FLIR, maker of standalone and accessory thermal imaging cameras, has officially released FLIR ONE for iOS ($250), the improved sequel to FLIR ONE for iPhone 5/5s. A victim of unfortunate timing, the original FLIR ONE hit stores just before Apple released the iPhone 6, but only fit the iPhone 5/5s, limiting its appeal to users in need of thermal imaging capabilities. Redesigned as a dongle rather than a case, the new FLIR ONE works across multiple iOS devices, plugging into their bottoms with a Lightning connector. It has a 350mAh battery to power its twin cameras, requiring no energy from the connected iOS device.
FLIR’s advantage over key rival Seek Thermal (reviewed here) is its use of twin cameras that collectively provide what looks like a more detailed image: a Lepton thermal camera has a relatively low (160×120) pixel count, but FLIR combines its output with a 640×480 “standard camera” to create stills and videos with finer detail. Seek Thermal attempted to offer a similar feature by using both its 206×156-resolution thermal camera and the connected iOS device’s camera at the same time, but the varying distances between the accessory and iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch lenses prevents the images from lining up properly.
The original FLIR ONE for iPhone 5/5s has been radically reduced in price from its original $349 starting point. At $250, FLIR ONE for iOS now matches the price of the entry-level Seek Thermal camera for iOS.