One benefit of digital communication is its permanency. Whenever you communicate with a company over email, you have a hard record of the exchange. Then, in case of fraud or other foul play, you have some proof of the abuse. Phone calls normally aren’t like this.
Once a phone conversation is over, there’s no way to prove anything about the conversation between the two parties. However, it’s not hard to start recording your calls on Android. You might want to do so for convenience (so you don’t forget what favor your friend asked you) or security (so you have a record of everything you discuss on the phone).
Let’s take a look at some apps that allow you to record calls, and find which one is the best for your needs. Note that most of these have similar names, and we performed testing by calling an automated weather service.
A Note of Warning
Before we begin, it’s important to note that recording calls is a thorny legal issue in many areas. It’s beyond the scope of this article to summarize every law on this matter, but suffice it to say that you should do your research to make sure you aren’t doing anything illegal in your area. Wikipedia’s entry on call recording is a good starting point.
In the USA, most states require that at least one party in a phone call be notified about the recording. Because of this, nearly every company will notify you of a call’s recording when you call in for support. Be sure that any recording you plan to do is legal before proceeding.
Automatic Call Recorder
Automatic Call Recorder is a simple, Material Design-themed app. It allows you to connect your Dropbox or Google Drive accounts to easily back up your recordings, and it presents you with several options for recording.
True to its name, Automatic Call Recorder will grab all calls without your intervention. It allows you to add notes about the call so you can easily remember what a recording contains, and even lets you ignore certain contacts if you don’t want to record those calls. A $7 Pro upgrade removes the ads and gives some additional recording options.
In our test recording, this app didn’t sound good at first. Our side of the call was clear, but there was static throughout the recording and you could barely hear the other party. We tried the Voice Call and Voice Communication options in both AMR and WAV formats, and both sounded poor.
When we made a call using speakerphone, the recording sounded much better and was certainly loud enough. Thus, the free version of this app is fine for most people — just make sure you’re using speakerphone to record.
Download: Automatic Call Recorder (Free)
Another Call Recorder
Another Call Recorder is a bit slicker than Automatic Call Recorder. Before you start, it asks you to confirm that call recording is legal in your country and acknowledge that call recording apps can’t record Wi-Fi or internet calls. Once you jump in, you’ll find another plain Material Design app with a bit more to offer than the above.
The app separates recordings by incoming, outgoing, and important status, and you can sort them by contact or date. There’s extended support for cloud services, including OneDrive, FTP, and even emailing recordings, but these are locked behind the $3 Pro upgrade.
We tested recording in M4A format and found that the recording had less static but was still way too quiet to hear. Even when we made a second call with speakerphone enabled, the other party was still quiet. Due to its advanced feature set and good looks, and despite its low volume, we recommend Another Call Recorder only if you want to share recordings to cloud storage.
Download: Another Call Recorder (Free)
The simply-named Call Recorder is by far the ugliest app on this list. Despite receiving recent updates, its look would be more at home with 2010 Android than what it’s become today. It’s a slim offering, with just a few basic settings common among all recording apps. It doesn’t allow you to export recordings to cloud storage, which means this takes an additional step in a file browser app.
On the recording side, it’s average compared to the others. Recording without speakerphone brings the same murky problems, making the other party almost impossible to understand. On speakerphone it’s better, but a hissing sound keeps the recording from being clear.
Aside from this, the app shoves “recommended” downloads in your face when you try to close it. Automatic Call Recorder has more features than this app without the ugly look, so we don’t recommend Call Recorder due to its ugly aesthetics, lack of settings, and poor recording quality.
Download: Call Recorder (Free)
Super Call Recorder
Super Call Recorder sounds promising, but it offers a barebones feature set similar to Call Recorder. You won’t find any options to change the recording file type, and you must export to cloud services manually. The app is also loaded with ads, from “recommended” junk to full-screen ads when you open a recording.
The recording quality is good on this one. There’s only minimal hissing, but again, you have to use the speakerphone to hear the other party. Because it doesn’t offer many customization options and is loaded with ads, we’d advise against using Super Call Recorder.
Download: Super Call Recorder (Free)
Call Recorder Automatic only gives you the option to enable or disable recording of incoming and outgoing calls. You can add a white list of contacts to avoid recording them, but that’s all the app offers in terms of settings.
We had some major problems with this app. It’s the only one of the five that doesn’t let you listen to your recording inside the app, instead requiring you to open it using a music player. However, our test recording failed to play in multiple apps. What’s more, Call Recorder Automatic requires you to upgrade to Pro just to share your recordings from within the app. This is ridiculous, and makes Call Recorder – Automatic the worst of the five we tested.
Download: Call Recorder Automatic (Free)
When we started this comparison, we expected the apps to differ mostly in recording quality. What we found is that most apps record about the same, but offer different feature sets. The last three apps are all unattractive, loaded with ads, and make sharing your recordings difficult, which means they aren’t worth using.
Even though its Pro option is the most expensive at $7, most people won’t need it, and so we think Automatic Call Recorder is the best app for recording calls on Android. If you don’t mind paying the $3 for a Pro upgrade to Automatic Call Recorder, try that instead as it offers the most features and export options.
Your experience with recording quality may vary due to your particular phone, network connection, or the other party’s volume. Give the loudness and recording source options a try if you aren’t happy with how your test recordings sound.
Do you record your Android phone calls? If we missed your favorite recording app, let us know about it by leaving a comment!
Originally written by Erez Zukerman on June 28th, 2013.