PC makers may start discounting Windows 10 laptops to clear stock for Windows 11

Dell XPS 13
Dell XPS 13 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A recent report sparked speculation about a "Windows 11 tax" on some Dell PCs.
  • Dell has since clarified that it is not charging more to ship Windows 11 but is instead discounting devices with Windows 10.
  • People can purchase the discounted device with Windows 10 and then upgrade it to Windows 11 if they want to.

Windows 10 could be the secret to getting one of the best Windows laptops for a discount. Since manufacturers want to get rid of older stock, some older PCs with Windows 10 are on sale compared to their Windows 11 counterparts.

TechRadar recently reported that certain Dell devices with Windows 11 were more expensive than the same hardware running Windows 10, suggesting a "Windows 11 tax." Initial reporting was presumptive, as Dell later confirmed that the price difference was due to older hardware with Windows 10 being discounted:

The starting price of the equally configured Windows 10 vs 11 XPS 13 laptops are the same, but we have applied a larger discount on the Windows 10 version of this particular XPS 13 model to clear out inventory. Keep in mind, Windows 11 is still a free upgrade on the Windows 10 model.

Dell's statement confirms that while the company is not charging a fee for devices to ship with Windows 11, there is a way to get older devices for a discount. Dell wants to clear out inventory of older machines with Microsoft's older operating system. As a result, some laptops and PCs could be further discounted if they're running Windows 10.

An older model of the XPS 13 sparked speculation of the now-debunked Windows 11 tax. The Windows 11 version of the XPS 13 with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor costs $882. The same model with Windows 10 costs $735. That price difference comes from the version with Windows 10 being further discounted, not Windows 11 having a premium attached.

Note that this specific XPS 13 features an older design that sports a 16:9 aspect ratio alongside modern internals (11th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7). Our piece comparing the XPS 13 (9300) vs. XPS 13 (7390) can help you spot the design differences between the devices, but remember that Dell has since improved the internals of the 7390.

Because Windows 11 is a free upgrade, anyone can order the model with Windows 10 preinstalled and then upgrade it themselves, essentially saving almost $150 for being willing to perform an OS upgrade (or electing to stick with Windows 10).

While we've only seen this practice from Dell so far, there's a chance that other PC manufacturers could follow suit.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.