Thermal cameras allow you to gather information about the world around you by detecting light on the infrared spectrum and representing it visually. Everything in our world emits a certain level of blackbody radiation. As temperatures increase, these radiation levels increase. The Seek Thermal Vision Camera makes a fantastic holiday gift.
Thermal cameras work by sensing these differences in radiation to detect hotspots in electrical systems, gaps in insulation or clogs in your plumbing. It’s incredibly useful for diagnosing problems that you couldn’t otherwise see.
In the past, this task has been taken on by large and expensive dedicated infrared cameras. While these cameras are powerful and well suited to long-term industrial use, they’re simply too expensive and too specialized for your average handyman.
That’s where cameras like the SEEK Compact Pro come in. This camera is a simple smartphone attachment that’s small enough to fit in your pocket and yet deliver an outstanding 320 x 240 resolution. Sure, it lacks the ruggedness, autofocus and other features that other cameras have, but it’s the first device we’ve seen that puts an infrared sensor of this size within reach for most people. That’s a big deal.
A sensor of this size allows you to capture lots of thermal information with fine details, but keep in mind, that this is relative to other infrared sensors. People who are unfamiliar with thermography might find 320 x 240 photos blocky and lacking in detail when compared to a typical point and shoot camera. When compared to professional infrared cameras, the SEEK's images are a good deal grainier, but at about a 16th of the price of a professional camera with a 320 x 240 sensor, we’re not complaining.
Perhaps the weakest link of the SEEK Compact Pro is the accompanying app. As far as features go, the app is fine – good even. It has nine different visualizations, a host of different measurement modes and video recording at up to 15 frames per second. The problem is finding these features quickly. The app is just not very intuitive.
On the whole, we were very impressed with the SEEK Compact Pro and we think it will make a great gift for your favorite handyman this Christmas. There are certainly more advanced options out there, but for convenience and affordability, the Compact Pro takes the cake. Plus, it’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices. If you’re looking for something a little less expensive, check out SEEK’s lower-resolution Compact with fixed focus, or the Compact XR with manual focus. You’ll lose some detail for sure, but the features are all there.