Tracfone Motorola V170 Review

This Tracfone Motorola V170 review describes a simple but reliable prepaid phone. The V170 is a flip phone with a small color screen but with comfortable buttons in an easy-to-use layout. We used one as a backup and it was great.

Update: Discontinued

The V170 was replaced by the V176 and W376g until they switched to a line from LG such as the 420g, 430g and, currently, the LG 440g.

You could get a pretty good deal on a refurbished phone plus 120 minutes of airtime good for 90 days for just $20 including free shipping via the link on the right, and you could get it in silver or black. The Motorola V170 was simple, it worked, and it lasted.

Otherwise, let's dive into the details.

Basic Info

What's included?

The bare minimum: battery, AC Adapter, and SIM Card (it's a GSM phone). If you get the $20 package direct from Tracfone, then you also get a 60 minute airtime card and a promo code for getting an additional 60 minutes when you activate the card.

Size and Weight

The V170 measures 3.6 x 1.92 x 0.92 inches and weighs 3.07 ounces. You can get lighter, smaller phones, but they can sometimes be less comfortable to use. The phone fits comfortably in a handbag's cell phone pouch.

Battery Life

Batteries also tend to deteriorate a bit over time so it's better to have a phone with a longer talk and standby times when new.

Talk Time

I know you're not going to talk for 6 hours on a prepaid phone. But you could.

Standby Time

The standby time is more important. This Tracfone is rated to go up to 12.5 days before recharging. This is good. Although it's probably better to recharge your phone a bit more often than that, it's good to be able to go for more than a week without having to recharge your handset.

Now that we know some basics let's see where you can actually use it . . .

Single Rate Phone

The Tracfone Motorola V170 is a single-rate phone - each minute of airtime costs one unit. You can call from and to anywhere in the United States for one single rate. There are no roaming charges, and you can even make international calls to many countries at no additional charge.

Text Messages

Yes, you can send and receive text messages which cost 0.3 units of airtime each way.

In fact, reading, replying to, and deleting text messages is actually a little more convenient than some of the newer basic Tracfones. The buttons are easier to press and you seem to need to press fewer of them to get the job done. That's not to say that the phone has any predictive text input or anything -- you still have to type out exactly what you want to say, letter by letter except for sending common messages which can be stored beforehand.

Voice Mail

You can set up your voicemail pretty easily if you want. You do get charged airtime, but the Tracfone voicemail system is actually pretty efficient so you usually don't use up more than a minute or two of your airtime.

Standard Features


This is a basic phone so you probably won't ever need to consult the Tracfone Motorola V170 manual(pdf).

Caller ID and Call Waiting

Yep, Caller Id and Call Waiting are available. You don't really need to answer call waiting on a prepaid cell phone because your calls are usually going to be relatively short, but it's good to know who's calling so you can call them right back.

Color Screen

The V170 was one of the first Tracfones with color screen when it first came out, but now is barely worth pointing out. I recently read a review of the phone which describes it's "gorgeous color screen"! You won't find junk like that in this review.

Screen savers and Wallpapers

You can customize these.

Multi-Language Support

You can change the menu language from English to Spanish.


You can store your contacts like every other phone so you don't have to keep dialing and you eventually forget their number, and then god forbid you lose the cell phone because you don't have them backed up. On this note, you wouldn't use it as your main business phonebook because you can't sync your contacts with your computer.


Twenty ringtones are included with the phone, so you can root around and choose the one you like most. You could pick one that's pleasant yet uncommon or not. It's up to you. You can assign different tones for calls, text messages, and voicemail messages.

Alarm Clock

The alarm clock is a good backup for when the kids mess with the clock radio.


The V170 comes with three games. They are Racing, Torpedo, and Magic. They're not exactly the most entertaining out there, but I suppose they'll do the next time you're stuck in an elevator. Quickly looking them over, the Racing game is not bad, Torpedo is too easy, and I have no idea how to play Magic.


A basic calculator good for checking your shopping discount and your gas mileage if you keep track of that. If it drives you nuts when the supermarket lists their deals as get 7 for $6.38 compared to the usual cost of 99 cents, then the calculator can come in handy. One drawback is the awkward layout and functions due to the small screen.

Stop Watch

I've never seen someone actually use a cell phone stopwatch, though I suppose it could come in handy.

Airtime Balance Display

Tracfone apparently patented their airtime display, so they get to show you how many minutes you have and the expiration date, while with other cell phones you have to go through the menu or send a text to some number and then you get a text back with the airtime information.

Get One?

The Tracfone Motorola V170 was a great inexpensive phone for short term use because you could get a Motorola V170 + 60 minutes for just $19.99. Plus 60 bonus minutes. You could recycle it when done with it, or use a promo code to buy more minutes.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Would have Used it 'til the Cows Came Home 
I had purchased the Motorola V-170 in 2006 from K-Mart for $49.99. This phone is a little workhorse, and I love(d) it. However, I was notified by Tracfone …

Still going 
I lost track of how old my V170 is - nine years or more, but other than replacing the battery once, it is still in service and fully operational, and in …

Love it and hate to see it go 
I've been using my V170 as emergency & back-up since about mid 2006 and now, 3/2016, Tracfone sent an email saying it's a 2G speed phone & Cell carriers …

Great little gadget, very useful too. 
Got it as a gift while in hospital with cancer 6 years ago. We both are still ticking, the V170 better than me. God Bless.

How can you add minutes to it. Not rated yet
I don't like it. How can you add minutes to it? --------------- Hi James, I don't know if this old Motorola V170 phone will still work with TracFone. …

Basic User Not rated yet
I've had this phone for 7+ years and have no issues. The perfect basic phone for someone who does not talk all day. My first color screen mobile phone …

Use as a portable voice mail box Not rated yet
I like and continue to use Tracfone, as in a pinch the phone's can be bought and adding two hours of air-time each month suits my needs very well. I use …

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