FLIR’s latest thermal camera gives your phone a quick upgrade in thermal vision
Remember when smartphones only had one camera on the back? One lens, one sensor, take it or leave it? Well, to say so Things have gotten a little weird since then It’s nothing short of an understatement, and these days, the expectation is that a phone that zooms in well needs to offer multiple cameras: ultrawide, zoom, or maybe even variable optical zoom. Despite all these options, we’re still talking about cameras that only capture visible light – isn’t that just a narrow guy? There’s a whole lot of electromagnetic spectrum out there, and with FLIR’s new One Edge Pro, your phone can start taking advantage of it, capturing thermal images in the infrared.
FLIR has been making thermal cameras for the ages, and beyond luxury industrial and defense systems, a few years ago it set its sights on the smartphone market with its FLIR ONE Additional cameras. We went to practice with FLIR One Pro, which attaches to the USB-C port at the bottom of your phone and lets you take thermal photos, take measurements, and maybe even tackle some tough home maintenance projects. now with FLIR One Edge ProHowever, the company addresses some of the shortcomings we noted in the latest model.
The big change is the form factor, and instead of clinging to the bottom of your phone, the Edge Pro grips the back, held in place with a spring-loaded arm — unlike the way a selfie stick might hug your phone. This means that the camera no longer needs a USB port for data, and instead streams its images to your phone wirelessly. Battery life also gets an upgrade (a good thing, as we’ve seen, with all that wireless data), and while we only saw less than an hour with the FLIR One Pro, the Edge Pro intends to double that.
Given that a great use for a product like this would be for homeowners looking to spot insulation issues, overheating wires, or tracking leaks, being able to detach the One Edge Pro from your phone and maneuvering in hard-to-reach spaces seems like a huge improvement. You can even hang it somewhere and leave it in place for a remote view, streamed to your phone.
Not everything is upgraded here, though, and the thermal image sensor is still the 160 x 120 resolution component we got with the One Pro, with a still very limited frame rate. This new model may not reinvent the wheel, but it also means that it does a lot of what we already loved – like the cool “MSX” mode that overlays image data from the visible camera to make the thermal image much easier to read. And we have software improvements to look forward to, such as mentoring modes to tackle some home maintenance projects.
Price is still an issue, and at $550, this model is a good $100 more than the One Pro. However, usability improvements seem easy to appreciate, and if a tool you like saves you from hiring an expensive contractor, it might just pay for itself in a short period. Sales start November 10, straight from FLIR And on Amazon, the units should start shipping towards the end of the year.
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