One of Honor’s newly announced smartphones, the Honor Play 4 Pro, is available with an infrared temperature sensor, XDA-Developers reports. A video shared by the company’s official Weibo account shows the handset displaying temperature readings after being held up to people’s faces and wrists. The phones were announced in China, and there’s currently no word of an international release.
A temperature sensor would normally sound like a niche smartphone feature, but in the era of a pandemic when a high temperature could be a sign of being ill with COVID-19, it could be a helpful tool to have on hand. Of course, its usefulness depends on how accurate it is. Honor says that the sensor works between temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius and 100 degrees Celsius (roughly -4 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit), which is more than enough to cover the human body’s range of potential temperatures, and that it can sense temperatures down to the tenth of a degree.
Honor isn’t the first company to include temperature-sensing hardware in a smartphone. Back in 2016, we reviewed Cat’s S60, a rugged smartphone that came with a thermal imaging camera. There have also been thermal imaging sensors sold as smartphone attachments. It might not have that many consumer uses, but Cat’s phone was meant for professional users like park rangers or tradespeople working on building sites.
Beyond the Honor Play 4 Pro’s temperature sensor, the other new phones look like traditional midrange handsets. The cheapest model in the range is the Honor Play 4, and it has a MediaTek Dimensity 800 processor, starts with 6GB of RAM, and has four rear cameras, including primary, wide-angle, depth sensing, and macro cameras. The more expensive Honor Play 4 Pro has a Kirin 990 processor, 8GB of RAM, and just two rear cameras, although this includes a zoom camera. Both phones support 5G and have 1080p displays.
XDA-Developers reports that the temperature sensor-equipped Honor Play 4 Pro will be available in China for CNY 2999 (around $421), while the model without the temperature sensor will cost CNY 2899 (around $407). The standard Honor Play 4 will start at CNY 1799 ($253). It’s currently unclear whether any of the phones will release outside of China.