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Why you should ignore Microsoft's calls to 'Trade-in and trade up to Surface Pro 3'

The Surface Pro 3 is still one of the the best computers you can buy. Sure, there are more powerful and less expensive machines, but the overall Surface experience is unique and versatile. It can be a tablet, laptop, or desktop, while the included pen offers even more added value.

The problem for many, however, is the price. Yes, you can get a core i3 Surface Pro 3 for $799 (£519), but once you add in the keyboard attachment -- which is technically optional, but realistically necessary -- you are approaching the $1,000 (£650) mark. With that said, it is not overpriced; the price is quite reasonable for what you get, especially when the cost is averaged over the life of ownership. If you want to get one at a discount, today is your lucky day -- sort of. If you have a previous generation Surface -- both ARM and x86_64 -- you can trade it in towards a Surface Pro 3. Believe it or not, you can earn up to $650 (£420)! However, there is a catch and you shouldn't do it.

Microsoft has partnered with company CExchange to offer the promotion. The companies list the following terms of the deal

Valid 2/15/2015 until 3/8/2015. Available on Microsoft online store in US (including Puerto Rico). Not valid online in Canada. Exclusions may apply. To receive full $650 store credit towards the purchase of a new Surface Pro 3, customer must trade-in qualifying device subject to these terms. To be eligible for trade-in, product must power on battery must hold charge and not be required to be plugged in to operate, and be in fully functional, working condition without broken/missing components, cracked display/housing, liquid damage, modification(s) or have device warranty seal broken to be considered working. Cannot be password protected, and include original chargers/accessories. Any appraised value will be determined at trade-in and provided as a Microsoft online store redemption code and is valid online only.

This seems reasonable; the companies are not interested in buying broken or damaged computers. Sadly, you may be disappointed by the offers. As usual, "up to" indicates the best possible scenario, and there is a major catch here. In order to get $650 (£420), you would have to trade in a pristine Surface Pro 3 Core i5 256GB. The problem? The promotion is to trade up to a Surface Pro 3; why would you trade in an existing Pro 3 for another?

The only scenario would be if you wanted to move up to a Core i5 512GB or i7 model. However, to trade in your existing Surface Pro 3 for $650 (£420) only to use that towards a different model would be a huge loss of money. You would be much better to head to Craigslist or eBay.

So who should take advantage? Maybe if you own a Surface RT or Surface 2, as the ARM-powered machines are not looking to be a priority of Microsoft. A perfect Surface RT 64GB will get you $94 (£61), while the Surface 2 64GB gets $114 (£74). At those prices, even if the Windows RT platform is abandoned, I would recommend holding onto them as a secondary tablet or historic piece of technology past.

Even worse? If you opt to trade in your keyboard cover, Microsoft will pay you nothing for it. The trade in value is the same with or without it. If you do decide to take advantage of the promotion -- which you shouldn't -- do not trade in your keyboard. The funny thing is, the existing keyboard will work with the new Surface Pro 3 you would be trading for; it is laughable for Microsoft to offer nothing for it.

Should you buy a Surface Pro 3? Absolutely. Just don't trade in your existing Surface in this promotion.

Not sure which Surface you own? Microsoft shares the following chart.


Photo Credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock