Microsoft quietly acknowledges Surface Pro 4 screen flicker, offers free replacements
Microsoft's Surface series can't seem to catch a break. After having recalls related to faulty AC adapters, battery charging issues, stylus precision issues, hibernation bugs, heavy throttling, and even a warning from Consumer Reports, the latest in the long string of setbacks has been a screen flickering issue as detailed in our original piece on the matter. The manufacturer is finally addressing the problem after three months of consumer outcry through a replacement program as shown here.
The takeaway message is that Microsoft will replace "eligible Surface Pro 4 devices" purchased within the past three years without any additional cost to the owners. The fine line, however, makes it clear that the replacement units will be refurbished. Tablets that have been damaged or tampered with by the user will not be covered by the program, so you might be out of luck if your system is showing signs of freezer burn.
It should be noted that the flickering problem is unrelated to the pulse-width modulation of the tablet backlight. We've noted in our reviews of the Surface Pro 4 that its backlight may flicker at about 50 Hz when set to a brightness level of 50 percent or lower. In contrast, the flickering that users have been reporting renders the entire tablet essentially unusable unless if connected to an external display to bypass the faulty screen.
Despite all the quality concerns, the Surface Pro tablets continue to be some of the highest rated Windows tablets in the market. For users who want an alternative, we suggest checking out the lesser-known HP Elite x2 designed to compete directly against the Microsoft solution.