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February 3, 2018

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 users unite over display issues, create ‘Flickergate’ site

by John_A

Microsoft’s Surface line of hardware has created entirely new categories of PCs, such as the detachable tablet 2-in-1 that’s spawned a market of copycats, as well as the Surface Book with its tear-off display. Users love the machines for their performance, innovation, and overall designs, but many have suffered from a host of issues surrounding battery life, sleep, and other nagging issues.

The company has worked hard to fix Surface issues, and even went so far as to apologize for some of the problems and promise to do better. Consumer Reports thought that Microsoft wasn’t doing enough, and the publication refused to endorse the Surface line as a result. Now, a group of Surface Pro 4 users have banded together to get Microsoft’s attention over a specific issue, namely display flicker, by creating a site dubbed Flickergate.com to highlight the problem.

If you head over to that site, you’ll find numerous accounts of users whose Surface Pro 4 displays have exhibited the same problem. Head over to the Reddit Surface subgroup, and you’ll find numerous threads on the subject. Apparently, when the displays reach a certain high temperature, they start to flicker and become unusable. There are a number of videos demonstrating the problem, and we’ve included just one of them at the top of this story.

Adding insult to injury, the issue apparently often occurs after the original manufacturer’s warranty has ended, and Microsoft’s charge for replacing these machines is a hefty $800. Even worse, whether a machine is replaced within the warranty period or after the fee is paid, the replacement units eventually start suffering the same problem.

We reached out to Microsoft for a statement, and received the following statement from a spokesperson:

“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.”

So far, thousands of users have apparently complained of the issue. According to Flickergate.com, that number has now exceeded 1,800. If you’d like to lend your voice to the cause, you can click on the “Help us in raising our voice” button on the site to send a message of support and provide details of your similar issue. Note that if you use Firefox or Chrome, hitting the button does appear to redirect to what looks like a spam page.

While Microsoft hasn’t yet addressed the issue directly, its support team is definitely now aware of the issue. The question then becomes one of whether the company will find a good solution for users who are suffering from what appears to be a fairly widespread issue. We’ll be sure to update this story with any good (or bad) news in that regard.

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