The New Surface Pro And Backlight Bleed

Backlight bleed is nothing new when it comes to LCD screens. For years, most manufactures would tell customers that it’s natural. However, most manufacturers, especially Apple, have been able to reduce the amount of backlight bleed on their smartphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, etc. Microsoft, however, is falling behind.

As fantastic as the new Surface Pro is, you better get the “right one” if you are shopping for it. As Windows Central notes, many have been complaining about units that have excessive backlight. They get more specific about what causes it.

Many of the new Surface Pro units have backlight bleed issues.

“The issue is caused by the backlight behind the screen not being completely blocked by the other components on top of it. The problem is compounded by touch displays that have an additional digitizer layer that can cause more spacing and issues with bonding.”

You usually won’t notice backlight bleed unless you are in a very dark-lit room and have a black screen, which you do when you first turn on a device or reset it. Therefore, it usually isn’t a big problem. However, when there is excessive backlight bleed, you will notice it when playing videos.

Excessive backlight bleed has been an issue for Microsoft since the very first Surface Pro. I remember having to return two units before getting one that was acceptable. And when I say acceptable, I’m talking about noticeable light in all corners that was annoying, but not disastrous since it didn’t leak in to the majority of the screen. This issue continued on the Surface Pro 2, 3, and–especially–the Surface Pro 4.

YouTube has some good backlight bleed tests. Press picture to play on YouTube.

Right when the Surface Pro 4 was released in October of 2015, backlight bleed threads flooded Reddit. Many of the commenters understood that minimal light bleed exists, but thought the Pro 4 bleed was brutal. Luckily, Microsoft is easy-going about returns. However, they may tell you that they don’t notice any backlight bleed. Of course they don’t, especially if they are looking at the device in a lit room!

I only once had a backlight bleed problem with Apple, and that was the third-generation iPad in 2012. With the lights off, you could see a yellow glow from the right center to the edge of the screen. Apple returned it with no questions asked, and that’s the last time I ever saw a backlight bleed problem with an Apple device. That’s because they spend more time in the quality control process to assure they deliver the  highest-quality products possible.

This isn’t to say that Microsoft produces low-quality products, because the new Surface Pro is anything but that. But after five generations, you would think that the backlight bleed problem would have been solved. Get with the times, Microsoft!

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected]
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