Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The FLIR One is a truly one-of-a-kind, affordable thermal imaging camera that offers unparalleled portability. Designed to easily attach to an iPhone 5 or 5s, the FLIR One transforms your mobile phone into a pocket thermographic camera. The FLIR One isn't designed for high-profile professional applications, so its resolution and thermal sensitivity don't play as much into its value as its portability, ease of use or versatility.
Convenience is the most appealing factor of this camera, and it delivers in this area very well. It comes with two parts. The first part you'll use is a sleek case that's quite similar in form to many snap-on iPhone cases. The difference is that it features an attachment point that allows you to secure the infrared camera to the phone.
Once this case is snapped on, all you have to do is slide the FLIR One into place, connecting it to the phone via a Lightening connector, and download the free application from the App Store. After this, you're pretty much ready to get shooting infrared images.
On the back of the casing, you'll notice an aluminum switch. This switch serves two functions. First and most obviously, it functions to turn the infrared camera on. Once the camera is on and the required application is running, the switch serves its second function of tuning the camera to operate optimally under the available levels of infrared radiation.
Within the application, you can select from a number of different color pallets, which display the thermal information in a variety of different ways. This is useful if you want to emphasize cold spots, focus on hot spots or just adjust overall contrast.
Battery life for this pocket thermal camera is surprisingly good. In fact, on a single charge it lasts about four hours – the same amount of time as professional thermal-imaging cameras. Because this thermal infrared camera has its own power supply, you won't have to worry about it sucking your iPhone's battery either. Unfortunately, the FLIR One does block the iPhone's charge port, so you'll have to remove it to add power to your phone.
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Although it's relatively inexpensive for an infrared camera, it's certainly not cheap for an iPhone case. Fortunately, your investment is protected under a one-year warranty that covers the FLIR One against any manufacture defects. FLIR also offers support information in an included manual and on the company's website. Further support can be found by reaching out to FLIR via its phone and email support lines.
The FLIR One is an incredibly compact thermal-imaging option that's useful for a wide variety of applications. Its imaging capabilities can help you make your home more efficient, help plumbers find leaks or make you a hide 'n' seek champion. Although it doesn't provide the best resolution, its convenience is unrivaled. The best infrared camera is sometimes the one you have with you.