Review Smartphone Breathalyzer /Breathometer/Alkoholtester
The German magazine DER SPIEGEL picked up on smart phone breathalyzers which have been around for a year or so.
Breathalyzers help to measure the Blood alcohol content (BAC) of a person. This is important to measure when it comes to driving a vehicle after having alcohol.
The European breathalyzer trend started in 2012 when France introduced a law that requires motorists to carry a alcohol testing device with them at all times. Tourists travelling to France are also required to carry alcohol testing devices. What most people do not know: Until now there are only few brands which have been approved by the french authorities and carry the blue circular “Norme Française” (NF) Logo. Smartphone breathalyzers are NOT among those approved !
Review Smartphone Breathalyzer
Ok let´s get started with the review smartphone breathalyzer look at some models:
A very basic model with monochrome display, which is a bit pricy though. Mostly seen on Ebay/Amazon.
A newer version by another factory with improved and colorful display indicating the alcohol level additionally by green, yellow and red colors.
Newer versions/connectors for iPhone 5 and for Samsung are supposedly under development.
New, but not yet on the market, is the so called Breathometer which collected almost USD 75,000 on Indiegogo until today and promises to deliver nothing more than already available on the market but without a display. This reduces the cost substantially with industry experts estimating the production cost to be below USD 1,00 per piece. Without the display, results will be transferred to the iPhone and are shown by its App and can be saved for future reference (?).
Main advantage over the early models is, that the Breathometer connects via the headphone socket and is therefore not bound to one smart-phone brand and universally useable.
The app is said to include a button which allows to call a Taxi in case you are over the allowed alcohol limit for driving. Nothing new here aswell, as there are a bunch of Taxi-apps on the market already.
What all these breathalyzers have in common is that they try to appear to consumers as being “life saving devices” by repeating their sales mantra of “help to save lives by checking whether you are still fit to drive“. Well how about not drinking in the first place ? Even the consumption of alcohol within legal limits may lead to accidents.
Once beyond the sales-talk let´s look at the actual results and that´s when depression sets in:
The results of the breathalyzers are not very exact, to say the least.
They do NOT give you a clear indication as to whether you are still fit to drive. Instruction manuals clearly point that out and often ask you to wait for 30 minutes after eating, drinking and smoking before you do a breath test. That might be difficult for many in a real-life situation. Breathometer states: “Our device is as accurate as other consumer breathalyzers on the market”.
Result: smart-phone breathalyzers are not much more than a party- or smart-phone gimmick which may quickly end up collecting dust.
There is no apparent reason as why not to use a regular consumer breathalyzer with a battery (random example) which comes at less than half the price of above gadgets and doesn´t even need to connect to a phone.
If you really want to check your blood alcohol level accurately, you should use a professional breathalyzers such as the police use. These are in a different price range though due to their fuel-cell technology for professional use.
But then again: If you fail that one, the police usually requires for a blood test, to actually verify the results.
My impression: save the money spent on such gadgets and make an “either-or” decision between drinking and driving instead of asking a gadget to clear you to do both.