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Sponsored App Review: Samba: Videos + Reactions

October 30, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson

Description: Samba is an Android app that aims to revolutionize video messaging and help make things a little more human. It does this by recording reactions from the recipients of your video messages, this way, you can see their reaction to your message. Obviously, this is great for parents as well as those in long distance relationships or on holiday, that sort of thing. Samba automatically records your recipient’s reaction, and then sends that back to you after they’ve finished watching your video message. It’s a simple, yet very human concept and one that could easily catch on. So, let’s take a closer look and see just what makes Samba such a popular messaging application.

How it Works: Unsurprisingly, you’ll need to download this from the Play Store, once you have Samba installed on your device, you can go ahead and get started. You’ll be introduced to the app with a little slide of what’s what, which is a nice touch.

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Samba works much like other similar apps in the messaging field and asks for your phone number in order to activate your account. This is good for a couple of reasons, namely because your phone number is how most people will recognize you on their devices.

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Once you’ve got your account activated and you’ve chosen a nickname for yourself, you can invite your friends. This simply opens up a list of your contacts and you can either choose to invite just your family and loved ones or everyone in your contacts.

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Once you’ve got everything setup (which doesn’t take long at all), you can start creating a video message to send to your other half, your family or even your kids back home while working overseas.

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It’s nice and easy to send a message, all you do is swipe up to send, and you can always send whatever message you’ve created to more than one person at a time, which is nice for sharing the moment at an event, and this means you can see how each of your friends react differently.

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Once you’ve sent your message, Samba will automatically record your friends’ reaction to your video using their front-facing camera and then send this back to you.

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Unlike Snapchat, your messages aren’t ephemeral wisps and you can take a look at your videos and reactions whenever you like.

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Opinion: I’ve tried Snapchat, and I didn’t like it, I generally don’t like video calls because I prefer meeting face-to-face, despite the fact the team here use Hangouts regularly. Where Samba impresses me is with its ability to bridge the gap between full-blown video calls and quick messaging. With Samba, I could practically use this for anything – I could send a funny message to my girlfriend while she’s at work to cheer her up, I could send a message to my buddy reminding him about our plans at the weekend and more, it’s a pretty great idea. Where I see this being excellent is for those that are on different timezones or in long distance relationships, it’s nice to hear a voice and see a face, but it’s hard to meet up when it’s 1AM for one of you, with Samba though, you can just wait and still get that smile or laugh you were looking for in the first place. I keep thinking that Samba is what can make instant messaging human once again.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – Everything ran fairly quickly for me and I didn’t feel like I was waiting a long time for reactions to make their way back to me.
  • Features (5/5) – A nice blend of features, Samba bridges the gap between a number of other services, but the core concept here is what will attract users of all ages to start using it, and I can see this being great for people all over the world and missing home.
  • Theme (4/5) – The UI is nice and has a material look and feel like Google’s latest version of Android, and it’s pretty pleasing overall.
  • Overall (4.5/5) – The core concept here is great and while the team is still ironing out some of the kinks here and there, it’s pretty clear that Snapchat and Instagram have something to worry about here. I’m more likely to use Samba than I am anything else out there quite frankly. I want my messaging to be human, not throwaway or cold.

Pros

  • Uses your phone number – the one piece of info that everyone you know will probably recognize – to connect you to your friends.
  • Excellent option for those on different time zones all over the world, still looking for a human connection.
  • Great use of the cameras and sensitive mics that we have loaded into our smartphones these days.
  • Works well without asking too much of its users, it’s easy to use and simple to get started with.

Cons

  • Seems to be constantly updated on Android without many explanations as to why.
  • Lacks a few features that uses of Snapchat and Instagram might miss.

Conclusion: Samba is a great application and service for those that miss loved ones all over the world or for those that want to see that smile or hear the laugh when people watch their latest joke or pull funny faces. How you use Samba is up to you, and while I am sure there are thousands of uses and millions of messages that I would never think of, what matters here is that it’s two-way communication in the most convenient manner. We crave response and admiration as human beings and Samba can deliver that no matter where in the world people or are or what time it is. There’s no bending over backwards to get reactions and to connect with our friends and loved ones with Samba and it just works.

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