FLIR's improved One cameras are ready to take the heat


— 9:00 AM on February 7, 2017

Here's one that we missed in our CES coverage—perhaps because we weren't looking in the IR spectrum? FLIR is releasing two new models of its FLIR One thermal imaging smartphone attachment. The first model, an updated version of the FLIR One model, offers some quality-of-life improvements and a lower price tag. The new FLIR One Pro, meanwhile, has an improved thermal sensor and more powerful tools.

For those not in the know, FLIR's One device offers a convenient way to get thermal imaging. As we found in our hands-on initial review, the device connects to a smartphone's Lightning or USB port, and has a dual-camera system for capturing thermal data. The company's MSX technology combines a regular camera visualization with the relatively low-resolution thermal images, letting users see more detailed and intelligible images.

The next generation of the One aims to iron out a few wrinkles in previous model's user experience. The original Android version of the One connected to phones with a micro-USB connector, which meant that the device could only be oriented one direction. Users can now avoid that problem by opting for a version that uses a USB Type-C connector. FLIR also made the length of the connector adjustable so that users won't have to remove their smartphone from its case to attach the One. Finally, FLIR redesigned the device's app to make the process of taking and sharing pictures a little easier, and offers more tutorials to get users started.

The higher-end FLIR One Pro addresses a couple of concerns that reviewers like ourselves had with the original device. First up is the resolution of the thermal sensor. The original device's 80x60 resolution was sufficient for getting useful thermal data, but left room for improvement. The Lepton sensor in the One Pro quadruples that resolution to 160x120. Users of the One Pro will also have access to more advanced tools in the device's app. Notably, the radiometry tool will now give users the ability to identify multiple temperature spots in the same picture.

FLIR plans to release both new models in the second quarter of 2017. The next-generation FLIR One comes with a welcome price drop, as it will now sell for $200. The FLIR One Pro will command a heftier price tag at $400.

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