Samba WordPress Theme Review

Review of:

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On November 7, 2013
Last modified:November 7, 2013

Summary:

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If you enjoy colorfully designed layouts and smoothness of transitions, Samba is a wonderfully colored WordPress theme by Pirenko.  The theme boasts an incredible usage of whitespace filling the browser purposefully.  This is emphasized by individual page types specializing in having the images take control of your experience while avoiding the unintentional effect of being visually busy.  And like many high quality WordPress themes on Themeforest, Samba comes with an assortment of features including but not limited to translation & multi-lingual plugin, a premium page builder, and is of course retina-ready.


Designer’s Opinion

I love it. This is a great and proper use of white space and flat colors while exploiting the elements and really, really large images.  I particularly enjoy the layout of Samba and its emphasis on the content while still somehow giving room for everything to breath.  The fixed vertical navigation is a nice touch as you do not lose it to the rest of theme as you scroll, and you even have the option to minimize it to the logo which is actually kind of rare on Themeforest.  Going back to the use of space and images, I am really favoring section for single – wide layout that just lets the image fill the space of the browser in a slider.  It feels so natural the way everything is laid out, save for the shop.  I think the shop could use some more of that open space feel like the wide layout.  Let the image of the products take over the space.

Quirk as of November 2, 2013:

Sorting drop-down menu on the shop page – A bug where the sort drop-down options do not work when first landing on the shop page.  Only after refreshing does the drop-down sorter work.


Highlights

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Homepage Options

Samba comes with several homepage options: full slider, corporate style, video portfolio, and video showreel.  All of which function quite well as the front page because of the combination of space usage and visually pleasing content.

 

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Grid Blog

The grid blog is a pretty solid masonry-esque layout for Samba, though it does suffer the same issue with the way the date orders are laid out the further you scroll down.

 

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Classic Blog

As classic as a blog can be, Samba comes with its own standard blogging layout, but with significant open space for the pictures and text.

 

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Single Blog

The single blog is very similar to the classic blog but uses all the open space for one blog.

 

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Team Member Single Page

In addition to having an about page, Pirenko took the liberty of giving Samba a web page called Team Member Single which obviously servers as a more descriptive layout for each individual.

 

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Highly Customized Shortcodes

Samba is not short on shortcodes, all of which is fully customized to fit the theme from animated progress bars to fully colored jQuery tabs.

 

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Transitional Layout

In terms of animation, Samba plays around with a lot of transitional, specifically the transitions between pages.  Using AJAX to the pages creates an amazingly smooth change without every needing to refresh or reload the pages.  It overall makes the Samba theme feel complete and solid.


Shop Layout

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Sortable Shop

Samba also comes with its own sortable shop.  It is rather simple, limited in terms of being able to find items with a much needed detailed sorting system, but it generally does the job.

 

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Item Page

Following the sortable shop of course is each items own page that serves to provide further detail of the items with the addition of a description and more photos via lightbox gallery.


Portfolio Layout

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Grid Portfolio

The grid portfolio page for Samba looks rather simple at first, but has nice touches thanks for animation.  Rolling over an item presents you with a neat little zoom-in effect with a fade over of a flat color with text.  Also, when left alone the grid portfolio auto-fade transitions item images within their own window letting users know there are more pictures.

 

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Masonry Portfolio

The masonry is similar to the grid blog but follows the same motions as the grid portfolio.  It does not share the same auto-fade transitions but it does have a nice rollover effect for each individual picture.

 

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Titled Portfolio

Samba’s titled portfolio is similar to the grid blog but doesn’t share the randomness of height differences.  Instead, all the heights are the same giving a nice uniform look complete with each images own description, title, and categories.

 

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Video Portfolio

The video portfolio is exactly like the homepage version only it’s not on the front page.  The layout itself shares similarities with the grid portfolio but with larger images in uniformity.

 

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Single – Wide Layout

This portfolio layout puts everything into a much larger visual showcase of individual images.  A lot of focus is on one image at a time rather than a basic gallery.  They fill the entire width of the screen from navigation to the other end of the browser without the need to zoom in to make the image larger, although that is still an option.

 

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Single – Half Layout

Similar to the wide layout but instead of filling the width of the browser it focuses on a more basic layout with images in the center and a small but detailed description layout.


Features

•    This WordPress Theme is great for all Websites and comes with tons of customization options. It features the Visual Composer Plugin (worth 25 USD) to speed up the page creation process and it has a cool Ajax Page Loading feature (can be turned off). This option will allow a smoother the user experience and will speed up the page loading process;
•    There’s also a cool option to colorize pages and posts according to their featured color. Once again this is entirely optional. Another great feature is the option to have the left menu always collapsed and also a 3D open/close effect can be used here;
•    Shop integration? Sure! WooCommerce plugin has been styled and improved to fit on the theme like a glove;
•    The theme is translation ready (compatible with WPML plugin), but you can also translate using the control panel (best solution if only one language is needed). The theme is already translated to English, Russian, German and Portuguese;
•    Need more? Ok, the theme offers also a complete members section with single pages for each person. Different teams can be created so unlimited teams pages can be set;
•    The theme options cover a wide range of possibilities and the theme has been studied carefully to display perfectly on all types of devices. Special attention has been given to font rendering as well as the main layout elements;
•    Finally, the theme has been optimized to work with the following plugins: Revolution Slider, Contact Form 7 and MailChimp;

Custom Admin Control Panel

•    Divided in 11 sections the Samba Options Panel will allow to fully edit the content and decide on how will some sections be displayed;
•    It’s also very easy to translate all of the text that used on your website (it can be done directly on the theme options, using .mo/.po files or using WPML plugin)
•    To guide you the theme offers also spoken video tutorials
•    One-click install sample content will allow the automatic generation of pages, posts, slides, portfolio items and team members

Custom Template Pages

•    Page with Sections
•    Fullscreen Slider Page
•    Contact Page
•    Classic Blog Page (unlimited blogs can be created)
•    Grid Blog Page
•    Grid Portfolio Page (unlimited portfolios can be created)
•    Masonry Portfolio Page
•    Titled Portfolio Page

3 Custom Post Types

•    Portfolio items Custom Post type (unlimited)
•    Slides Custom Post type (unlimited sliders can be created)
•    Members Custom Post type (unlimited members and teams can be created)

Other Features

•    48 Elements that can be added directly using the Visual Composer Plugin: Accordion, Blockquote, Button, Carousel, Image, Image Galleries, Latest Comments, Latest Portfolio, Latest Posts, Layout, Message, Pricing Tables, Progress Bars, Separators, Services, Tabs, Team Members, Theme Slider, Titles, Toggle, Tour Section, Widgetised Sidebar …
•    Widget ready: 2 default Sidebars+Woocommerce sidebar+Option to generate unlimited sidebars
•    Worpress custom menu ready
– Font selector (unlimited fonts can be added using the method shown here)
•    60+ background patterns
•    Future implementations available: if there’s any new feature you might like on this theme, please send me an email and I’ll try to add it to the theme


Price
Regular License: $55
Extended License: $2750

The Samba theme isn’t worth $55, it is worth $60.  It’s just such an excellent WordPress theme where everything on the site was built and/or customized for the site.  The Samba theme even comes with a page builder that is worth $25.  You can tell a lot of quality effort was put into designing and developing this team so that it is a very warming experience to see at a glance.  It is as thoroughly detailed as it is visually pleasing and is fully packed with e-commerce, multi-lingual with translation, and is retina-ready for high quality images.


Conclusion
As Pirenko categorized their theme Samba under creative, we can easily why and how it is quite colorful and very spacious in its use of the room provided.  Since it is a rather creative design it would be a little hard to market the theme for other areas such as the corporate, even with so many features that cater to the more business oriented niche.  That being said, it is well worth the buy should you require a WordPress theme with such colorfulness and boldness to show off your many works of art.

2013 Blogrid