I have been trying to find a good dictionary app for my son. After some search, Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Dictionary.com became the top two choices. Both are pretty good, but I don’t want to load too many apps on the iPAD, so I picked Merriam-Webster (Free). Here are the reasons:
Intrusive ads: Both apps have free versions. The main difference between paid version and the free version is running ads in the free version. Dictionary.com has two ads at the same time: one at the bottom of the screen, one at the right top corner of the screen, taking a big chunk of screen space. It is quite intrusive, hard to ignore. For kids, especially kids still in elementary school, this is going to be a big distraction. Merriam-Webster Free app also has ad. However it only has one ad on each screen, and it is at the bottom of the screen.
Voice search limits: Both apps have “Voice Search” function. I think this is a very useful feature for kids. When kids want to use a word in their homework, but don’t know how to spell the word, they can speak the word facing the app, the app will search the word and bring the word with the explanation to the kids. Merriam-Webster Free doesn’t have a limit on how many times you can use the function. Dictionary.com Free version only gives you 5 “voice search”. If you want more, you have to pay to upgrade.
The new voice feature does require new dictionary skills, such as speaking clearly and slowly, ability to tell the different words with the same pronunciation.
Size of content: Looking at app size (how much space the app takes on your iPAD), Merriam-Webster’s size is about half of the dictionary.com size. It may have less word entries or example sentences, but for kids, it should have enough for homework and projects.
* Integrated Thesaurus: Synonyms & Antonyms
* Example Sentences
* Audio Pronunciations
* Word of the Day
* Recent History – lets you keep track of the words you’ve looked up
Both dictionary apps are good. Merriam-Webster Free, with less intrusive ads and unlimited voice search, is better for younger kids, such as those in elementary school, or even middle school. Dictionary.com Free, carrying more information, but with intrusive ads, is better for upper middle and high school kids.
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