Drops App Overview
Drops is a language learning app for those who want to brush up on their vocabulary with fun games and memorization exercises. This app offers lessons in 45 languages and is available for both Apple and Android.
There is a free version as well as a subscription version of this app, making it great for light learners and serious studiers alike. This is not a comprehensive language learning program, but it does offer quality vocabulary practice. It also has a fun layout and enjoyable lessons that draw you in and make you want to practice every day.
One of the things I like most about this app is how user-friendly it is. It is designed to be used as little as five minutes a day, yet it can still help you along the way to fluency. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, come along with me as I do a comprehensive review of this fun app.
Before diving too deep into the details, here is a quick overview of the features I enjoyed as well as a few things that I think could use improvement.
Drops App pricing
There are a few payment options for this program:
They also offer a free version that you can use for up to five minutes every 10 hours.
Initial Thoughts Of Drops
My first thought when I opened this app was that I definitely like the theme. The layout is simplistic but still bright and engaging. Many language apps fall into either a super cartoony layout (Think Duolingo and Lingodeer) or a plain text with vague photographs layout (Think Rosetta Stone and Busuu).
Drops is different. The layout includes a lot of gradient colors and white text with simple white outline illustrations. Sometimes the illustrations are a bit too vague, but I like the look of it nonetheless. Overall it is quite soothing.
I also appreciate how simple the signup process is and how straightforward they are about their program and pricing options.
The only cringy thing I noticed in my initial exploration was that the description of the app includes the phrase, “Learn a new language in just 5 minutes a day.” This is a pet peeve of mine, so it isn’t a deal-breaker, but I’m always a bit leery of programs that use statements like that. They do not promise that the app will get you to fluency, so they are at least more upfront than many other companies.
Overall, my initial impressions were that this was going to be a fun supplemental learning app and I’m happy to say that most of those impressions turned out to be accurate.
Getting Started With Drops
Getting started with this program couldn’t be easier. Simply go to your app store and download the free app, choose your login preference, and choose a language. You can log in with an existing online account, such as Facebook or Google, or you can create a unique login just for Drops using your email.
Once you’ve logged in and chosen a language, you’ll be taken to a screen that explains the benefits of signing up for a Premium subscription. Premium includes no ads, longer practice times, and open access to all the lessons in every language that they offer.
Under that is an offer for a free 7-day trial. If you click on that it will take you to the screen where you would sign up for Premium with a 7-day trial before you have to pay. If you’re like me and want to try the app before you pay, then simply tap the X in the upper left-hand corner and you will proceed to the free version of Drops.
The first thing you will see is a quick tutorial about how to use the app and by quick, I really mean quick. It probably took less than 15 seconds, but it does cover the basics, which I will explain in the next section. You will see little text bubbles pop up with directions throughout your first couple of lessons as well, so don't worry about missing anything.
Topics and Lessons
Similar to most language apps, Drops’ lessons are arranged in categories based on topic. These categories included everything from foundational words to Home & Garden, People & Health, Food & Drinks, and Travel Talk. The categories vary depending on which language you choose, but there is a wide variety of subjects for most languages.
Each topic includes a set of lessons that match the theme such as lessons on Body and Health in the People & Health section. I like the way the lessons are broken up because it makes it easy to find exactly what you’re interested in learning.
With the free version, you will have access to the first lesson on each topic, but you have to unlock the rest of the lessons one at a time. This may sound a little inconvenient, but it’s not bad because you still have access to a good variety of subjects.
With a Premium subscription, you have access to all the lessons at once so you can bounce around as you like. Because this program does not have a set lesson plan, shifting back and forth between subjects has little to no effect on the quality of learning.
Dropping Into Your First Lesson
Your first lesson, which will start immediately after the initial tutorial, covers basic words so you can get a feel for the app.
Each lesson begins with a new word. You will always know when a new word is popping up because of the fun dripping animation and sound that comes with it. The new word will “drip” down onto your screen along with a corresponding image.
The new words always include a translation, but after its introduction, you will no longer be shown a translation, simply the image. This is meant to help you memorize the words for what they are instead of having to constantly translate them in your head.
This image-only technique is quite popular in the language learning world especially in full-immersion programs like Rosetta Stone. In some cases, this technique can cause more confusion than learning, but it works perfectly for Drops since the focus here is solely vocabulary.
Now that you have your new word, what do you do with it? It’s quite simple. You can drag and drop the word down to learn it or up to skip it. This is a handy feature for those who may already know a bit of their chosen language and don’t want to waste time studying familiar materials.
Each time you drop a word into the “Learn It” category you’ll be presented with a few game-like practice exercises such as matching the word to the correct image, matching bubbles with words and pictures, or finding the word in a word search.
As you learn more words, the games will become more varied and challenging, but not too challenging. The hardest part is remembering which image goes with what word because some of the images can be a tad vague.
Each lesson is timed depending on how much time you want to study each day. With the free version, you can study for five minutes every 10 hours. You can also “earn” extra time by watching an ad or responding to a push notification.
The Premium version will allow you to study for as long as you want so you could try 10 or 15 minutes or even an hour if you’re super committed.
That being said, I don’t think I would try an hour. The lesson format is quite fun, but I think that five minutes at a time is plenty. Because the games stay fairly easy, they can become a bit repetitive with extended use.
If you find that your first lesson is too simple, you’ll probably want to switch subjects or try out their intermediate or advanced mode. I’ll tell you how to find that in the next section.
Exploring The Drop App
This app is pleasantly intuitive, making it simple to navigate. There are only four sections: Topics, Collection, Profile, and Premium. There is also a tiny ‘drop’ in the top left-hand corner that allows you to switch between languages.
Topics is where you will find all the topics and lessons laid out neatly for your studying convenience.
Collections is where you’ll find all the words that you have learned so far. This is probably one of my favorite features of this app.
You can search for words using the search function or look for them by subject. Once you find the word you’re looking for, you have a few options. You can heart it, remove it, search it, flag it, or hide it.
Taping the heart will add the word to your list of favorites, causing it to pop up in your lessons more often.
The X will remove the word from your collection so you won’t have to study it anymore.
The little box with the arrow on it will take you to Drops’ visual dictionary where you can see a translation and listen to the proper pronunciation.
The flag option allows you to report any errors that you find. This includes spelling, translation, or pronunciation errors.
Finally, you can hide the word from your list. This will remove it from your lessons, but keep it in your collection just in case you want to re-add it for review later on.
Profile is exactly what you would expect. This section shows you everything you need to know about your profile and subscription options.
The first thing you’ll find in your profile is your streak calendar, followed by your achievements and Challenges. These are just fun ways to track your progress and time spent on the app.
The next portion of this section has all your account information. This is where you will find notification settings, skill level options, session length, and sound settings. You will also find an option called “Native Assist” which will turn on translations for you.
If you would like to study in a language other than English, this is where you would change that setting. Drops offer lessons in nearly every language they teach giving you the option to study your third language in your second language if you're feeling ambitious.
Lastly, you’ll find the section labeled Premium. This is where you go to upgrade your account if you feel like you’re ready for more than five minutes a day.
Is Drop Premium Worth It?
So now that you know the ins and outs, you’re probably wondering, is Premium worth the money? Well, that is something that only you can answer for yourself. For me, I don’t think Premium would be worth it.
There are two main reasons that I say that. Firstly, the Premium version doesn’t offer enough benefits. The features of Premium include no ads, extended study time, offline access, and open access to all the lessons in every language. The price is reasonable, with multiple subscription options, but it just isn’t enough extra benefit to warrant signing up.
Secondly, I don’t find myself wanting to use the app for more than about five minutes a day. It is a great way to squeeze in a little practice here and there, but it is not comprehensive enough for me to want to use it for more than just a little extra vocabulary practice while I’m brushing my teeth or riding the bus across town.
This is a quality app that is fun to use. The developers clearly put a lot of effort into making it entertaining and educational and they deserve to be rewarded for that effort. If I was going to use this app on a consistent basis, I would strongly consider a subscription just because I would want to show my appreciation for their hard work. Why not give it a try and see how it works for you? You may get started and realize that five minutes just isn’t enough.
The biggest issue with this language learning app is that it is actually just a vocabulary practice app. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but they are not particularly forthcoming about that in the description of the program. They do mention that you can use the app to practice your vocabulary, but they fail to mention that that is all you will be practicing.
You will not find any writing, grammar, or speaking practice in Drops which means that this is not a stand-alone language learning program. You will have to use other resources if you plan on becoming fluent in your target language.
Not For Beginners
Although this app is easy to use, I would not recommend it for beginners. As I mentioned a couple of times, the images that are supposed to help you learn the words can be vague and there is a lack of translations through most of the lessons. This can lead to confusion and misunderstandings if you’re a true beginner.
Not Every Language is Created Equal
Like most language programs, Drops offers more content for the popular languages than for the rarer ones. This isn’t as much of a drawback as it is something you should be aware of if you plan on studying something a little less common such as Ainu.
Don’t let any of these drawbacks dissuade you from giving Drops a try. The free version allows you to experience everything you need to know about the app without any commitment, so there is nothing to lose. This could be the perfect addition to your language learning regimen.
Alternatives To Drops
If you’ve gotten this far and you still aren’t sure about trying Drops, here are a few alternatives that you may find more appealing.
Duolingo is one of the most popular language-learning apps in the world and for good reason. It is a fun and easy app that offers quick engaging lessons that will have you wanting to come back for more. This app is available in a free and subscription version.
Busuu is a great option if you want a more substantial learning experience while still being able to study on your phone. This app offers quick easy lessons, loads of practice exercises, feedback from native speakers, and even live Zoom lessons with native tutors.
Lingodeer is another great language app if you don’t have tons of time to study but still want to learn a new language. This app offers a fun, cartoony layout that fools you into thinking that you’re playing when you’re actually learning. This app is especially good for anyone who wants to learn one of the Asian languages such as Korean, Chinese, or Japanese
Drops App Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed using this app. The soothing layout and engaging lessons had me truly enjoying my vocabulary practice for the day. I would recommend this app to any language learner who is looking to boost their vocabulary or simply squeeze in a little extra learning every day.
Learning a new language can be a struggle but with the help of apps like Drops, it can become a more relaxing and enjoyable process. As I mentioned, this app is not comprehensive, so I wouldn’t use it independently, but as a supplemental learning tool, I think it is high quality.
Itching to start learning, but not sure where to start? Check out more of our reviews for in-depth looks at all the most popular apps and language learning programs. Don’t let previous bad experiences hold you back from achieving your bilingual dreams, we’ll help you find the program that is right for you.