Chineasy Review: Learn Chinese Characters Visually

Mike Anderson

Mandarin Chinese is the second most widely spoken language globally. But Westerners find it hard to learn as memorizing Chinese characters and pronunciation can be a real challenge. The impact of tones on word meanings and a completely different writing system makes fluency seem out of reach.

Here’s where the Chineasy app makes an entry. As soon as you start using Chineasy, you will be pleasantly surprised by how effective it is for learning Chinese. The app mostly focuses on guiding you through the unfamiliar writing system and does an excellent job.

After using the Chineasy app extensively for the past few months, we are here with a comprehensive and unbiased Chineasy review.



A premium resource for beginners to learn Chinese

Chineasy website

Chineasy helps you comprehend Chinese with illustrations depicting the meaning of each character. App features such as writing practice and quizzes ensure you are on the right track. On the other hand, blogs, animations, and podcasts about the Chinese language make the learning experience with Chineasy feel premium.

Chineasy Review Summary

⭐ Rating:9.0★★★★★
🥇 Available languages:1
📈 Suits best for:Novices and Intermediates
🛒 Payment options:Monthly/Annually/Lifetime
💵 Price:$9.99 – $139.99
⌚ Hours of lesson time:250+
🔄 Refund policy:Individual refunds
🎁 Free Trial:✔️

Our Evaluation

Total score:


User Experience
Quality of Content
Features Available
Value for Money



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Related Language Apps

Quick Overview of Chineasy

The Taiwanese author ShaoLan Hsueh is the brain behind the unique methodology of the Chineasy app. The idea is to transform the challenging task of learning Chinese into something simple and fun. While the Chineasy app launched in 2018, the pictographic learning system was created earlier in the form of books and flashcards. If you prefer learning a language with flashcards, than Memrise is a great option to look too.

The Chineasy app focuses on gamifying Chinese language learning so students would continue learning without getting bored. It’s especially beneficial for visual learners as the app transforms Chinese characters into relevant illustrations. My kids have appreciated this approach too!

As you begin using the Chineasy app, you will choose either simplified or traditional characters. Ideally, people learning Chinese in Hong Kong or Taiwan should opt for traditional characters. Those learning the language for visiting mainland China should learn simplified characters.

We also have to mention that Chineasy is one of the best apps to learn Mandarin Chinese for reading.

Chineasy: traditional vs simplified characters
Chineasy: traditional vs simplified characters

After that, you will start the lessons based on the unique Chineasy methodology and get a chance to review what you have learned. You will also have access to a wide variety of texts, audio, and video content about the Chinese language, history, and culture.

A fairly new feature of Chineasy is the octagon-shaped levels which work as a placement test. They allow you to unlock all levels between two octagon-shaped levels in one go, taking the learning experience to new heights.

Chineasy Review: Main Features

As the Chinese language is not phonetic, keeping the characters, tone, and pronunciations in mind is daunting. The method of associating characters with a visual depiction is incredibly helpful in this regard. The Chineasy app has multiple features to help you attain Chinese language proficiency. They are as follows:

  • Lessons: Hundreds of levels help you learn the Chinese language in manageable chunks.
  • Explore: Diverse range of content to give you a deeper insight into the Chinese language and culture.
  • Speak: Helps you start speaking Chinese with an accurate tone and pronunciation.
  • Writing: The feature helps you learn the right order of strokes for each character.
  • Review: Reinforcement of what one has learned through quizzes, games, and challenges.

Hundreds of Bite-Sized Learning Levels

With clear explanations, audio recordings, and visual aids, the Chineasy lessons make learning Chinese a tangible goal. Passing each level skyrockets your motivation to keep going on.

Levels present new words and characters with a game link path where you must pass each one to progress. After completing a lesson, the next one gets unlocked. Eight levels are available in the app’s free trial, while the premium version will give you access to hundreds of advanced levels.

Although each lesson is short, it is meticulously crafted to cover essential aspects of the language, such as Chinese vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. To reinforce your understanding and retention, interactive quizzes are a part of each lesson.

Chineasy: learning levels
Chineasy: learning levels

Explore Tab

You get a lot to discover in the Explore tab of the Chineasy app. It includes a blog section with deep insights into the language and Chinese culture, such as cuisine and festivities. The video section contains short clips explaining the pronunciation of common phrases for training you to speak Chinese like a native.

The writing animations explain how to write Chinese characters. The stroke animations are helpful in writing practice, as they walk learners through the right order of strokes for characters. A deeper understanding of Chinese stroke orders eventually helps in writing a better form and presentation of characters.

Lastly, podcasts are available on various topics related to the Chinese language and culture. We found some really interesting ones, such as a podcast on superlative adjectives in Chinese grammar or the Chinese names for Royal Family titles. These are excellent ways to teach learners additional phrases besides the usual lessons.

Chineasy: explore tab
Chineasy: explore tab
Chineasy: video explore tab
Chineasy: video explore tab
Chineasy: podcast explore tab
Chineasy: podcast explore tab

Writing Practice Feature

A feature worth mentioning in every Chineasy app review is the writing exercise. You can access it via the review tab, where all the characters and words you have learned will be available for practice. This interactive exercise helps you learn the right order of strokes step by step.

If done consistently, writing practice is key to learning how to write Chinese words. Both beginner and intermediate-level Chinese learners benefit from this feature. Together with the writing animations available on the Explore tab, the Chineasy app improves students’ Chinese language writing skills.

Chineasy: writing practice feature
Chineasy: writing practice feature

Quizzes and Challenges

The quizzes and challenges in the Chineasy app correspond to its learning methodology, which is the pictorial representation of characters. You can take quizzes at your desired pace to enhance your learning process. Quizzes are formatted on the principle of spaced repetition, helping you memorize the meaning and pronunciation of the characters and words.

There are two types of quiz levels in Chineasy, checkpoint levels as well as cross-level challenges. Both are tailored to help learners to strengthen what they have learned before they progress to advanced levels.

The cross-level challenges are basic questions to make sure you have understood and memorized the form, meaning, and pronunciation of the characters. The challenges efficiently reinforce the Chinese vocabulary of each level.

Chineasy integrates gamification into language learning and keeps the learner motivated. Bao, the official mascot of the Chineasy grows as you learn more words. Completion of four levels in a day transforms Bao! It will be the supportive companion that cheers for you, celebrating your achievements as you progress.

Chineasy: quizzes and challenges
Chineasy: quizzes and challenges

Lessons Quality

The levels of Chineasy are designed with the goal of easing the language learning journey for a non-native speaker. The levels are barely 3-5 minutes long, the perfect length for new learners to follow along.

The duration of all Chineasy levels is brief, and their structure is easily comprehensible. However, how quickly one can master Chinese depends on the learner’s pace. It also depends on the time you invest every day in completing the levels and attempting the review exercises.

We estimate that using the app’s features for 20 minutes a day will help you attain fluency. Also, the course might take up to 250+ hours to complete, after which you can move on to intermediate-level resources for further learning.

If you find a level challenging, you can always repeat it. It means you can concentrate on any areas that need more time and focus. Not being able to skip lessons may be a drawback for intermediate learners. Nevertheless, it ensures novices keep on track and progress consistently.

Progression in advanced levels in Chineasy is designed to increase in difficulty gradually. This helps learners build upon their existing Chinese language skills while introducing new characters, words, and eventually, commonly used phrases. Vocabulary covered in levels is based on relevance and usefulness in everyday conversations. For more traditional language learning style you could also try Rocket Chinese, Mondly, Pimsleur, or FluentU.

Grammar Instruction and Verbal Practice

Chinese grammar is comparatively simple, as there are no articles, gendered nouns, or verb tenses like in Western languages. The subject-verb-object structure is easy to learn, and Chineasy helps you grasp basic concepts effectively.

You’ll find clear explanations and examples in the lessons that highlight grammatical structures. After passing the beginner-level lessons, you begin recognizing characters and word patterns. As you progress, the app teaches you commonly used phrases, which gives you a fair idea of verb conjugations, tenses, and word order.

The Speak feature of the app helps with verbal practice, letting the learners work on their basic grammar skills with the help of the speech recognition system. You can record what you say and keep practicing until your pronunciation matches that of a native.

We got access to the new Speak feature while it is still in beta and can vouch for its effectiveness in developing verbal skills in Chinese. Storytelling and real-life conversations from the Explore feature also help in this regard, as you can understand spoken Chinese well.

Reading and Writing

Reading and writing practice in the Chineasy app strongly relates to its core methodology. Will you be able to read Chinese books after using this app? Probably not. But you will definitely be ready to take up advanced-level resources and ace them, thanks to the solid foundation that Chineasy has built.

The individual characters, words, phrases, and sentences you learn via the app are enough to help you pick up on reading and writing at a basic level. Recognizing words and symbols leads you to read complete sentences. As for writing, Chineasy can help you master the correct way of writing key Chinese characters and words.


Whenever you see a word or character during Chineasy lessons, you learn its meaning and pronunciation while memorizing it with the help of images. You keep learning words that are cataloged according to their use frequency. That is an efficient way to expand your Chinese vocabulary.

Chineasy uses the Spaced Repetition System in the review tab that reminds you of Chinese words before you forget them. Apart from the common words and phrases, you are exposed to listening and reading material on interesting topics that add to your Chinese vocabulary.


The intuitive methodology, easy user interface, and fun challenges never let you feel bored, which is why many users have given positive reviews for the Chineasy app. Learners are keen to progress and learn more, which serves the purpose of this Chinese language app.

Another point to remember is that repetition is integral while learning a language. It ensures you haven’t forgotten all the words and phrases you learned since the beginning. Chineasy integrated this much-needed feature with the help of Spaced Repetition System.

Although it brings some repetitiveness, it is unavoidable for language learning. Chineasey makes the best out of this feature, allowing you to revise words you may not recall regularly. The system makes it highly likely that you will remember the Chinese words the next time you encounter them.

Chineasy Review: Ease of Use

Learning a language as hard as Chinese calls for measures that keep the learner engaged. Chineasy does a great job with its fantastic User Interface, making it fun and easy for users to navigate the app’s features and develop their Chinese language skills.

The Chineasy design team uses vibrant colors to create cute-looking, clear illustrations that incredibly aid in better character recognition, catering to the methodology of the Chineasy app. Due to its splendid graphics, minimalist display, and user-friendly interface, the Chineasy app was a finalist in the 2022 Apple Design Award for delight and fun.

The colorful, eye-pleasing design appeals to the younger market, unlike most language learning apps focusing on users above 18. The interface is glitch-free as well as ad-free. Combined with the visually immersive display, these features pave the way for an uninterrupted language-learning experience.

What Could Be Improved?

We agree that the Chineasy app is capped at the beginner level, and the quizzes at the end of levels should be more difficult. However, the core idea behind Chineasy lies in its name, making the complicated language less intimidating for beginners.

We felt the need for reminders to use the app as the feature would greatly help in regular and speedy progress. Many other Chinese language apps, such as Mondly or Rocket Languages, have already implemented such notifications.

Another thing which could be improved is the ability to skip lessons. The fact that you can progress only after clearing the first levels can be annoying for intermediate learners who already know basic Chinese.

Chineasy Pricing

The Chineasy app is available on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, where you can download it for free. The first eight lessons are accessible without any charges. For level nine and above, you will have to purchase the Chineasy Premium subscription.

Apart from unlocking further levels and premium features, a subscription allows you to use the app on multiple devices. Once you purchase a plan, you can manage subscriptions in Account Settings on iOS App Store or Google Play Store. Renewal is automatic unless canceled 24 hours before the current subscription period ends.

1 Month$9.99Charged monthly
12 Months$39.99Charged yearly
Lifetime$139.99One charge of  $139.99

Free Trial

Chineasy offers a free version of the app. It is limited to the first eight levels but is great for getting your feet wet in the Chinese language. A free trial is enough to help you decide about subscribing to the paid version of the app.

Chineasy Coupons and Discounts

A great time to buy a subscription to the Chineasy app is around Black Friday when it is available at a discounted price. Last year’s discount for Black Friday was 30% on the Lifetime Plan, and the price dropped to $97.99.

You can also take advantage of the occasional discounts that Chineasy offers, such as the Lifetime Plan costing only $69.99 for users studying or traveling to Taiwan.

Refund Policy

You can send a refund request for a subscription bought via the iOS App Store or Google Play, and it will be processed as per the current refund policy of the platforms. However, a refund for a subscription purchased from the Chineasy website is unavailable except for special circumstances.

Chineasy Pricing Compared To The Competition

Chineasy provides actual value for your money by focusing on all the aspects of the Chinese language, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing. At a reasonable cost of $9.99 per month or $39.99 per year, you get access to useful, fun, and comprehensive learning material that helps you ace the basics of Chinese.

The three main competitor apps of Chineasy are Pimsleur, Mondly, and Memrise. Pimsleur, available from $14.95, offers a well-rounded learning experience but is best suited for intermediate learners.

Mondly starts from $ 9.99 and offers innovative features integrating AR and VR in learning. The third Chineasy alternative is Memrise, available from $ 8.49. It provides conversational practice with a chatbot to make you well-versed in written and spoken Mandarin Chinese.

Chineasy Ratings from Around the Web

  • Google Play Store – 3.8 (100K+ downloads)
  • Apple App Store (iOS) – 4.8 (24.1K+ ratings)

Chineasy Review: Customer Support

The customer support from the Chineasy app is on par with similar platforms, with slower response times for queries that are not very urgent. Moreover, the FAQ section and blog on the website are comprehensive enough to clarify any confusions a Chinese student might have.

Chineasy Review: Conclusion

The beautiful illustrations and ease of use of the Chineasy app are useful for learning a language as tough as Chinese. The app teaches you in manageable chunks, asks questions, and gives ample review options that strengthen your Chinese language skills.

To sum up our Chineasy review, we recommend this app for beginners who want to start learning Chinese characters.