June 23, 2024


Sapiens Digital

Match – Review 2020 – PCMag Asia

8 min read

Match is one of the longest-running digital dating services out there. Founded in 1993, it’s old enough to legally drink and rent a car, and it predates most AOL email addresses. The company behind Match also owns and operates many other top online dating services, including Tinder, OkCupid, and POF (Plenty of Fish). Match has had many years to bake, and there’s a lot to like about it. The interface is finely tuned, signup is easy, you’re not allowed to have a half-baked profile, and the search function is simple and satisfying. It’s not the cheapest of the dating apps, especially if you want to take advantage of its full interface, but if you’re looking for a life partner, Match is the best and an Editors’ Choice winner. If you’re in the game more for a quick hookup, though, you’ll want to check out our other Editors’ Choice pick, Tinder.

Getting Started With Match

Those who remember Match from its early stages may be familiar with its desktop version, but the service has successfully jumped into the modern era with both an iPhone and an Android app.

Match asks two big questions up front: What are you looking for and where do you want to find it? After inputting the preferred gender of your partner and your ZIP code, you have the option to log in via email or Facebook. Then, you add some other top-level information, including age and first name, and you’re ready to build your profile.

Interspersed with the personal info inquiries are questions about what you’re there for—are you just browsing the meat market or are you looking for something lifelong? The app also asks for your height and current relationship status. Don’t worry, you can choose “I’d rather not say” if you so desire. No judgment.

Match welcome

Then things get more personal—Match wants to know the number of kids you have; whether you want kids; what your education level is; whether you smoke and drink; and details on your ethnicity, religion, salary, and interests. Then comes the dreaded bio section. Try to get away with writing a bare-bones self-description and the app will prompt you to try harder. Once you complete this section, you don’t get to simply publish your profile. You get a note saying that it’s under review by Match staff. This is an added layer of protection that most other apps don’t offer. Of course, you must also add a photo, and it has to be of a real human, too. A photo of, say, last night’s dinner will get rejected.

Once you’re done talking about yourself, it’s time to tell Match what you’re looking for in a companion. You can choose preferred age (from 18 to 70-plus) and height (4 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 10 inches), as well as specify body type, ethnic background, faith, and marital status. Finally, you can choose whether you are OK matching with someone who has kids or someone who smokes.

Match profile questions

One annoying feature of this process is that if you want to go back and make a change, you have to completely finish the survey first. That said, once you finish, it does feel like you’ve answered enough questions to better pair up with a like-minded user and are not just casting a huge net into the dating pool. Compare that to the anemic profiles of Zoosk.

The entire process is quick and simple, and it progresses naturally from what are probably the most important items on your list (your desired mate’s age and whether they have or want kids) down to the more picky stuff (smoking, drinking, and ethnicity preferences). And you don’t have to answer every question to finish the process. In theory, though, the more questions you answer, the better chance you have of finding the perfect match. Email onboarding is smartly paced as well—one welcome email, one note to let you know if your profile info is approved, and then a few check-ins over the following days.

Interface and Profiles

You’re now almost to the part where you get to see who’s waiting for you. Naturally, Match asks for your money once you’ve invested some time in the setup. At this point, if you try and go back rather than subscribe, you lose all your hard work. You may think that there’s no easy way to avoid spending money at this point—after going through the full signup process, you are pushed to a screen where the only option is “join.”

Match profile

It turns out, though, that this presentation is more of a trick to get you to pay up. Once you get to that Subscribe screen on the app, you are actually a member—you can log in and begin browsing via desktop without paying for a subscription. And when you close and reopen the app, your profile will be saved, and you can start browsing. 

If you want to tell Match even more about yourself, there’s a Topic section, which helps you add personality traits and anecdotes. This is a helpful tool to let people know more about you without writing an extensive essay. Topics include your bucket list, your current obsessions, and your craziest travel stories. You can display up to three topics on your profile. The prompts offer examples, but you can write whatever you want in the box.

You can also add more photos, see who’s viewed you, and check out events available to members (for a fee, of course) like escape rooms, speed dating, or even cruises and ski trips. Events everyone will be happy to return to once it’s safe to get together again.

Once your profile is complete, it’s time to see who’s out there. Match’s search function is simple and satisfying. The Discover function has lots of filters that let you quickly change the basics—if you signed up as a man seeking a woman, but wanted to mix things up on a Friday and search for men, it’s quick and easy. The filters also save each time you search, so it doesn’t keep throwing you back to square one. And if you return to the search page after clicking into a profile, it doesn’t return you to the top of the results—you go right back to where you left off.

Viewing profiles is intuitive and easy. You’ll probably first want to check out your potential match’s photos. The app makes it easy to scroll through them either within the profile or in full-screen mode if you want to get a closer look. It’s nice that profiles serve up more than just the basics. In addition to the stats already mentioned, you get subsections like Favorite Things and Favorite Places to Hang Out.

Match bucket list

At the bottom of the screen, Match serves up similar profiles to the one you’re viewing. However, these don’t seem to be filtered well: You might get served profiles in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, despite looking for people within a few miles of Chicago.

The one thing some may find slightly creepy is the Missed Connections feature—using location info on your phone, the app will serve up people who have been in your general vicinity recently. This might be appealing in some circumstances (if you spend time at the gym or the library, for example, it might show you folks with similar interests) but it may also have you looking around when getting off the train to see if anyone looked familiar.

Naturally, you have to pay if you really want to play. Your basic membership allows you to see who’s out there, receive daily matches, and send likes (clicking a heart on a profile), but going beyond that is for subscribers only. Once you pony up, you get access to see who’s viewed your profile and who’s liked you. Maybe most importantly, you can also see and respond to emails. Basically, you’re going to have to pay for any feature that involves actually connecting with a person.

Monthly subscriptions start at $44.99 to dip your feet in for a month, but it gets progressively less expensive the longer you commit to the service. You can also boost your profile to the top of search results for 60 minutes—try it once for $5.99 or buy a 10-pack for $3 each. Match’s monthly fees are more expensive than most other dating apps. OkCupid’s most expensive monthly plan is $19.99 and Plenty of Fish lets you communicate with other members for free.

Match’s free experience isn’t going to get you anywhere, so upgrading is mandatory for any sort of response. Even when you get a couple “likes” sent your way, if you’re rocking a free profile, you can’t even see who’s interested in you without spending money.

Social Distancing With Match

Dating apps are in a tough spot as the COVID-19 pandemic forces everyone inside, happy couples and lonely singles alike. Since encouraging physical dates between strangers is pretty irresponsible these days, Match has beefed up its virtual dating features. With Vibe Check, users already in a conversation can initiate a live video chat session if both partners agree. You can easily block creeps after the fact. You can also ask Match’s panel of experts for advice on dating while distancing

Match is the flagship product of Match Group, which also owns Hinge, OkCupid, and Tinder. Now that Match has these video dating features, they should come to those apps, too. Bumble, eHarmony, and Plenty of Fish (also owned by Match) offer video chat. Hinge helps you coordinate a video date too, you just have to talk on a separate app. Alongside Facebook Dating, Facebook also has the new Tuned app to connect quarantined couples.

Making the Connection

Match has been around for more than two decades, and we even have people on staff at PCMag who met via the service and have been married for more than 10 years. More than most other dating apps, Match requires a lot of information from you. That’s what sets you up for success, though. The more you tell the app about who you are and what you’re looking for, the more likely you are to find that special someone. Match is one of the oldest players on the field, and it’s still the strongest, making it our Editors’ Choice dating app.

Match Specs

Video Calls Yes
Desktop App Yes
Starting Price $44.99 per month
Mobile App Yes
Free Account Offered Yes

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