October 19, 2015

Seek Thermal Camera - Review

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A while back Seek sent us one of their little iPhone thermal imaging units to check out. It's a small camera that's barely bigger than a piece of Hubba Bubba that clicks into the charging port of an iphone (versions are also available for Androids). Through the phone and an app, the unit displays the heat image of whatever it is you point it at, whether that be a window, a wall, or your cat. It costs about $250 and comes with a nice little case.

So how does it work? Well, it's pretty cool and I had no problem wasting a few afternoons wandering around the house viewing the world as if I was The Predator (I had no idea how cold my cat's nose really is). While there are plenty of goofy, "hey guys, come see exactly how cold my beer is" type things you can do with the Seek, there is a whole lot of useful work as well, namely seeing where exactly all of the warm air escapes my house on a chilly morning.

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The Seek can take a still image or a video. When taking stills it automatically takes one with the phone's regular camera as well, which is helpful because it can be difficult to see exactly what it is you're looking at. You can also do a split screen, but I found that to be more distracting than anything else, seeing as the images are taken from two different cameras (Seek camera, phone camera) and rarely lined up.

Still, this little guy is a nice alternative to the larger hand held models that can cost $500 and up (mostly "up"), so it's a good option for the trades who can use a thermal camera in sort of a periphery fashion, but don't want to spend the coin on the full blast models. General contractors, plumbers, and electricians would all find the Seek to be a useful item in the arsenal. I could also see thing being a real crowd pleaser during a client meeting ("Oooo, the other contractor we met with didn't have one of THOSE!").

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The Seek has a setting that displays the point with the highest temp and the lowest temp. Also one that puts a pointer in the middle of the view and reads the temp of that spot.

I've been doing a little research into these phone thermal cameras and there seems that the main ones are the Seek and the Flir One. I noticed that the Flir One has a potentially useful feature that the Seek doesn't. What the Flir does is blend the real image with the thermal image so that the items that you're looking at have outlines and definition. Like I indicated earlier, with the Seek, it can be difficult to discern exactly what you're looking at. The Flir seems to correct this issue. But without having ever used the Flir, I can't say how successful this feature is (maybe it's a dysfunctional train wreck, I have no idea), but it sure looks good on paper.

In the end though, the Seek represents a good way to get the basics of a thermal camera (and honestly, the basics are all that most of us need) for a minimal investment (less than the cost of a nice drill).

Seek Thermal at Amazon

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at October 19, 2015 8:09 AM
Recent Comments

I work with thermal cameras everyday. We have used every Seek and FLIR "phone cams" and the FLIR outperforms the Seek everytime, even with lower resolution (and the visible camera disabled to compare apples to apples). The FLIR's camera produces a sharper, more defined image, with greater thermal sensitivity. Now the Seeks just sit on the lab shelves, unused.


Posted by: MeWo at October 21, 2015 11:23 PM
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