One of the side effects of loving spirits is that if you love too many or too much at a time, you can become quite intoxicated. For some this is a very desired effect, but for people who want to enjoy their spirits and still be safe and legal to drive home, this can be a complicated issue.
When it comes to spirits and cocktails, not all drinks are created equal. You simply can’t count drinks and measure time and know you’ll be okay.
That’s what makes the AlcoHAWK Q3I-2800 Slim Ultra
such an enticing device. Priced around $50, this small hand-held device gives you a sense of where you are and if you might be best served to call a taxi for a ride home.
The operation of the AlcoHAWK is very simple. Press the red button on the front of the unit and wait 45-60 seconds for the unit to be ready. It would be nice if the unit were ready to go immediately as waiting for it to get ready can be frustrating. Once the unit is ready, you simply blow into the mouthpiece (they provide 3 interchangeable ones) for about 5 seconds, until the unit beeps and displays your blood alcohol level.
If it weren’t for a few caveats, we’d heartily recommend this product as an essential tool for anyone who goes out drinking. However there are some significant issues. First, you cannot drink, smoke or eat at least twenty minutes before using the AlcoHAWK. This makes the device pretty impractical if you want to get a read when you are out for dinner or just had a few drinks. Secondly, the instruction manual recommends the unit be recalibrated at least every six to twelve months, which means mailing the unit back to the manufacturer. They are currently offering a free recalibration from their site, but it’s important to know going in that you’ll incur additional expenses. The final caveat is a real deal killer, though: the manufacturer claims that the unit is only proven accurate at BAC (blood alcohol concentration) levels below 0.032, far below the levels you’d need to have it be accurate if you’ve had a few drinks.
In our testing we were surprised at how many times we incorrectly estimated our own BAC levels, almost always underestimating the percentage. If nothing else, testing out this unit was an eye opener into just how poorly people can judge their own level of alcohol.
In concept we really love the AlcoHAWK Slim Ultra, but to be useful it really needs to have a shorter wait time, faster load and better accuracy. – Mildly Recommended