Skout is a location-aware social networking app for Android, allowing users to find people nearby that are looking to chat or otherwise mingle. The app has a really great dual-pane layout that’s accessed with swipe gestures, making it fast and easy to flip through local singles, check direct messages, and get notifications on who’s checking you out.
Skout’s UI layout instantly sets it apart from other Android dating apps. The circular icons used throughout the app are very sharp, though vaguely reminiscent of Path. The main page shows a grid of profile pictures with online status notifications and first names, which can alternatively be laid out in a list format. Tapping each one goes to a more detailed profile with their latest status update, photo album (with comment section), proximity, and other information. From there, you can send winks, chat requests, or add users to your favorites.
The major downside to the app’s looks are the banner apps that take up a ton of room at the bottom of just about every screen. $3.99 is a lot to ask to get rid of ads, but for people that are busy on the dating scene, it might be worth it.
Skout’s profile fields are limited to age, ethnicity, height, and a free-form About Me field. From the mobile app, you can check a few options from a limited list of interests and your body type, though those things can’t be used as search criteria for some reason. This seriously limits the utility of finding people with similar goals or interests as you (though you can narrow results by rough proximity, age, gender and ethnicity).
Like most dating apps, a lot of the extras hinge on in-app purchases. The Points system can be used to see which other users have marked you as a favorite, see who’s checked you out, give virtual gifts, promote your profile for higher visibility, and a few other features. Points can also be earned by inviting Facebook friends to sign up or downloading and installing promoted apps.
Skout also hosts chat features, though the group chat rooms in the web version aren’t on mobile - not that most folks are interested in talking with 20 random strangers from around the world. The main menu is accessible from just about everywhere, and gives quick access to the latest updates on the network, view your favorites, edit your profile, and see the latest posts on the Skout blog.
- Great user interface
- Lack of detailed search criteria
- Heavy push on in-app purchases
Currently Badoo is the leading Android app in the mobile dating sphere, but Skout is distinctively different. It’s more much low-pressure, and gives the impression of being more on the casual side of things (even though it’s still obviously a dating app first and foremost). With that comes fewer tailored tools for finding a “match”, but for those that are just browsing, that can be enough. With over 5 million installs of the free version, you’ll have a wider variety of people than you might on competing networks, like Tagged.