InfiRay P2 Pro Thermal Camera Review: Infrared Imaging For Smartphones

InfiRay P2 Pro Thermal Camera Review: Quickly And Easily Add Thermal Imaging To Smartphones

hero infiniray p2 pro camera in hand

InfiRay P2 Pro Thermal Camera For Smartphones: Starting at $299 (With Coupon)
InfiRay is an established player in the professional thermal imaging space that going after a larger piece of the consumer market with the P2 Pro for smartphones.

hot flat
  • Compact and light
  • No batteries required
  • Excellent specifications
  • Macro mode
  • Lots of software modes and options
  • Premium metal build quality
  • USB-C connects to Android, Windows (Separate model for iOS)
not flat
  • No carry case
  • Easy to lose Macro attachment
  • MSX-like 'Fusion Mode' has been removed
  • Price premium
hothardware recommended 100px

Today we are taking a look at the recently launched InfiRay P2 Pro Thermal Imaging Camera system for Smartphones. This compact device simply connects to a smartphone via USB Type-C to add an infra-red thermal camera to supplement the myriad of sensors and imaging devices already provided by the device. InfiRay also sells an Apple Lightning connector version of this camera system, with nearly identical functionality.

infiniray p2 pro official slides

Many readers will have noticed thermal imagery or strategic temperature measurements that often accompany our reviews, here on HotHardware. The images map heat emitted by the objects under the lens, where brighter parts of the images indicate the areas emitting the most heat.

infiniray p2 pro boxed

Temperatures and heat concentration are often an important aspect of reviews due to a number of factors. Using thermal imaging to check devices is of particular benefit when:

  • The device is handheld, or you might put the device on your lap (considering user comfort).
  • You are investigating PC case fan placement strategy.
  • You are worried about heat build-up in any area of a PC build.
  • You want to investigate aspects of cooler effectiveness.
  • You are looking for malfunctioning / overheating PCB components (repair investigations or short circuits, etc).

Introducing the InfiRay P2 Pro

Even outside of technology reviews and PCB repair, thermal imaging cameras are popular and useful tools. Ahead of using the InfiRay P2 Pro for example, I bought a FLIR One Pro LT thermal camera from a DIY plumbing retailer. Obviously, such a retailer addresses a completely different audience, and it stocked the FLIR for plumbers and contractors investigating hot water heating, under floor heating, radiators, insulation effectiveness and so on.

infiniray and flir IR cameras in hand

We mention the entrenched FLIR infrared camera brand because the smartphone thermal camera market often uses FLIR equipment as a baseline standard, to judge others against. Keep that in mind as we perform our comparisons moving forward.

InfiniRay P2 Pro specifications comparison table

Above is a comparison table showing how the new InfiRay P2 Pro Thermal Imaging Camera for Smartphones stacks up against the similarly priced FLIR One Pro LT for Android USB-C. As you can see, the resolution of the InfiRay is far superior to the FLIR One Pro LT, and the much higher polling rate of the InfiRay imager makes it a lot more fluid to use, panning around a device, framing a shot, etc.

Infrared Test Images

Next up we'll take a look at some images captured with the InfiRay P2 Pro and FLIR One Pro LT.

The first quartet of images, below, was captured with the InfiRay P2 Pro. Starting at the top left is a shot of a garden and greenhouse. You can see where the sun is shining on the greenhouse and patio, with the patio in the foreground in shade from the house. The second of the quartet of four photos shows a close-up of a PCB, the image with the hand print shows heat left behind by a mug of hot tea, followed by a hand on tabletop. And fourth, you can see the heat emitted by a household radiator.

small infiniray samples
InfiRay P2 Pro photo samples, click to zoom

To get a finer and more practical picture, the FLIR camera uses a mode dubbed MSX, where a significantly higher resolution relief image of the scene is overlaid on the low resolution thermal camera output. However, due to parallax, the sharp outline image and its blurry IR counterpart don't always line up perfectly. With the InfiRay P2 Pro, this mode isn't present. The similar advertised 'Fusion Mode' isn't available in the software at the time of writing, and InfiRay wasn't forthcoming about why. I actually find the MSX mode quite useful with the FLIR and always use it, but it isn't always great, as you can see in the comparisons below.

infiniray vs flir comaprison laptop base
InfiRay vs FLIR checking the underside of a laptop

Quite a useful 'mixed' mode on the InfiRay is its PiP mode, which shows a photo of the scene in a movable portion of the image. Above, both the thermal image and PiP mode of the InfiRay P2 Pro provide a superior overview of the underside of the Dell Latitude laptop (left). Moreover, the InfiRay's extra IR resolution and the close-focus (via magnetically attached macro lens) can often more than make up for the lack of MSX overlay. This difference will be most apparent to those using these devices for up-close PCB troubleshooting.

Still on the topic of the camera sensor, the InfiRay P2 Pro can register a much wider range of temperatures than the similarly priced FLIR alternative. The extra range could be important to you, depending upon your use case. For example, solder usually melts at between 350 and 400ºC, which would be out of the FLIR One Pro LT's range, so the imaging wouldn't provide meaningful results. Some consider gas boiler flue temperatures to be optimal at about 130ºC, which is another use case which seems to exclude the FLIR One Pro LT.

infiniray vs flir comaprison lamp and charger
InfiRay vs FLIR: checking a lamp and two chargers. Perhaps the FLIR image looks better here?

The InfiRay P2 Pro also has big advantages in size and weight. In the specs table, you can see the P2 Pro is much smaller and lighter. That makes it more portable and less cumbersome, but probably makes a carry case more desirable. Sadly, the FLIR comes with a great carry case, and the P2 Pro has nothing but the fancy retail box.

It is great that the InfiRay P2 Pro doesn't need its own battery and hence doesn't need charging. Whenever you need it, you can just plug it in, and have the smartphone auto-run the P2 Pro Android app when the IR camera module is inserted. The FLIR One Pro LT has a built-in battery which must be charged before use, and many people complain that the FLIR camera doesn't retain charge when unplugged and turned off. That is also my experience, and it means you have to plan ahead to get some charge into the FLIR's built-in battery before using it for a few shots.

InfiRay Software Experience

Lastly, let us look at the software. The InfiRay P2 Pro software provided all the views, options and settings that I used on the FLIR, except for MSX. That includes an intuitive scene view dubbed "iron red" where hotter things glow brighter into the yellows. Also, there are two standard temperature reference points on each scene; one for the cool point and another for the hottest point. Users can easily move the third point or add more points as well. The temperature bar can also be adjusted to only highlight a certain range.

infiniray p2 pro android app ui
Various aspects of the InfiRay Android UI

In the FLIR app, some of the software features are artificially locked for certain models. For example, my FLIR One LT Pro can access app settings for MSX, Visual Camera or Infrared Camera, as well as adjust the color scale and number of reading points. The $100 cheaper FLIR One has basically the same IR sensor hardware, but no ability to use these important software features.

which keys have I just touched hot
Thermals show that I recently typed "HOT" on the keyboard

One last note about software is that the InfiRay P2 Pro can currently be used in Windows, where it is recognized as an IR camera. For more flexible and purposeful IR usage, it appears to be compatible with Windows software from rival thermal camera brand Topdon as well, which is a cool bonus, for now. We also appreciated the included USB-C extension cable, so you can move the IR camera around independently of the device it is plugged into.

InfiRay P2 Pro Thermal Camera System: Our Conclusion

We found the diminutive InfiRay P2 Pro to provide a lot of cool features, with little to no fuss. If you think you can benefit from any of the thermal imaging use cases we mentioned above, the InfiRay P2 Pro is a useful tool add to your arsenal. It also outdoes the similarly priced FLIR One LT Pro in many key areas, but the FLIR software seems to be a bit more mature. Also, the useful MSX-like mode of the FLIR camera software, which is shown on the InfiRay website, is now mysteriously absent. Hopefully, it comes back at some point in the future.

Both products work well for their intended purpose, and ultimately provide similar results and readings, though the InfiRay P2 Pro offers a much higher resolution and polling rate. That said, we have no problem recommending the InfiRay P2 Pro. It's a well-made, competitively price thermal imaging solution, that outdoes similarly priced competition in a few keys areas. If the InfiRay P2 Pro's features and form factor are appealing to you, it is absolutely worthy of consideration.

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