GBA Lifestyle News
City Living Section
By Elky Siu | September 20th, 2017

Stuck inside on a typhoon day? Try these free apps while waiting for the storm to pass!

Language apps: Duolingo, SpeakEasy


Although the most efficient way to learn a language would be to actually go out and mingle with native speakers, it’s always helpful to practice alone and increase your confidence in using a language before doing so. While Duolingo provides a range of exercises and tutorials for language learners of different levels, SpeakEasy provides a phrasebook demonstrating a long list of useful words and sentences for daily usage.

Duolingo, iOS and Android
SpeakEasy, iOS and Android

Study app: Snapask

Photo courtesy of Snapask

Founded by three local Hongkongers, Snapask is a study app covering curricula including O-levels, N-levels, A-levels, DSE, International Baccalaureate (IB), IGCSE, Advanced Placement and IELTS. Each new user is gifted with three free questions, which can be uploaded via photos, text, or audio messages, and which can be solved by the app’s online tutors. Users can also purchase extra credits when free quota has run out. Or you can also try applying to be their online tutor if you are more interested in solving questions and earning a few extra bucks.

Snapask, iOS and Android

Recipe apps: BigOven, Day Day Cook, Xiachufang 

Photo courtesy of Day Day Cook

Instead of ordering takeaway, you can be your own chef. With over 350,000 recipes, BigOven caters to users of all eating styles — whether you are vegan, pescatarian, vegetarian, paleo, gluen-free, dairy-free or a meat lover, you are bound to find your perfect fool-proof recipe. Another popular option is Day Day Cook, a local bilingual website-slash-app that does not only provide cooking tips, but has also become a big online recipes and cooking videos sharing community where users can discuss and seek inspiration. Just like Day Day Cook, Xiachufang is another big online community combining recipes, cooking tips and e-commerce, but is only available in Chinese.

BigOven, iOS and Android
Day Day Cook (日日煮) , iOS and Android
Xiachufang (下廚房), iOS and Android 

Karaoke apps: Smule, 天籟K

Practice your singing skills and set up your own karaoke at home by using Smule, a free app where you can adjust the echo and auto tune level, as well as connecting and singing with other users worldwide, or even celebrities including Jessie J, Jason Derulo and Linkin Park. If you prefer Chinese songs, 天籟K歌 is a similar app but mainly features Cantonese and Mandarin songs. Both apps provide a recording function in case you would like to go pro and do your own audio rearrangement afterwards.

Smule, iOS and Android
天籟K歌, iOS and Android

Meditation apps: Simple Habit, Insight Timer

To find your inner Zen, guided meditation can be just the key. Both Simple Habit and Insight Timer offer a variety of audio-guided meditations that cater to different scenarios, such as helping you to relax an exhausted mind and body, to embrace anger, to sleep better and to cultivate awareness.

Simple Habit, iOS and Android
Insight Timer, iOS and Android

Yoga apps: Down Dog, Cody

Photo courtesy of Cody App

Though practicing yoga at a studio with the presence of a teacher would be most ideal for beginners, sometimes trying to sign up for a class during peak hours can be as stressful as squeezing into an MTR train after work. Free online yoga classes come in handy when you don’t feel like going to a studio or you simply can’t due to crazy weather. With audio and visual guidance, Down Dog provides a wide range of practice sequences that allow users to choose different background music, length, level and focus of practice. For yogis who prefer a more lively online class, Cody might be a better option. Free to download, Cody’s users however need to purchase courses to unlock the videos.

Down Dog, iOS and Android
Cody, iOS and Android

General skills learning app: Skillshare

Photo courtesy of Skillshare

Skillshare is an online learning community providing over 17,000 online classes in different categories such as design, business, technology, photography, film, writing, crafts and culinary arts. Just like YouTube  — but a skill-sharing-focused version — the app offers numerous free online classes. However, only paid members can get access to all classes, in which you can also choose to be the teacher or the student.

Skillshare, iOS and Android