Whether you’re out to dinner with friends or on an all-day-long bar crawl bender, it’s easy to lose track of how many drinks you’ve had. Exceeding your limit isn’t a goal, but it happens all the time anyway. BACTrack, a mobile breathalyzer with a somewhat hefty price tag, wants to let you know when enough is enough, and then share your inebriation with the world.
Unlike the little novelty breathalyzers that fit on a keychain and likely give less-than-accurate readings, BACTrack is a $150 accessory that offers professional-grade readings and a wealth of information regarding your alcohol consumption, all delivered right on the screen of your smartphone via Bluetooth. This thing is no joke. It has a very modern design and attention-drawing LED lights on it.
The most powerful and useful part of BACTrack is its primary purpose, to provide a reading on your blood alcohol content. Give the device a charge via USB before a night out and keep it stored in your back pocket until bar time comes and you need an idea of just how buzzed you are. BACTrack syncs to your smartphone (you’ll need a phone equipped with Bluetooth 4.0) and will display your BAC (blood alcohol content) through the BACTrack app, available for iOS or Android. The readings are quick and the instructions are clear so you’ll know exactly when to breathe into it. It even preps you beforehand, having you take a deep enough breath to provide proper sample for the fuel cell to read. It shows up clear and concise on your phone’s display, simple as can be.
It’s after that breath where the fun really starts with BACTrack. Since it’s a modernized version of the tried and true breathalyzer technology, it has to come ready for the new age. Sometimes this is great, like with the BACTrack’s ZeroLine feature. The primary function of ZeroLine is to tell you just how long it will be before you’re perfectly sober again. Blow a 0.03 percent at 10pm and you’ll have to wait until 2:30am until it all wears off. Additionally, the ZeroLine estimate comes with a little blurb about the effects you’re feeling so you understand how your body processes alcohol.
Just a fun fact: The BACTrack comes with a booklet that offers this information as well, so you do not need to try to drink yourself to a certain BAC level just to see what you should be feeling. The purpose of this device is not to encourage dumb decisions.
Once you’re past your ZeroLine estimate, there’s still plenty you can do with BACTrack, but this is where stuff gets a little weird. Like most everything you’ll encounter these days, BACTrack would like you to share your information. Unfortunately in this case, that information is how drunk you are. Having the option to openly post that information is almost always going to be as regrettable as the text messages you’ll send after your next drink. But should you feel so proud of your reading that you want all of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers to know about it, then be our guest. It brings new meaning to the word “social drinker.”
You can even tag your location and share your BAC level “anonymously” but have it placed on a map with readings from similarly misguided people from around the world. Also, BACTrack apparently has a very loose way of defining “anonymous,” as it shares your location, username, time, and date of the reading, and any photos that you decide to upload along with it. We could see how this information might be helpful should anything ever occur to the person posting the reading, but we hope to never have to see such an application of the data. Also, if you’re sharing this way, it’s probably best to not drink at home unless you’re cool with having your house pegged on a map that also tells people how intoxicated you are.
Posting how drunk you are on Facebook will be be as regrettable as the text messages you’ll send after your next drink.
On the more reasonable end of the sharing spectrum, you can also privately pass along how drunk you are to your contacts. If you’re out on the town and have a designated driver waiting for you, you can blow into BACTrack and send the reading off via text so they know how you’re progressing and know to pick you up before you reach the point where you’ll puke in their car. You can also store your readings for your own personal use, but you’ll likely want to set this up while you’re sober because it requires creating an account through the BACTrack app. The only way to retrieve your past information is by allowing data storage, which sends your reading to be stored on the BACTrack severs. Having this information available is great because you can track your nights out and drinking history and see it laid out in chart and data form.
With a $150 price tag, BACTrack isn’t in the same category as novelty breathalyzers. This is a device that you likely have a reason for buying, whether it’s for tracking your drinking habits or using it as a line of defense from doing something stupid on those nights when you’re really throwing down. It does come with some pretty bells and whistles – though we’re not sure why you’d want some of them – to help justify the cost, but it still seems a little high. Then again, it’s considerably cheaper than the damage you could do exceeding your limit and making dumb, costly decisions.
As far as breathalyzers go, BACTrack is a very serviceable one with a modern twist and if you find yourself needing a breathalyzer with you on your nights out, you won’t find one more feature-filled.