SpanishPod101 Review: Is It REALLY That Helpful?
SpanishPod101 is an interesting way to learn Spanish. Native speakers teach the lessons so you hear a real accent from different countries, and many of the lessons focus on cultural topics like holidays and food. The beginning levels have tons of content, but the advanced level could use some more development.
- Tons of lessons and topics to choose from
- Can learn Spanish from different countries
- Lessons taught by native speakers
- Lots of English used to explain/translate
- Some grammar concepts not explained well
- Needs more advanced content
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Table of Contents
SpanishPod101 is a course developed by the Innovate Language company which has 34 different language courses. It is a unique app because it offers a lot of free content that you can access without entering any credit card information. There are 3-5 new free lessons every week. The lessons are all audio or video based. In the beginning levels, most of the explanation is in English and you often repeat after the native speaker to practice pronunciation and vocabulary. Once you reach the intermediate and advanced levels, you are learning mostly in Spanish.
The content is engaging and you learn phrases for everyday situations, as well as holidays and culture. One interesting feature is you can choose which type of Spanish you want to learn, such as European Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Costa Rican Spanish, or Peruvian Spanish. You can also jump between the different types to see what accent you prefer.
SpanishPod101 has 5 levels: absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate, upper intermediate, and advanced. This app works well for beginners. Starting a new language can be scary and the lessons do a good job of introducing new concepts and phrases gradually without being overwhelming.
But the content is a bit lacking in the upper intermediate and advanced levels. There are way fewer lessons available. In my opinion, they use too much English to explain concepts in these levels. In the higher levels, lessons should be almost entirely in Spanish to give the learner an immersive experience. They also present difficult grammar concepts, but do not give enough practice exercises to understand them.
SpanishPod101 has free lifetime access to certain content. Additionally, there are three paid subscription levels. You can choose a 1, 3, 6, 12, or 24 month plan. The more months you buy, the cheaper it costs per month. A basic subscription costs from $8/month to $96 for 24 months (50% cheaper per month). A premium subscription costs from $25/month to $240 for 24 months (60% cheaper per month). A premium+ subscription costs from $47/month to $549 for 24 months (51% cheaper per month).
With the free access, you can get about 100 lessons, with 3-5 new lessons a week. The basic level gives you access to all the lessons, but almost no additional study materials. The premium gives you access to all lessons and the study materials such as vocabulary lists, quizzes, and grammar bank. The premium+ gives you all of the above plus access to a Spanish teacher who will create a personalized lesson plan for you and give you feedback on written assignments.
It’s up to you to decide which level best meets your study goals. SpanishPod does a good job laying out what the options are and what each subscription level includes. I like the premium level because I think I would get bored just listening to the lessons. I like to mix it up with the additional practice exercises.
SpanishPod101 offers a free 7-day trial. You do not have to enter any credit card information. The trial gives you access to all content that is available with a Premium subscription. You can access all the lessons and additional resources
When you sign up for the first time, you will be offered a one-time deal. For $1, you get premium access for an entire month, plus other exclusive lessons and content. But if you don’t cancel after 1 month, you will be charged for a premium subscription, so keep an eye on that. I also received various discounts in my email and through the website.
Students get 20% off any 12-month subscription. The discount is automatically applied and you don’t have to verify a student email address.
Getting started is easy! After entering and confirming your email address, you choose the level you want to begin with. Most levels begin with a quick assessment to see if you should jump ahead or start from the beginning of the level.
Once you choose your level, you start on a “pathway” that guides you through the level. Each pathway has tons of audio/video lessons and assignments. Apart from this, there are also many other pathways you can add that focus on different cultural topics, reading comprehension, dialogues, and more.
The lessons are all audio or video-based. The lesson begins by listening to a conversation between natvie speakers. The rest of the lesson discusses the dialogue, going into depth on the vocabulary and grammar. I know I sometimes freeze up when I hear native speakers having a conversation, so this is an excellent way to get your ear used to how it sounds. Every lesson includes the audio transcript so you can follow along if you get lost.
With the basic subscription, you can only listen and follow along with the lesson. With the premium subscription, you get a wide variety of useful resources and practice exercises. You can download the complete lesson notes and save them for later. There are also multiple-choice quizzes and vocabulary practice to make sure you understood the lesson. These extra features are why I think a premium subscription is a good choice.
In both the free and paid versions, there are different vocabulary practices that you can access. Some of the best free activities are the list of Spanish key phrases and 100 Core Spanish words. These are useful if you are a beginner and want to quickly learn some words and phrases for an upcoming trip. With a paid subscription, you have access to many interactive flashcard lists, and can go up to 2000 core words.
The My Teacher feature is only available if you have the Premium+ subscription. You get access to a Spanish teacher who will help you through the process of learning the language. But, you don’t actually take classes with the teacher. After an assessment, your teacher sets up a learning plan with different assignments for you to complete. You communicate through audio or video messages sent to the teacher, not in real-time. The teacher corrects your assignments and gives you feedback to help you improve.
Watch this video to find out more about how it works:
Overall, SpanishPod101 was an interesting way to practice Spanish. There are many ways to practice Spanish, and this app combines many of the techniques to learn Spanish fast. By listening to native speakers, you are hearing real conversations, instead of short phrases that language apps often use.
The lessons do a good job of adding cultural elements and explanations that other apps don’t. There are also quite a few different kinds of activities so if you are tired of the lessons, you can move on to another activity. The lesson lengths are good, at about 15-20 minutes each.
In my opinion, the lessons rely too heavily on English. Even in level 4 they explain topics in English and directly translate the dialogues. This is necessary in the beginning levels. But by the intermediate and upper-intermediate levels it feels like a time-waster to hear the dialogue repeated line-by-line with the English translation. I have always been a fan of a more immersive approach, where almost everything is in the target language, which you can find on the Rosetta Stone app. You can also consider taking lessons on a platform like italki or Live Lingua.
I was disappointed in the advanced pathway (level 5). There are way fewer lessons available than in the other levels. The lessons are 100% in Spanish, which they should be at this level, but all lessons focus on listening and vocabulary. There is no grammar taught, and the quizzes are too basic and simple. Babbel is a good app if you want to learn advanced grammar. You can also check out these other Spanish language apps to learn more grammar.
It’s a small detail, but there are multiple-choice assessments after some of the lessons, and when you get an answer wrong it does not tell you why. I would like an explanation why it is incorrect so I can learn and not repeat the same mistake.
SpanishPod101 is an effective app, but if you feel that it is not right for you, there are many other options available. A similar app is Babbel or MosaLingua. If you have a busy schedule and prefer faster lessons, Mondly might be a better choice. If you want more practice material, Rocket Spanish or Pimsleur are good alternatives.
SpanishPod101 vs Babbel
Babbel and SpanishPod101 break down the lessons in a similar manner by using a dialogue to practice vocabulary and grammar. Babbel’s lessons are shorter and more visual. There is less listening and more reading. Spanishpod101’s lessons are more audio, so you can do them while on the go without looking at the screen. With the different subscription levels, SpanishPod101 is the less expensive option. SpanishPod101 is the winner in my opinion, because it offers much more content for a lower price. Read more about Babbel in this review.
SpanishPod101 vs Mondly
Mondly offers quick, 5-minute lessons. SpanishPod101 goes more into detail and explains the different concepts, while Mondly lessons you learn by answering the questions. You can choose the one that better fits your learning style. Mondly is one of the cheapest options out there, but they do not have as much content. Because Mondly uses automated voices and conversations from real speakers, SpanishPod101 is the better choice. Learn more about Mondly in this review.
SpanishPod101 vs Rocket Languages
The lessons on Rocket Languages are similar to those on SpanishPod101. You listen to an audio track to learn different grammar and vocabulary topics. Rocket languages has more practice exercises that go along with each lesson. Rocket Languages is more expensive because you have to pay by the level, and not per month. But, I think Rocket Languages is better because they have more practices to help you remember what you learned. Read more about it in this Rocket Languages review.
SpanishPod101 vs Pimsleur
Pimsleur also uses the audio lesson style that SpanishPod101 uses. You listen to a native speaker and repeat after them to make your pronunciation sound similar. Pimsleur offers more practice exercises after the lesson to reinforce what you learned. With Pimsleur, you pay by the level so it is more expensive up-front compared to the monthly payment option of SpanishPod101. I think SpanishPod101 is the better choice because the lessons are taught by real people. Pimsleur uses an automated voice which quickly becomes annoying. Read more about Pimsleur in this review.
SpanishPod101 offers a Free Lifetime Account, which is truly free and you do not have to enter credit card information. With the free account, you get access to 100+ lessons, new daily lessons, vocabulary and phrase lists, and more. If you want access to all of the lessons and features available, you will need a paid subscription.
Yes. You can find the app by searching for Innovative Language Learning in the app store. The app includes all of the lessons, but does not have some of the extra features that the online platform has, such as vocabulary lists and the dictionary. You can sync your account between the online platform and app to access your lessons from whatever device you choose.
SpanishPod101 is a good app to learn Spanish. The audio and video lessons are interesting and cover a wide variety of topics. There are more lessons for beginners and intermediate level than for advanced speakers.
SpanishPod101 offers many different types of subscriptions so you can choose what is right for you. There are three subscription levels: basic, premium, and premium+. The basic subscription ranges from $4-$8 per month. Premium costs $10-25 per month, and premium+ costs $24-$47 per month. There is also some free content you can access without a subscription.
It is easy to cancel a SpanishPod101 subscription. From your dashboard, click on “my account” and then “subscription settings.” From this page you cancel your subscription or turn off automatic renewal payments.
This is an independent SpanishPod101 review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I signed up for the Premium subscription to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the SpanishPod101 website to verify my findings.