Been thinking about a new laptop? If you're ready to part with your old one, Microsoft will give you $200 for it. Or $300 if it's a MacBook.
That's the fairly straightforward offer from Microsoft's new trade-up program. All you have to do is buy a qualifying product from the Microsoft Store, submit a claim and then send in your old qualifying laptop.
Of course, the devil's in the details, or in this case in the "qualifying." The new PC must be priced at $599 or above, and it must be one of the models listed on this Microsoft Store page. If you want the cheapest possible option, there's exactly one $599 system: the Acer Aspire R 13 Signature Edition convertible, which has some very solid specs but only middling reviews.
A better bet might be the $699 Asus Zenbook UX305, a steal at the post-trade-in $499 price. I own one of these, and it has just two flaws: a non-backlit keyboard and a power button located in the worst possible place: right next to the Delete key.
There are also a few all-in-one systems that qualify, including the popular HP Envy Beats, which is already marked down $200 to $849. A final price of $649 is awfully tempting. (Obviously it would be $549 if you traded in a MacBook. But I'm curious: Does anyone ever switch from Mac to Windows?)
As for your trade-in, it must be no more than six years old, with a screen that's at least 11.6 inches, and it must be "operational" and "undamaged." (Be sure to read the full terms and conditions.) I couldn't find any indication of who pays to ship your old laptop, you or Microsoft.
There have been other trade-in deals, of course, but typically the language reads "get up to $200 for your old laptop." And then you find out that "up to" means, like, $40. Here you get $200 or $300, period. Pretty nice option for anyone looking to, well, trade up.