CNET First Look
Pack the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer for more-responsible drinkingThe $149.99 BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer syncs to iPhones via wireless Bluetooth connection, measures your blood alcohol level in seconds, and estimates how long it'll take to be sober again.
Hi. This is Brian Bennett for CNET.com. And right now, we're taking a first look at the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer. Okay. I know what you're thinking. You're probably asking, "Why would I want to buy a personal breathalyzer, especially one that talks to my smartphone?" I admit, I was skeptical at first, as well, and the BACtrack's high $149.99 sticker price doesn't help. What this gadget promises to offer, however, is a law enforcement caliber breath alcohol sensor squeezed into a high-tech and compact package. The BACtrack also connects to iOS devices wirelessly over Bluetooth connection. Through its companion iPhone app, you can view breathalyzer results in the traditional value of blood alcohol content percentage, commonly referred to as BAC. The app also spells out BAC readings in detailed explanations of how specific values typically affect behavior, plus, mental and physical acuity. Another neat trick that BACtrack does is project the time it will take until you will likely be sober based on your last reading. You could store your readings on your phone, in the cloud, or remain completely anonymous by discarding results after each measurements. The BACtrack even lets you share readings over social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. If you don't find that notion particularly disturbing, how about pushing your location, BAC level, and time stamp data to other BACtrack app users? Well, the BACtrack does that, too. The BACtrack unit itself is lightweight and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It comes with its own handy protective case as well. The device just has one button for powering it up and initiating pairing mode. Sexy blue LEDs glow and flash to indicate power and connection status. Once paired, just tap the screen to begin the measurement process. Blowing to the mouthpiece for a few seconds, then wait a few more for the results. To check BAC levels of friends, the BACtrack comes equipped with plastic tips so others won't feel grossed out by your cooties. As a New York native and one who doesn't drive often, owning a product like this probably isn't worth it. If you're addicted to your car or live in more suburban or rural regions, and aren't a T totaler, then the BACtrack is worth a look. It could help you avoid over-indulging and drink more responsibly. Or at least, wisely call a cab if that's what needs to happen. I'm Brian Bennett for CNET.com, and this has been a first look at the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer. Be sure to check back soon for a full review.