I posted not long ago asking if everyone had paid and used the “everyday Chinese” premium service. The price seemed very fair considering the quality that I’ve seen in their YouTube videos ($5-6/mo, basically I paid $75 for 12 months which included tax). So, I went ahead and did it, cause why not. I’ve spent more on stupider things.
Before I write my little review, I do want to say my Mandarin level prior to starting is probably HSK2-3 (definitely towards the 2-end), so I was familiar with pinyin, tones, hanzi, basic grammar and structure, but nothing too deep or complex. I’ve only been using the premium for a few days now, but its been good! I like having something structured to work through. I am primarily using the program on a new iPad mini with an Apple Pencil 2 to go through the lessons, writer, and so on.
**Things I like & find useful:**
* **the structure is easy to follow:** video, new words to review, dialogue transcript, conversation practice (clips to listen and repeat after from the lesson), grammar points, quiz/exercise, sometimes follow-up video/text about culture or diving into alternatives words/phrases for situations that was not necessarily in the lesson, then character writing (PDF files to download), and lastly, a section for you to write feedback on about the lesson.
* I like that they make an effort to have **voice clips from multiple different speakers** (child, adult, man women, northern mandarin, southern mandarin) for many of the audio clips (at least in the beginning, not sure about later on)
* There are comment sections under each lesson section so you can interact with others doing the course, ask/answer questions, or freely comment. I’ve seen the instructors reply to several, but not all commenters.
* Each lesson within the levels are not terribly long, which makes it easy to digest and learn in small pieces. The videos seem to be about 10-15 minutes a piece, then you spend time on the words/grammar/writing and other follow up material.
* each lesson all things considered probably will take you 20-30 min (give or take) if you go through all of the content.
* Youtube videos and lesson videos have English, pinyin, and hanzi, which I find very useful (esp. at a beginner stage).
* I mentioned above the follow-up text or videos about culture/alternative words/phrases to say. These were/are greatly appreciated, because it adds insight and context to words and phrases you just learned, but also gives you options for other scenarios, or how to sound more natural with your responses. I think my experience with an in person mandarin class lacked some of this context, and text books are not great about it either.
* They talked bout saying 你好/你好吗, and how this mainly will be used only upon first meeting or to strangers, not so much your friends because it would sound weird. They offer other phrases like “what are you doing?” or “what have you been doing?”, “have you eaten?”, or “what’s wrong?” when someone is visibly upset/sad, just to name a couple things here.
* you can down load the Hanzi PDF files and write on them (esp. good on iPad I think), but nice to have regardless.
**Things I don’t like as much:**
* I’m not sure that starting from zero mandarin is super easy on here. Personally, I did skip over the pinyin/pronunciation portion, which is the very beginning course. However, I did jump straight into Level 1 (right after the pinyin/pronunciation) to refresh myself and just go from there to be consistent. For me, its been great due to my foundational knowledge before this platform. It might be a steep learning curve to get started, but hey, thats mandarin, right?
* The main lesson videos do not sound as high quality as the YouTube videos do. This is not a HUGE deal by any means, but its something I noticed. Luckily, the content itself doesn’t really change that much in the beginner stages, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
* Unsure about future higher level content with the change of HSK leveling. I believe I saw something from everyday Chinese saying that you’d get access to future content too, but I’d have to double check.
* The obvious lack of reviews makes me wonder…but so far so good? They do have 438K YouTube subscribers and thats not insignificant.
* (can’t think of much so far)
Hope this was helpful for someone thinking of getting the premium service. I’m happy with my experience so far. Hope my thought process made sense, I tend to ramble…
Happy studying ~