You’ve done it: drove drunk, or at least under the infleunce. Heck, for some one beer or one glass of wine is enough to get them DUI. To avoid a ticket, and more importantly, lose your license for 90 days (1-year if you refuse the breathalyzer) one simply just needs not drink if they’re driving. But the reality of that matter is that you’ll convince yourself one drink isn’t enough to push you over the limit, and since you’ll likely not feel physically impaired you’ll get behind the wheel. So what if you could measure you intoxication with respect to the legal limit?
Enter the BACtrack breathalyzer. Specifically designed to work with a smartphone – they launched with the iPhone – the pocket sized device (no really, it’s that small) connects over Bluetooth and within less than two minutes can provide what would appear, based on my testing with friends, an accurate read out based on alcohol consumed. And while the BACtrack takes the business of drinking very serious, it also makes a great party favor for those that have never tested their alcohol blood level after a night of imbibing. In my experience, most people we’re shocked with the results, largely because they well under estimated how intoxicated they were, which is further evidence of how much one’s influence is judged under the guise of alcohol.
Now the BACtrack is compatible with Android devices thanks to the launch of the compatible app. Here are my thoughts.
1. Compatible Devices
The BACtrack, as mentioned, first launched with the iPhone. That said, Bluetooth 4.0 is required, so the list of Android devices is some what limited, though provided your Android has the latest iteration of Bluetooth on board and you should be good to go. BACtrack officially lists the Samsung S4 and S3 as compatible, but I can also attest to the Nexus 5’s compatibility since that’s the device I used to test out the BACtrack Android App. Nevertheless, device compatibility is limited, so makes sure to check out your handsets connectivity options before you drop $150 on the BACtrack.
2. Easy to Use
I’m not sure it could be any easier. Just simply turn on the BACtrack, power on Bluetooth on your handset, and launch the app. From there everything happens in the BACtrack application, from the pairing to taking the readings. And when you’re to sample your breath, there is a handy on screen countdown timer and meter that shows how long you need to blow for. If all goes well, the BACtrack Android app (and iPhone version – they’re identical) spits out a variety of information that includes your blood alcohol level. Each state’s limit is different, so check with your local law enforcement.
3. Time to Sober
In addition to telling you just how drunk you are, the BACtrack app can also tell you your time to sobriety. A graph, as well as a total time until you’ll be at 0.00, indicates how long you’ll need to wait until you can legally operate a motor vehicle. In my testing I was often shocked when I found out just how long it would take to sober up, and hence the saying “sleep it off”.
4. App options
Other app options, aside from seeing time to sober, is the ability to upload your readings to BACtrack’s servers. There you can keep tabs on what you drank and where. If so opted, you can anonymously share your drinking habits with the BACtrack world. Call me a skeptic, but I’d just as soon keep the data localized since you never know how it could be used against you. There is also a graph feature that lets you look back and shows you your drinking habits with two snapshot options: the last 6 hours and the last 14 days.
Retail breathalyzers have long held the stigma of not being accurate. However, according to BACtrack their device uses a professional grade system (Xtend Fuel Cell Sensor technology) that can also be found in hospitals, school and even law enforcement. Based on my testing, I can only attest to this, though I suppose the ultimate test is to compare it to a police officer’s machine.
6. Other Things
Beyond the accuracy, and super sleek design of the BACtrack, you should know that its battery is rechargeable. And not rechargeable via one of those annoying proprietary plugs. Nope, it charges via microUSB, which is perfect for Android users since that’s the same port they charge their phone with. That said, included with the BACtrack device are 3 mouthpieces, a carrying case and microUSB plug.
Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."