HelloTalk Review: Is It Really Helpful? [Pros, Cons, Alternatives]
Useful for practice but not studying
HelloTalk is an app that helps connect people around the world who want to practice languages together. You can find someone to talk with based on the language you want to practice, location, and hobbies. It’s a handy way to connect with people and practice a language, but isn’t very useful if you’re a beginner. HelloTalk also offers some other features to help you learn, but there are definitely better options out there.
- Easy way to find a language partner
- Users who don’t follow the rules are banned
- Lots of search options to find someone to chat with
- Free version is very limited
- Some features were buggy
- Have to pay for features individually
Languages Available on HelloTalk:
You can chat with people in 150+ languages on HelloTalk.
There are also learning materials available in English, French, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, German, Russian, Italian, Arabic, Turkish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Persian, Polish, Swedish, Indonesian, and Czech.
Related Language apps
Table of Contents
HelloTalk is a language app that connects people from around the world to practice languages. The app already has over 30 million members. At its core, HelloTalk is a messaging app, but it gives you tools to learn through chatting. For example, you can translate messages, correct your partner’s mistakes, and use AI-powered grammar fixes. HelloTalk also offers learning materials in a few languages, but most come at an additional cost.
The HelloTalk app is an easy way to find people from other countries to practice with. They put in safeguards to filter out anybody using the app for other purposes (like dating or selling). I was nervous when I first started because you have to put yourself out there and talk to complete strangers. But in general, the people I connected with were nice and used the app for its intended purpose of practicing languages.
This app is good for those that already have a conversational level in the language they want to learn. The free version gives you a limited number of translations and grammar fixes, so you can’t use it for every message. Of course, everyone is there to learn and mistakes are a natural part. If you can’t talk about basic topics though, the conversation probably won’t go anywhere. A tutor on a platform like italki or Preply can help you achieve a conversational level quickly.
HelloTalk is free to download and use, but it limits your access. You can sign up for HelloTalk VIP to have more “privileges” (as the app calls them). One month of HelloTalk VIP costs $12.99. A yearly subscription costs $79.99 ($6.67/month), or you can get Lifetime access for $149.99. There are some extra learning features that require an additional subscription, such as Easy Reader Plus for $7.00/month for a yearly subscription and HelloWords Plus for $5.50/month when you pay annually.
The free access is enough to get you started. I thought the VIP subscription is a little expensive for what it offers, however, and I did not like being nickel-and-dimed to add on the extra learning features. Apps in similar price ranges that include all of content in the subscription are Memrise and Babbel. A good substitute for HelloWords Plus is Drops, and Duolingo gives you stories to read for free.
HelloTalk Free Trial
There is currently no free trial for HelloTalk VIP. There is a free version of the app that gives you access to limited content and features though. This is the best way to try the app and see if you like it.
HelloTalk offers discounts for HelloTalk VIP after you sign up for the app. I received a discount for 20% off the yearly subscription. After this discount, the price is $63.99/year instead of $79.99/year.
HelloTalk Review: Getting Started
Setting up a HelloTalk account took a little more time than some other apps, but it was not difficult. After signing up with an email address, you have to enter some personal information to complete your profile. It was mandatory to enter my birthday, gender, and upload a photo. I don’t like to give out this information when signing up for an app, but HelloTalk claims it is necessary to find better language partner matches. You have the option to create a more extensive profile by adding your bio, hobbies, and more.
After your profile is complete, you set the languages that you speak and add the languages you want to learn. Next, you have a quick practice chat with the HelloTalk robot to walk you through the features. And then you are ready to start messaging!
Now let’s look at how HelloTalk faces some of the challenges of language learning:
Challenge #1: Starting a New Language
HelloTalk is a platform to connect you with other people who want to practice languages. It is not made as an overall teaching app. Therefore, it is probably not the best option if you are a beginner. It would be better to start with an app that teaches the basics and is proven to help people improve. You can check out apps like Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, or Babbel for this. Once you have a conversational level, give HelloTalk a try!
Challenge #2: Learning & Remembering New Words
HelloTalk offers an additional subscription service called HelloWords Plus. This subscription aims to help you learn vocabulary. You use a flashcard deck with pictures to practice new words. You can use it for free for 3 minutes per day, but once the time runs out, there is no way to continue. This wasn’t a great feature, and I was upset that it was an extra fee on top of everything else. A very similar app to help learn vocabulary is Drops (and you can use Drops for free for 5 minutes per day!).
Challenge #3: Understanding & Speaking to Native Speakers
HelloTalk is an excellent tool to connect you with native speakers. I don’t always feel confident when speaking another language, so it was helpful to type out what I wanted to say. Once you feel ready to speak, you can send audio messages or even call your partner. Of course there is no way for HelloTalk to control this, but the idea is that your partner is correcting your mistakes as you make them to help you learn the language. You can also look at Moments, which are posts uploaded by members asking questions and sharing experiences.
HelloTalk can be helpful for casual learners, but your language partners may not be able to explain why something is wrong. For more productive conversations with native speakers, platforms like Live Lingua and italki can connect you with qualified teachers.
Challenge #4: Making Language Learning a Routine
HelloTalk is very simple to use and you can use it each day for as little or as long as you want. The most time-consuming part is finding a language partner you want to talk with. In the end, it’s just like messaging someone, which is something we with our friends and family every day. So instead of messaging a friend or a coworker, you could use that time to practice a language!
HelloTalk Review: Overall Learning Experience
HelloTalk works for what it was meant to do. It will connect you with other people around the world to practice your target language. I’m not a big fan of the idea of messaging complete strangers, but if that part doesn’t bother you, it could be a good tool to practice with. If you are a beginner, this app will probably not help you learn a language. It is a good way to practice what you already know and learn how people really talk in that language though.
HelloTalk Review: Areas of Improvement
HelloTalk is very helpful for finding a language partner, but there are some areas that can be improved. My biggest complaint is that the HelloTalk VIP membership is expensive, and it does not even include all of the features. For example, to practice vocabulary, you have to pay a separate subscription to HelloWords Plus. I’d rather use a separate app like Drops or Clozemaster.
HelloTalk Alternatives and Competitors
If you think that HelloTalk isn’t the right app for you, there are many other language learning apps to consider. The most similar app is Tandem, which also connects you with a language partner. If you want to take classes from qualified native teachers, you can try italki, Preply, or Verbling. Baselang is also an excellent option for Spanish learners, and Lingoda is a popular online language school too. If you want to try another app that has free content, you can check out Busuu or Duolingo.
HelloTalk vs Tandem
Both HelloTalk and Tandem connect you with people to practice language with. Both apps require a lot of personal information to get started. Tandem verifies all of their accounts to make sure that people are using the app for the right reasons though. Tandem is also completely free and doesn’t limit chats or features, while HelloTalk’s free version is extremely limited. I prefer Tandem because it seems more established and made me feel more comfortable talking to the other users more than HelloTalk. You can read more about it in this Tandem review.
HelloTalk vs italki
italki is a platform that connects you with native speakers, but you have live lessons with teachers. HelloTalk is only talking casually with native speakers (who aren’t teachers). italki is more expensive because you are paying teachers for their expertise and time. If you are trying to learn a language, italki is the better choice because the teacher will help you learn the more difficult parts of a language. But if you just want to chat, then HelloTalk works just fine. Learn more about italki in this review.
HelloTalk vs Busuu
Busuu and HelloTalk both let you listen to native speakers, but they do it in different ways. On HelloTalk, you can send voice and text messages to your language partner. On Busuu, native speakers correct your practice exercises you complete during your course. Busuu offers free access or a paid subscription to access all the content, and its Premium subscription is cheaper than HelloTalk. Busuu is definitely the better choice if you are a serious language learner that wants to improve in all areas of language. Learn more about it in this Busuu review.
HelloTalk vs Verbling
Verbling is a platform that connects you with native teachers. You select your teacher by viewing their profiles and using different filters. HelloTalk uses the same method to help you find language partners. Verbling connects you with a qualified teacher though, so prices are more expensive. But if you are serious about learning a language, Verbling is the better choice. Learn more about it in this Verbling review.
HelloTalk Review FAQ
HelloTalk is an app that helps you find a language exchange partner. After you find someone, you send them a message and can use the tools of the platform to give corrections or send audios. HelloTalk also offers a few other features to practice the language without talking to another person.
HelloTalk offers a free version that gives you limited access. You can still use the most important features, like finding a language partner and sending messages. To access all of the tools and features, you can buy a subscription to HelloTalk VIP.
No. HelloTalk is a way to find someone to practice language with. HelloTalk has strict guidelines in place that include prohibiting the use of the app as a dating service. Those that do not follow the guidelines will be banned from the app.
The free version of HelloTalk gives you the ability to search for a language exchange partner which is the main feature of the app. It isn’t really worth it to pay for HelloTalk VIP. The price of the HelloTalk VIP subscription is quite high, and this money would be better spent on an app that is more useful for learning the language.
About This HelloTalk Review
This is an independent HelloTalk review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I signed up for the app and used it for a few hours to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the HelloTalk website to verify my findings.
It is a definitely a dating app. Its title is language exchange app, but nobody actually wants to learn language, but people just want to have an international relationship. Of course, people say “I’m here to learn a language”, but it’s not true.