Microsoft takes old Surface tablets in trade for new Surface 3

Microsoft is now taking old Surface tablets in trade toward the purchase of a new Surface 3, which went on sale today.

Microsoft will take old Surface tablets in trade toward the purchase of a new Surface 3, which went on sale today.

The Surface 3, which the company unveiled five weeks ago, starts at $499 with 64GB of storage space, and climbs to $599 with 128GB. Those prices do not include the $130 Surface 3 Type Cover, the optional keyboard necessary to turn the tablet into the 2-in-1 Microsoft aggressively advertises. A pen for the Surface 3 runs an additional $50.

U.S. owners of older Surface devices -- the original 2012 Surface RT and 2013's Surface 2 -- can trade them in for credit toward the purchase of the new Surface 3.

For a working Surface RT, Microsoft will credit the seller $100 -- whether a keyboard is included or not, and no matter how much storage space it has -- while an operational Surface 2 will bring $150. The latter is enough to pay for a Type Cover and two-fifths of a pen.

The offer, available only to residents of the U.S. and Puerto Rico, runs until May 31. Credits must be applied to online orders of a Surface 3 by June 30.

Microsoft's credits were more generous than the cash compensation from buy-back firms like Nextworth and Gazelle, two of the largest firms that purchase used devices. On Tuesday, Nextworth offered $116 for a 64GB Surface 2, while Gazelle said it would pay just $106.

Unlike its predecessors, the Surface 3 runs Windows 8.1 and so can handle legacy Windows programs. That was one of the biggest beefs about the older tablets, which were powered by Windows RT, a spin-off that only accepted Modern, née Metro, apps. Surface 3 buyers will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge when Microsoft releases the new OS this summer.

The Surface 3 also comes with a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, which lists for $70.

Microsoft's Surface buyback deal can be found on the company's website.

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