FLIR OneThe FLIR One is a camera that comes in iOS and Android flavors that allows you to see heat and cool.

While the standard uses for this are to locate leaky windows and seals, hunt your prey in a jungle using Predator Vision, or simply figure out if something is too hot to touch from across the room, I went a much different angle.

I’ll point out I have no idea why the company gave me one of these in Vegas, but they did and then two months later I got around to playing with it because, well, life.

First off, we’ll contrast it to the other IR camera I reviewed that I just can’t locate today. The main issue I had with that camera was that you could see heat, but you could not tell exactly what it was on. This was compounded by having to have the device on a 3 inch wire in order to turn it to the correct direction.

FLIR One heat loss on the building

Hot spots on the hot spot to rent in Nashville

You sort of had an idea of what you were looking at based on shape, but you might be off a few inches as their software to lay the heat over images only worked if your camera was lined up perfectly.

FLIR One badly insulated cat

Inefficiently insulated cat heat loss requires external heat source to maintain

The FLIR One has two cameras built in. You’re never relying on your cell phone camera to get an image. This allows you to be seeing the heat exactly where it is and see what it’s on as opposed to just heat blobs.

The FLIR One also has its own battery, so no need to drain your cell phone’s. The refresh rate is also high enough that it doesn’t feel like you’re stuck waiting for the next image. I don’t think it’s 12 FPS, but it’s enough that it’s not annoying.

So first off there’re nine modes you can view things in. They all are useful for something or other. I found rainbow and black and white (with red for heat) to be about the best for my uses, but your tastes may vary.

So far I have used it to find hot points in a phone closet that just got built (without adequate ventilation on the wall of a boiler room,) and disable those (tube lights, 154 degrees, who would have thought?) locate three hot circuit breakers, verify that the reason I type so badly at work is because the chip that handles USB IO is overheating in my work computer, diagnose an inefficiently insulated cat, and learn that coffee is hot.

FLIR One very hot door

Hot door

Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of settings in the app at the moment. You can’t look through a wall and see someone on the other side, you can’t set up an overlay over other apps if you’re just waiting for a heat source to pop up, and as the display is on your phone your chances of hunting down someone using predator vision and remaining undetected are pretty low.

Had I paid for it, I would have gotten my work’s money’s worth as we’ve preemptively diagnosed a bad switch, saved thousands of dollars of equipment from heat death from a light fixture, and some third thing here that I’m not getting because there isn’t enough coffee in this day to get me moving again.

With being to see the heat overlaid with what I’m looking at I’m now able to see where the cold arctic blast is coming from in the kitchen. This was something I was having trouble with the last camera seeing.

All in all it’s a pretty decent little device that I don’t have any complaints about except that the orientation of the plug is not reversible.

This means that if you have an HTC product, the FLIR One will be facing the the wrong way and you’ll need to purchase a cable to turn it around.

Orientation frustration

But other than that’s it’s pretty wicked cool.

You can grab the FLIR One at Amazon, although I’d personally wait until it’s under $150