Samsung's would be iPad-killer, the Galaxy Tab S3, starts pre-orders on Thursday morning

Samsung galaxy tab s3Samsung/FlickrThe Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.

LONDON — Samsung’s new would-be iPad killer is almost here.

The Galaxy Tab S3, the latest tablet from the South Korean electronics company, becomes available for pre-orders on Thursday morning.

You’ll be able to purchase the 9.7-inch device from Samsung’s website — but you can’t get your hands on it right away. The official launch date isn’t until March 31 in the UK.

It’s also not cheap: It goes for £599, though Samsung is attempting to soften the blow by throwing in a “optimised keyboard cover” supposedly worth £119 if you pre-order it.

The Galaxy Tab S3 has been left in the awkward position left by the lack of a new flagship smartphone launch from Samsung. Typically, the South Korean electronics company launches its next Samsung Galaxy S smartphone at industry conference Mobile World Congress in February each year.

But this year, after the debacle that was Samsung’s exploding Note 7 smartphone, the company decided not to launch the latest device — the Galaxy S8 — at the conference. Instead, it launched only the Galaxy Tab S3, and pushed back the launch of the S8 to March 29.

The Galaxy Tab S3 has an “enhanced S Pen” stylus, quad-stereo speakers, 32GB of internal storage (expandable with micro SD), and 4GB of RAM. You can see its full specs over on Samsung’s website — but basically, it’s a high-end tablet, with a pricetag to match, that’s designed to go head-to-head with Apple’s premium iPads.

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