X Theme Review
X Theme for WordPress is a full featured, retina-ready, mobile-responsive theme (developed by Themeco) that packs a ton of bells and whistles. For the most part, it’s an incredibly flexible theme and well worth the money. The developers tout it as “the last WordPress theme you’ll ever need to buy”. Here are some thoughts on that assertion and the theme in general, including features and problems.
X comes with 3 pre-made styles they call stacks; they’re basically sub-themes. Integrity is the more standard option that is good for business use. Renew is a flat style that is my personal favorite and the one that was used on this website for a period of time. Finally, Icon is a minimalistic design that is nice for blogs or personal resume websites. The purpose of the stacks is to give users a choice between three different looks for their website. This is a really nice feature because it dramatically increases the flexibility of the theme.
Another great feature of X is the built-in customizer. This is where the real work is done. They’ re not blowing smoke when the developers say that the possible customizations are virtually endless. It’s amazing how much you can customize, from layout (choose from one of the three stacks) to buttons (very customizable) and typography (easily select from over 600 Google fonts) to custom CSS. What’s also really cool is that your changes will appear as you make them (well, within a few seconds) so you can preview your changes before saving.
X Shortcodes is actually a separate plugin that is downloaded once you’ve installed the theme. There are many shortcodes included and you can insert things like lightboxes, buttons, promo boxes, call-outs, responsive visibility (display content based on device),
tables of content (great for SEO), audio, maps, protected content, video, and much more. One of the niftiest shortcodes is the content band short code, which allows you to create sections (including full width) of content that can include background images and whatever else you’d like. This is especially useful for creating landing pages.
The list of features available with X is huge. A few more of the main features include WooCommerce compatibility (works great), portfolios, custom sidebars, icon fonts, Revolution Slider, social sharing, SEO, and tight integration with Visual Composer. There are 30 demos available to see all of the features so go play around.
Downfalls – Just Two
During my time using X, I could only find two issues. First, there were a few layout problems, especially on Firefox. For example, the page titles would be shoved up into the navigation bar on smaller screens (i.e. laptops) when using Firefox. Also, there were some alignment issues on the WooCommerce checkout page. I removed any custom CSS that I thought may have been causing the problem but that didn’t resolve it. In all fairness, I can’t guarantee it was a theme problem but I feel it was the most likely. Since I’ve purhcased the theme, there has been one update resolving some conflicts related to Firefox so I think this indicates that there were (and still remain) bugs that have to be worked out. Second, I tried to use X with a child theme but doing so broke the entire design. I tried using a child theme with each of the three stacks and got the same result. Therefore, it appears that X is not yet compatible with child themes.
EDIT – 2/9/14: After this post was published, Themeco was kind enough to post a response addressing these issues (see their comment below). Regarding child themes, since X is such an advanced theme, the typical way of installing a child theme won’t work. However, they provide already-made child themes for you to build on. I’ll also try to get them some screenshots to show them the layout issue to see if it was something on my end or not.
I think X is a fantastic theme and well worth the $60 investment. Although there seem to be two fairly significant bugs, I’m confident that the developers will work them out in the future, especially as the theme grows (it’s already become one of the best selling themes on Themeforest). That being said, I’d definitely recommend it to any interested buyers. To address the assertion that X will be “the last theme you’ll ever need”, it can be if you really like it, just like an other theme. If you’re a designer or build websites for various projects, you’ll likely use others as well (who limits themselves to one theme???).
If you’re actually looking for “the last theme you’ll ever need”, I’d recommend either Divi from Elegant Themes or Headway Themes if you aren’t comfortable with coding or the Genesis Framework if you are. Genesis is the most flexible but it requires extra coding to get your exact look. Headway has steeper learning curve. Divi is awesome! It is very easy to use, is very flexible and looks stunning. You can’t go wrong with either one.