I’ve written already about the new BACtrack Vio Smartphone Keychain Breathalyzer. Now come some external reviews.
BACtrack makes a wide range of breathalyzers, some of them certified for law enforcement use. The Vio is the cheapest one in the company’s range, and is also its least accurate. The device is intended…to confirm a zero reading for ‘morning after’ scenarios, not to provide a precise reading of your intoxication level at anything higher than zero.
The reason for limited accuracy is the technology used in the Vio. Professional breathalyzers use fuel cell technology, and have built in pumps to ensure that all the air is removed from the unit before the breath-test begins. The Vio uses a cheaper semi-conductor based sensor, which is less accurate. This is the only way BACtrack could get the price down to $50.
National Public Radio’s The Salt blog:
It turns out that it’s a bit awkward to operate both blood-alcohol testing device and a smartphone app in a noisy bar with drunk people around you. And if you’re lending the tool to a friend who’s never used it before, it can be hard to tell if he’s blowing hard enough into the device — the likely cause of several faulty readings of 0.0 one of our friends got with the Vio.
The Vio is also a bit fussy. We got a lot of error messages. And the company recommends you use it at least once a month to keep it moist and in working order.
…All in all, though, a key chain blood-alcohol reader is a handy tool to have around. And we can easily imagine a future where people sign their texts and emails with their BAC: “This email was composed at BAC .06.”
Maybe we should even try that here at The Salt: Over and out, with a BAC of 0.0.
Feel weird having a, uh, breathalyzer on your person? It’s actually pretty useful to have it nearby, just in case, especially on those summer evenings when you head to happy hour (your friends can use your BACtrack too!). Granted, on a day-to-day level, it may be a little weird to have on your key chain—especially when you whip out your keys after a coffee date or a business meeting#8212; but the Vio is subtle enough that it looks like a simple USB drive.
Check out Amazon for more details and the latest price.