Spanish language learning: Spanish Language Mobile Phone Apps vs. Online Courses


If you’ve decided to learn Spanish through the immersion route, you’ve come to the right place!

Here at UniSpain we live and breathe everything Spanish. And with more than a decade of experience in Spanish language courses for foreign students in Spain, we like to think that we know a thing or two about picking up the lingo…

This week, we’ve reviewed four popular Spanish language mobile apps, and compared them to four of the best on-line Spanish courses for you.



1. Learn Spanish with

iOS, Android
Price: Free

Our scoring: 3/5

This app is great if you’re planning on spending time in Spain, because Learn Spanish with teaches essential vocabulary in a Castilian Spanish accent. The app focuses on basic words used in all areas of life – for example work, studies, shopping, friendship, pastimes and pets, to name a few. With more than 30 different themes and 3,000 words in total, there is definitely enough content to keep you busy for a very long time. The iOS version also includes evaluations to let you know how you’ve done, and the Android version scores your pronunciation with speech recognition technology.

On the downside, the app is very simple and won’t teach you anything beyond words – no verbs, grammar or sentence structures. The screens and menus can be a little confusing too.

All in all, although Learn Spanish with won’t thoroughly immerse you in the language, for a free app it’s definitely worth a look.

2. L-Lingo Learn Spanish Now

Android, iOS
Price: Free

Our scoring: 3/5

L-Lingo is another free app for iOS and Android. A little more complex than Learn Spanish with, it uses voice recordings, pictures and word spelling that all help you pick up Spanish quickly. The vocabulary and themes are mainly aimed at travellers, professional people and those who want to socialise in Spanish. There are also grammatical explanations, and the program is easy to navigate.

Again, this app alone won’t get you speaking fluent Spanish, because its scope is quite limited. Some users also complained about typing errors in some of the early versions, although the developers confirm these are now corrected. But… it’s free. Give it a try and see what you think!

3. Learn Spanish with MosaLingua

iOS, Android
Price: 4.99€

Our score: 5/5

Learn Spanish with MosaLingua is a great Spanish language app. The MosaLingua motto is “Learn the essential 20% that will take you 80% of the way”, and the app certainly delivers on this statement. Hence both Google and Apple awarded it “App of the Week” shortly after its release.

The idea behind Learn Spanish with MosaLingua is to feed you the most commonly used Spanish vocabulary and phrases in easy to remember snippets. There is also a motivational game element: you can unlock bonus jokes and sayings as you advance, and the application tracks your learning progress. With over 3000 flashcards that correspond to words and phrases, and more than 100 subcategories from transportation and emergencies to sports and flirting, you’ll definitely learn bundles of Spanish with MosaLingua. It’s a great one to tuck in your pocket when you head off to Spain for your immersion course.

Downsides? We couldn’t really find any, except perhaps the price. Mind you, what can you get for 5€ these days? If you are considering spending money on a Spanish language app, we can definitely recommend this one.

4. ABC Spanish for Beginners

Price: 0,99€

ABC Spanish advertises itself as a “Great way to learn Spanish!” In reality, this is just another application where you touch a picture and connect it with a matching word. Perhaps as an improvement from the and L-Lingo apps, you can also compete with friends or people in your Spanish class, by selecting words in a Spanish vocabulary puzzle – the person who is the fastest and has the least errors, wins.

On the negative side, this app is only available on Android – and you have to pay for it. To be honest, we don’t think it brings much more to the table than the L-Lingo or the apps do, but if you like the team gaming element and a sufficient number of your Spanish classmates have Android phones (and are willing to spend 0,99€ on the app) then you can definitely pick up new Spanish vocabulary with this ABC Spanish.

If you are planning on using the app on your own, however, you’d probably be better off going for one of the other ones above.




Price: 10€ per month, 20€ quarterly or 35€ for six months

Babbel does not only do apps! This language learning provider’s language courses and resources are well known globally. Once you’ve registered on, you can get access to a wide on-line learning community with both beginner and advanced Spanish lessons available. The Spanish language resources on are extensive and not just limited to grammar and vocabulary – there are many alternative features like games, songs, videos and fun vocabulary exercises.

If we were being very picky, Babbel’s only downfall would probably be the sheer volume of resources they offer on their site. There are so many tools, materials, lessons and connections to choose from on, that it will take you days or even weeks just to get to grips with everything on offer.


Price: 12 months 99€, or 1 month 9,95€

LiveMocha is almost like a social networking site dedicated to language learners. With almost 400,000 daily visits, you can constantly meet and connect with other language students and teachers via chat and email, as well as find a treasure trove of materials and learning tools to download.

For example, if you want to find other people to do language exchange with, purchase cheap lessons or get free tools that will help you improve your Spanish, LiveMocha gives you a wide variety of learning opportunities – it’s like the Facebook of language learning. Although nothing can match Spanish immersion in a native Spanish speaking country, LiveMocha can offer a partial substitute, offering you connections with other language speakers that you probably wouldn’t find in your home area.

We couldn’t really find a major downside, except perhaps the price. For 10€ a month or 100€ per year, you really need to be sure you’ll utilise the site all the time. But if you do use it to its maximum, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.


Prices: One month $79, two months $158 (about 59€ and 119€ respectively*)

StartSpanish focuses on the importance of human interaction while learning languages. Its other top priority is to make language learning as flexible as possible. It achieves both these aims by offering live, unlimited daily classes, available at any hour of the day. So professional people and busy students, as well as people with small children, can get a great advantage from StartSpanish, because of not having to be tied to specific classroom times.

There is no need to download software or mp3’s, or buy CD’s, because all the lessons are offered in web-based classrooms. They also offer a guarantee of fluency at 12 months if you follow their program for half an hour each day – and offer you an additional six months if you don’t reach that goal!

The only thing that should be noted about StartSpanish, is that you will probably need to invest in a decent headset with a microphone, if you want to fully hear and understand the on-line lessons, and communicate with the teachers.

*USD–EUR exchange rates quoted November 2013.


Price: Premium Membership 15€ per month or 45€ for six months, or 175€ for the full conversation course* offers a specialist learning method to Spanish students, called guided imitation. Students who subscribe to the program are given small, easy-to-remember pieces of language, exactly as native Spanish speakers would use it.’s promise is that if you do half an hour of the Premium Membership program each day over six months, you will speak and understand Spanish.

This site is 50% pricier than the others, however, and requires the download of mp3’s (or ordering CDs) if you want to do the full program.

Having said that, you don’t need to commit straight away; you can sign up for free on-line access first.

Our verdict!

When you start studying a foreign language, any extra learning helps. Reaching fluency in Spanish isn’t necessarily easy, but on-line courses can take you a long way in establishing a language structure and being able to practice your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

So which app and on-line course do we think are the best? Well, our favourite on-line course provider is – which is why we offer a two-month subscription free to all students who book a Spanish course through UniSpain! And if you’re looking for a fun, useful app to learn vocabulary and phrases with, we think the MosaLingua app for iOS and Android is very nifty and worth investing in.

apps5Nothing, however, can ever beat language immersion in a native Spanish speaking country. Ultimately, all serious students of Spanish will want to test their skills in a native environment. The good news is that an immersion language course in Spain doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Check out UniSpain’s Special Offers to learn all about affordable quality courses in some of Spain’s best language schools and public universities, or get in touch with us for more information.

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