Chineasy Review: A Fun Way to Learn Chinese Characters Write a review about this language tool.

4 out of 5 based on 1 user ratings.

Tool description

  • Category: Mobile App
  • Minimum Price: 10.99 €


Chineasy, founded by Taiwanese-born Shaolan Hsueh in 2010, is a comprehensive Mandarin Chinese learning tool with a primary aim of simplifying Chinese characters learning process using visually appealing pictograms. The Chineasy brand offers a range of resources including an app, books, ebooks, a podcast, and even memorization games to support your Chinese language journey.

As an experienced French language teacher, I approached this review with both an educator's critical eye and a learner's curiosity. I embarked on a three-month journey to explore and engage with the Chineasy app and its associated resources, aiming to reach an A2 level in Mandarin Chinese. The review methodology was robust and immersive, involving extensive interaction with the app's features, quizzes, and pronunciation exercises, supplemented by regular use of Chineasy's books and podcasts. I meticulously documented my experiences, observations, and progress throughout the process.

Throughout this review, I have evaluated Chineasy's efficacy based on its design and user experience, content and learning methodology, features, additional products and services, and its appeal to different learner profiles. The aim was not only to evaluate its personal effectiveness for my learning journey but to gauge its potential utility for a diverse array of learners.

With this thorough and in-depth review process, I am confident that the insights and conclusions drawn reflect an authoritative understanding of Chineasy's offerings and their effectiveness in Mandarin Chinese language learning.

I like...

✅ Visually appealing and intuitive design, making the learning experience enjoyable.
✅ Effective pictogram-based learning methodology, making Chinese characters easy to remember.
✅ Great resource for beginners, introducing them to the basics of Chinese language.
✅ Comprehensive learning approach including app, books, podcast, and additional resources.
✅ Pronunciation training feature helps learners practice tones and sounds.

I don’t like...

❌ Speech recognition feature often approves incorrect pronunciation.
❌ Lacks advanced content for intermediate or advanced learners.
❌ Absence of Spaced Repetition System (SRS) flashcard option or placement test.
❌ Does not teach learners how Chinese characters build words and form different meanings.
❌ Limited content for practicing reading.

Detailed description

Review Methodology

As an experienced French language teacher, I am well-acquainted with the fundamentals of effective language learning. However, I approached this review with a fresh perspective, wanting to test Chineasy's method as a beginner Chinese learner with a goal to reach the A2 level.

Over the course of three months, I devoted significant time to engaging with all aspects of the Chineasy app. I started as any new learner would - from the very basics, understanding the characters and their pictographic representations. As I progressed, I intentionally interacted with all the features and tools the app had to offer, including the pronunciation practice, quizzes, and review sections.

To supplement my learning, I also made use of Chineasy's additional resources such as their books and podcast, evaluating their value in enhancing understanding and reinforcing what I was learning through the app. I paid special attention to the alignment between the app and these supplementary resources.

Throughout the review process, I kept a journal of my experiences, noting down the ease of navigation, the clarity of instructions, and the overall user experience. I also took note of how quickly I was able to learn new characters and how well I retained them over time.

As an experienced educator, I understand the importance of teaching methods that adapt to different learning styles. Therefore, I evaluated Chineasy not just from my personal perspective but also considered its potential utility for diverse learners - visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners.

In summary, my review is based on extensive and immersive use of the app and its associated resources. The aim was to approach the task as both a learner, trying to navigate and learn from the app, and an educator, critically evaluating the pedagogical strategies used and their effectiveness for different learner profiles.

Introduction: An Overview of Chineasy

Chineasy is a comprehensive language learning platform focused on making Chinese language learning accessible and engaging. The brand was established in 2010 by Shaolan Hsueh, a Taiwanese entrepreneur who saw the need to simplify the process of learning Chinese characters. Central to Chineasy's approach is the innovative use of pictograms to create memorable visual associations with Chinese characters. This methodology is designed to remove the intimidation factor that typically accompanies learning this complex language, aiming to provide a smoother and more enjoyable learning experience.

Design and User Experience: A Blend of Beauty and Functionality with Room for Improvement

The Chineasy app stands out with its smart, simple, and visually captivating design, providing an aesthetic edge that sets it apart from many language learning tools. The interface is clean and intuitive, making navigation a breeze even for first-time users.

One of the app's standout design features is its home screen. It cleverly presents the learning journey as an unfolding story, with delightful illustrations that breathe life into Chinese characters. As you scroll through the levels, the process feels less like traditional study and more like an engaging exploration of a beautifully illustrated storybook. The imagery imprints Chinese characters onto your memory in a subtle yet effective manner, highlighting the clever use of design in facilitating language learning.

However, it's not all praise for Chineasy's design. The app has room for improvement, particularly when it comes to accommodating the varying levels of learners. A critical observation is the lack of a feature that allows learners with prior knowledge of Chinese characters to skip the basic levels. As it stands, everyone, regardless of their existing familiarity with Chinese characters, has to start at level 1. This feature can be seen as time-consuming, and potentially redundant, for those who already have a foundation in Chinese. Including a brief assessment feature, similar to that of Duolingo, would make the platform more user-friendly for intermediate and advanced learners by saving them the hassle of revisiting basics they already know.

Content and Learning Methodology: Innovative Yet Oversimplified

Chineasy offers a unique approach to language learning, leveraging flashcards and carefully crafted imagery to illustrate Chinese characters. The app guides learners through 200 levels of content, with each level focusing on a specific set of characters. The method, though unique, is straightforward: you learn Chinese characters as pictograms, making the process of memorization more intuitive and enjoyable.

One commendable aspect of Chineasy's content is its innovative approach to vocabulary building. The app teaches new words by logically combining basic symbols. For instance, it combines symbols for "father" and "son" to create the word "父子" (Fù zi), and uses three basic symbols to represent fire, mountain, and hole, forming the word for "crater" (火山口). This methodology allows learners to understand the structural aspects of the language and how characters connect to form words.

While the app's learning methodology is innovative, it doesn't escape criticism. A key shortcoming is the oversimplification of the learning content. The 200 levels, while sounding extensive, can be completed relatively quickly. For learners looking for depth and complexity, this may pose a challenge. Furthermore, the app's rigid structure, which requires everyone to start from the first level, can be an impediment for intermediate or advanced learners. A lack of a feature to assess a user's existing language proficiency and place them at an appropriate level may lead to repetition and waste of time for these learners.

In conclusion, while Chineasy offers an appealing and unique way of learning Chinese characters, its oversimplified content and lack of customization for varying proficiency levels limit its potential as a comprehensive language learning tool.

App's Features: Encouraging but Lacking Sophistication

The Chineasy app offers several features designed to enhance the language learning experience. One notable feature is the pronunciation training tool. This is an important aspect of learning Chinese, a tonal language, as it assists learners in understanding the nuances of pronunciation and tone. The approach taken by the app, allowing learners to practice at their pace and providing instant feedback, fosters an encouraging and non-intimidating learning environment.

Moreover, Chineasy adopts a no-punishment method for incorrect answers, unlike some other language learning apps. This method is appreciable as it encourages learners to attempt new words and phrases without fear of making mistakes, thereby promoting active learning.

Despite these strengths, the app's features are not without their shortcomings. A prominent critique lies with the speech recognition feature. This tool, while useful in theory, has been reported to approve pronunciation inaccurately, even when the spoken word differs considerably from the prompted text. This flaw could potentially lead to learners adopting incorrect pronunciations, hampering their overall language competency.

Another drawback is the absence of an SRS (Spaced Repetition System) flashcard option. SRS is a proven learning method that involves reviewing information at increasing intervals over time to improve long-term retention. By overlooking this, the app may miss an opportunity to enhance vocabulary retention and recall among learners.

Lastly, Chineasy lacks a placement test function, a feature commonly found in many other language apps. This function would assess a user's current language proficiency and assign them to an appropriate learning level, saving time and reducing redundancy for those with prior experience. This absence can make the learning process less efficient for intermediate and advanced learners.

Overall, while Chineasy's features provide a supportive and user-friendly learning environment, there are areas for improvement. Enhancements in speech recognition accuracy, the addition of an SRS flashcard system, and a placement test function would make the app more comprehensive and efficient for learners of all levels.

Additional Products and Services: Expanding the Learning Spectrum

Beyond the app, Chineasy offers a range of additional products and services designed to supplement the learning journey. These offerings extend the brand's reach and provide alternative learning methods, accommodating various learner preferences.

One of the main additional offerings is a series of physical and electronic books. The books delve into Chinese characters and their histories, presenting them in a visually appealing manner consistent with the brand's design aesthetic. These books, available through platforms such as Amazon, can serve as standalone study materials or as companions to the app. The tangible nature of physical books and their aesthetic appeal might make them attractive gifts for Chinese learners or enthusiasts. Additionally, the availability of an ebook version provides a digital option for tech-savvy learners and those preferring a portable and environmentally friendly option.

In addition to books, Chineasy also offers a podcast named "Talk Chineasy." Hosted by the founder herself, these short, daily, bite-sized episodes provide listeners with easily digestible Chinese lessons. Podcasts are an increasingly popular medium and this format allows learners to incorporate language learning into their daily routines, whether during a commute, on a lunch break, or while exercising.

Further supplementing these offerings, Chineasy provides a set of flashcards, a workbook, a memorization game, and even a postcard set. Each of these products aims to enhance language learning by incorporating it into everyday life in innovative and engaging ways. They allow learners to practice and reinforce their knowledge in a playful and interactive manner.

While these additional offerings are not without their merits, their effectiveness will likely vary depending on a learner's individual style and preferences. Some learners might find them useful as they provide more engaging and varied ways of learning. Others might view them as unnecessary or redundant, particularly if they prefer a more traditional or streamlined approach. As with any learning tool, potential users should consider their learning style and goals when evaluating these additional products and services.

Target Audience and Market Appeal: Embracing Learners of All Ages

Chineasy's innovative approach to teaching Chinese characters, combined with its clean and playful design, makes it a compelling resource for a wide range of learners. The brand’s holistic approach of integrating language learning into various products and platforms serves to broaden its appeal to diverse groups, from tech-savvy learners drawn to the app and podcast, to book enthusiasts who prefer learning from beautifully designed physical books.

A significant factor contributing to Chineasy's appeal is its potential attractiveness to younger learners. The app’s vibrant and colorful graphics, coupled with the imaginative creation of pictograms to represent Chinese characters, can captivate and engage children. These design elements not only make learning fun and exciting, but they also simplify the potentially intimidating process of learning a new script. The interactive format of the app, complemented by the fun memorization game, further adds an element of play to learning, which could be particularly appealing to young users.

However, Chineasy's appeal is not confined to young learners. The clear, engaging, and visually driven approach can be appealing to adult beginners as well. The brand's clean design, combined with its commitment to breaking down complex Chinese characters into easily understandable pictograms, simplifies the learning process and reduces cognitive load, thereby making it accessible and attractive to adults.

The app’s emphasis on pronunciation training and history of characters can be appealing to learners who are interested not only in reading and writing Chinese but also in understanding the culture and history behind the characters. Meanwhile, the physical books, flashcards, and postcard set can serve as practical tools for adult learners who prefer tactile learning resources.

Despite its wide appeal, it should be noted that Chineasy is primarily designed for beginners. Its simplistic approach and lack of progression into more advanced content mean that it may not be as suitable for intermediate or advanced learners of Chinese, who may require more comprehensive and in-depth resources. Nevertheless, for novices of any age stepping into the world of Chinese characters, Chineasy's design, style, and methodology offer an enticing and accessible entry point.

Advanced Learners and Reading Practice: Falling Short on Progression and Complexity

While Chineasy exhibits strength in introducing beginners to the realm of Chinese characters, it appears to falter when it comes to catering to the needs of advanced learners. As learners progress in their language journey, the requirement for comprehensive resources grows. However, the app seems to lack a provision for advanced learning stages, potentially leaving intermediate and advanced learners unchallenged and underserved. This limitation could make the app less suitable as a long-term learning tool, particularly for those aiming to achieve high levels of fluency.

A crucial aspect of mastering any language lies in the ability to read and comprehend sentences, not just individual characters or words. This proficiency becomes even more critical in the context of the Chinese language, where characters often combine to form unique words and meanings. Unfortunately, this is where Chineasy seems to fall short. The app's focus on teaching individual characters doesn't necessarily translate into an understanding of how these characters interact to create words and phrases. This discrepancy may lead learners to misconstrue the meaning of words when they encounter them in real-life contexts, which can significantly impact their comprehension and fluency in the language.

For instance, learning the character for fire ("火") doesn't necessarily equip learners with the understanding that combining this character with others can result in entirely different words and meanings, such as "火车" (train) and "火柴" (match). Chineasy's current learning methodology doesn't seem to emphasize this critical aspect of character combination and word formation, which is a significant limitation of the app.

In conclusion, while Chineasy offers a visually appealing and accessible introduction to Chinese characters, its utility for advanced learners appears limited. The app's lack of focus on complex word formations and reading practice could hinder learners' progression towards fluency. As such, advanced learners might find more comprehensive resources like Du Chinese, Hack Chinese, and Beelinguapp more beneficial in their language learning journey.

Conclusion: A Beautiful Start but Room for Progression

In the realm of language learning apps, Chineasy has carved a niche for itself with its unique, visually-appealing design and its commitment to making the learning of Chinese characters an accessible, engaging experience. The app excels in its primary goal, breaking down what may initially seem like an insurmountable task - understanding Chinese characters - into manageable, easily digestible parts. Its clever use of pictograms, accompanied by short stories and flashcards, provides an effective learning mechanism that is particularly appealing to beginners.

The Chineasy universe extends beyond the app, offering additional resources like books, ebooks, podcasts, and a range of other physical publications. These assets can serve as useful complementary materials, enriching the learning process. The company’s effort to provide diverse learning materials is commendable, offering users multiple avenues to deepen their understanding of Chinese characters.

However, while Chineasy shines in introducing Chinese characters to beginners, its light dims somewhat as learners advance in their language journey. The lack of content suited for intermediate and advanced learners, as well as the limited focus on reading practice and word formation, are notable shortcomings. The ability to read sentences, understand context, and form words by combining characters is crucial in mastering the Chinese language, and these areas are where Chineasy seems to fall short.

In conclusion, Chineasy offers a visually striking and engaging starting point for those embarking on their journey to learn Chinese characters. However, as learners progress, they may need to supplement Chineasy with more comprehensive resources to fully master the language. For the app to expand its appeal and utility, focusing on developing advanced content and integrating a comprehensive reading practice function would be beneficial steps forward. By doing so, Chineasy could evolve from being a beautiful introduction to a comprehensive learning companion for the Chinese language.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

In the interest of providing a comprehensive evaluation, I have broken down the overall rating into a number of subcategories.

Vocabulary: 3.5/5

Chineasy does an excellent job in introducing basic Chinese characters and their meanings, making it particularly suitable for beginners. However, its focus on individual characters rather than compound words or phrases limits its effectiveness for more advanced vocabulary learning.

Grammar: 2.5/5

The app’s primary focus is on Chinese characters rather than grammar rules or sentence structure. For a more comprehensive understanding of Chinese grammar, users may need to rely on supplementary resources.

Culture: 4/5

The design and pedagogical approach of Chineasy do an impressive job of integrating elements of Chinese culture, particularly through the illustrative story-based learning. This cultural integration adds a fascinating layer to the language learning process.

User Experience: 4.5/5

The app shines in its user experience, offering a visually appealing and intuitive interface. The interactive elements and engaging design make for a comfortable and enjoyable learning environment.

Advanced Content: 2/5

Chineasy's main limitation lies in its lack of content for intermediate and advanced learners. While excellent for beginners, the app falls short in offering sufficient progression pathways for more advanced language acquisition, particularly in areas of reading practice and complex word formation.

Additional Learning Materials: 4/5

Chineasy's range of supplementary learning materials, including books, ebooks, and podcasts, are commendable. These additional resources provide alternative avenues for learners to enhance their understanding of Chinese characters and culture.
While Chineasy scores high on user experience and cultural integration, its overall score is brought down by its lack of advanced content and comprehensive grammar instruction. With further developments in these areas, Chineasy has the potential to become an even more effective and holistic tool for learning the Chinese language.


1. Who is the founder of Chineasy?

Chineasy was founded by Taiwanese-born Shaolan Hsueh in 2010. She aimed to make learning Chinese characters as easy as possible by creating pictograms around a character.

2. What is the main goal of Chineasy?

Chineasy's main goal is to simplify the process of learning Chinese characters. It accomplishes this by creating pictograms around each character, which aids in memory retention.

3. What platforms does Chineasy offer for learning?

Chineasy provides a variety of platforms for learning, including an app, books, ebooks, a podcast, a postcard set, a workbook, and a memorization game.

4. Does Chineasy use traditional or simplified Chinese characters?

Chineasy uses a mix of both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. This can be particularly beneficial as it offers a more comprehensive understanding of the language.

5. How does Chineasy teach Chinese characters?

Chineasy employs a unique approach by creating pictograms around each Chinese character. These visually appealing pictograms serve as a mnemonic device, making the characters easier to remember.

6. Is Chineasy suitable for intermediate or advanced Chinese learners?

While Chineasy excels at introducing beginners to Chinese characters, it may not be as beneficial to intermediate or advanced learners. The content lacks depth and complexity, and there is no option for reading practice.

7. What are the positive aspects of Chineasy's app design?

The app boasts a visually appealing design, with clean lines and engaging graphics. It also has an intuitive user interface, making it user-friendly even for those new to language learning apps.

8. What are the negative aspects of Chineasy's app design?

One of the main criticisms of the app is the lack of a feature allowing users to skip basic levels. This can be particularly frustrating for those who already have some experience with Chinese characters.

9. Does Chineasy offer any additional resources for learning Chinese?

Yes, aside from the app, Chineasy also offers books, ebooks, a podcast, a postcard set, a workbook, and a memorization game. These can complement the app-based learning and provide a more holistic learning experience.

10. How effective is Chineasy's pronunciation training feature?

While Chineasy does offer a pronunciation training feature, it's worth noting that the app often approves pronunciation even when it's incorrect. As such, learners might need to supplement their pronunciation training with additional resources.

11. What are the limitations of Chineasy's learning methodology?

Despite its innovative approach, Chineasy has its limitations. It tends to oversimplify levels and doesn't allow for skipping to higher levels for more advanced learners. It also lacks depth in teaching how Chinese characters build words and form different meanings.

12. Can I practice my reading using Chineasy?

Unfortunately, Chineasy does not provide sufficient content for practicing reading, particularly for intermediate or advanced learners. This is one of its main limitations.

13. What is the overall rating of Chineasy?

Chineasy earns a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars, considering its excellent design, innovative learning methodology for beginners, but also its limitations such as the lack of advanced content and reading practice.

14. How does Chineasy assist in learning pronunciation?

Chineasy provides a pronunciation training feature that aids in the comprehension of tones and helps learners replicate them through practice. This tool trains users in speaking and listening to Chinese by providing native speaker audio for each character. However, it's important to note that the speech recognition portion of the app may approve pronunciations even when they're incorrect. So while it provides a foundation for learning pronunciation, it may not offer a strict evaluation of your spoken language skills.

15. How can Chineasy's approach to learning characters benefit visual learners?

Chineasy's use of pictograms for character learning can be highly beneficial for visual learners. The images are designed to help learners create visual associations with each character, enhancing their memory retention.

16. How often are Chineasy podcasts uploaded?

As of March 2023, Chineasy's podcasts, known as "Talk Chineasy," are still being uploaded daily. These 7-minute bite-sized podcasts offer daily Chinese learning opportunities with different topics each day.

17. Can I use Chineasy to learn both traditional and simplified Chinese characters?

Yes, Chineasy offers the option to learn both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. This can be particularly helpful for learners who wish to have a comprehensive understanding of Chinese script.

18. Does Chineasy teach sentence construction in Chinese?

One of the main limitations of Chineasy is its focus on individual characters. While it provides a solid foundation for understanding individual Chinese characters, it falls short when it comes to teaching learners how these characters combine to form words and sentences.

19. Are there alternative apps more suitable for advanced Chinese learners?

Yes, there are several other apps that cater to more advanced Chinese learners such as Du Chinese, Hack Chinese, and Beelinguapp. These apps offer more in-depth content and reading practice that Chineasy lacks.

20. What are Chineasy cards?

Chineasy cards are a part of the app that provide flashcard-based learning. The cards are designed with beautiful illustrations and offer an interactive and engaging way to learn Chinese characters.

21. Can Chineasy be used for children learning Chinese?

Chineasy's visually appealing design and simplified learning methodology make it a great resource for children beginning to learn Chinese. It can be an enjoyable and educational tool to introduce them to Chinese characters.

22. How does Chineasy compare to traditional Chinese language textbooks?

Chineasy offers a more interactive and visually engaging approach compared to traditional textbooks. However, textbooks may offer more in-depth grammar explanations and reading practice, which are areas where Chineasy falls short.

23. Are Chineasy's additional products and services worth purchasing?

Chineasy's additional products like the books, ebooks, postcard set, workbook, and memorization game can complement the app-based learning and enhance the overall learning experience. However, their utility and effectiveness may vary depending on the learner's preferences and learning style.

24. How does Chineasy assist in memorizing Chinese characters?

Chineasy's approach involves creating pictograms around Chinese characters to assist in memorization. This visual methodology can significantly enhance the recall of characters for learners.

25. Is Chineasy available globally?

Yes, Chineasy's app is available for download worldwide, and their books and other products can be ordered online from various platforms like Amazon.

26. How frequently is the Chineasy app updated?

The Chineasy app is updated regularly to ensure a smooth user experience and incorporate user feedback. These updates often include bug fixes, improvements, and sometimes new features.

27. What is the cost of using Chineasy?

The cost of using the Chineasy app can vary depending on the subscription plan chosen by the user. Additional costs may be incurred for purchasing Chineasy books and other products.

28. What languages are supported by Chineasy?

Chineasy offers support for multiple languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, and of course, Chinese. This makes it a versatile tool for learners from different linguistic backgrounds.

29. Does Chineasy offer customer support?

Yes, Chineasy offers customer support. Users can reach out for assistance via email. The support team aims to resolve any issues or answer queries regarding the app or other products.

30. How does Chineasy compare to other language learning apps?

Chineasy distinguishes itself with its unique, visually-oriented approach to learning Chinese characters. It's especially suitable for beginners and visual learners. However, compared to other apps, it might fall short in terms of depth of content, grammar instruction, and advanced learning material. While it excels in teaching basic characters, it may not offer as comprehensive a learning experience as other specialized language learning apps.

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vincent profile picture vincentMay 2023

Chineasy, an app dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture, excels in beginner vocabulary instruction, cultural integration, and user experience, scoring 3.5/5, 4/5, and 4.5/5 respectively. Its visual appeal and interactive elements make learning engaging, while additional resources like books and podcasts further enrich the experience. The app, however, has limited effectiveness for more advanced learners and lacks comprehensive grammar instruction, with both areas scoring only 2.5/5 and 2/5. Improvements in these sectors could boost Chineasy’s potential as a comprehensive Chinese language learning tool.