Reviewed by Kelvin Tebbs
With the party season almost upon us and in the knowledge that a tipple (or two!… or most likely more!) will be consumed during the festive frivolities, it’s of paramount importance to me that I drink safely, especially when driving is concerned.
In fact, I’m extremely cautious when it comes to alcohol and driving. I have always lived by the rule of never drink driving, not even allowing myself to have one alcoholic drink when I’m driving (better be safe than sorry)!
However, my dilemma arises the following morning after drinking.
We are all individuals with varying tolerances to alcohol and all our bodies react differently to this substance. I’ve never known, no matter how ‘normal and fine’ I feel, if I fall within the acceptable drink drive limits, the following day.
With today’s modern technology, companies are manufacturing an array of quality breathalysing gadgets to help provide us with accurate test results so we can confidently choose whether it is safe to get behind the wheel of a car or not.
There is such a vast array of breathalyser testing kits available on the market. These range from cheap, single use tests to the very complex, where testing methods, similar to that which the police utilise to measure both breath and blood alcohol levels, are also available as home tests.
I was looking forward to receiving my AlcoSense Excel Digital Breathalyser to help eradicate any concerns I may have regarding alcohol levels within my body system the morning after a night out.
My AlcoSense Excel Digital Breathalyser was sent via the Royal Mail using their next day delivery service. Due to the size of the box and not being home when the postman came, I was required to collect the item from my local depot. This was an extremely easy and convenient method of delivery (had I been home to receive the goods). However, at least I knew the item was still in the safe hands of the Royal Mail and I could collect it at a time suitable to myself.
The breathalyser was sent inside a clear plastic bag which was inside a bubble wrapped Jiffy bag with the dimensions 250mm x 330mm. I was pleased to see the care that had been taken in shipping my item to avoid any damp or damage affecting my product.
The breathalyser itself is encased within a cardboard sleeve of approximately 12.5cm (w) x 19.5cm (h) x 4.5cm (d).
The front of the packaging shows a large picture of the product demonstrating the results of a test. The screen display is bright red, with a sign of a car inside a circle with a red diagonal line crossed through the circle. A measurement of 0.27 mg/L is noted at the top of the screen. This information displayed, is indicating that with a reading of that level of alcohol, determines that you are not safe to drive.
The logo and name of the product; Digital Breathalyser AlcoSense Excel is clearly labelled too.
There are also 6 flags demonstrating that this product works within all U.K., Scottish, Irish, European and Worldwide limits. The BTCC (British Touring Car Championship) also endorse the product with their stamp, seen in the bottom left corner.
The front of the box indicates information relating to; the fuel cell, result readings and adjustable limits, that the product won the 2016 International Red Dot Design Award and provides assurance that the device meets the medical quality systems requirements.
On the sides of the box, there are pictures showing the red, amber and green screen displays that you receive after testing. The green screen indicates you are safe to drive with a reading of less than 0.09mg/L. The amber screen shows that alcohol is present but it’s less than the limit you have set as an acceptable standard, whereas the red screen with the crossed-out car is a ‘don’t drive’ alert.
The other side of the box has the logos of other organisations it supports and works alongside i.e. Road Safety Association. It also shows the box contents; the AlcoSense Excel, 3 X AAA batteries (very handy so you can use the product immediately), 5x mouth pieces, 1x micro USB cable and an instruction manual.
The reverse of the box shows a picture of the AlcoSense Excel Digital Breathalyser and provides various further instructions regarding the specification of the product and its abilities. It also gives the website address AlcoSense.com/Excel where further information can be obtained.
A point to note is that in the small print, it states that this breathalyser is not suitable for use with French law.
The bottom of the box has small print showing that the product is manufactured and distributed in Maidenhead (UK).
Once opening the packaging, the device is safely secured within in a cardboard compartment so it doesn’t roll around. The instruction manual, USB cable, batteries and mouthpieces are all neatly stored underneath the breathalyser.
The breathalyser itself is only 10.5cm x 5.5cm x 2.5cm.
The paper instruction manual is written in both English and Polish, is very concise, clearly laid out, straightforward to follow and easy to understand. The onscreen device’s instructions are also available in German too.
When reading the instructions, it even contains a section explaining how alcohol is processed by the body. Within this section, it recommends that the breathalyser should not be used within 90 minutes of the last alcoholic beverage consumed but the ideal test should be taken the morning after. As per my earlier paragraph, this machine is perfect for resolving my dilemma of knowing whether I am safe to drive the next day.
I’ve tested the device out following on from such a scenario. We went out for a few cocktails last night and on waking today, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to test out my new piece of kit. 10 hours later, am I safe to drive?
As you can see from the picture, I was given the ‘green light’ and am safe to drive in the knowledge that my blood alcohol levels are within safe limits for driving.
A few points to be aware of is that mouth wash, cigarettes and even ripe fruit can affect the readings, so I do advise that anyone purchasing the product should carefully read the instructions prior to use and for this very reason, there is no ‘quick start’ guide available.
We are so impressed with the AlcoSense Excel Digital Breathalyser we have already recommend it to a few of our friends whom also face the same dilemma after a night out.
I would highly recommend this product and rate it 4/5.
The only reason I didn’t give it 5/5, is that it didn’t come with a storage pouch. This would be helpful should I keep it in my car and there is nowhere to store the testing mouth pieces, which too could be easily solved if there was a pouch provided.
With Christmas around the corner and multiple opportunities for merriment, I can envisage this gadget getting plenty of use in the upcoming weeks. Actually, why not buy this item as a Christmas present to keep your loved ones safe. For the price of the device, it seems very reasonable especially as you can’t put a price on safety. A thoughtful and practical present which breaks from the normal stocking fillers of Christmas jumpers and socks.
For more information or to buy visit alcosense.co.uk.