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Rocket Languages vs Mango Languages
See whether Mango or Rocket is right for you in this detailed language app comparison
Although these two companies both have the word “languages” in their name, the courses from Rocket and Mango differ quite a bit. A few of the differences include cost, lesson format, and grammar instruction, just to name a few. In this article, we highlight these differences so that you can determine which of these language apps is the best match for your budget and learning preferences.
Use the jump-to links above in order to quickly navigate through this detailed comparison.
Video Review: Mango or Rocket?
In the video above, John from the TPI team covers how the language programs from Rocket and Mango stack up against one another. For more detail, be sure to continue reading our full written comparison below.
I think we should start with a quick pricing comparison, as that’s almost always a crucial decision factor in picking an app.
Mango offers two different subscription options: (1) a Single Language plan, which costs around $8 per month, and (2) an All Languages plan, which costs around $18 per month. The All Languages plan includes access to the 70+ languages that Mango covers.
Rocket Languages, on the other hand, is a little different since they don’t offer monthly pay-as-you-go plans. Rather, they only offer lifetime plans, which cost around $150 to $450, depending on whether you want the beginner only, intermediate or advanced bundle.
Thus, in comparing the cost of these two language programs, it’s kind of an apples to oranges comparison, though technically Mango is the more affordable option if you’re on a budget.
However, I should mention that Rocket is almost always running some sort of special deal or promotion and I regularly see their courses discounted by 50% (if not more), so do keep an eye out for that.
How The Lessons From Rocket & Mango Compare
Next, let’s get to the good stuff and talk about what the lessons from both companies are like. In terms of length, Mango’s lessons are much shorter than Rocket’s. Each Mango lesson only takes about 5 to 15 minutes to complete, whereas the Rocket lessons take around 40 to 50 minutes to complete from start to finish.
Then, in terms of format, the programs are even more different. Mango’s lessons are primarily centered around learning new words and phrases through three main exercise types—learn, speaking quiz, and critical thinking. It’s just those three main drill types.
Then periodically Mango will insert a quick grammar or culture tidbit as well. However, there are no videos, flashcards, conversational practice, or any other exercises which you typically see with other language apps.
That leads me into Rocket Languages. Their lessons are centered around interactive audio sessions in which an English speaking moderator walks you through a simulated conversation in your target language in short, bite-sized chunks.
You’ll listen to fluent speakers converse, and every few sentences the moderator will stop to provide some context and prompt you to participate with questions and directions. Thus, in a way, you can think of these interactive audio lessons as guided conversations.
Then to finish out each Rocket lesson, you review what you learned in the audio portion by completing several short, reinforcement exercises. These include flashcards, writing drills, and quizzes, among others.
Plus, with Rocket, following the main lessons, you move onto the company’s language and culture lessons (which I’ll cover in more detail below). Overall, however, I have to acknowledge that Rocket’s lessons are much more comprehensive than Mango’s.
Why Rocket Languages Is Better Than Mango
Now that I’ve given you a high level overview of how each program works, let’s dive into the pros and cons (at least as I see them). Below find the major reasons why you should choose Rocket over Mango to learn a new language like Russian, for example.
Interactive Audio Lessons
The clearest advantage for Rocket Languages is that their lessons are much more effective than Mango’s for developing your listening and conversational abilities.
Rather than lessons revolving around short, quick-hit drills to learn new words and phrases like you get with Mango, the Rocket audio lessons are more in-depth and auditory.
You need to track the mock conversation, understand the situation at hand, and respond to native speakers when prompted.
In my opinion, this active participation is extremely powerful for getting you to recall and use your target language under pressure just as you would in real situations.
Using language under pressure, and thinking critically and quickly is, in my opinion, about the best practice you can get when trying to learning a new language.
More Advanced Curriculum
Another advantage for Rocket is speed. Frankly, I think Rocket’s lesson format and overall learning framework are better suited for people seeking to achieve an intermediate to advanced level of fluency with a new language in a quicker timeframe.
With Mango, because their lessons emphasize quick-hit drills and exercises, there’s really no opportunity for spontaneous language usage that mimics or resembles full conversations. And as you now know, this is an area that is crucial for language acquisition (and where Rocket really shines).
Therefore, overall, I have to give Rocket the nod if you’re main objective is to learn a language quickly so you can begin having basic conversations in a shorter timeframe.
Flexibility Of Lessons
My third advantage for Rocket is the flexibility of their learning program. Because the first half of Rocket’s lessons are audio-based, I think it’s cool that you can complete these lessons while you’re washing dishes, cleaning your house, lifting weights, whatever.
It’s really helpful that you don’t need to be fixated on your computer or iPhone screen at all times. Personally, I like to listen to lessons while I take my evening walk around the neighborhood, so it’s convenient that Rocket’s lessons allow for that.
Helpful Grammar Content
Lastly, I like that the Rocket programs prioritize grammar and local culture. Not only does the moderator of the Rocket interactive audio lessons frequently pause to cover different grammar rules and verbally explain the reasoning behind them, but Rocket also delivers more detailed grammar instruction through their language and culture lessons.
Recall, those are separate from the audio exercises and reinforcement drills. Plus, what’s nice is that even though grammar can be boring and mundane to learn, Rocket does a really good job breaking these lessons down into condensed, digestible chunks. Each section within the grammar lessons is only about 3 to 6 sentences long on average.
Not to mention, within the grammar lessons, there are several checkpoints where you interact with examples and pictures to keep you engaged.
In stark contrast, with Mango, the topics of grammar and culture sort of take a backseat. So overall, in terms of grammar content, I don’t think there is any question that Rocket beat Mango.
Now that you understand the areas in which Rocket is better than Mango, let’s flip the script and discuss the main advantages of using Mango to learn a new language.
Compare Recordings Against Native Speakers
The first advantage for Mango Languages is their voice analysis tool. Upfront, I do want to make clear that Rocket employs their own speech recognition technology using Google’s Web Speech API which is very good in its own right. It even grades your accuracy and pronunciation on a scale from 1-to-100.
As such, the point I’m about to make is not that Mango’s speech recognition tech is necessarily better than Rocket’s—it’s just different and offers unique benefits.
Mango’s speech software is different because their tech includes a visual readout of your tone and inflection.
By providing this, you can compare the readout against the example recording from the fluent speaker in order to visually see the adjustments you need to make to your tone and cadence to sound more like a true local. It’s pretty neat tool that adds real value.
Useful Toggle Feature
Another advantage is that I like how Mango explains the differences between between literal and understood phrases (The Rosetta Stone language program could use this feature).
As you may (or may not) know, the common phrases and sayings that we use everyday don’t always translate between languages word-for-word. Often times, there’s a related phrase or way of communicating your message that isn’t a direct word-for-word translation.
Therefore, in order to help you learn and understand these small differences, Mango includes a cool toggle feature so that you can rotate back and forth between the simple, everyday understanding of the phrase in your new language and the literal word-for-word translation, which for me personally was super helpful.
Mango Highlights Patterns Within Sentences
Additionally, I think it’s pretty useful that Mango uses a color coding system to highlight patterns within phrases and sentences during your lessons.
With most language apps, you’re taught grammar rules in a vacuum and then asked to apply the rule within drills and exercises with no real assistance, which can be quite frustrating.
However, since Mango uses distinct colors to highlight different sentence fragments, it helps you to quickly get a feel for what looks correct when seeing a translation. In other words, the Mango learning framework trains you to spot patterns as opposed to memorizing rules, which is valuable.
Specialty Language Courses Available
My final highlight for Mango is likely irrelevant for most people as Rocket covers the most popular languages like Spanish, French, Italian, and German. However, it needs to be noted that Mango does cover over 70 different languages and language specialties.
If you’re looking to further refine a second or third language you already speak, specialty courses include Mandarin Business, Russian Slang, and Japanese Academics.
Bottom line, if you want to learn a less-widely spoken language, or you want to study a specific niche within your target language, then Mango may be the better bet for you.
Should you choose Mango or Rocket to learn a new language? Well, after using and testing each program, I think Rocket is the winner between these two language apps. Mango does offer some cool features, like their voice analysis tool and color coding system, but those are more so window dressing in my opinion.
Rocket’s lessons and overall learning framework are much more robust and comprehensive than Mango’s. Not only does Rocket provide dedicated grammar and culture content, but more importantly, I like that simulated conversations are the focal point of their lessons.
Ultimately, I think this will really help propel you to an intermediate level of fluency faster than Mango.
What is the difference between Rocket Languages and Mango?
Learning framework and lesson format are the two biggest differences between Mango and Rocket. The Mango lessons are shorter and more basic, while the lessons from Rocket are more comprehensive and diverse.
What is the cost difference between Mango Languages and Rocket?
Mango Languages is more affordable than Rocket Languages. Mango offers subscription options in the $8 to $18 per month range, whereas Rocket only offers 6-month and lifetime packages.
Is Mango Languages better than Rocket?
No. After testing the language courses from both companies, our team believes Rocket delivers the more well-rounded and effective language learning programs.