Seek Thermal CompactXR - Portable Thermal Imaging Camera (UT-AAA)

Published on Aug. 2, 2023, 5:03 p.m.

Thermal imaging technology allows us to see the world from a unique perspective by capturing the heat emitted by objects. The Seek Thermal CompactXR transforms this sophisticated technology into an accessible tool that can be connected to our smartphones and tablets, opening a new window of perception in darkness and low-visibility conditions. By converting infrared radiation into visible images, thermal cameras like the CompactXR empower us to explore the unseen world of heat, offering invaluable insights in various applications from home inspection to outdoor adventures.

The Seek Thermal CompactXR is a compact and lightweight thermal imaging camera that connects to Android and iOS devices via MicroUSB or Lightning port. It transforms smartphones and tablets into powerful thermal imaging tools, allowing users to see in complete darkness and visualize heat. With a 206x156 sensor and 20° field of view, it detects temperatures from -40°F to 626°F up to 1800 feet away.

 Seek Thermal CompactXR Thermal Imaging Camera  (UT-AAA)


  • Brand: Seek Thermal
  • Model: CompactXR
  • Type: Handheld thermal imaging camera
  • Key features: Portable, lightweight, wide temperature range, long detection distance

Key Features

  • 206x156 sensor resolution
  • 20° field of view
  • -40°F to 626°F temperature range
  • Up to 1800ft detection distance
  • Lightweight and pocketable
  • Rugged and weather resistant
  • Rechargeable built-in battery

Technical Background

Thermal imaging cameras operate by detecting infrared radiation, which is emitted by all objects based on their temperature. The CompactXR captures this radiation with a 206x156 sensor, translating it into a visual image that delineates temperature variations. Understanding this fundamental mechanism allows users to leverage the camera’s full potential, whether it’s for detecting heat leaks in buildings, observing wildlife, or any other application where heat detection is crucial.

 Seek Thermal CompactXR Thermal Imaging Camera  (UT-AAA)

Design and Build

The Seek Thermal CompactXR features a rugged magnesium alloy housing that feels sturdy and durable. It is IP54 rated for dust and splash resistance. At just 1.6 x 0.8 x 0.6 inches and 1.8oz, it is highly compact and pocketable. A waterproof case is included for outdoor use. The microUSB or Lightning connector plugs directly into smartphones without the need for batteries or charging.

Image Quality and Performance

With a 206x156 sensor containing over 32,000 thermal pixels, the CompactXR produces decent image quality for its size. Images are clear enough to distinguish objects and temperature variations. The 20° field of view is relatively narrow but the adjustable focus lens allows concentrating on near or far subjects. The -40°F to 626°F temperature range is very wide, allowing use in extreme cold and hot environments. Detection range is an impressive 1800 feet.

The mobile app provides 9 color palettes and modes like spot temperature, hot/cold tracking, and threshold filtering. Photo and video capture work smoothly. Image quality and detection range is better than cheaper models but can’t match high-end thermal cameras. Overall it performs well given its compact form factor and price point.

Features & Functionality

The Seek Thermal app offers many great features, including 9 color palettes, spot temperature measurements, threshold filtering to isolate certain temperatures, and more. One of my favorite features is Thermal+, which overlays the thermal image on top of the visual image from the phone’s camera. This helps orient the thermal image and see exactly what objects are hot or cold.

Enhanced Imaging Features

The CompactXR employs advanced image processing technologies to refine the visual quality of thermal images. With features like adjustable focus, it allows users to capture detailed thermal readings from a considerable distance. Additionally, the camera’s multiple color palettes enable users to customize the thermal image for better clarity and contrast based on the specific use case.

Connectivity and Compatibility

Ease of integration with smartphones via MicroUSB or Lightning connector is a testament to CompactXR’s user-friendly design. The camera’s compatibility with various devices ensures that users can quickly connect and start using the thermal camera without the need for complicated setups or additional equipment.

Ease of Use

The CompactXR is plug-and-play with no setup required. The mobile app guides users through connecting the camera and getting started. The interface takes some learning but provides a decent featureset. The narrow field of view and touchscreen controls can be tricky at first. Detailed manual focus helps compensate for the fixed lens. Images don’t contain thermal metadata but the app overlays temperature data.

Battery Life

The CompactXR gets power directly from the phone so no separate batteries or charging is required. I was able to use it for hours before my phone battery drained. The camera itself does not consume much power.

Use Cases

The CompactXR is a great affordable option for outdoor enthusiasts, home inspectors, and hobbyists. Key uses:

  • Hunting/tactical - Detect prey or assailants in low light conditions up to 1800ft away.

  • Home inspection - Find heat leaks, moisture, electrical issues. Check insulation, HVAC systems.

  • Boating/camping - See clearly in fog, smoke, darkness. Detect objects in water.

  • Research - Thermal imaging for field biology, engineering etc.

User Feedback

The Seek Thermal CompactXR has over 2,800 customer reviews on Amazon with an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars, indicating generally positive experiences from users.

Many customers praise the image quality and temperature range detection as excellent for the price point. They mention the camera has helped them find heat leaks in their home, detect overheating electronics or appliances, and improve their ability to spot animals when hunting outdoors. Several users commented that they were able to detect people over 1,500 feet away in the dark.

Some common critiques from customers were the narrow 20° field of view which requires standing farther back from objects to get them in frame. Others felt the smartphone app had a cluttered interface and unintuitive controls that sometimes shift around on the screen unexpectedly.

Several users mentioned the lack of thermal metadata stored in the images limits the ability to adjust them after the fact on a computer. An update to store radiometric jpeg data could improve post-processing capabilities.

While a few customers received defective units, the majority praised Seek Thermal’s customer service for quickly replacing the faulty cameras.

Overall, most users seem very satisfied with the thermal imaging and detection capabilities of the CompactXR given its affordable price point. The image quality and temperature range exceed expectations for the price. While the app could use some interface improvements, the core functionality works well. For casual users or professionals on a budget, the Seek Thermal CompactXR provides excellent value and performance.


  • Very affordable for capabilities
  • Lightweight and truly pocket portable
  • Excellent temperature range
  • Easy connectivity with no wifi required


  • Narrow field of view limits visibility
  • Short battery life, especially in the cold
  • App could use interface and feature improvements
  • Not compatible with older Android devices


At around $200, the Seek CompactXR delivers outstanding value. It outperforms other thermal cameras close to this price point. The image quality and range match up well with professional tools costing 5x as much.

 Seek Thermal CompactXR Thermal Imaging Camera  (UT-AAA)

Market Analysis and Future Outlook

As the demand for accessible thermal imaging solutions grows, the market for devices like the Seek Thermal CompactXR is expanding. Innovations in sensor technology and software are making thermal cameras more affordable and versatile. Looking ahead, we can anticipate broader applications of thermal imaging in consumer electronics, preventive maintenance, and even in emerging fields like autonomous vehicles.


The Seek Thermal CompactXR exemplifies how advanced thermal imaging technology can be made accessible for everyday use. Its blend of portability, ease of use, and robust features not only cater to professionals but also to enthusiasts and general consumers. As the technology evolves, we can expect to see even more innovative uses and enhancements, making thermal imaging an indispensable tool in our quest to uncover the hidden aspects of our environment.


  • Sensor: 206x156 pixels
  • Field of View: 20°
  • Temperature Range: -40°F to 626°F
  • Detection Distance: up to 1800ft
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion
  • Size: 1.6 x 0.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 ounces

Box Includes

  • Seek Thermal CompactXR camera
  • Waterproof protective case
  • MicroUSB cable
  • Quick start guide

How To Use

Using the CompactXR is simple:

  1. Download the Seek Thermal app
  2. Connect the camera to your smartphone’s USB or Lightning port
  3. Open the app and allow permissions
  4. Point the camera at objects and adjust focus
  5. Interpret the thermal images to find heat sources or leaks
  6. Capture photos and videos to analyze later
  7. Use modes like hot spot tracking for better detection
  8. Remain still while capturing images for best clarity