Happn review: Location-based dating turns near-misses into matches

Happn Dating App

Happn is a dating app which shows you potential matches that you’ve already walked past in real life. The concept is an interesting one, but is it really worth it?

We reviewed the app in-depth, looking at messaging capabilities, profile options and value for money.

PLEASE NOTE: Dating apps are hugely subjective. Your ‘success’ and overall experience are likely to vary hugely from person-to-person. For our dating app reviews, we’ve tried to include as much objective information as possible, from reviewers who have used the Free and Premium features of each service. Where possible, we also include comments from the actual people reviewers meet via these apps, to try and get a balanced viewpoint from both sides.

Happn overview

Key features

Happn shows you who you’ve ‘crossed paths with’, making it a good bet for those who travel around a lot. It has a geographical interface which shows you potential matches on a map. In the top right of the screen there’s a circular number display showing you how many crushes you’ve attracted.

Despite this feature, my impression of Happn’s female users in my age range (35-50) is that the vast majority are looking for a proper relationship, instead of a hook up.

The crossing of paths is perhaps not quite as literal as you might think. I’ve matched on several occasions with women in places while I was whizzing past them on a train, which didn’t even stop in their town or stated location. Still, this can throw up some interesting matches if you’ve had a busy day on the road – it’s not uncommon to then be served half a dozen fresh likes based on your fleeting geographical happenstance.

Chat 1

The most unique and fun feature on Happn is CrushTime. This game kicks in once you attract a handful of likes. CrushTime serves you up a random tile of four profiles, arranged Top Trumps style, making you guess which one has marked you as a crush. Get it right, and you’re matched, get it wrong and you get another four cards dealt to you.

The only slight drawback to the game is that once you’ve already matched with someone and subsequently unmatched (possibly because they’ve stopped using the app or just aren’t inclined to chat nowadays) it will serve you them again, meaning that eventually you’ll be forced to match with them anew.

It also means that you sometimes inevitably end up choosing a crush simply because you know it’s them, by process of elimination, rather than because you actually reciprocate their interest (which could soon get awkward). It could also possibly explain the relatively high incidence of matches not leading to conversations on the app.

In common with the usual left and right swipe, you can also send a ‘hello.’ Users get gifted three of these when you sign up, but further ones can only be acquired by referring friends to sign up (each recruit earns you five ‘hellos’) or by taking out a premium subscription.

Once you’ve sent your ‘hello’, that person automatically goes into your list of favourites. I didn’t get any response from my ‘hellos’ and didn’t appear to receive any myself, so I’m not sure how useful this feature really is.


Your matched crushes are displayed in a bar along the top of the app which you can scroll through while you decide whether or not to engage with conversation.

Compared to other mainstream apps there does seem to be a relatively small conversion rate from matching to messaging, which suggests that users come and go from the app, with some displaying as ‘currently online’ even after they’ve long abandoned the app.

Profile options

Profile options are decent enough. You can upload up to a whopping nine photos of which the display takes up half of your profile screen. The slight downside of this visual approach is that it tends to obscure the bulk of the profile text, meaning that you often have to scroll to read more than the first sentence.

Happn Dating App

Along with age and your crossed paths location (note, not the user’s home location) the user’s job title is displayed in their name title, which suggests that the app positions itself as having a more serious, relationship-led focus than some.

There are multiple choice options for all the standard lifestyle things such as drinking, smoking, active levels and whether or not you have or want kids, as well as including extra things such as partying, cooking and travel, which all help give users some idea of your personality.

You can connect your Spotify playlist, but there’s no option to do likewise with Instagram or other social media channels, which would be a nice addition to encourage conversation starters.


Filtering options are limited, extending only to age and gender in the free version, with the option to filter by partying preference and relationship level in premium. It’s perhaps these elements which nudge the app subtly into hook up territory.


Happn’s messaging offering is especially strong. As well as sending text, you can send a song, a GIF or a voice note, which introduces a degree of flirty novelty that other apps tend to lack. Oddly though, you can’t seem to send a pic (which may well be a preventative measure against dick pics). There’s also a basic video chat facility.


Happn Premium Pricing

£29.99 for 1 month
£13.67 for 6 months
£9.17 for 12 months

As well as showing you all your crushes, Premium gives you further privacy controls such as the option to hide your online status, location and also, interestingly, your age.

Given the limited engagement on the app, the monthly fee seems a little steep.

Please note: Pricing on dating sites often varies according to many factors.

Comments from a female user

What did you like about the app?
It was easy to use, and a good concept.

What didn’t you like? What would you change?
Most people didn’t message after matching, which might say more about me, but it still felt pointless after a while.

Have you ever paid to use it?
No, not sure why there would be any need.

[wp-review id=”61319″]

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Rob Tylershevsky
Rob Tylershevsky

Rob is a freelance journalist based in Sussex, UK, with a strong interest in the intersecting fields of technology, human sexuality, relationships, behaviour and psychology.

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