Surface Pro 4 users will finally get relief from their screen flickering issues. Problems with Microsoft’s 2-in-1’s became evident in February, but there have been reports as far back as October 2016.
It’s now acknowledged that the issue can only be solved via a replacement. Microsoft is offering affected users a replacement Surface Pro 4 free of charge, up to three years from the date of purchase.
“Creating the best products and experiences for our customers is our top priority. We have heard your feedback and after careful examination, have determined that a small percentage of Surface Pro 4 devices are exhibiting a screen flicker that cannot be addressed with a firmware or driver update,” said a spokesperson. “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.”
A Slow Response
If flickering persists after updating to the latest firmware and Windows version, Microsoft tells users to contact support. You’ll have to return your existing device before getting a replacement. Microsoft estimates process will take 5-8 days after you ship back your current device.
That’s a while to wait after the issue has been in the open for months, but it will be a welcome relief. What’s less clear is why Microsoft took so long to address the issue. The Pro 4 is not a cheap device, and with that comes the assumption of good support.
In fact, the company has a history of sticking doggedly to a software fix approach. The Surface Pro 3 had significant battery issues and Microsoft failed to honor its agreement of $200 battery replacements. It then announced a software fix, but many users did not see any improvement.
Other Surface Pro 4 users are still struggling with shaky screen issues that have been present since launch. A consumer reports study last years shows an unreasonable rate of return for older Surface devices, and a lack of reasonable response. So far, newer Surface devices seem stable, but it’s not clear how well they’ll fare down the line.