Hinge vs. Tinder

Top Questions I get Asked about Hinge

You’ve no doubt heard of Tinder. Maybe you’ve been on Bumble. But what about Hinge?

Originally, I wasn’t going to tell people (other women) about Hinge. I felt like I’d struck gold and I didn’t want the app flooded with friends (competitors). But when I really like something, I can’t help but share. I find it extremely hard to keep secrets. While this makes surprise parties a real challenge for me, it also means you get to hear all about Hinge.

What is Hinge?

Hinge is a mobile-based dating app like Tinder, which displays a combination of photos, prompt responses and details in the feed. 

When it first started, the people you were shown on Hinge were exclusively friends of friends. A Hinge fact sheet back in 2015 said: "If Tinder feels like meeting a stranger at a bar, Hinge feels like getting warmly introduced at a cocktail party."

Obviously, they’ve removed this element of the app. I’ve been on three Hinge dates and they were all quite literally strangers at a bar.

Does Hinge have all the same people that Tinder and Bumble has?

No. I rarely come across people I’ve seen on Tinder and Bumble. Thank goodness.

Where are your Hinge photos taken from?

Photos are IMMEDIATELY taken from your Facebook and IMMEDIATELY become visible to other users. So when you set up your profile, go to your photos first and choose which you want to keep and change.

From what I can see, you have to have six. I like this minimum requirement. The more photos you have to include, the harder it is to misrepresent yourself. I’m not talking full catfish. But how often do you match with someone only to find out in real life that they aren’t anywhere near as well-presented? Please wash your hair before a date.

The photos are also often linked to Instagram, so you can flick through, getting a much better sense of a person.

Both Hinge matches I met up with this week were way better looking than their photos suggested. Am I allowed to say things like this? Well, I’m saying it. Of course, looks aren’t even close to everything. AREN’T EVEN CLOSE.

Are matches capped?

From what I have read, matches are capped. I never exceed match limits so I never get to test this. But capped matches are a great thing.

It means no (or less) unconscious matching. This means people need to actually pay a bit of attention to people’s profiles.

What are Best Matches?

Hinge suggests Best Matches, which are people the app highlights because they think they are a particularly good match for you.

According to Hinge CEO, Justin McLeod, “It’s just a combination of who you liked in the past, what their attributes are, and finding more people like that who are within your world of social connections. So if you always like Jewish guys and you never like guys who are under 5’7″ and you don’t like lawyers but you really like people working in media, we’ll learn that over time and we’ll start showing you more and more of those types of people.”

As someone who has been receiving these Best Matches, let me tell you - they haven’t nailed this feature yet. These are nearly always so far off the mark, I’m thinking the algorithm needs an update.

It makes me think of that Black Mirror Siri/Tinder episode: What if the system is just wearing us down until we settle for whoever they present next? (If you haven’t seen that ep, it’s called Hang the DJ.) I swipe based on certain preferences, which wouldn’t be that hard to analyse. Surely Hinge can pick up on those patterns and present me with someone I’d like.

In defence of the feature, McLeod says, “What we lack in precision, we make up for in volume: We can show you 20 people and let you figure out which ones resonate with you. So much of attraction is X factor — the particular way a person looks or the way they answered a question you thought was cute. Maybe this registers in the algorithm that runs in your brain which figures out whether you’re a good mate with someone. But in terms of a computer being able to represent this accurately, I don’t think we’re there yet.”

Well, at least he’s honest.  

What’s Your Turn?

There’s a ‘Your Turn’ function on Hinge that aims to keep conversation moving. A little blue label will appear on any conversation you haven’t responded to.

your turn feature on hinge app.jpg

For someone like me, who refuses to un-match a dud in case of future re-match, this little Your Turn is annoying. I really wish they’d let us put matches into folders.   

The good news is, you stop noticing the little blue labels after a while.  

Does it cost money?

No, Hinge is free. But like Tinder, you can pay for more features. For instance, you can see who has already liked you if you upgrade.  

Why is it called Hinge?

Good question. Couldn’t find an interview where CEO Justin McLeod explains. I tweeted Hinge hoping for answers but silence so far. I’ll keep you posted.

Can you undo an accidental swipe?

Nope. If they were really committed to ensuring lasting romances for every Hinge user, they’d sort this out.

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How is location determined on a profile?

Location info is taken off Facebook so it won’t always reflect reality. That’s how I managed to match with a guy from Sale. He was keen to meet up in Melbourne and equally keen not to pay for accomodation. I AM NOT A HOTEL.

Why is Hinge better/worse than other apps?

The most important question of all: Should you move across to Hinge? How does Hinge compare with the likes of Happn? And Tinder? And Bumble?

If we were to create an information spectrum, with Two Peas having the most detailed (and time-consuming) profiles and Tinder having the least-involved setup and the least helpful profiles, Hinge sits in the middle.

Let me explain.

1.     Prompts

The Hinge profile layout gives personality and physicality equal weight.

Instead of having to create your own killer bio, on Hinge you respond to prompts provided. Questions like “I recently discovered…”, “I’m overly competitive about…”, “Rank these 3 shows” and “A random fact I love is…”

Even when I’m not physically attracted, sometimes I am very tempted to match with someone so I can talk to them about one of their answers. In this way, the whole prompt system is very tactical. He knows who Zoe Foster-Blake is?! Sounds like a match to me.

Prompts also mean that you have plenty of starting points for conversation. But, unlike on Two Peas (now defunct), it won’t take you a day to fill out your profile.

2.     It’s more dating oriented

Hinge also feels more geared to dating rather than random hook ups. Here’s my logic on this: It’s not just that you have to put in a touch more effort to have a profile on Hinge. It’s the context in which Hinge has emerged. Although technically created back in 2012, Hinge is now app #5 or #6 in the prominent dating apps that have surfaced since Tinder. People can get their validation and casual sex on Tinder. So if people are joining Hinge, I figure, they’re usually looking for something more. 

3.     A last name is provided.

This obviously has its pros and cons. Pro: Hinge starts playing up. You add the person directly on FB. Or you simply just want to get on an app that has a desktop option, so you can type quickly, not with just your thumb on your phone. Just me?

On the downside, anyone you’re not interested in will be able to see your first and last name. But if privacy is a big thing to you, you can alter the settings to reflect a different name or just have a first. It does, however, mean I won’t be able to Facebook stalk you. So choose wisely.

4.     Height is included.

People will groan about this but it’s obviously a big enough deal that the developers decided to include this information. Plus most guys put it in their bio anyway so isn’t this just efficiency? You can also state your religion (agnostic, catholic etc), whether you smoke and if you eat meat, among a few other potential deal breakers.

5. You can message without matching

You can respond to a prompt or a photo on someone’s profile before you’ve matched.

I quite like this feature. A few times I’ve gone to move past someone, seen they’ve written something hilarious or insightful on one of my photos, and started talking to them. Looks fade; you can’t get plastic surgery on your personality.

Dating Outcomes

Of course, a dating app is only ever as good as its people. Of the three dates I went on recently, one was fine, one was very very good (we had a phone call beforehand) and one was hands down the WORST date I have ever been on. No prior phone call.

It was a reminder to me about the importance of proper vetting before meeting. I do not have the emotional energy for a stream of trial and errors.

The only good thing to come out of that crappy, crappy date was the feature photo on this post. He mightn’t have been a keeper but he probably would have made a good Boyfriend of Instagram.

If you’re looking to date, get on Hinge. You won’t be (constantly) disappointed.