Joola Samba 19, along with Samba 27, is the latest in the Samba range of rubbers to be released by Joola. Manufactured with a blue sponge, Samba 19 is the softer of the two with a sponge hardness rating of 41 degrees (as opposed to 48 degrees for Samba 27).
Arriving in a dark blue package the description on the back simply states, “Samba 19 possesses good feeling, good sound, and good grip.”
JOOLA SAMBA 19 REVIEW
Here is Paddy and Dan’s full video review of the Joola Samba 19 table tennis rubber…
Please read on for even more details and for links to buy the rubber from Tabletennis11.com!
Straight out of the package and the rubber is relatively soft compared to other top-level attacking rubbers on the market today. This was expected but I had a slight concern prior to testing the Samba 19 that it would be a little too soft – like some Joola rubbers in the past – and would struggle for speed.
Thankfully, Joola Samba 19 did not appear to be as soft as I had feared and was quickly stuck on and ready to go. The Samba 19 has a harder sponge than Stiga Calibra LT but is not as hard as Tenergy 05 by Butterfly.
SPEED & SPIN
One of the main areas in terms of performance for any rubber is the speed. If you had to compare Joola Samba 19 to another rubber for speed then it would have to be Tenergy 05 FX. It doesn’t quite possess the speed of Tenergy 05 but still has considerable speed.
Spin is another main area of performance as being able to generate enough spin whilst playing is vital during table tennis. During the initial inspection of Joola Samba 19, prior to gluing it on, the top rubber sheet hadn’t seemed to have as much friction as other attacking rubbers such as the Victas V>15 Extra and Xiom Vega Japan that we previously tested.
This was shown again whilst playing with the Samba 19. Even though it was possible to place enough spin on the ball to play topspin shots, it didn’t generate large amounts of spin as easily as V>15 Extra or Vega Japan had.
As with speed, Joola Samba 19 matches up similarly to Butterfly Tenergy 05 FX in terms of the amount of spin produced.
CONTROL & FEELING
Where the Joola Samba 19 starts to differentiate from Tenergy 05 FX is control. The control felt whilst playing with Samba 19 is varied and not as high as 05 FX. Whilst blocking or playing softer topspin loops the control is about the average level you would expect from a top-level rubber. However, when you start to play more aggressive attacking shots the control felt starts to decrease.
Due to the softness of the sponge, the rubber absorbs a lot of the impact and the ‘feeling’ of the shot doesn’t travel through to the blade meaning the amount you actually feel as the bat strikes the ball is limited. The more attacking the shot the more this lack of feeling on the blade is noticed compared to other rubbers.
THROW & ARC
The softer sponge does help when you wish to produce a lot of ‘throw’ on a topspin shot. It’s possible to keep the ball on the bat a long time and to ensure the shot arcs a lot. The high and long trajectory obtainable means you can catapult the ball onto the table from a range of distances.
This also means, however, that slight miscalculations in timing and technique can cause the ball to catapult a long way away from the intended target and can take a bit of getting used to, especially on the backhand side.
As for sensitivity to incoming spin, Samba 19 is a mixture. The catapult effect means that topspin shots from your opponent can regularly strike your racket and travel a long distance; however the less grippy top rubber sheet means that on shots such as service return the rubber doesn’t grip the ball as much and the spin of the serve doesn’t take effect as strongly.
STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
To summarize the main strengths of Joola Samba 19 you would have to mention its ability to open up at the start of a rally. Although it doesn’t produce masses of topspin it generates enough to consistently arc the ball up and over the net off of a backspin push.
Another strength to highlight is the rubbers ability to keep the ball in contact with the rubber for a longer time. This helps to increase the trajectory which is required if attacking from mid-distance to the table.
The main downside of Samba 19 is the control aspect. Whilst blocking or playing with the backhand side especially, the ball catapults off the rubber in a rather unreliable and inconsistent manner.
Two different popular rubbers currently on the market spring to mind to compare Joola Samba 19 to. The one which has been mentioned in this review is Tenergy 05 FX, although the 05 FX possesses more control than Samba 19.
The other rubber would be Xiom Vega Europe. It is a similar hardness of sponge to Samba 19 and the only variant between the two is that Vega Europe is able to grip the ball and produce more topspin on loops.
WHO IS IT FOR?
If you had to describe the type of player that Joola Samba 19 is best-suited to you would have to say the sort of player who is attack-minded but not close to the table, flat out attack.
It’s best-suited to someone who likes to loop the ball but does so from mid-distance from the table, relying on a long and high trajectory to return the ball to the opposition.
Joola Samba 19 is currently on sale at Tabletennis11.com for just under €43. This represents decent value for money as it comes in slightly cheaper than some rubbers it’s competing against however the lack of control compared to the rival rubbers have to be considered against the savings in money.
THANKS TO TABLETENNIS11.COM!
Once again, we would like to thank Tabletennis11.com for sponsoring this review and providing us with the rubbers to test.
Tabletennis11.com are one of our favourite online table tennis retailers. They have fantastic prices and offer free worldwide shipping on orders over €70. You also get an extra 25% off if your order is over €250!