Du Chinese Review ⭐️ Learn to Read Chinese

Du Chinese || A Great App For Reading Chinese

Du Chinese Review: 9/10
Catering to learners from beginner to advanced, Du Chinese is a perfect app for those looking to improve their reading ability in Chinese and Chinese characters (which, let’s face it, is pretty key to the language). It also includes cultural anecdotes and interesting lessons that are just enjoyable to read!

Update: 2023

Du Chinese (translates to ‘Read/Study Chinese‘) does exactly what it says on the tin.

Whereas certain apps like LingoDeer do a bit of everything, Du Chinese focuses solely on the reading part of Chinese to study the language.

Therefore, if you want to improve your written/spoken Chinese, you should move towards a different app.

This is an app to help your reading ability, and the great thing is, it provides content for all levels which is so often the stumbling block when learning a language through apps.

Du Chinese Review // Introduction (+ Key Stats)

Du Chinese Review // Pros & Cons

Du Chinese Review // Cost

Du Chinese Review // Worth the Subscription?

Du Chinese Review // Levels

Du Chinese Review // Lessons

Du Chinese Review // Flashcards

Du Chinese Review // Personalise It

Du Chinese Review // Summary

Du Chinese Review // Where to Download

Du Chinese Review // FAQs

Rather watch our Video reviewing Du Chinese? Check it out.

Du Chinese Review // Introduction (+ Key Stats)

Du Chinese Key Stats

NameDu Chinese
Description“Du Chinese is a powerful tool that makes learning Chinese simple and effective. Our built-in features let you practice your Chinese naturally, with assistance provided as you need it.” (Du Chinese)
Websitehttps://duchinese.net/
No. of Languages Offered1 (Mandarin Chinese)
Price$14.99 / $89.99 / $179.88
Du Chinese Key Stats

BOTTOM LINE: Du Chinese won’t go very far in teaching you grammar and how to speak or write characters, but it is great in picking up vocabulary as well as the pinyin as you read stories, helping you learn in a more natural environment.

Du Chinese Introduction

An assisted reader that allows you to read stories and learn at the same time, Du Chinese will show you the pinyin with the characters that you don’t know as well as give you the option to hear them.

Learn Chinese as you read stories!

The stories are often culturally relevant so you can learn a lot about Chinese culture as you go.

There are multiple stories in all levels – from beginner to advanced. This is rare in a lot of apps to cater to more advanced audiences!

Du Chinese Review // Pros & Cons

Du Chinese ProsDu Chinese Cons
Caters to all levels from beginner to advanced. Mainly just reading practice.
Lessons updated regularly meaning content hardly gets old. Would be nice to have the option to choose between simplified and traditional characters.
Native speaker recordings meaning you can actually practise your listening and pronunciation with the reading. Limited learning in terms of actual lessons on things such as characters and grammar.
Du Chinese Chinese Review

Du Chinese Review // Cost

For unrestricted usage, you can consider a subscription.

Du Chinese SubscriptionPrice (USD$)
Monthly$14.99
6 months$89.94
12 months (annual)$179.88
Du Chinese Subscription Fees

Du Chinese Review // Worth the Subscription?

Du Chinese is indeed free, but as with many apps, your hands are somewhat tied with the free version.

You are allowed access to all articles released in the last two weeks. Once that expires, the content will be blocked.

Du Chinese - Costs
Du Chinese – Costs

With a paid subscription, you are given access to all articles, no matter how far back they date.

FREE or PAID? This probably depends on your goals, as with many life choices. Are you a long term learner? Are you really focused on improving your reading ability in Mandarin?

If you answer yes to either of the above we believe it’s worth the investment.

If you are more of a casual learner, you can probably get by using the free version.

The plus side is the useful flashcard feature is the same in both free and paid versions. This is a great way to review new words you picked up which we’ll talk about shortly.

It’s great that this isn’t a paid feature.

If you wish to upgrade your account from free to paid just go to SETTINGS > SUBSCRIPTION and you can buy a monthly, 6 monthly or yearly subscription as you can see on the screenshot above.

Du Chinese Review // Du Chinese Levels

Du Chinese - Home Page
Du Chinese – Home Page

Du Chinese splits its content into six different levels:

  • Newbie
  • Elementary
  • Intermediate
  • Upper-Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Master

On the DISCOVER tab at the bottom of the screen, you will see all the lessons available which are split into various categories which include:

  • Short Stories
  • Everyday Life
  • Language
  • Funny Story
  • Work
  • Dialogue

Use the FILTER option at the top right to filter out the levels you don’t want.

If you are a beginner, you can remove the more advanced levels and just work your way through the Newbie and Elementary levels.

Each story has a little dot at the top right of it, this will become ticked once you have studied it, so you can see what you’ve read and what you haven’t.

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Du Chinese Review // The Lessons

Du Chinese lessons are quick and snappy in the main. They get progressively longer and more in-depth as you move onto harder levels.

Du Chinese - Lessons
Du Chinese – Lessons

Generally on an iPhone screen stories last between one and five pages.

The variety of stories is good. There are fictional stories, cultural stories, funny stories, language stories… plenty to choose from.

Du Chinese clearly attempt to bridge the cultural gap and I believe it does that well, often teaching you useful Chengyu, double-entendres, and potentially awkward pronunciations.

There are also ways you can personalise your lessons too:

  • Change the speed in which the app reads to you, useful if you want a slowed-down version, or want to test yourself at faster speeds
  • Coloured underlining shows you the HSK level of each word. Useful if you are hoping to take the HSK Exam.
  • Pinyin on top of the word to show you how to say the word.

All these features can be turned on and off in an instant, using the bottom toolbar you can see from the screenshot above.

Arguably the most useful feature of the lessons is the ability to press and hold a word if you don’t know it.

This then shows you the pronunciation and meaning of the word at the top of the screen. By flicking up, you have the option to save the words to a deck of flashcards which you can build up.

Very handy and a great tool, which we’ll come onto now…

Du Chinese Review // Flashcards

As mentioned above, you build your own deck of flashcards by saving words you pick up as you read articles on Du Chinese.

There is seemingly no limit to the number of words you can add (I have been building my catalogue for over two years and mine stands over 500).

Du Chinese - The Flashcards
Du Chinese – The Flashcards

These are a great way to re-cap words you weren’t sure of when reading the articles.

The interface and idea are simple.

  1. You see the character, you try to guess it
  2. Click below to reveal the pinyin and its meaning in English.
  3. Click below to see the word applied in the sentence from the article you read. Click that box again to see the English translation.

You can then “swipe left or swipe right“, Tinder-style, to state whether you “got it or forgot it“.

The words will remain on your deck until you remove them yourself by going into the word list and deleting them so they’ll always be there to review.

The great thing is this part is completely free.

I find this probably the best feature of Du Chinese. You can dip in and out of exercises like this very quickly.

Du Chinese also added an update whereby you can set a daily goal which you couldn’t before.

You can see the number of lessons per week you study, and the number of words per day.

Goals like this often work wonders for motivation and keep you going when you may well forget.

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Du Chinese Review // Personalise It!

There are plenty of ways you can personalise Du Chinese to make it just right for you:

We recommend you spend time on this. It enhances the experience when using the app when it’s exactly how you want it to look and remember to…

SET YOURSELF GOALS!

Du Chinese Review // Summary

If you want to improve your all round Chinese ability it’s a great app to do so.

If you want to improve your reading skills, we absolutely recommending in the paid subscription.

If you are a more casual learner, the free version will work for you.

If you want to speak Chinese better, maybe it’s best you take an online Mandarin class!

Are you learning other Asian languages as well? Check out our Best Apps to Learn Korean and Vietnamese!

See our FULL list of websites to learn Chinese.

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Du Chinese Review // Where to Download

Du Chinese is available both on the App Store and on Android.

Android

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.sinamon.duchinese&hl=en&gl=US

iOS

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/du-chinese-read-mandarin-%E4%B8%AD%E6%96%87/id1052961520

Du Chinese Review // FAQs

What is Du Chinese?

Du Chinese is an app that allows you to read small stories and articles in Chinese.

Is Du Chinese free to use?

Yes Du Chinese is free but to enjoy full functionality you will need to purchase a subscription which can last for a month, six months or a year.

Does Du Chinese cater to advanced Chinese readers?

Du Chinese includes advanced and even master levels which include HSK 6 Chinese vocabulary.

Can I download Du Chinese on iOS?

Yes you can here.

Can I download Du Chinese on Android?

Yes you can here.

Want more from LTL?

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We also offer immersive Chinese courses in China. You can learn more about those here.

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