AlcoSense Excel Fuel Cell Breathalyzer
- Product Review (submitted on 31 May 2017):
- First of all I too received the Pro version. I also had an email asking for an honest review, which was brave of them because I had problems when I sent a device back a few years ago for calibration. Nonetheless that got sorted.I used to use an AlcoSense Elite, which was claimed to be top of its class. Eventually my first would only acknowledge you were blowing in it if you had spent the weekend downing 4 star. The replacement I bought when it couldn't be recalibrated aired somewhat on the side of caution; gave suspiciously high readings. I've also had an AL-6000 from somewhere which has replaceable sensors, but that was like a mate who wanted a lift home from the pub. "Yeah, you'll be alright" it was telling me after my twelfth pint and fourth G&T. I had another too but I lost that in a hotel in Blackpool. If you're interested.After waiting around all day to sober up from the mild session the night before I decided to try another. I bought an Alcohoot plug-in smart-phone device (about £70), with fuel cell technology. This too started well, but after about 50 tests it's started to fail to take a reading, or the app hangs. As someone who drinks a lot I decided to take a punt with the Excel. I was going to order the Pro, but after reading a few reviews here that others had been sent the pro after ordering the standard, I thought I'd take a chance and save £50. It paid off.The differences between the two seem to be the size of the sensor and the Pro has a flow meter to ensure an accurate sample and a "time till sober" calcuator.The design of the product is simple and clean. It fits well in your hand. The system boots rather quickly, and the menus allow you to change the BAC warning level by country easily. The valved mouth-pieces are awkward to get in at first, even harder when you're pissed, but it comes with time/sobriety.The display really does have a low resolution; like something out of a £20 iPhone knock-off, but it's not for displaying photos, it's to tell you whether or not you're sober enough to drive. It does this rather well.The unit displays your measured BAC content in mg/l, and the display background keeps it simple: Green is OK to drive, yellow for probably-best-leave-it-for-a-while-if-you-can, and red for "DON'T BE BLOODY STUPID BRUV!". Being able to easily change the limit by country (I believe the list is can be updated via the supplied micro USB cable) is handy if you're going on a continental pub crawl. It's also worth bearing in mind that Scotland has a lower limit than England, so even driving across the border could get you in trouble.A minor gripe is that the machine doesn't display a figure below 0.2%, I don't know why.I'm personally not a fan of the "Sober in..." display. It doesn't take body mass, level of activity or metabolism in to consideration. I suppose it's a ballpark-figure guide and nothing more.All in all, a useful, good looking device. Time will tell if results are accurate and if the machine is as reliable as it's brethren, let's hope it's better.