I always assumed that breathalzyers were not something consumers could buy. But of course that’s changing, and there’s now a small breathalyzer that connects to smart phones and iPads, letting you know quickly what your BAC (blood alcohol content) is. And it’s fun to use.
I tried out the Breathometer, which was sent to me for a paid review. And it was some serious work to try out various scenarios, varying my alcohol intake (and my husband’s) to see how the machine worked. And you’re welcome for that. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.
When I told my friend Leah I was testing out the Breathometer, she said “wasn’t that on Shark Tank?” Yes it was! It was such a popular pitch that all 5 "sharks" got in on the deal and the product took off.
One of the great things about this breathalyzer is that it’s small and can easily fit in your purse, your pocket or on your keychain (there’s a spot on there to hang it from - look on the upper right). It weighs 33 grams – about an ounce, so not very heavy.
You blow into the device (details below) and it lets you know your BAC on the app you’ve already downloaded, as well as an estimate of when you’ll be fully sober again (that can be sobering itself), assuming you don't drink any more alcohol. I did not have the opportunity to compare it to a police breathalyzer after drinking, but the measurements seemed accurate based on how many drinks we had, our sizes and the timeframe we drank them in. The Breathometer user manual said the technology/device has been tested for accuracy between .02 and .08%, though it can test from 0-0.20. I have to say that the testing was a little eye opening, in that I didn’t think I was okay to drive even when my BAC levels measured below the legal driving limit. The user manual notes that your ability to operate a vehicle can be impaired at .04% or lower.
How it works:
You download the free app from the iTunes or Google Play store. The Breathometer device works only with certain devices running Android 2.3 or above, or iOS7. If your device is not compatible with the Breathometer, it won’t even show you the app in the store (you should look at the compatibility page before ordering the device). Even though the Breathometer people told me that, but I did try downloading it on my iPad, which is an older model, and it did not show me that the app even existed. Fortunately, for once in my life, I actually have a phone that is considered current by tech standards. I think I can now write my phone off as a business expense!
The breathometer device connects to your phone via the headphone jack, and you need to turn up your volume to at least half. I initially had difficulty connecting the Breathometer jack to my phone because my phone case was too thick. Once I pulled the case off the top part of the phone, there was no problem. They recommend that you try the device while sober first, so you know how it works. I second that recommendation heartily and from experience.
|Testing while sober - "Looks like you're good to go."|
|"Some alcohol has been detected.You should be sober at 02:04 AM. This is for detection purposes only. Don't drink and drive."|
Another thing I liked is that it tells you when you’ll be sober again. If you’re over the .08 limit, it will tell "don't even think about it (driving)," and if alcohol is detected below that level, it will indicate that some alcohol was detected. Breathometer recommends waiting 20 minutes before retesting yourself.
|"Don't even think about it. You should be sober at 03:28 AM. This is for detection purposes only. Don't drink and drive."|
Another fun thing is that he has a log of tests. You can see the three tests (and times) we did on August 13th. The top one was my husband's - he had a hard day and several drinks at dinner. The next two were mine - I tested twice, a few minutes apart, and the results were a little different both times. Technically I should have waited 20 minutes in between my testing for accuracy purposes, and my husband should have waited 5 minutes in between our testings.
If you want to test someone else, you can push the button for "test a friend," though they recommend waiting five minutes in between tests. The device will calibrate before each reading. If you’re using this with friends or family, it’s kind of fun to play a game guessing the person’s BAC. We always play guess the check in our family when we go out for a meal. We might even have the kids try guessing our level with us, so they really understand how BAC works. We try to show them what responsible drinking is, and this is another way to do that.
Interested in trying out the Breathometer for yourself? Get $10 off the $49 device from this Bay Area company using the code frisco10 when ordering. It comes in a very nice looking box and makes a great gift. Seriously! The holidays are coming. Get one for yourself or your spouse, and for other gifts. And let me know what you think!
Disclosure: I was given a Breathometer and compensated for this review, however all opinions and writing are my own. As always, I provide an honest review and never endorse a product that I don't believe in.