PROS / The Tab E has a stellar battery life of more than 13 hours.
CONS / Samsung put a low-power processor in the tablet that offers average performance.
VERDICT / The Samsung Galaxy Tab E isn't the fastest tablet, but durable construction, an excellent battery and a budget-friendly price make it a viable tablet for everyday use.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab E has great build quality and specifications targeted toward entry-level and non-business users. Physically, the 9.6-inch tablet has dimensions of 9.5 x 5.9 x 0.38 inches and a weight of 1.2 pounds. While it's notably bulkier than most entry-level tablets, which typically occupy the 7-inch to 8-inch range, in our hands-on testing we found that the Tab E is sturdily built. The tablet's rounded edges and seams, along with a black textured backside, give it a remarkably premium feel versus comparable entry-level tablets.
Internally, though, the Tab E hits its performance ceiling quickly. In our benchmarking with graphics test 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited and processing test Geekbench 3, the tablet put up modest respective scores of 1,438 and 4,289 points. Both marks are comparable to other budget tablets and a far step behind top models, which have respective scores of around 4,000 and 30,000 points in the same programs. In practice, this means that the Tab E isn’t an exceptional tablet for high-end gaming and is better suited for low-power tasks like displaying text or web browsing. The tablet struggled to run 3DMark's more advanced tablet benchmarks, chugging at lackluster frame rates in the single digits.
However, the Tab E's other features manage to perform better. For instance, with its resolution of only 1280 x 800 pixels, the screen's specifications fall in line with comparable tablets. By comparison, premium tablets generally reach the 2048 x 1536-pixel range. In our benchmarking, we found that the Tab E's display has a spectacular average brightness rating of 408 nits, which is the unit that measures luminance. At the Tab E's price point, tablets usually average around 280 nits. During our hands-on evaluations, pixelation was still present in high-detail applications like those for reading, but the display's brightness kept the screen from appearing dulled.
Likewise, the Tab E performed superbly in battery benchmarking. Our testing followed methodology developed by our colleagues at Laptop Mag, wherein a tablet is set at a constant brightness and simulates normal web browsing until it powers down. The Tab E produced an exceptional mark of 13 hours and 22 minutes, which managed to beat the 11-hour average of competing premium tablets.
On the inside and outside, the Samsung Galaxy Tab E has value for mainstream tablet users. While it lacks exceptional speed, the Tab E's stellar construction and battery life make it a versatile option for those who want a cheap mobile computing option that doesn't compromise on quality.