TOP 10 Best Electronic Dictionary 2020: Reviews and Buying Guide


Here come the top 10 best electronic dictionary reviews and a comprehensive buying guide to help you choose a dictionary for your level and learn more effectively.

As you are learning a new language, you must come across a lot of new words every day. It is good to guess the meaning of those words, yet eventually, do not forget to re-check the meaning in a dictionary. This will help you in the context of every word better.

Yet, just imagining about carrying a thick dictionary to school or to work discourages you, let alone opening it and looking for any words. Fortunately, an electronic dictionary enables you to look up new words on the go.

Sound interesting?

Yes, unveil the top 10 best electronic dictionary reviews and you will get the ideas.

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Best Electronic Dictionary: Top 10 Reviews

1. Seiko Oxford English Thesaurus – Best for Advanced Learners

Seiko Oxford English Thesaurus

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The very first electronic dictionary to introduce is Seiko Oxford English Thesaurus.

The selling point is that this device support over 565,000 spellings and the thesaurus licensed from Oxford. Thus, you can rest assured about the accurate spelling, lists of related words, synonyms, antonyms. Even more, you can practice English with 8 word games available with memory and percent score calculator.

Using Seiko Oxford English Thesaurus, you can expect to enrich your vocabulary and improve pronunciation in a fun and effective way.

2. Franklin SPQ109 Collins Pocket Speller – Best Budget

Franklin- Spq109 Collins

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While many learners hesitate to buy an electronic dictionary because of its high expense, they will change minds knowing that the Franklin– Spq109 Collins is extremely pocket-friendly. I mean both the size and the price.

Especially, this machine is helpful to improve your vocabulary and spelling skills fastly. This is thanks to some nice features such as word builder, phonetic spell-correction, crossword/anagram solver, and 6 built-in game programs.

In addition, this dictionary is really small and lightweight so that you can handle it on your hand at ease. The problem, however, is that keys are small.

Learners with big fingers might get upset with Franklin- Spq109 Collins shortly.

3. Franklin DMQ221 – Best Collins English Electronic Dictionary

Franklin DMQ221

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Do not be surprised that you come across several Franklin dictionaries on the list. This company has nearly 50 years of experience in providing hand-held electronic references from low-budget to premium products.

Above, you are already introduced to the Franklin SPQ109 Collins. This time, come and look at Franklin DMQ221 – a library of words, phrases, definitions, and synonym thesaurus from Collins Dictionary Publishers.

Coming at a larger size, the Franklin DMQ221 is more comfortably handle than the SPQ109. Also, the dictionary supports additional features such as phonetic spell-correction, confusables vocabulary aid. 6 games of words, and especially a word list to create your customized dictionary.

4. Franklin Electronic Publishers SA-309 – Best Crossword Solver

Franklin SA-309

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At the price range of Franklin DMQ221, you can also consider the Franklin SA-309. This is a spelling corrector with Merriam-Webster solver.

I like the crossword puzzle features. Whenever I want to look up one word but can not recall it completely, I just enter one or two characters on the search box of Franklin SA-309. Right after, I get a list of possibilities. All to do then is to pick up the word that I need.

Other than that, I confirm that other features are just so-so.

Especially, the old and bulky design of this dictionary is nowhere near being modern and attractive like other electronic dictionaries.

5. Webster’s Spelling Corrector NCS-100 – Best to Improve Spelling

Webster's Spelling Corrector NCS-100

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Like Franklin, Webster is also serious about introducing electronic dictionaries to help learners with their studying.

And here comes one of their best-selling – the Webster‘s Spelling Corrector NCS-100.

This device is packed with over 110,000 words. Thus, you can search for almost all new words. But, save the point that this speller does not give definitions. It truly detects and corrects your phonetic spelling.

And like Franklin- Spq109 Collins, there is a confusable function; crossword puzzle solver, as well as 6 educational games.

In sum, the Webster’s Spelling Corrector NCS-100 is an alternative for the Franklin with a sizable and comfortable keyboard.

6. Franklin Electronics MWD-1510 Merriam – The Best User Friendly

Franklin Electronics MWD-1510

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Of all Franklin electronic references, I like the Franklin Electronics MWD-1510 Merriam most because of its neat design and spacious screen.

The device is as light as 0.8 lb, meaning that you can place it comfortably in your pocket to school or to a traveling destination. When you need to search some words, just take it out and press a few buttons to access up to 300,000 definitions and 500,000 thesauri.

Besides English, the dictionary also supports 4 other languages, including German, Italian, French, and Spanish.

7. IF-Electronic Dictionary Bookmark – Best to Bring to Library

IF-Electronic Dictionary Bookmark

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A bookmark like IF-Electronic Dictionary Bookmark is an innovative form of the dictionary. It does feature the size of a bookmark so you can simply insert it in the middle of the book or in your purse without taking a noticeable space.

In terms of performance, the IF-Electronic Dictionary Bookmark is surprisingly good at its price range. There are more than 1,000-word definitions available to search under your fingertips. Batteries are included so that you can test the bookmark out of the box.

All in all, you should really have a mini dictionary like this, alongside your printed or electronic dictionary.

8. Franklin MWS-1840 Speaking Merriam

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One more Franklin electronic reference for today. It is Franklin MWS-1840 Speaking Merriam. Similar to the MWD-1510 Merriam, I also appreciate this dictionary for its rich vocabulary, and precise spelling, and more importantly the spacious screen displaying and navigable buttons.

In comparison to the MWD-1510, the MWS-1840 Speaking Merriam includes fewer definitions and synonyms. Also, you need 4 AAA batteries to run this dictionary instead of 2 batteries like the MWD-1510. In other words, you might need to invest a bit more.

9. Children’s Electronic Dictionary Bookmark – Best for Kids

Children's Electronic Dictionary Bookmark

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As its name already suggests, IF Children’s Electronic Dictionary Bookmark is built for kids to make their learning quicker and more interesting.

First off, the dictionary looks cute, which is preferred by many kids.

Secondly, it is easy to use. Children justs need to enter a new word and the meaning is shown on the fly via isolation window. The word is even put into the context so children can understand its meaning more easily.

The vocabulary is about 30,000 definitions – far enough for kids of 7 and more.

10. Kuai Yi Dian Chinese-English Electronic Dictionary – Best to Chinese Learners

Kuai Yi Dian Chinese-English Electronic Dictionary

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I know some Chinese friends who claimed that they use Kuai Yi Dian Chinese-English Electronic Dictionary to learn English every day. This machine allows translating Chinese to English and vice visa. Besides, it supports other languages such as Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, German, and more.

What you will like about the Kuai Yi Dian dictionary is its rich and specialized vocabulary of major dictionaries such as high-level Longman; advanced Cambridge; or Encyclopedia Britannica. The whole machine is compact and the keyboard is large and responsive.

The only drawback is its high price.

A Complete Buying Guide

It is time to get an electronic dictionary

What is your target language?

Many people seem to skip this question. Nonetheless, I recommend you pay attention to it.

In fact, the printed dictionary often features two languages: one is called the source language and the other is the target language – the language you are learning.

When it comes to an electronic bilingual dictionary, the two languages are supposed to be equally accessible, making it hard to understand the detailed context of the words. Moreover, some electronic versions even have multiple languages available.

Thus, start with checking whether the dictionary supports both your desired source and target languages.

Numbers of dictionaries available

Image source: nhutly

Usually, electronic dictionaries sourced from several printed dictionaries and reference books.

Take electronic English dictionary machines, for example. Most of them have at least one among Oxford English Dictionary, Longman Dictionary, or Cambridge Dictionary.

It is better if the chosen dictionary supports the dictionary you are using.

Translation capability

Choosing an electronic dictionary is quite similar to how you pick up your first printed dictionary. The difference is, the electronic version comes with some adds-on to fasten your learning process.

Thus, make sure that the electronic dictionary meets all basic features to be a dictionary, for example, the phonetic transcription, pronunciation, comprehensive definitions, phrasal verbs, and idioms, etc. Simply put, you can try to search some new words on the electronic dictionary and consider the answers.

Is it a brief and precise explanation rather than a word-by-word translation?


Image source: AviationEnglish

Besides the translation, another important feature to check is the pronunciation.

Make sure that the pronunciation key in the dictionary is accurate and easy to read. If possible, some words might feature various acceptable pronunciation.

For instance, the word Solstice can be pronounced as /ˈsɒl.stɪs/ in the UK and /ˈsɑːl.stɪs/ in the US.

Next, check the voice function. Is the word spoken with a standard accent?

Search function

The search function is the key feature of any electronic dictionary.

It usually comes with autosuggestion, meaning that when you input some characters, the dictionary will suggest a list of matching results and you can quickly find the word at glance.

You should be able to search wherever you are landing on. For instance, you are reading the definition of Solstice when you desire to look up another new word. Then, you can enter the new word on the search box rather than get back to the “home page.”

Jump function

Imagine that you are checking one word and there are even many new words in the definition. Instead of entering those words to search, you should “jump” to their definition at clicks.

Some dictionaries allow choosing the priority dictionary to jump to. For example, you can select the source-language dictionary or target-dictionary.

Words deck

This is my favorite function.

When you search for an interesting word worth remembering, you can save it to a “deck” with some notes.

Learning programs

Unlike a printed dictionary with which you can merely search for the meaning, an electronic dictionary often goes along with useful learning programs and games so that you can take self-tests to improve your vocabulary and entertain at the same time.

Data transportation and update

Image source: Sales Quants

You should update the database of the electronic dictionary once for a while to get new words and learning programs.

Most manufacturers allow you to do so by going to their official website and downloading the updates. Then, you can install the updates in the dictionary via a USB connection.

Today, you can even integrate the dictionary with a mobile app to get the data transported hassle-free.

Design, weight, and power

An electronic dictionary is supposed to compact and lightweight so that you can take it with you on the bag. Meanwhile, the keyboard should be spacious and comfortable to enter words in a matter of seconds. Also, check the user guide carefully to have an idea of the navigation menu and the settings of the dictionary. All should be easy to use.

More importantly, see whether the batteries are long-lasting so that you can use the dictionary for whole a studying day.

Last Verdict

Although an electronic dictionary is way useful, many people claim that it is technically outdated and that the electronic dictionary will give way for mobile dictionary apps in a time soon.

Personally, I do not think so.

The main difference between using an electronic dictionary and an online one is that you have fewer chances of distraction during a study session and learn better.

Thus, pretty sure that the top 10 best electronic dictionary machines above will be still popular and helpful for years.


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