Thermal imaging isn’t a classic subject for consumers. It’s (unfortunately) also not that much of a topic across various types of handyman professions. The sad truth about thermal imaging, in my opinion, is that the value of thermal cameras is not that obvious. However, once you try one out, the usefulness becomes a lot clearer to you. I can promise you as much.
People usually don’t wake up in the morning with a problem on their mind and wonder if a thermal camera might help them fix that. I was fortunate enough to get a testing device from FLIR, and while I was using it, it became more and more apparent to me that with the help of their FLIR ONE Pro thermal camera, you can see the world in a different way. You can see possible problems in your environment that you can’t see without a thermal camera and act on them before it gets expensive to fix.
About the FLIR ONE Pro
FLIR was founded 50 years ago, and since then they have become the global leader in the design, manufacturing, and marketing of thermal imaging infrared cameras. Okay, but let me tell you about the gadget itself. FLIR usually offers only top-notch professional thermal imaging equipment with a strong focus on industrial, public safety, transportation or even R&D applications. Consumers like you and me would not easily stumble across their enterprise products. However, the FLIR ONE Pro which they sent me for review, is a little different. The FLIR ONE Pro is a gadget that works together with your smartphone to offer you a pro-grade solution without being unnecessarily complicated to use.
So you just take it out of the box, give it a quick charge, install the app and then connect it to your smartphone to enter the world of thermal imaging. It works with a lot of different kinds of phones too. You can purchase it either as an iOS version for the Lightning connector of the iPhone, or you choose the Android options either with a USB-C or micro-USB port.
Taking it out of the box
As soon as you start the FLIR app on your phone, it recognizes the connected external camera of the FLIR ONE Pro and gives you the live-feed right on your display in real-time. What’s also worth noting is the fact that it has an inbuilt battery to get charged up separately from your smartphone and so it doesn’t steal too much juice from your phone battery as you use it.
Even if you do happen to run out of battery energy when doing more extended sessions, you can still connect the gadget to a power source while it is connected to your phone and being operational because there are two separated ports on the camera. Using the app, you can quickly browse all the functions and settings available to adjust to any kind of scenario you might be using the thermal cam for. Once you have identified an area of interest, you can easily capture photos and videos with the device and then share it with others if you wish to.
I’d like to split the use cases into two categories. I’d say that the FLIR ONE Pro is useful for consumers but also for professionals. For listing the use cases here, I’d like to put aside that its great fun to toy around with the thermal camera and go on adventures to find all kinds of exciting stuff in your home or elsewhere (or do silly selfies like me). Consumers could use the FLIR ONE Pro cam to do simple assessments in their homes to find issues or identify things they could improve such as an energy audit for small scale.
For instance, you can relatively quickly identify spots with poor isolation on doors or windows. If you have a cold winter where you live, this means that you’re spending a lot of heating money and waste resources just so large parts of the generated heat exits through these spots. Or you could check your fuse box and can directly see which of the fuses have the most load on them as they are a lot warmer than the others. If any of the fuses are really hot, they might reach the end of their lifetime soon and could “blow” if they are not replaced in time.
The cam can also be used by experts at work. Civil engineers, construction workers, electricians, plumbers and many others could potentially benefit from using the FLIR ONE Pro because it’s highly portable and yet fits to withstand the stress of a worksite location. You could, for example, do leakage tests following the blower door method, identify moisture in building construction, spot heat bridges, find hidden leaks and many other things that might not be easy to spot just with the eyes because the actual damage or problem cause might lie behind a wall. Even if you know that there’s a problem you can save a lot of money and time if you know where exactly the problem lies without the need to open vast areas just to find the source of the issues you might be facing.
You can quickly realize a return on your investment when you can assess damages this accurately and maybe you can even spot issues before they become a problem. This counts both for regular people as well as professionals. Did you ever encounter constructional problems that required fixing because of leakage (just to name a single type of issue)? Before you know that there is an issue behind the wall or in another hidden spot water keeps flowing, and it could cause a lot of damage of time that costs a lot of money to get fixed. That can cost thousands of dollars that you might not have lying around loosely in your pocket, waiting to be spent on something.
Technical specifications and facts
I’m sure the tech-savvy of you are also interested in the specs of this little gem, and the FLIR ONE Pro does not have to be shy about that either. You are able to measure temperatures between -4°F and 752°F (-20° to 400°C) in a range with approximately up to 3 meters. The adjustable MSX (Multi-Spectral Dynamic imaging) distance is 0.3m — infinity and any saved pictures are stored in a resolution of 1440×1080. When you record videos, they are stored in 1080p (HD) resolution. The focus of the lens is fixed 15cm – infinity and the framerate is 8.7Hz.
The resolution of the thermal image that is an overlay to the photographic lens is 160×120. Unlike with some other less professional thermal cameras, the FLIR ONE Pro, therefore, allows you to see a mix of the thermal image and the photographic image for optimal imaging and to better understand your environment as well as the potential issues that you might be spotting. This is quite useful and a true differentiator if you ask me. As clumsy as I am, I was also happy to hear that the gadget can take a fall from 1.8 meters without being damaged.
Cool challenges await
We are also doing a challenge to put the FLIR ONE Pro through its paces to find out what it can do and how the results look like. Every week, for the next couple of weeks, we will be doing a particular challenge and share the results with you on Twitter and also add them here to this article for you to review. So if this is making you curious, you better put this article in your bookmarks and follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss out.
Interesting insights when using a @flir thermal cam on pigeons. The baby is a whole lot warmer than the dad! Say 'hi' to the birdies! 😁 #ChallengeThermal #FlirOne #ThermalByFlir #Ad pic.twitter.com/wuSaeZmL8b
— TechAcute (@TechAcuteCom) June 8, 2018
This wobbly blue liquid is actually just cold water. The world surely looks different when using a @flir One Pro on your smartphone.https://t.co/amGHCcEfAp#ChallengeThermal #FlirOne #ThermalByFlir #Ad pic.twitter.com/RPjeGvvObM
— TechAcute (@TechAcuteCom) June 15, 2018
There's a lot of hidden electronics and machinery that you can see really good with a @flir One Pro thermal camera. Here's a little look how it looks when going down to see a subway train. More info: https://t.co/amGHCcEfAp #ChallengeThermal #FlirOne #ThermalByFlir #Ad pic.twitter.com/dQ8nqmDf2T
— TechAcute (@TechAcuteCom) June 22, 2018
[More challenges will be embedded here as they get posted on Twitter on every Friday in the coming weeks]
Win your own FLIR ONE Pro
After we’re done with the challenges, we will summarize all the findings and then do a big finale to this project. We will be posting a snapshot of a place in Germany on Twitter taken with the FLIR ONE Pro thermal camera gadget, and then you’ll need to guess where that place is. All those who are able to call out the right spot will enter a raffle and could win their very own FLIR ONE Pro. Does that sound like a sweet giveaway or what? Thanks to FLIR for making this possible! Thanks a lot for reading and good luck with the giveaway! 🙂
If you happen to read this after the competition has ended, you can always get your own FLIR ONE Pro directly from FLIR. No problem!
While we are still working on our own video compilation, please watch this FLIR video for more info in the meantime
Photo credit: All product images are owned by FLIR. The recorded material has been prepared by Christopher Isak with a FLIR ONE Pro thermal camera.
Editorial notice: This is a sponsored article. The author has received a FLIR ONE Pro (Android USB-C) review unit for testing purposes.
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I’m Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say ‘hi’ sometime. 😉