Getting to grips with Blackbox is straight-forward. After booting the app for the first time, its features can be discovered easily via the tidy, stock-Android-esque interface. Recorded calls can be accessed instantly from the main screen, and the user can jump right into adjusting the app to their needs. The basic features are user-friendly, and tasks like setting up backups to Google Drive or scheduling clean-ups can be done very quickly. The user can also ensure the app is secured, they can modify the in-call settings, and even create a whitelist, so certain contacts won’t be recorded. After all, you don’t really need a recording of Uncle Steve telling you about his golfing weekend, right? Maybe you do, I dunno…
Regarding the interface, it’s only when the user delves into the advanced settings that some options are a little unclear. To maintain the accessible feel, the ‘Bluetooth recording’, ‘Proximity sensor’, and ‘Audio source’ options would benefit from more explanation as to how they can be utilised. But they are advanced settings after all, and the basic functionality of the app will be sufficient for most users.
One of the new features is Stealth Mode. It’s going to be useful if you’re on a Bond-style mission, where you switch phones with a super-criminal, or just if your kids are up to no good. It’s for users who want to ensure that call recording and the app’s presence on the phone are kept hidden. Very sneaky indeed. It’s enabled via a pin code, which the user must dial into the phone to access the app from that point on. It’s not totally secret, as Blackbox will still be visible in the phone’s installed apps, but it will disappear from the app drawer and home screen. That should be enough to fool little Timmy and maybe even that international arms dealer, if you’re lucky.
It’s going to be useful if you’re on a Bond-style mission, where you switch phones with a super-criminal, or just if your kids are up to no good.
Recordings can be replayed through Blackbox or other media players (although they can be obscured to other apps if you wish); they can be saved in many formats and easily shared or stored elsewhere. But when playing the recordings back, the other person in the call is too quiet, so the volume must be cranked right up. It’s perfectly audible after this, but having to turn the system volume up so high is somewhat inconvenient. I guess you could just ask the other person to shout. Then again, some people just do anyway.
Blackbox will prove a useful app for anyone that needs to record calls on an Android phone. And there’s the freedom to choose a subscription to the app’s services or buy them outright. There is a small volume issue with playback, but the app is easy to use, and there’s an array of features to keep recordings de-cluttered, secure, and stealthy.