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I'm a big fan of Android smartphones with built-in thermal cameras, such as the awesome Ulefone Power Armor 18T.
But I also understand that some people just don't want to have to swap out their smartphone in order to get access to this useful superpower.
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If you don't want to have to buy a new smartphone, then this is the tool for you: the InfiRay P2 Pro.
The InfiRay P2 Pro consists of a tiny thermal camera and a magnetic snap-on macro lens that allow the camera to be bought super close to the item being examined.
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And the camera is indeed tiny. Measuring 27 × 18 × 9.8mm and weighing in at a minute 9 grams, it's smaller and lighter than a charging cable.
Setting up the P2 Pro is easy -- download and install the P2 Pro app from the Google Play app store, fire up the app, pop the camera into the USB-C port, and away you go.
If your Android smartphone is the ruggedized type, you might have problems fitting the camera and need to get your hands on a USB-C extender.
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Then you can start exploring your environment.
A feature of the P2 Pro app I really like is that along with crosshairs at the center of the image are two more that pick up the highest and lowest temperature in the shot.
Then there is the macro lens.
Popping the macro lens onto the front of the camera allows you to get up close and personal with what you're looking at, giving you better resolving power to really home in.
The software offers a lot of customization options without being too packed with unnecessary features.
For $260, this thermal camera is awesome.
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Not sure what you can do with one? Here are just a few things you can do with a thermal camera:
My tip for learning to use a thermal camera is to use it to look at things when they aren't faulty -- your radiators, car brakes, electrical stuff, anything -- and that way you get to know how things should look, so you can tell when things aren't working right.
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I find the thermal camera so useful that I turn to it without thinking about it. Just now I wanted to know if an electrical appliance was getting power. Instead of reaching for a multimeter, I used my thermal camera to see if anything was warming up on the inside. Once I saw components heating up, that eliminated a load of possible problems.
I've been testing a number of thermal cameras -- both cameras that are standalone and cameras that attach onto smartphones -- and the InfiRay P2 Pro is the best. It's small, the macro lens makes it super flexible, it's fast and accurate, and it doesn't need to be charged up separately.
This is a fantastic addition to any repair toolkit.