have beginner videos that teach and explain different aspects of the language, and some of them are packaged as a series that you can watch in a specific order. Even so, they are not scaffolded into a complete learning path. In our opinion, not having that structure makes even the entry-level videos less effective than they could be. If you are a new learner who is okay with a highly unstructured environment, you might find it appealing. If you expect guidance and a series of lessons that build on another, you are not going to get it here.

Getting Started

Once you create a Yabla account, choose a language, and pay for a subscription, you get access to the whole catalog of content for that language.
When you first get started, you see a landing page with videos, which you can filter by level of difficulty, topic, and region. There are three levels—beginner, intermediate, and advanced—but a 1-5 rating to show difficulty. The topics, or themes, range from animation to the economy and business. The regional divisions depend on the language. As an example, Spanish has filters for Latin America, Mexico, and Spain filters. Below those filters are additional options to choose a particular country, if you are trying to attune your ear to a more specific accent or word choices.
There is no correct place to start and no placement test to figure out your level. You choose the videos you want to watch.
We watched a series of videos about health, some about local expressions of Latin America, and others. We enjoyed watching a few episodes of the Colombian version of the television show The Wonder Years, or Los Años Maravillosos. Instead of getting one 25-minute episode, you get a series of parts that are more or less segmented by the show’s scene breaks. A “chapter” is equivalent to one episode, and each scene is called a “part.” Sadly, only a few episodes are included. Just as we was getting into it, the content ran out.
For series that you want to watch in order, Yabla gives you a drop-down menu in the interface that lets you continue watching the next part or chapter without losing your place.
When you watch a video, you see two transcriptions at the bottom of the screen, one in the language of the video and one in English (or English and Spanish for the English learning program). You can hide either one or both of them if you want. If you click on a word in the foreign language, its translation and other dictionary information appear at right. Any word you click also goes to your flashcard bank, which we explain later.
At the bottom of the video player window are small boxes that allow you to navigate the video more easily. They are helpful for when you want to land on a particular segment of dialogue. If you want to back up to a line you hear, you simply click on boxes until you find it.

Naturally Spoken Language, Real Videos

Much of the content in the intermediate and advanced levels come from real television shows, music videos, and commercials, so the actors speak at a conversational pace. Beginner-level videos are scripted to be slower and more enunciated, which is appropriate for new learners. You will not find many idioms or highly poetic phrasing in beginner-level content, either.
The quality of the videos is all over the map. We regrettably watched a few political ads from an election in Mexico, and the audio was blaring, like it was coming through a loudspeaker at a bus depot. Some of the beginner videos are over-scripted and use actors who seem inexperienced. It is cringe-worthy to see two people standing unnaturally close to another, staring into the other’s eyes while speaking, then awkwardly turn toward the camera, and speak to it instead. Yabla has been making some original content, which is getting better little by little, but is not the main attraction to this app. The value is in the videos that contain natural language, different accents, and conversational pacing.
Additionally, if you are used to watching videos in high-def or you care about that sort of thing, many of Yabla’s videos will be disappointing. Perhaps the quality is lower to keep streaming and downloading speeds reasonable. Whatever the case, it is noticeable.

Games and Drills

At the end of a video, you can play so-called games to reinforce what you watched in the video. They are really more like exercises. Some of them are quite challenging, but in a good way.
The easiest game is multiple-choice. Yabla replays a segment of the video you just watched with the transcription below and one word missing. You have to choose the missing word based on what you hear or what you can figure out from context.
Another game is the same but it uses a fill-in-the-blank method rather than multiple-choice, so it is harder.
More difficult still is the Scribe game. Segments of the video replay and you have to type the entire line in the foreign language. You can replay the segment as many times as you need, and you can even slow it down to 75 or 50 percent. If you are stuck, you can reveal the English translation or see individual letters and words if you are stumped.
The fourth and final game is a vocabulary review. Here, you review a handful of words from the video by identifying them by meaning from a group of words or by typing them when shown their translation.
After you play a set of games, you see a summary of how well you did. You also get clear progress markers to show which games you have completed and which ones you have not.

Flashcards and Lessons

Beyond videos, Yabla has two more sections that you access from the main menu options at the top of the screen: Flashcards and Lessons.
The Flashcards section contains all the words you clicked while watching videos when you wanted to see their dictionary definitions. You can optionally disable the function that creates these cards when you click on words. The vocabulary that you save ends up on flashcards that you can drill through at your own pace. You see one of your words in the foreign language, and below it, two buttons for indicating whether you think you know the meaning or you do not. When you reveal the word, you self-assess whether you got it right. Additionally, you see a quick summary of the video where you encountered the word and even the line where you saw it. I like having this context because it helps you not only remember the word, but also figure out its context, and from there, you can determine whether the translation that is provided is correct. Sometimes it is not, or you have to dig through multiple meanings before you find it.
The Flashcard game continues in this way, adding in more words as you master those you have already seen.
The Lessons portion of Yabla contains written text. You find here some explainer pieces that might help you work through some of the tougher aspects of learning a new language. For example, in Spanish, there are lessons about the difference between ser and estar. Both words mean, “To be,” but there is a distinction between them. In Spanish, the Lessons had a lot of material on idioms, yet again showing how Yabla is great for experienced speakers who are ready to tackle these more advanced topics. Lessons also show you videos that are related to the matter at hand, with a handy option to bookmark them to watch later.

Downloads and Transcriptions

Many of the videos on Yabla are available to download, which is great if you want to take your learning offline. Exactly what you can download depends on the video, and you do not know what your options will be until you hit the download button. Sometimes the only option is an MP4 file that has no description. Sometimes you do see descriptions of different files, such as a video file with Spanish and English transcriptions. In addition, sometimes, one of the options (or the only option) is an MP3 audio file. It is helpful to have these materials but a little unprofessional seeming that there is no consistency.
When you download a file, it is yours to do with as you wish. You can also download just the transcriptions if you want to practice with written material instead.

The Listener’s Tool

For people who have experience with a foreign language and need to keep it sharp or fine-tune their ear, Yabla is one of the best online language programs. Its videos cover a wide range of topics to keep you interested. We genuinely excited to watch more of the Colombian version of The Wonder Years. In addition, some of the exercises that go with the videos are challenging. That said, we do not recommend Yabla to anyone who is picking up a language they have never spoken before.
If you are starting from scratch, try Duolingo for its free exercises, which can help you become more familiar with simple words, phrases, and structures. Rosetta Stone is also a good option for the same purpose. Both Duolingo and Rosetta Stone have a lot of bonus content (such as podcasts, streaming sessions, and stories) that not everyone knows about, especially if you are studying one of the most popular languages. If you have tried Rosetta Stone before and it is just not for you, look at Fluenz, which has a lot of similarities, but a very different style.

PROS
Excellent for sharpening language-listening skills
Provides exposure to new words and expressions
Uses a variety of speakers and accents
Videos with conversational pace
CONS
Lacks structure
Inconsistent quality
Few languages offered

BOTTOM LINE

Yabla strengthens foreign language listening skills with thousands of videos and exercises based on them. It is excellent for people with prior language experience, but not ideal for novices.

Rype Review

rype review

Learning a language takes time, dedication, and a lot of practice. Most of the best language-learning apps give you materials to learn, such as interactive exercises, podcasts and audio files, short readings, and so forth. At some point, however, you have to speak with another human being to keep improving. Rype is a service where you find and book one-on-one language tutoring sessions via video call. The price for lessons is extremely low, though at present, it requires that you buy a subscription-style package. Even so, a half-hour class costs less than $10, which is extremely affordable even if you have to pay for a few sessions up front. Rype is more flexible than other services, although all sessions are only 30 minutes, which may feel too short for some people to make real progress. If you are ready for one-on-one tutoring, Rype is definitely worth a look.
If you are in the market for more general language-learning programs, Rosetta Stone and Duolingo are top picks. Rosetta Stone offers small class video-call tutoring, too, but it is highly scripted and tied to the Rosetta Stone program, unlike Rype’s sessions, which are unique to each learner and instructor. Rosetta Stone is better for beginners, however, as you can learn the basics of a language at your own pace in the app and without a tutor. Duolingo is a wonderful app, too, and it is entirely free. It makes a great companion no matter where you are in the learning process.

What Is Rype?

Rype is a marketplace where language learners can find tutors or instructors. Rype vets the instructors, but it does not train them or provide them with teaching materials. Every instructor brings his or her own style, materials, and personality.
Unlike other marketplaces for tutors, however, the instructors do not set their own rates. Instead, learners pay for a subscription to Rype, which includes so many lessons per month (see the Pricing section for more details). In addition, Rype pays the instructors separately.
Each session is 30 minutes long, and most of them occur via Skype. They are always one-on-one, so there are no group classes.

Languages Offered on Rype

Rype offers tutoring in nine languages, plus English. If you are already an English speaker, you can use Rype to learn: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
While Rype does not distinguish between Latin American Spanish and Castilian or Brazilian Portuguese and European, you can look for and choose instructors who have a particular background or accent. For example, among the Spanish instructors, you can find people with linguistic backgrounds from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Spain.

Rype’s Pricing and Plans

When you sign up for Rype, you must give a credit card number and choose a subscription plan, although you get seven days to try it free before the company charges you. A representative from the company said Rype would soon offer new options, such as a trial that includes three lessons without a time limit and the ability to buy a few classes à la carte without committing to a subscription. Those options are not yet released as of this writing, however.
The pricing is complicated, so let us simplify it first. A half-hour session costs anywhere from $7.08 to $9.99. For one-on-one tutoring, that is a remarkably low rate. Keep in mind, though, that this cost is based on buying a monthly subscription and booking all the classes that are included for the month. You end up paying for multiple classes up front, and if your schedule gets busy, you may not be able to use all your sessions in time. Rype does let you rollover up to half your total credits each month, however, and the price is so low that the worry of losing credits may not be a strong disincentive anyway.
The smallest package is a one-month commitment for four hours of lessons ($79.99), or eight classes. You can also prepay for six months of the same package at a rate of $59.99 per month, which means your total is $359.94.
If eight sessions per month is not enough, you can go up to 12 or 20 at a cost of $99.99 per month, or $509.94 for six months; or $179.99 per month or $959.94 for six months, respectively.
Keep in mind that the per-class price isn’t wildly cheaper if you pay for six months up front versus one month at a time, so consider starting with a one-month subscription and see how it works for your schedule before committing to anything more.

How’s Does Rype’s Pricing Compare?

Look around, and you can find all kinds of online tutoring. A low rate would be considered about $30 per hour, although that does not always include face-to-face video sessions, which is what Rype offers.
VerbalPlanet and Preply (which we have not reviewed) are similar sites for finding a one-on-one language tutor. On these sites, the rate varies by instructor. VerbalPlanet offers 45-minute sessions that cost roughly $15 to $25. Preply has a similar cost, though it lists by the hour (about $20 to $30, on average).
Another interesting comparison is Fluenz. Fluenz is online software for learning languages, but the company also offers in-person learning retreats and immersive classes by video. Rather than book individual sessions as needed, Fluenz asks you to commit to an entire course. A 30-hour course costs $2,800, which works out to be about $92 per hour, and there is a 15-hour Fast course for $1,500. The upfront cost is much higher than Rype, but Fluenz’s courses are quite different in nature and structure. They last 90 minutes each, for example, and the price includes access to software. Rype’s sessions are 30 minutes and you do not get any software. Rype is better if you need a lot of flexibility, as you can choose the time and date for each class and change instructors any time you want. Fluenz has a smaller pool of instructors and a much more rigorous approach to scheduling. There are some options, but you must choose a schedule in advance and commit to completing the program in anywhere from three to seven weeks.
Which type of course is better for you will depend on your prior experience, flexibility, goals for learning, and many other factors. Just know that different options are available.

Getting Started and Booking Sessions on Rype

The first steps in getting started with Rype are to pick your language, choose a subscription, put down a credit or debit card, and then look for an instructor. The page where you view the instructors shows a timeline at the top, and when you choose a date when you want to book a class, it automatically filters for teachers based on their availability. Instructors also have an average learner rating that appears next to their profile. If a teacher is too new to have ratings, their profile has a “New” tag on it.
When you book a session, you get all the details you need for joining. Many of the instructors use Skype to teach, and you will receive an email confirming the date and time of the class, plus the instructor’s Skype handle.

The Rype Learning Experience

To test the service, we signed up for a class in Spanish. We recently completed an intensive course that was similarly done via video chat.
The instructor messaged us a few hours before the class to add us to her Skype contacts. She also asked about ours level, whether it was beginner, intermediate, or advanced. We explained that we had prior experience and very recently completed an intensive course, and that we would like to focus on fluidity in speaking and review some more advanced verb tenses.
Two minutes before the class, our instructor sent a message via Skype asking if we was ready to go. We began with some chitchat, and she asked us simple questions that forced us to use present tense, simple past tense, and future. She switched to English a few times, but mostly we spoke in Spanish.
When we finished our casual conversation and were ready to move into a lesson on verb tenses, the instructor shared her screen. She had a white board where she could type and write by hand, plus some slides. She was super-fast in pulling up the right materials, and we did not waste any time. We practiced a bit and even ended the class one or two minutes over our time. She ended by telling us a little bit, about what else she would have us work on if we were to book her again for another lesson.
Overall, the experience was great. When we first started, it was clear the instructor was sitting outside by a pool. She was relaxed, confident, and ready to help us. She had some bad weather, which sent her inside halfway through our lesson, but it did not affect the learning one bit.
A Rype representative confirmed that the teacher’s materials, such as slides and images, are all their own. This is helpful to know because if you find an instructor whose materials and style work for you, you will want to stick with them. It also means that if you need to switch instructors for any reason, you will not likely have any continuity going forward.
The only downside in ours experience using Rype is that 30 minutes is not a lot of time for language learning, especially for speaking. We barely feel warmed up after 30 minutes. We would prefer a class that was 45 or 50 minutes. Not everyone will feel the same, of course, but it is worth noting that all Rype sessions are only 30 minutes long. Other language tutoring services, such as VerbalPlanet and Preply offer longer sessions should you prefer them.

Inexpensive and Flexible Language Tutoring

For keeping up with speaking and listening skills in a foreign language, there really is no substitute for having one-on-one time with an instructor or native speaker. If you are looking for low-cost tutoring with a flexible schedule, Rype delivers.
Whatever your skill level, you can always supplement your language learning with other tools. Duolingo is a long-time favorite, and its additional materials, such as Stories and Podcasts are worth exploring. Rosetta Stone has added new materials, too, like live streaming classes you can watch without participating in yourself, a good option for people with social difficulties. Both of these services are Editors’ Choices. Pimsleur, a personal favorite, is great for learners at any level who are audio-focused. There is no shortage of language-learning tools, and there is no reason to stick to just one of them.

PROS
Inexpensive one-on-one tutoring
Good tools for finding instructors
CONS
Short sessions
May take time to find the right instructor

BOTTOM LINE

Rype is an online marketplace where language learners can find tutors for one-on-one video-call sessions. The price is extremely low, although the sessions are only 30 minutes each.

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