Brings you peace of mind and helps you be safe.
As a social drinker, I always worry about having a bit too much to drink and getting caught up in the celebration. Getting home is always a concern and I refuse to be “that guy” who drives intoxicated. Drinking responsibly is always a personal concern, so keeping track of what I drink is always crucial. I have lost a few friends to drunk drivers and it a needless death. Always. In the past few years personal breathalyzers have become affordable enough for most people to obtain – cutting out the guessing game of if it’s safe to drive home or not. BACtrack’s Mobile smartphone breathalyzer is the easiest and most accurate solution I have come across. In the past few years, I have tried several other devices on the market with mixed results always leaning on being a novelty more than accuracy and safety.
The first thing I have looked for in a personal breathalyzer is portability. While I want the sense of safety associated with a breathalyzer, I need something small. Usually when out drinking with friends and family I don’t want to have to lug around something big and bulky. Pocket space is limited and you never know where the night will take you. BACtrack’s breathalyzer is incredibly small. At a little larger than a Tic Tac container, it fits easily in any pocket. I found that in some of my jeans it would fit in the watch pocket, freeing up space for of my other essentials. Since it pairs with your smartphone, BACtrack is able to cut the size down significantly from competitors products.
The overall design is pretty basic. The breathalyzer is very plain looking, which is nice considering you don’t want to draw attention to yourself while testing in some situations. The majority of the body is all white with a few bits of black tinted clear plastic. It’s not going to win any design awards, but it’s not flashy and blends into the background. Even though it’s all plastic, it’s still pretty durable. It has a very compact design with very few hollow spots where the plastic has a chance to develop stress fractures. I did drop it a couple of times after a few drinks and while learning how to use it (it is kind of slick and slips out of the hands easily, maybe a little rubber trim would fix this in future designs). The first time friends saw it, they didn’t even really notice what it was or what I was doing until I mentioned it. Once everyone recognized what it was, every one wanted to be tested at regular intervals, some for curiosity and some who list liked knowing where they stood.
Before I get into the specifics, I want to talk about the accuracy of the testing. Almost every company touts there device as “Police Tested” or something along those lines. After using a few and comparing the results, I can tell you that most devices on the market are most definitely not that accurate. BACtracks Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer also claims to have “Police Grade Accuracy” on the front of the box. I had to test this immediately. I have a few friends and family that are in law enforcement and reached out to test this claim. The Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer was only off by .001 from the Police Breathalyzer. I would have loved to have a picture to back this up, but due to the badging on the Police Breathalyzer, I was not permitted to do so. We tested myself and several other people and came to the same minuscule discrepancy every time. Seeing as it was that close I asked them how big of a difference this is in the field. Unless they are teetering right on the legal limit of .08 in most states then this is the best personal device they have seen. I was also reminded that there devices aren’t self calibrating and need to be adjusted, so the accuracy of their device could have easily been off by a decimal rendering BACtracks breathalyzer more accurate. Because of their calibration they also reminded me that they also test people with a much more accurate desktop breathalyzer after a field testing of above .08 BAC. Nevertheless, both the officer and I agreed that this is still a very accurate and handy device for everyone who drinks any form of alcohol. That was a good enough approval for me.
Use of BACtrack’s breathalyzer is pretty simple, as it should be considering you have to do this while potentially intoxicated. The device itself is small, so BACtrack pairs with your smartphone through Bluetooth. All of your prompts and results are there for a large display. The Mobile App is simple to use. Once you open the app it prompts you to turn on the device as well as you Bluetooth. Once this is done it connects automatically with no need to fumble around in settings. On the first use it has you set up a few options like data tracking and back up as well as using the information collected in HealthKit on iOS. I opted for my data to be stored on my device and for my information to be sent to HealthKit. There was an option for my readings to be anonymously collected for a world view map of other users, but I declined this.
Using the breathalyzer is easy. Once all set up, testing is a simple click on your smartphone and you are greeted with several prompts. It asks you to guess you BAC level adding a little bit of a game beforehand and giving you a better idea of how alcohol effects you after a few testings. The first one is the device warming up with a circle that slowly fills in. The next prompt lets you know to take a deep breathe by he last on tells you to blow into the device with another circle denoting that you can stop. You do feel a click inside of the device near the end of this cycle. It only takes a few moments for your results. It displays your accurate results clearly. It will ask you if you would like to verify your results in 15 minutes by testing again. This is highly recommended. After a few testings you can all of your previous results, as well as the time and date, giving you an accurate collection and handy database. There is a friends mode that you can swipe to at the very beginning, so that friends results won’t be included in your personal collection, and trust me, you will want to test friends to be safe and they will be curious to see where they are at at all times through out the night or day.
BACtrack’s breathalyzer comes with a small pouch to keep the device and the three included removable tips in one handy place. There is a mini USB cable used to charge the device, but I never carry it. For one, everyone has one or multiple of those cables that they use regularly and second, the Breathalyzer hold a charge for the whole night, bearing in mind that you turn it on and off for use.
With such an accurate and small breathalyzer, I have peace of mind while still being able to enjoy events and time with friends and family. My safety as well as theirs is in capable hands with the Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer.
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