My warranty replaced Nexus 7 now has screen flicker, another potential manufacturing flaw

I just can’t seem to catch a break with my ASUS Nexus 7(s). I’ve already had to return one of Google’s tablets because of screen separation issues, and was without my tablet for a week or so as a result. Now, I do think that Google’s smaller tablet is a great product, and is still one of the best 7-inch tablets on the market, but ASUS might need to work a bit on its quality control. My new Nexus 7 unit began displaying some intermittent screen flickering issues a few days ago, and the problem has now gotten bad enough that it looks like I’ll be requesting another warranty replacement.

Screen flicker is a known problem with the Nexus 7, and big enough to have its own entry on the Google Code Android bug reporting website. In general, the issue seems to be most common when the screen brightness is low, a mostly white page is being displayed, and WiFi is on and transferring data. While this may be the most common scenario, I actually noticed the problem most while reading with WiFi off, which leads to the conclusion that there are other triggers for the behavior as well.

At first, I was hoping that the flicker was a software issue, which could easily be fixed by an update. Though that is still a possibility, just today I updated my Nexus 7 to Android 4.2, and a few minutes later noticed the same screen flickering issues. It still seems most likely that the problem is a software bug, but as of the latest Android update for the Nexus 7, Google hasn’t fixed it.

If it is indeed a hardware problem, I would venture to guess that the very slightly updated power management chip in newer Nexus 7 models fixes this, and that 8GB tablets like mine are the only ones experiencing problems.

I’m not really looking forward to going without my Nexus 7 for another couple of weeks (especially since I can’t get my hands on a Nexus 4 quite yet), but it looks like I’m going to have to. The screen flicker might not be a big issue for some, but since I use my Nexus 7 for quite a lot of reading, the problem gets very annoying. On the plus side, perhaps if ASUS sends me a new replacement tablet, it will be a 16GB version and not the incredibly cramped 8GB version I have now.

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Aaron Orquia

Aaron Orquia is an associate editor at Pocketables. He has been using Android and Linux since he bought his first computer years ago, and his interest in technology, software, and tweaking both to work just right has only grown stronger since then. His current gadgets include a OnePlus One, a Pebble smartwatch, and an Acer C720 Chromebook.

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8 thoughts on “My warranty replaced Nexus 7 now has screen flicker, another potential manufacturing flaw

  • November 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm
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    I had to return mine because the speaker “blewup” just by listening to a conference in mp3. I dont know if it was the conferences volume or what but on my iphone 5 I heard the conference without any issues. Went to compusa and they exchange it, even after the 14 day period (it was a month) and I bought the extended warranty.

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  • November 15, 2012 at 10:46 pm
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    I have a N7 8GB and love it. I didn’t think I’d need the memory but something is really using it up! I think they actually lied about my storage space.

    Anyway, never had problems with it but it slipped off the couch arm rest last night and split open a bit. Seems fine after pressing it back together. I’d be really pissed being without mine for as long as you have been.

    Your issue isn’t hardware, it’s a complete fail of the OS. Version 4.X.X and they still have stuff like this happening? Um, NO. Anyone remember windows 3.1.1? Nothing like this was happening. If you are listening Google, you could always hire me to manage your releases. I can do it.

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  • November 16, 2012 at 5:13 am
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    Here I thought I was imagining the flicker.

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  • November 16, 2012 at 8:56 am
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    That really sucks. Honestly, it’s probably a combination of hardware and software. I had a few brief flickers on 4.1.2, but hardly noticable, and sometimes I thought it was just my eyes playing tricks on me (I have horrible eyes). Since 4.2, however, it’s been perfect. I do have the latest 32GB version, though, so maybe it is the newer chip…

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  • November 16, 2012 at 10:15 am
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    For what it’s worth… My Transformer Prime USED to have a flicker issue, but one of the updates for ICS fixed it. Hopefully this will you give you hope.

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  • November 16, 2012 at 10:46 am
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    I had the screen flicker on the first one I RMA’d..

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  • November 18, 2012 at 2:51 am
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    I did notice one thing that may be contributing to this. When brightness is set to automatic, passing your hand in front of light sensor located near the camera will cause the screen brightness to vary up and down fairly quickly in discreet steps. this also happens if you vary the angle of the device a bit, and is most pronounced when using a table lamp for illumination. Android 4.2 actually seemed to make this a little worse. Setting the brightness manually eliminated the problem.

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  • December 4, 2012 at 8:38 am
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    My experience with the screen flicker issue is the same as Ron sited in his comment above. I purchased my first Nexus last week, used it for a few days, and dutifully downloaded the suggested updates to 4.1.1. Because I am new to the Android, and was unfamiliar with the environment, I didn’t notice if there was an immediate change in the screen behavior after the updates were installed. However I started noticing the problem, and exchanged the device for another Nexus 7. But this time I am ignoring the updates for the time being. And to this point I haven’t seen the screen flicker with Brightness set to the default Auto. I came into the Android universe because of the Apple Maps fiasco.

    Reply

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