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Babbel Reviews In 2020 [app usability, perks, online reputation]

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Strengths

  • ‘Bite-sized’ lessons and cross-device syncing
  • Topics and courses that prepare you for real-life situations
  • Podcasts and online live classes with a native teacher
  • Courses crafted to learner’s native language

Weaknesses

  • Offline learning not available on the desktop, only on the mobile app
  • Range in levels and topics vary by language

YEARS IN BUSINESS

13

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Email, Direct Messaging, Phone (currently not available)

APPS

Desktop, Mobile

FREE TRIAL

Yes

LANGUAGES TO LEARN

14

Interface languages

8

Babbel is an award-winning online language learning app by Lesson Nine GmbH, founded in 2007. Headquartered in Berlin, with its U.S. subsidiary Babbel, Inc. operating from New York since 2015, Babbel has grown to a team of 750 people from 60+ nationalities and recently sold its 10-millionth subscription.

Babbel’s mission, “Everyone. Learning. Languages.”, drives it to develop diverse content – there are currently over 60,000 lessons in 14 languages. They are tailored by 150+ linguists for real-life situations (e.g. business, travel, relationships), and Babbel reviews rate it as one of the best available language learning programs.

In this review we will cover:

  • Platform Key Details
  • Plans and Pricing
  • Pros and Cons
  • Usability of the Babbel App
  • Support and User Reviews
  • Alternatives
  • FAQ

Platform Key Details

Babbel gives you the opportunity to learn 14 languages, including English, using their online platform, for desktop and mobile devices. Learning is designed by language experts and teaching is developed in your native language. They provide short lessons of up to 15 mins with the audio spoken by native speakers rather than being computer-generated. 

Learning is AI-supported. The in-app voice recognition software uses continuous analysis of user behavior to responsively adapt the content and learner experience, improving language learning and understanding.

Babbel language course reviews variously rate the app as best suited for:

  • Challenging content
  • Online school-type learning
  • People with a busy schedule
  • Speaking Spanish and French
  • Foundation or refresher grammar and vocabulary
  • Beginner to intermediate level
  • Supplementary language learning

Interface languages are:

  • English (U.S./UK)
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazilian)
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

Learning languages are:

  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazilian)
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish

Babbel offers a placement test to help determine your learning level as well as help you set measurable goals. This feature has proven popular with Italian speakers and is often mentioned in Babbel Italian reviews. The service also allows the learner to try different topics and lessons at various levels, as well as to repeat and review their progress. Syncing across various devices allows you to pick up where you’ve left off.

Plans and Pricing

Babbel’s free ‘Basic account’ enables limited access to newcomer courses as well as a free trial, including the first lesson in each course. Specials, such as 5 free online classes through Babbel Live, are also available.

Four ‘Premium contract’ (paid subscription) packages are available, enabling access to all courses for that selected language, as follows:

Plan (months) Total Cost 

(incl. VAT)

Monthly Equivalent Saving
1 $12.95 $12.95
3 $26.85 $8.95 30.8%
6 $44.70 $7.45 42.5%
12 $83.40 $6.95 46.3%

You can pay upfront using PayPal or your credit/debit card. 

Cancellations can be made within 14 days, no questions asked. Further requests for cancellations can be made any time up to one day before the subscription’s renewal date. In addition to this, they have a 20-day money-back guarantee entitling users to a full refund. 

A referral program enables all subscribers to invite their friends via a unique code. It earns you a gift card redeemable in your local currency for every friend that signs up for at least a 3-month subscription. Your friend also gets 1 month for free. 

Company contract options also exist under ‘Babbel for Business’, as follows:

  • Professional: $2,200 (≤20 users) to $150,000 (≤150 users) annually 
  • Live: $4,150 (min. 5 seats)
  • Intensive: $5,350 (min. 5 seats)

To assist your company with selecting the contract best suited to your team and business, a consultant-facilitated demo can be booked. For Babbel Professional packages exceeding 150 users, you can contact Babbel for Business to arrange a contract.

Usability of the Babbel App

It is evident from hundreds of Babbel reviews that the app is one of its most prominent features. Babbel provides easy access and navigation whether via desktop or mobile device. You can select an interface language of your choice. 

Once you have decided which language to study, the process of creating a Basic account is simple. You can register via Apple, Facebook, Google, or email. Download the app onto your mobile device/s and you are ready to access your account and sync your progress. Offline access is not supported on your desktop but is possible across all your mobile devices. The system requirements are:

  • For desktop, at least Windows 7 or macOS 10.12 and an updated internet browser
  • For mobile devices, at least Android 7.0 or iOS 11.0, together with the Babbel app

Subscription periods range from 1-12 months. Babbel’s Activity Tracker lets you keep track of your weekly learning activity across all of your devices, under ‘My Progress’ (web) or on your Profile and Home screens (mobile).

Help and Support

You can contact Babbel’s customer service team by direct messaging via the website’s ‘Help’ button. Additionally, you can contact them via the ‘Contact’ button or the ‘Help’ page which has FAQ and updates. You can also submit a request online, via the ‘Contact Us’ link at the bottom of the Help Center screen. 

Phone support is temporarily unavailable due to high demand during the current pandemic, and you are encouraged to make contact via email (support@babbel.com). For B2B customers, Babbel for Business sales and support can also be contacted by submitting your questions online or via email (b2bsupport@babbel.com).

Babbel has multiple social media platforms, which can be turned to for support, including:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Twitter

There is a tremendous amount of information available on the Babbel site that includes: 

  • Babbel for Business: Blog with articles for managers, HR, and learners on topics like learning, leadership, personal development, and diversity
  • Babbel Magazine: Articles on culture, languages, and helpful learning tips, including ‘Inside Babbel’ that introduces the reader to the company’s staff
  • Babbel Bytes: The ‘Tech Blog’, presenting stories from Babbel programmers and engineers

Babbel Trustpilot reviews are generally favorable regarding customer and technical support, and most other reviewers also agree that the company offers great service.

Babbel User Reviews and Testimonials

Based on 15,118 Babbel Trustpilot reviews, Babbel is rated ‘Excellent’ (4.6/5). Other Babbel rating reviews also give the app just high scores – a 4.6-star rating from 172.1k ratings on the App Store and a 4.4-star rating from 547.2k reviews on Google Play. Other Babbel language reviews are even more positive and include it in the list of the top language learning apps for 2020:

  • PCMag – Great language learning app that teaches you “phrases and vocabulary you’ll actually use”
  • CNET – “Best for an online school-type experience
  • Good Housekeeping – Bite-sized lessons crafted by native speakers for practical use
  • Online Course Rater – Personalizes to learning style; one of the best mobile apps
  • Tina On Tech – Useful, challenging, inexpensive, high-quality lessons unique to each language
  • Actual Fluency – Awesome / Excellent for Spanish or French

The most frequent criticism of the platform is due to the difference in quality and content depending on the language. Some reviewers criticize Babbel for being Eurocentric, as there aren’t that many non-European languages to choose from. Some Babbel reviews in 2020 say that lessons may become repetitive. Regardless, repetition is also highlighted as a pro by some users since it serves to reinforce the learning of new words and phrases.

Alternatives

As a market-leading platform, Babbel is frequently compared with other well-known services, such as Busuu, Lingoda, Mondly, Pimsleur, and Rosetta Stone. There are particularly many comparisons of Babbel vs Duolingo. Here we briefly discuss Babbel in relation to Duolingo. 

Duolingo is the most recently established language learning service (2011) but has the greatest range and number of languages to learn (38). It also has the key benefit of a free basic subscription.

Duolingo provides free access to lessons but requires payment for additional features. They also provide a gamified experience to engage, motivate, and facilitate learning. Babbel is noted for more challenging and well-rounded learning, offering variety and practical applications to develop grammar, vocabulary, and conversation.

See below a comparison between Babbel, Duolingo, and Rosetta Stone:

Wrap Up

Judging by Babbel reviews from 2020, several features make Babbel stand out. Their lessons are ‘bite-sized’ and available anywhere at any time. Progress can be synced across as many devices as you want. Also, the fact that the learning process is tailored to your interests and goals, as well as to practical use in real-life situations, is a big plus. 

Moreover, the language audio is generated by native speakers rather than machines, which is very appealing. So is the access to podcasts and online classes, in small groups, with a native teacher.

Other key advantages of Babbel include highly competitive prices and a wide range of topics including culture, work, and travel, amongst many others.

babbel reviews
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FAQ

Can Babbel Make you Fluent?

Babbel aims to help you begin speaking a language up to conversational proficiency and provides you with the basics (e.g. grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation) to start building your fluency.

How Much Does Babbel Cost Per Month?

Babbel subscription options start at $6.95 per month for a one-year contract, increasing to monthly rates of $7.45 (six-month), $8.95 (three-month), and $12.95 for a one-month subscription.

Is it Worth Paying for Babbel?

Yes. You are paying for the time and expertise of a dedicated Didactics department. This language service is supported by AI, has an ad-free application, an individually tailored learning path, and unlimited access to courses and topics developed for your selected language. Babbel reviews highlight the affordability of a Babbel subscription, particularly on an annual basis.