Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Seek Thermal XR - first impressions

[ First picture using Seek Thermal XR with iPhone 6. ]

So I got my Seek Thermal XR thermal imaging camera today, through a proxy service in the US since they do not offer shipping outside US/Canada yet. I put out a tweet earlier today, were I said I would unbox and give my first impressions of it. Here it is.

The camera comes in a small box, easy to open like a book:

[ Box front ]

[ Box Open ]

[ Box backside ]

I didn't know (or read) if he camera came with a small carrying case, so I was happy to see that is indeed part of the package. Because the camera is *small*:

[ Camera and protective case for transportation ]

[ Smaller than I imagined, it is very light - and I have small hands... ]

[ Camera nicely placed inside the small plastic case for storage ]
I had already downloaded the iOS app, the latest update got into appstore just 4 days ago (1.7.0), which makes the app fully compatible with the XR version. Yes: the XR version. Longer range - or "zoom" if you like. I went for that version, which is 50 dollars extra. I'm sure that based on your planned use it actually does matter which one to purchase.

So after installing the app you can either start it manually, or plug in the camera and the app will start automatically. On first start the app will ask your permission to access the thermal camera, your location, pictures and the phone camera itself.

Then comes the option of signing in, registering or do it later. There is no printed "get started" guide in the box, but you cannot really go wrong either. Or? I already had an account with Seek Thermal, so I entered my username (email address) and username, but was told "bad username/password". Damn those security people who won't tell me which one is wrong! :-)

Immediately suspected the app of having max password length restrictions lower than their website, so I went online, changed my password to  less than 15 characters (ugh!), and tried again. No luck. Clicked to register new account, typed in existing username and password, was told to follow instructions in email sent to me. Never came, but now I'm logged in. Oh well, just lack of usability design and testing, you can still use the app and camera without registering and logging in.

So here's my very first picture, with default color palette and all other settings:

Upper right corner: a small single LED lamp pointing upwards from my desk. After being left on for hours, its no problem holding my hand around it. My Philips BDM4065 40" UltraHD (4K) resolution screen is an easy spot, on top of it a Microsoft HD USB webcam (inactive), below the monitor an Intel NUC i5 ultrasmall formfactor computer (running). Left side, partially hidden behind a black Creative desktop loudspeaker is my Apple Airport 3TB Time Capsule, acting as WIFI hotspot, cabled Gigabit switch and backup for my Mac Mini (not running, not visible). The bright lower box is a 2TB 7200rpm Western Digital drive inside a custom aluminium USB 3 case, currently running and connected to the tower box below it.

Same scene, different color palettes makes for different and more efficient ways of looking at a scene:

[ Displaying maximum and minimum temperature in the scene ]

[ Point of interest temperature ]

[ And this is the scene using iPhone 6 normal camera ]
So based on one scene, a few minutes of operation and default settings, I'm happy so far, and will definitely examine other scenarios before giving my final verdict on the Seek Thermal XR camera.

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