Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody! While today is best known for drinking green beer and shots of Irish whiskey, its also a great opportunity to take a look at the more serious side of things, namely our conduct while under the influence of alcohol. While we here at GIZORAMA love to sit back and party hard ourselves, we also understand the amount of responsibility that goes hand-in-hand with our favorite adult beverages. Drunk driving still accounts for thousands of death worldwide each year, and it’s every merry-makers duty to lower that statistic through their own safe actions.
Though it may sometimes be difficult to gauge just how much you’ve had throughout the night, AK GlobalTech Corp., through the use of their AlcoMate Premium Breathalyzer and its patented PRISM technology, has found a way to accurately and conveniently keep an eye on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). We sat down with a case of beer and this handy little tool to test just how accurate, convenient, and durable it really was, and here’s what we thought!
The AlcoMate Premium Basic pack, which includes the AlcoMate Premium Breathalyzer, a soft carry case, two sensor modules (one pre-installed), five mouthpieces, and two batteries, comes in at a total of $189.95, but is also available in the Full pack, which includes all of the above and an additional hard case and AC power car adapter for $209.95.
The module itself is housed in a plastic silver case with a backlit digital display and a single power/operate button on the faceplate. The replaceable plastic mouth piece fits into the top right side of the module, and can be stored (along with a second mouthpiece) in the back of the device alongside the two AA batteries. The car power adapter can be plugged in on the left side, opposite the mouthpiece, and the whole device is smaller and weighs less than the average smartphone.
While the overall layout of the AlcoMate Premium is convenient for use and storage, the plastic casing and poorly-lit display detract from its overall attractiveness and utility. The plastic exterior doesnt feel heavy enough to withstand a four foot drop from an intoxicated user, and the accompanying lanyard strap is only big enough to barely fit even the most petite of adult-sized hands. The lack of surface grip is also an issue, especially when the users hands are slightly damp from a drinks condensation (or spillage).
The AlcoMate Premiums main selling point, however, isnt overall design and appearance, but rather ease of use and convenience. Unlike other commercial breathalyzers, the AlcoMate Premium never requires calibration before use, which means testing can be done on site in less than two minutes. This expedited process is possible thanks to the device’s PRISM (Pre-calibrated Replaceable Intelligent Sensor Module) Technology, which comes in the form of a replaceable sensor located in the back of the breathalyzer. After either 200 uses or a year, users can replace the Advanced Oxide Semiconductor in a matter of seconds and continue testing immediately.
Though we never reached 200 tests, we decided to change out the sensor and test out the spare included in both the Basic and Full pack. The easy-replace sensor module proved a little difficult to remove without damaging (or pliers), but once it was out, replacement was as simple as plugging in the spare. Sure enough, the secondary sensor worked as well as the first.
In terms of actual BAC testing, the AlcoMate Premium could not have made it any easier (and simplicity is important for their target audience). Users simply need to power up the device, wait for the prompt, and blow into the mouthpiece until it stops beeping. The result is a four-digit measure of the user’s BAC displayed on the breathalyzer’s digital screen (0.08% BAC is the legal limit in all US States). After each use, the device powers itself down to save energy, but can be started back up again at the push of a button. New batteries are reported to last up to 200 uses, and replaceable mouthpieces and sensors can purchased separately from the manufacturers.
The ease of use for the AlcoMate Premium is certainly a plus for any user too intoxicated to follow a series of instructions past step 2, but the most obvious downside to the device’s simplicity is the lack of storage. While measuring a user’s current BAC is the main focus, the inability to record previously-measured levels seems like a huge oversight. Why wouldnt I want to be able and check my BAC history over the past few weeks? Other, cheaper breathalyzers store data and have app compatibility, so ignoring such a useful metric seems shortsighted on AK GlobalTech’s part.