'Flickergate' plagues hundreds of Surface Pro 4 owners with screen flickering issues

In what appears to have been an ongoing issue for months, hundreds of Surface Pro 4 owners have reported being hit with screen flickering issues (via The Verge). In a thread that has ballooned to more than 130 pages on Microsoft's support site, Surface Pro 4 owners have reported experiencing the problem to various degrees.

According to a number of user reports, the issue appears to be related to heat buildup, with many reporting that the flickering gets worse the longer the device is on. "Seems to be worse when the device heats up and has become progressively worse to the point where I have to use an external display via the dock to get any work done," reports one user. Curiously, this has led some users to start placing their Surface Pro 4s in their freezers to temporarily halt the flickering.

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft says that it is "aware that some customers have experienced a screen flicker on Surface Pro 4 and are monitoring the situation closely."

The issue has led some affected by the problem to launch a dedicated website to bring attention to their plight. Called "Flickergate," the website claims that more than 1,600 customers are impacted and that "Microsoft's support team is disregarding our issue." According to Flickergate, the flickering problem appears to mostly start cropping up after the warranty has expired, causing some users to report paying $800 for an out-of-warranty exchange from Microsoft. "However, many users experience the same flickering on their refurbished Surface Pro replacements," the website adds.

The Surface Pro 4 isn't the first Surface Pro to experience complaints of widespread issues. Its predecessor, the Surface Pro 3, was plagued with a battery draining issue that Microsoft was eventually able to fix with a software patch. However, the Surface Pro 4 flickering issue appears to be a hardware problem, so a software fix likely isn't in the cards.

This comes after Consumer Reports opted to drop its "recommended" designation for all Surfaces, citing reliability problems in August of 2017. Microsoft's Surface chief, Panos Panay, later disputed Consumer Reports' findings, but the consumer group held firm, refusing to recommend the Surface Book 2 once it was launched.

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