Dave’s Review of BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer

Review written on August 23, 2016


BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer

BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer


The Pros

  • Measures your blood alcohol concentration with professional grade technology
  • Estimates how long until your level reaches zero
  • Works with iOS and Android devices using Bluetooth technology
  • Compact and portable


The Cons

  • Can produce false reading if you don’t wait the recommended 15 minutes
  • More expensive than the keychain variety, but more accurate
  • Some have used it as a drinking game (who can blow the highest level)


The Decision to Review this Breathalyzer

When presenting this idea to my colleagues, I was asked if I was doing it to help people from getting caught. That’s not how I see it, at all. We’ve all been there. Friday after work, a group of co-workers get together for a few drinks. When people talk about heading home, the discussion begins. “You should be ok if you’ve only had one drink per hour.” “No that’s only if you have an empty stomach.” “So if you’ve had drinks with food, you can have more than one per hour?” “I think so, but how many?” “You’re taller and weigh more than the average guy so you are less affected” STOP! Let this device tell you if you are safe to drive. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above what is considered a safe limit, say 0.05, you can eat and enjoy non-alcoholic drinks until you are at an acceptable level.

Originally we were going to review the BACtrack Vio Smartphone Keychain. However, our initial investigation revealed that the Vio had dismal results on its ability to estimate a person’s BAC. This could easily do more harm than good. We continued our investigation and found the BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer. It uses police-grade sensor technology. It is the same technology trusted by hospitals, clinics, and law enforcement. It offers the highest level of accuracy and consistency.


Introducing the BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer

It’s a pocket mobile breathalyser that you take with you to the wherever you are going. If you are planning on driving and don’t want to be over the legal limit, this is what you need. In the box, there was a deluxe carrying pouch, the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer, 3 mouthpieces, a micro USB charger, a one-year limited warranty and the instruction manual. The manual not only gives instructions on the device. It talks about what alcohol is and how various levels of BAC can affect your body and mind.

For example, the manual states for 0.07-0.09% BAC, “Euphoria. Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Judgment and self-control are reduced. Caution, reason and memory are impaired. Driving skills are always impaired at this level of intoxication and higher.”

BACtrack Contents

If you keep the 3 mouthpieces clean and in your case, you can swap yours out with a fresh one so your friend who’s “fine to drive” can do a test and prove it. Showing they are over the limit should convince them to take a cab or wait the suggested time to sober up.


The Design

At just 1.75” X 2.75” X 0.63” and weighing only 1.7 oz (47g) you can forget you have it with you. It is even small enough to fit in the change pocket of your blue jeans. The body is plastic with some of the interworking visible through the clear portion and blue LED lights to let you know when the device is on.

The Mobile Breathalyzer uses an Xtend™ Fuel Cell Sensor, which is the same technology used by police and hospitals. It can detect even trace amounts of alcohol, down to 0.001 percent. Basically, it’s the pro-grade sensor.

BACtrack has updated their Mobile to have a longer battery life. The low power requirements enable up to 300 tests on one battery charge.


Using the BACtrack Breathalyzer

Setting up your breathalyzer is simply a matter of installing the BACtrack app on your smart phone and pairing the device using Bluetooth. You can take a reading right away. Before you can actually blow into the device, BACtrack reminds you to wait at least 15 minutes after drinking, eating or smoking before taking the test. There are two reasons for this. First, if you have recently consumed alcohol, the residual alcohol in your mouth is very high and can cause a false reading. Second, waiting 15 minutes allows the alcohol to be absorbed from your stomach into your bloodstream for more accurate test results. Take a deep breath in and blow until all the bars or lit up on the app, which takes about 5 seconds.

BACtrack App

The results of your blood alcohol content are transmitted via Bluetooth to your smart phone. Then you can make your decision. First option is drink water and wait the recommended time (supplied by the app) until you are sober. Second option would be call a cab or get a ride home with a sober friend.


Features and Benefits of BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer

  • Quickly and accurately estimate your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
  • Unit uses police grade Xtend fuel cell sensor technology, ensuring precision and accuracy
  • Wirelessly connects to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth
  • Use the free BACtrack app to save, track and optionally share your BAC results
  • The app can also be used to add notes or photos to your results
  • You are given an estimate of when your BAC will return to 0.00% and you are safe to drive
  • Breathalyzer is compact and comes with a convenient carrying case


Dave’s Conclusion

BACtracks Mobile Breathalyzer is a standard personal breathalyser. There are three groups of people who will use this. The most responsible, who with use it to make sure they aren’t impaired when driving. The less responsible, who will use it to make sure they are under 0.08 before getting behind the wheel. Finally, there is the irresponsible. There have been reports of people who have made a drinking game to see who can blow the highest number. You know who they are and might want to think twice before buying this for them.

Overall, BACtrack’s Breathalyzer is a great tool. It uses police grade technology, it is compact and syncs with your smartphone. Most importantly it will help many people avoid being a danger to themselves and to others.