Chic Hot or Not! mobile app flirts with polished features

Jan 13, 2014

With the speed at which technology advances today, there’s something reassuring about a concept that remains basically the same as it was a decade ago. So it is with the app version of a Hot or Not website.

The original Hot or Not website that debuted in 2000 emerged as a terrific way to kill time. Users would be shown a set of pictures uploaded by other users that they could rate on a 1 to 10 scale of hotness. As soon as they rated one user they’d get another set of pictures to rate.

Now that Hot or Not! has emerged as an app, it’s basically unchanged from its original web existence 14 years ago save the addition of some optional social networking features. To be clear, I don’t say that pejoratively. Hot or Not! is a concept so simple and perfect that it didn’t need any refinement then, and it still doesn’t today.

The biggest changes to the app’s function come with regard to the rating system. Whereas the old website gave you a ten point scale to rate your fellow users, the Hot or Not! app gives you two choices – hot or not. The cumulative value of all ratings then creates the 1-10 numeric value given to users. So if someone has been rated 100 times and receives 50 “Hot” votes, they have a 5.0 out of 10 rating on the app. This change is useful, as it helps prevent unnecessary over-analysis. Spending more than ten seconds deciding whether someone is really a 7 or an 8 seems sort of silly, and distilling the app to a binary question feels more intuitive.

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Save that change in rating system, the app works a lot like the old website. Users look at a set of pictures uploaded by another user and say whether they find them attractive. There’s really not much else to it. Much like the website offered in the past, users can choose whether to rate men, women or everyone.  A notable filtering feature is the ability to set an age range of people you want to rate. If you’d prefer only to see people in their 30s, or people aged 21 to 25, you can do so. Or at least you can see pictures of people who claim to be those ages.

The design of the app is simple, befitting such an easy to understand concept. It works exactly like you’d expect it to with a few understandable quirks. Users aren’t allowed to rate other users without uploading a picture of their own and if the app’s location services are turned off, the app seems to get hung up on why you’ve decided not to allow location services and stops showing you new photos intermittently.

But the Hot or Not! app also invites you to make a personal connection to users you’ve rated once they’ve also rated you. Users can then enjoy one-on-one chats inside of the app if they’re interested in making a new friend or something more. It’s an interesting twist to the old format, and users can easily embrace or bypass this feature altogether.

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Overall, the Hot or Not! app was like meeting up with a familiar friend you haven’t seen in years. Minutes after sitting down you remember exactly what you liked about them and you can enjoy those same things again, and maybe they’ve even picked up a new story or two that you haven’t heard. If you’re looking for a nostalgic trip, a way to kill a few minutes, or even a way to make a new social connection, Hot or Not can do the trick.

This review was brought to you by Instafluence.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.


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