Here's why 'Instant On' is a huge deal for Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3

Surface Laptop 3
Surface Laptop 3 (Image credit: Windows Central)

In my recent review for the Surface Pro 7 and first impressions of Surface Laptop 3 13.5, I keep mentioning "Instant On" as a super cool feature that has been dramatically improved from previous iterations. Built, presumably, with Intel's Project Athena and the 10th Gen Intel platform, the feature effectively turns a laptop more into a smartphone or Apple iPad.

In this quick demo I posted on Instagram you can see a real-world example of it in action. The Surface Laptop on the left has been off for the entire night. Opening the lid, you must press the power button to resume. There, you see the Microsoft logo on the screen with the progress circle before it gets to the login screen for Windows 10. The entire process is only about 20 seconds (some laptops take even longer, like Dell).

Meanwhile, the Surface Laptop 3 13.5 on the right does it all within three to four seconds – even after being off all night. Moreover, the battery drain is minimal. After eight hours of being off, the Surface Laptop 3 13.5 only dropped 3 percent of the battery. The feature works up to 72 hours before the system will finally hibernate.

There is no setting for this, or rather, this is just how these devices work out of the box.

Some of this may seem trivial, but when you are in-and-out of your Laptop 3 or Surface Pro 7 multiple times a day, being able to jump back into your flow quickly is enormous. It is one reason why so many people like the iPad (and smartphones) – they are always ready to work.

And yes, this feature takes a bite out of one of Qualcomm's bragging rights with its Snapdragon on PC technology, which behaves the same. That means it will be even harder to choose between Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro X.

Finally, not to slight the AMD version of Laptop 3 15, as it wakes up very quickly too, especially in multiple succession. Windows Hello is lightning fast. But you will still occasionally see the Microsoft logo when it hibernates as it does so more frequently.

What do you think of this improvement? Shout out in comments if you believe all laptop manufacturers should focus on this tech, or if it's no big deal.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.