Microsoft will issue free replacements for Surface Pro 4 units with flickering screen issues, after previous software and firmware updates failed to fix the problem.
The decision by Microsoft to instead replace faulty Surface Pro 4 units will end the so-called flickergate, which has been around since the 2-in-1 tablet was launched in 2015.
Surface Pro 4 Flickering Problem
Shortly after the Surface Pro 4 was released in October 2015, users started complaining about a flickering screen. The issue was a letdown, as fans of the Surface Pro line were looking forward to the sixth-generation Intel Skylake processors, increased RAM, and additional SSD size options of the Surface Pro 4.
As users tested different theories on how to fix Surface Pro 4 screen flicker, Microsoft rolled out a firmware update that aimed to solve the problem. Unfortunately, the issue persisted, and has done so for almost three years.
The Surface Pro 4 flickering screen issue was initially attributed to the Hyper-V feature, but users have gone to extreme lengths to fix the display, with methods such as placing the device in the freezer and blasting it with a hairdryer.
Microsoft Ends Flickergate Once And For All
The Surface Pro 4 problem, which has since been dubbed by its users as "flickergate," apparently occurs randomly. Along with the nature of the issue, and the ineffectiveness of software and firmware updates, it was clear that the problem was with the hardware.
Microsoft has now acknowledged the problem, announcing the final and foolproof solution to the Surface Pro 4 flickering screen.
"To support customers affected by this issue, we will replace eligible Surface Pro 4 devices for up to three years from the date of purchase, free of charge," Microsoft said.
Customers experiencing the problem should first ensure that their Surface Pro 4 has installed the latest Surface and Windows updates before contacting Microsoft Support regarding the replacement program. If the agent determines that the Surface Pro 4 is eligible for the free replacement, customers should back up their data before they send it back. The Surface Pro 4 replacement should arrive within five to eight business days.
It should be noted though that the replacement Surface Pro 4 units will be refurbished ones, not brand new tablets. In addition, customers who already paid $450 for a screen replacement to fix the problem will be eligible for a refund if they contact Microsoft Support.
It is unclear how many Surface Pro 4 units are affected by the problem. Microsoft took a long time to roll out a definitive solution to the problem, but better late than never.