The FLIR ONE Gen 3, or third-generation FLIR ONE to some, describes itself as “The DIY’er’s Best Friend” and, at a cost of around 200$, it must surely have a point.

But if its only claim was about economy the “DIY’er” who wants to get things done properly could be forgiven for eschewing this device for a more capable product, even if it meant having to fork out for a more substantial design. The strength of the Gen 3 is that it would appear to have shed cost without having sustained a corresponding loss in capability, thanks to the improved technological innovation contained therein. Indeed, the resolution compared with that of the previous, and more expensive, second generation model has improved considerably.

 

 

A flat, rectangular camera which connects to your tablet or smartphone, it measures just 2.7 inches wide and has a height of 1.4 inches, which is comparable to most phones themselves. Like most other modern versions it utilises a free app, which opens up to display a thermal image whenever the device is connected to your phone.

Needless to say, because of its ultra-low price some compromises have been made on both resolution and functionality by comparison with more expensive FLIR models. For instance the Gen 3 limits the user to the MSX view, with no option to switch either to the visual camera or the raw thermal views.

Whether this model is preferred to those higher up the scale really does depend upon what capability is needed to serve the user’s purpose, and the preparedness to spend more in order to receive it. All the same, be in no doubt this is a more than capable product.

Features

Like others of its family, FLIR ONE Gen 3 is specifically designed to be able to fit any phone device or tablet regardless of case, being compatible with FLIR’s OneFit connector. It features MSX (multispectral dynamic imaging) technology which interlaces visual detail with thermal imaging, along with a modest but entirely respectable 80 x 80 infrared sensor and a temperature range of -4 to 248 Fahrenheit.

The package includes a USB-A to USB-C connector, charging cable, lithium battery and protective case.

In essence, the device works by combining the thermal patterns it locates with the visual image of the conventional camera attached to it to help identify where sources of heat might be based on the contours of visible objects.

Finally, there is the provision to alter the colour scheme of images included on the screen according to taste and personal preference.

Pros

  • Powerful thermal imaging camera at the lowest price
  • Multispectral dynamic imaging (MSX)
  • 80 x 80 infrared resolution
  • New updated app offers improved functionality
  • Strong and durable for use in active industrial environments.
  • OneFit adjustable height connector
  • Latest user-friendly interface
  • Strong protective case
  • Adaptable colour options for images
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • Lithium ion battery included

Cons

  • Battery life limited to one hour
  • Modest resolution and capability compared with higher-grade designs

Customer Reviews

As with most of FLIR’s range of thermal imaging cameras customer reviews are largely approving, with concerns and complaints generally restricted to specific, and uncharacteristic, flaws with individual handsets. The only exceptions to this rule, and they are rare, are from reviewers who would appear to have anticipated performance levels absurdly unreasonable for the price of the product.

As a rule though there would seem to be what amounts more or less to consensus that the FLIR ONE Gen 3 punches well above its weight. Those reviewers who are in a position to have compared it with products from previous generation handsets are unanimous in citing it as a marked improvement upon them. The new technology, and especially the updated app which opens so many new doors of exploration, is very well received and popular.

Whilst there is a general view that the features incorporated into the package are generous, especially in consideration of the low cost of the device, the real praise is to be found when contemplating the raw functionality of the FLIR ONE Gen 3 model. When all is said and done the item can have the prettiest carrying case on the market but if it doesn’t actually work it would be to no benefit. Thankfully it is when relating the performance of the product itself that users offering testimony really do begin to get their hands into the meat.

Conclusion

The FLIR ONE range of quality thermal imaging cameras really does seem to offer something for everybody, and the Gen 3 model would appear very much to hold its own against other members of its own family. It is a low-cost device offering performance levels which would be considered adequate by many professionals and beyond expectations by most DIY enthusiasts and home users.

Like many others in the series it utilises the most modern MSX imaging technology, as well as the newly upgraded free app. It integrates the popular OneFit adjustable connector as well as providing a USB option, and stays true to FLIR’s policy of providing strong and reliable equipment which is suitable for use in a challenging and physical environment.

Lastly it comes accompanied by the usual array of components which enable the device to be used as soon as it is charged up and ready, for the purposes for which is made, from the detection of heat sources and cold spots to the accurate identification of leaking pipes, frayed wires and trapped pets.

It should hopefully go without saying that at 200USD something has to give, but all that does actually give is degree, as well as a certain detail on the periphery. The provision of raw thermal and visual camera views, available on more expensive models, in forsaken, and the spot meter offers less versatility. Under the circumstances these would seem a very small price to pay for the value offered by this exciting third-generational FLIR product.