[German]Microsoft is currently focusing on Surface Book 2, Surface Laptop and Surface Pro LTE. Apparently, the owners of a Surface Pro 4 are left with issues. They complain about flickering screens and the term #flickergate has already been established.
Woody Leonhard has addressed in November 2017 Surface Pro 4 quality problems within this ComputerWorld article. A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a Tweet addressed to Microsoft’s Surface division VP Panos Panay.
— Akash Rana (@skyhighakash7) 30. November 2017
The video in the above Tweet shows the problem – on the screen you can see echoes of the output. and the following video shows a similar behavior.
Sorry to spoil the Thanksgiving party…but with for no word from @Microsoft @surface about this #flickergate thing from all people’s voices not heard at https://t.co/6YDM2W1tTk it’s shaming…shame on you @panos_panay . pic.twitter.com/U7mEb8Pj6J
— Katwere James (@KatwereJames) 24. November 2017
Panos Panay’s Twitter account is flooded with similar Tweets.
— Greg Greggory (@gregdoodlebob) 24. November 2017
Someone in the video above is suggesting a not very serious solution to the problem. It seems that this issue is affecting many users. According to this CNet article (from Nov. 3, 2015) Microsoft has released fixes, but this fixes didn’t help.
#flickergate – a lot of affected peoples
What looks like an isolated case in a tweet, however, seems to be a serious problem that does not only affect a handful of users. The website flickergate.com states, that more than 1,200 owners of a Surface Pro 4 are affected by the flicker problem with the screen. A Quote from the website says:
We are customers of Microsoft who have invested $1500+ on new Surface Pro devices which have developed screen flickering, rendering the devices unusable. The flickering normally occurs 1 year after purchase when the warranty is already expired. This means that owners are forced to pay $800 for an out-of-warranty exchange from Microsoft. However, many users experience the same flickering on their refurbished Surface Pro replacements.
This is, of course, bad: the error occurs in many cases after one year – a period of time after which the devices in the USA are no longer covered by the warranty. In this case only a replacement is possible, but the refurbished devices show the same effect. With a device price of 1,500 US $ and exchange costs of 800 US dollars, there is understandably, if users are getting angry. In the Microsoft Answers forum you can find the thread Surface Pro 4, Screen Flickering, Shacking, launched in January 2017, addressing this issue.
I purchased SP4 device a few months ago and it was working fine for a month. Then I noticed that when the CPU is at its max, the screen flickers a bit. Investigating further revealed that it flickers even if it is setting idle. It does not flicker if at least one of the following thing is done:
1. A video being played in browser
2. If I keep the touch screen busy by either taping it or keeping a finger on it
3. If I use the touchpad
4. If keyboard is used for typing
This resulted in making the device completely unusable while reading articles or ebooks. I am a developer, most of the time I have to read the code and to do that, I have to constantly keep a finger on the touch pad or the screen. I contacted surface support in October and November and was told that the developers are working on the patch. Looking at the updates the developers are pushing since then, I don’t think anyone is even aware of the problem there.
What sounded like a single problem, has become a very long thread. More than 1,200 people have registered with MS Answers in the support forum. So far Microsoft has probably neither acknowledged the problem nor released a working software fix. On flickergate.com they write, that the defective devices are causing 2 million US $ in damages. And they write, that Microsoft’s support team ignored the problem. The whole thing is not an old (outdated) issue – also at the end of November 2017 you will find on Twitter some some posts.
Some possible workarounds
Microsoft has published a few hints to solve the issue – but I fear, it won’t help. Within this post from May 2017, deactivating GPU rendering is proposed. And here is another hint to fix the issue. Blog reader Leon mentioned some fixes (two button reset), that may be found within this forum entry and discussed here.