Looking for the best apps to learn Korean? You’ve come to the right place.
We’ve roadtested 6 of the most popular apps on the app store, giving you a complete rundown of their features, their pros and cons.
Top 6 Korean Language Apps
Why Use An App?
Using an app is a fantastic and fun way to learn a new language.
With so many Korean language apps, it’s hard to know which one is right for you.
And not everyone is the same, what works for someone may be painful for another.
Today, we will be taking a look at the best Korean apps to speed up your language learning journey.
Let’s dive in.
Best For The Gamer Language Learner
Drops is at the top of our list for good reason.
Drops use a technique called gamification as an effective way to motivate you into learning.
For productivity experts amongst us, gamification is a method of combining learning with, well, gaming.
This is what Drops does best.
In what effectively is a bunch of word matching games, you are presented with an image and asked to match it with the corresponding word in Korean.
You can test drive their app using their desktop version here before downloading. But we really would recommend the app for the ultimate convenient experience.
The aesthetics of Drops is stunning (trust us). The illustrations are flawless, and Drops makes use of professional voice actors to give a crisp audio experience.
We had an incredible amount of fun playing on this app, which is very important when learning a new language.
Adding a fun element will make the learning experience seem less of a chore, and will mean you are more likely to stick to your journey and crush your goals.
Better still, Drops claims that in just 5 minutes of learning per day, you can become a more efficient learner.
The Drops app is entirely FREE, which gives you 5 minutes of practice per day. You can upgrade your account to a Premium version, which unlocks some really great features.
Drops Premium costs $10 per month or $35 for a year. You can also purchase a lifetime membership for $160, which is excellent value, in our opinion. Drops is worth the price.
The premium version unlocks the following benefits:
- Unlimited time
- Removes ads
- Unlock all topics
- Increased difficulty mode
Drops has won many awards, including Google’s Best App of 2018, and the company has been crowned one of TechCrunch’s Most Innovative Companies.
And its not just for Korean learners. The Drops app is offered in 32 different languages.
Your premium subscription unlocks them all.
We love Drops for its fun games, ease of use and beautiful interface, which makes it our top choice for a beginner and a worthy winner on our list of best Korean apps.
Drops is available on both the Apple App and Google Play Stores.
Best For Beginner and Intermediate Korean Speakers
LingoDeer is another solid resource on your step towards Korean fluency, coming in at #2 on the list of our best Korean apps.
The app is uniquely designed for studying Asian languages, including Korean.
Maybe this allows them to have a more specialized approach compared to Drops. You be the judge of that.
LingoDeer starts by teaching you Hangul (the Korean alphabet), which is essential to understand when learning Korean as a beginner.
It then progresses into beginner-level phrases, with a whopping 100+ lessons covering beginner and intermediate vocabulary.
The app breaks lessons into an easily digestible format. You can select topics ranging from food, nature and shapes to customize your learning experience.
The topic-based learning method is incredibly efficient, and the app sometimes throws in less commonly used words to mix things up.
What’s better is that LingoDeer combines vocabulary and grammar in a way that cements it into your memory.
For example, when learning about fruit, the app will not only teach you the word but also words you may use to describe fruit (such as size and shape).
The only slightly annoying point is that to progress through a unit, you must complete the lessons in order. This is fine as a beginner, but if you already have some level of understanding, you may want to jump to a point where you feel comfortable.
Each lesson revolves around completing various exercises. There is a massive variety of activities to keep you engaged.
- Matching pictures to words (similar to Drops)
- Speaking and Listening
- Multiple-choice questions
- Spotting the odd word out
- Filling in the blanks
The one thing we love about LingoDeer is the stories feature.
This is pretty unique, and not something we have come across in other apps.
To help solidify your knowledge, LingoDeer will show you a short captioned video about the topic you have just studied.
You can even record yourself speaking along to the video and listen back to check your pronunciation.
LingoDeer is a little more expensive than Drops, at $12/month, $30/quarter or $56/year. Unfortunately, they do not offer a lifetime membership at this time.
LingoDeer has a LOT of fans online, and the good reviews are more than justified. Now stop reading and give it a go
Best For Visual Language Learners
Memrise works using the concept of spaced repetition.
As the name suggests, spaced repetition is a learning technique that incorporates intervals of time between your study sessions.
The human brain learns and retains information best by frequent exposure.
Let’s take a look at an example.
If we told you the value of pi to 6 places, chances are by tomorrow you would have forgotten.
But let’s say we tell you again tomorrow, and then again next week, and a month later. What are the chances you will remember those 6 digits? Pretty high, we hope!
So yeah, back to Memrise.
The app exposes you to vocabulary at specific intervals. Forgotten the word? No worries, they’ll show it to you more frequently. Aced it? Great, you’ll see it next week.
In other words, it will show you the words you get wrong consistently, more frequently. The ones you guess right, less often.
Pretty simple really.
Now Memrise was first built as a web app to help you learn Korean, so that is really where its strengths lie. We find the mobile app has a few missing features compared to the web version.
One of the massive benefits of Memrise is that is has a very active and engaged community which compile their own ‘decks’. Decks are collections of flashcards which you can use to practice.
It has to be said that it’s possible to learn A LOT of different topics on Memrise and not just languages. Decks revolving around maths, science and hundreds of other topics can be downloaded, so it is a great multi-use tool.
Memrise allows you to make custom notes and add images to your decks, helping to tailor your learning experience.
The flipside of community content is that the quality can often be unreliable, as there is no third party checking process in place.
The free version of Memrise is more than enough to get you started. However, the Pro version does have some great features which could be useful in your journey.
At $9 per month, $59 per year or $130 for lifetime access, Memrise is priced similarly to many of the other apps in this review.
#4. Talk To Me In Korean
Best For Developing Grammar
Fourth on our list of best Korean apps is Talk To Me In Korean.
Talk to Me In Korean (TTMIK) offers a massive variety of resources for the beginner learner, including videos, podcasts, workbooks and even a social forum.
They really focus on making the language learning experience fun and exciting, and they do a great job at it. Lessons are incredibly engaging and creative.
TTMIK also offers some beautiful textbooks to accompany your online learning.
These are perfect for chucking in your bag and picking up when you are trying to get some downtime from your phone.
The books cover aspects of Korean culture that other learning platforms ignore, including K-Pop Megastars BTS and Parasite film direction, Bong Joon Ho.
TTMIK excel at giving insight into the practical use of the language, in particular the differences between spoken and written Korean.
When learning new words, they take the time to explain their background and call out any unusual grammar rules.
TTMIK has very active Youtube and Soundcloud channels, providing a tonne of extra resources at zero cost!
Although TTMIK has a paid version, they offer a vast amount of high-quality, valuable FREE content. This includes the entire course on Korean grammar.
For the Premium version, monthly membership is $13, while an annual membership can be purchased for $63
One of the downsides of TTMIK is they often fall back to speaking in English, which can interrupt the language learning process.
TTMIK focus heavily on lectures, so you really need to make sure you put in the practice outside of the course to develop your speaking skills.
We also found that many of the video resources have lengthy introductions before getting to the point of the lesson.
A native iOS App is available on the Apple App Store, but Android users will have to do with an unofficial app called KORLINK.
#5 Hello Talk
Best For Social Butterflies
HelloTalk is a little different to other apps we have featured on our list, but one of our favourites.
HelloTalk is a chat-based app designed to connect you with a language exchange partner.
Upon signing up, you create a Facebook-like profile which includes your native and target language. Using this profile, you can reach out to fellow language learners and chat via its internal messaging function in your target language.
Through the chat function, your language partner can correct your written language and steer you in the right direction, and vice versa.
HelloTalk is a beautiful way to meet likeminded people from around the world. We have used HelloTalk several times now and are always amazed by how its users are helpful and willing to share.
When learning a language, it’s easy to get so involved in studying, you forget to put what you have learned into practice. Helo Talk allows you to get talking to real people and, hey, you may even make some new friends.
‘Moments’ enable you to post a status update, visible by all native speakers of your language, helping you to get questions answered quickly.
One of the most significant plus points is that you are helping someone else in their language journey, so it’s really a two-way language experience.
You never know, you may even learn something about your own language that you didn’t know.
Voice and video chat is a unique feature in the app, either through calls or short, recorded messages. Finding someone who will trade voice messages is a valuable way to develop and improve your speaking capability.
Motivation is key. The success of HelloTalk really depends on how actively you participate in the community.
Unlike formal lessons, there is no structure so you will need to remain committed to crush your goals to make the most out of it.
Although a VIP option is available, we really don’t think it’s necessary. For a beginner, the free version is more than enough.
Best For The Serious Language Learner
Last but not least, we have the behemoth that is Anki. For many, Anki is simply one of the best Korean apps out there.
Anki is another spaced repetition system, similar to Memrise. It makes use of flashcards which include text, sound and video to stimulate all of your senses at once.
Like Memrise, Anki is not just for Korean, and not just for learning a language. Topics ranging from bioscience to English literature all have decks available.
If you’re currently at school studying for tests, you can use Anki as a powerful tool to study for exams.
If you are looking for the most efficient Korean language learning app, Anki may be it.
Anki’s algorithm simply ticks all the boxes, organizing your flashcards in a way that maximizes your rate of retention.
Anki has a fantastic reputation amongst language learners, as it has a wide array of customizable options enabling you to completely personalize your learning experience.
The Anki community is also incredibly devoted (check out their Reddit community). There is an endless supply of user-created decks for you to download and use, completely free of charge.
The desktop application for Anki is also free to download, as is the Android version of the app.
The iOS version, however, is a little on the expensive side but is a one-off purchase. Subscriptions add up, so if you are looking for a low-cost option, Anki is excellent.
This is an extremely cost-effective option for your language journey.
For on the go learning, Anki seamlessly synchronizes across all of your devices.
Now it can’t all be positive.
For some, Anki can be quite tricky to use. There are a LOT of different customizations which can be challenging to get your head around. It is also not the most intuitive app, so it will take some time to get used to.
But if you invest and really learn all the features Anki has to offer, we are confident it will become an invaluable part of your toolkit.
While Anki does not offer any standalone lessons, it is best used in conjunction with other learning methods, such as textbooks, face to face lessons or other apps.
So there you have it, our rundown of the best Korean apps is complete.
Hopefully you have found something that will help you on your Korean language journey and lead you on that path to fluency!
May the force be with you.