Pleco for Android is a feature packed Chinese dictionary app for learners, readers and writers of Chinese language. It supports both Mandarin and Cantonese. Pleco is free to download at the Google play store and comes with features such as Chinese and English speech to text translation, Chinese Hand Writing Recognition and audio for pronunciation. From the app you can also download a lot of free add-ons like Chinese medical terms, new audio voices and German to Chinese, Chinese to German dictionary and more.
Pleco’s professional bundle can be purchased (for a whopping $79.95) and downloaded within the app and this version is packed with features such as 21st century English-Chinese dictionary, ABC English-Chinese dictionary, Text file reader, flashcard system, optical character recognizer, and extended audio. There is also stroke order diagrams add-on in the premium version which is highly useful for people learning Chinese writing. In case you don’t want all the features of professional bundle, you can buy selective plugins or add-ons from the download tab.
One of the limitations of the dictionary is that it requires an active network connection for its voice recognition feature. Many people assume that Google Translate is a good substitute for Pleco. However, this is not true. While Google translate does provide features like offline language pack, OCR, conversation mode and pronunciation audio , it requires an active internet connection for all these features except for text translation (after downloading offline language pack. Google translate also lacks handwriting recognition feature which is highly essential for Chinese language student. That being said, for a free app, Google Translate packs a lot of punch.
If you are learning Chinese speaking and writing I would recommend you install both Google Translate and Pleco dictionary. Pleco dictionary is currently the best Chinese dictionary app that will help you through pronunciation and writing and if you don’t want to pay for the Optical Character Recognizer in Pleco, you can freely use that feature from the Google Translate App.