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My 2 favorite iPhone accessories let you see around corners or into pipes - and detect heat

Stop wishing you had superpowers and start actually having them with these handy gadgets.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Apple iPhone 15 Pro homescreen with Nomad case and wallpaper.
Max Buondonno/ZDNET

The iPhone 15 is a fantastic smartphone packed with amazing features. But you can make it even better with a couple of accessories. For example, how about adding a thermal camera or the ability to see into the depths of a machine?

Also: I never leave home without this rugged external drive

What you need is a Topdon TC002C thermal camera and a USB-C inspection camera.

Let's start with one of my favorite tools, the thermal camera. I've been using these devices for years -- I initially thought it would be a gimmick, but was quickly proven wrong. During the past few days, I've used my thermal camera to find faulty electrical components (they usually run hotter), uncover dangerously overheating rechargeable batteries, and discover binding brakes on a car.

The TC002C is an updated version of the TC002 that shipped with a Lightning connector.

Topdon TC002C thermal camera

Topdon TC002C thermal camera.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Topdon TC002C tech specs

  • Resolution: 256 x 192
  • Refresh rate: 25Hz
  • Testing range: -4°F to 1022°F (-20°C to 550°C) with high level of accuracy 0.1°F/0.1°C
  • Maximum error: ±2°C or 2%
  • Dimensions: 2.8 x 1.65 x 0.55 inches 
  • Weight: 1 oz
  • Accessories: Case, cleaning cloth, user guide, and 20-inch USB-C extension cable

The Topdon TC002C is a solid, industrial-grade thermal imaging camera. The device boasts a good temperature range, excellent accuracy, and a smooth image, thanks to the 25Hz refresh rate. Plus, the software is reliable and doesn't lag or crash.

Priced at $250 (with a $60 off coupon currently available on Amazon), it costs a fraction of dedicated thermal imaging cameras.

This is an upgraded version of TC002, the Topdon TC002C now features a USB-C port that can sync with iPhone 15 Series and USB-C iPads.

Also: This powerful power bank is perfect if you charge a lot of devices

The next superpower I want to add is the ability to see around corners. Actually, more than just around corners -- I want to look into vent pipes, engines, air conditioners, behind the sofa, and down bathtub pipes.

This is a job for a USB-C inspection camera.

Elecshion inspection camera.

Elecshion inspection camera.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Elecshion inspection camera tech specs

  • Resolution: 1920 x 1440
  • Cameras: Dual (front and side facing)
  • Cable: 6.5 ft/5 m semi-rigid cable
  • Water/dust resistance: IP67
  • Accessories: Dust cover, magnet, hook
  • LEDs: Yes, dimmable
  • Compatibility: iOS and Android

This camera is water-resistant to IP67 and equipped with tiny, dimmable LED lights for illumination, making the device perfect for underwater use or peering into dark spots.

But there's more. You don't get just one camera -- you get two, both on a 5.5 mm shaft. 

Dual-camera array.

Dual-camera array.


One camera is on the front and the other on the side, providing better visibility in confined areas. Both cameras support 1920 x 1440 output, so you get good-quality video of what you want to see.

Also: The waterproof Blink Mini 2 is the best Wyze Cam alternative

To top it off, you can easily switch between the two cameras with a press of a button.

This borescope is equipped with front and side-facing 2-megapixel cameras offering allowing you to get a view into places where you can't put your head!

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