The Surface Pro 4 is once again in the news for potential defects with the devices, as hundreds of users over the last year have flocked to a Microsoft support thread complaining about their 2-in-1 showing signs of screen flickering.
This isn't the first time a Surface device has reported similar issues, with the Surface Book also exhibiting similar problems soon after its launch in 2015. Unfortunately, while Microsoft was able to fix the problem with a software update in that case, that likely won't be possible this time around, as this issue seems to stem directly from a hardware problem and the device overheating.
In a statement, Microsoft said the following about the reported screen flickering problems:
"We are aware that some customers have experienced a screen flicker on Surface Pro 4 and are monitoring the situation closely. Customers impacted by this should contact Microsoft support.”
Alongside the Microsoft support forums' thread, affected users have also set up a website dedicated to showcasing the potential defect, dubbed 'flickergate'. Users on the site report a potential fix for the issue is placing the device in a freezer. This seems to temporarily fix the flickering, further confirming the root cause is likely to be a hardware issue and will not be solved with a simple software update.
In such a case, the flickergate website argues Microsoft should recall the premium 2-in-1, stating,
“Surface Pro’s are marketed and priced as premium devices. Microsoft should therefore respond accordingly by acknowledging the issue and offering a solution. If the issue is a hardware fault, then Microsoft should recall affected devices.”
In many instances, devices suffering from screen flickering are out of warranty, with some users reporting they had to pay as much as $800 to Microsoft for an out-of-warranty exchange program to fix the issue. Making matters worse, the Surface line is notorious for being some of the hardest consumer electronics devices to repair, making it all the more difficult for those affected to salvage their investment.
The news comes amid growing concerns about the Surface brand as a whole, as Consumer Reports famously rescinded its recommendation from the entire Surface line, citing unreliability as the major motivator for the move. Microsoft soon rebutted the publication's claims, taking aim at its methodology but the damage to consumer confidence in the Redmond giant may already be done.
Via The Verge