Flir TG165-X review | Is it that good in 2020?

After 5 years, Flir decided to launch a newer version of the succesfuly TG165. How is it better than the previous model? Here is our in-depth Flir TG165-X review.

PROS: High visual camera resolution, MSX technology, high thermal sensitivity and accuracy, wide viewing angle, IP54 waterproof and dustproof.

CONS: The IR resolution could be a bit bigger but the MSX and visual camera offset this and the thermal images look sharp.
Flir TG165-X review | Is it that good in 2020?

ProductTypeResolutionBattery capacityWaterproofLCD screenPrice

Flir TG165-X

Flir TG165-X
Handheld80 x 605 hoursYes2.4″Click for more info


Handheld80 x 605 hoursNo2″ TFTClick for more info

Flir TG165-X Specifications

Resolution80 x 60
Pixels4800 pixels
Temperature range-13°F to 572°F (-25°C to 300°C)
Accuracy+/- 1.5 ° C
Thermal sensitivity0.07° C
Storage TypeInternal 4 GB
Battery capacity5 hours
Dimensions8.3 x 2.5 x 3.2 in
LCD screen2.4″
Refresh rate8.7 Hz
ApplicationsPinpoint the source of system failures, Complete inspections quickly and easily, Roofing, Electrical Inspection, Automotive diagnostics, HVAC
View Angle51° x 66°
FeaturesWaterproof, Dustproof, Manual Focus, Visual Camera

Flir TG165-X – Specs & Review

The Flir TG165-X MSX Thermal camera is Flir’s latest iteration of the highly succesful TG165. It is a handheld device that packs in Flir’s innovative MSX image overlapping technology which you will find on most Flir thermal imaging cameras.

The camera has 4 elements on the back: An Infrared Sensor, a Visual Camera, an LED light with a power of 100 lumens and a Laser pointer. The laser pointers are more useful than you would think because it makes it easier to pinpoint the source of the heat.

It has a USB port which you can use to charge and transfer the images to your computer. A USB cable is bundled in the package.

Let’s go more in-depth with our Flir TG165-X review. You have 5 color palettes to choose from: Rainbow, Lava, Arctic, Iron, Whitehot and Blackhot.

There is your usual thermal image gallery in which you can scroll through the pictures, view them or delete them. No editing features on this one.

In the settings menu, you can change the language and this time you have many languages to choose from, you can change the temperature measurement unit from Fahrenheit to Celsius, the screen brightness with 3 settings (Low, Medium and High) and whether or not to have a center spot measurement.

The Flir also has an Auto Power Off setting which you can either turn off or have it on a 5, 15 or 30 minute timer. there is an option to turn the LED lighting on or off.

You can do a firmware update of the Flir TG165-x thermal camera using the Flir Tools app on your PC. The camera and its software are very easy to use and you don’t need a user manual to get started.

Flir TG165-X – Thermal imaging quality

The resolution of the FLIR TG165-X spot thermal camera is the same. We would have expected that 5 years after the TG165, the IR resolution would have improved, but Flir decided to keep it at the same level. The infrared image only has a total of 4800 pixels compared to 20,000 which you would normally get with a thermal camera at this price. But the low IR resolution is offset by a 2 Megapixel visual camera (1600 x 1200 pixels).

The images are saved and stored in radiometric form and the file format is a JPEG. The aspect ratio of the photos is 4:3.

The Flir TG165-X packs in Flir’s MSX technology which blends the image coming from the thermal sensor with the one from the visual camera into an image in which you can more easily distinguish the elements. From everything that we have looked at so far, Flir’s technology seems to be the best. When you blend the 2MP visual image with the IR image, I have to say it looks much better than what we have seen on other 80 x 60 infrared cameras. Luckily the refresh rate is good with a frame rate of 9Hz. In regards to refresh rate, you need to know there is a reason why all thermal handheld thermal cameras are capped at 9Hz: The US law states that you need a license if you carry or export a thermal camera with a refresh rate higher than 9Hz outside the US.

There is no manual focus mode as this is a fixed focus thermal camera.

Flir TG165-X – Temperature Range, Accuracy

Let’s have a look at the temperature accuracy parameters. First of all this infrared imager has a thermal sensitivity of 0.07° C. Unlike with the infrared resolution, the camera is on par here with the standard.

The temperature measurement range is between -25°C to 300°C. You can expect the infrared thermometer to fare well in colder environments. Where we live for example, it easily gets down to -20 in the coldest months of winter, so if you are checking insulation on windows and roofing in the cold winter, it helps for the camera to have a wide temperature range.

This thermal scope allows you to inspect freezing chambers, your home freezer and fridge and the camera can be used in HVAC to check for heating and cooling issues. All of these applications should be within its temperature range, not to mention gas detection, home inspections, leak detection.

It has a very high temperature measurement accuracy, with just a +/-1.5 C error. That is impressive because the infrared thermal cameras it is going to compete with can only get a 2.5 C accuracy. Now you need to know that the accuracy in a thermal camera will vary depending on where you are on the temperature scale. For example when you are doing temperature screening between 50-100 Celsius, the error will be 1.5 celsius but when you go down between -25 to 0, it becomes 3 degrees.

The viewing angle is 51 x 66, so it has a wide field of view. It is much wider than you would expect to get at this price.

Flir TG165-X – Battery life & Memory

The TG165-X comes with a 4GB internal memory, which is a bit of a U-turn from using an SD card slot that Flir mounted on the TG165 and TG167. But there is no reason to worry because the 4GB on-board image storage can hold up to 50,000 images in radiometric form, meaning that for each of the 4,800 pixels you will also get the temperature data for that particular pixel.

The device is battery powered and the battery life is actually shorter than the one on the Flir TG165. The TG165-X can do 5 hours of continuous thermal imaging while the older model, the Flir TG165 spot thermal camera could reach 8. Still, 5 hours is long enough for professional and everyday use. It takes about 4 hours to charge the battery up to 90% and 6 hours for up to 100%.

The TG165-X brings something completely new to the range: It is IP54 certified and thus is completely dustproof and waterproof (can take splashes of water and still function). Do not immerse it in water though as it is not built to withstand that. It can also be dropped from 2 meters without any issues. This was something that you would only have on pro thermal imaging cameras in the past but now more and more affordable models are waterproof.

The TG165-X also has a tripod mount at the bottom so you can fix it in place if you need to.

It has a 2.4″ color LCD screen with a screen resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. This size has become the standard for thermal handheld cameras. If you are looking for a larger screen, you need to have a look at cameras like the Flir C5.

The warranty comes as standard like on all Flir thermal cameras with a 2-10 warranty, 2 years for the entire device and 10 for the thermal vision sensor.

Should you be looking for a mobile version of this camera for Android or iPhone that can fit into your tool belt, then the Flir One Pro would be the best choice. If you want to use it as a night vision device and see far in the dark, then the Seek Thermal Compact Pro (Or Seek Reveal if you want a standalone device) should cover that. It is not a thermal binocular by any means but it gets the job done.

If this camera’s price is too high for your budget, then you should look at cheap thermal cameras, IR thermometers and related products from companies like Perfect Prime or Hti.

Our Score