TracFones with Voice-Activated Dialing

Through writing this blog and previous experience maintaining TracFone service for myself and various family members, I’ve had the opportunity to test out a vast majority of the phones offered by TracFone. Many of these TracFone handsets have been a step or two behind those offered by the larger contract carriers in terms of the various features built in to the phones, but the two latest bluetooth-enabled models, the Motorola w376g and the LG 600g, certainly offer far more options than any previous models. However, these two models still lack one element that is, in my opinion, a very important safety feature for some users: voice-activated dialing.

Personally, I don’t recommend that anyone talk on their cell phone while driving, but for those that do I hope that you take the highest safety precautions. Several states and many more municipalities across the country have implemented laws that require drivers to use hands-free headsets if they talk while driving. This is a good safety step, but it doesn’t account for the time that people undoubtedly distract themselves from driving to dial a number. With voice-activated dialing, this distraction can also be reduced.

So I can’t understand why some of the “best” TracFone models eliminate this feature. LG, maker of the 600g, also produces to CDMA TracFone models, and both of those include voice dialing. And Motorola previously manufactured at least one other TracFone handset, the V120, that included voice dialing. So we know that it CAN be done, yet it’s a mystery to me why this option would not be included on the latest and greatest handsets.

If you want a TracFone with hands-free dialing, though, you still have some options. All of the CDMA models currently offered – the LG 3280 and 200C, as well as the Kyocera 126c – include some form of voice-activated dialing. On both of the LG versions, you’ll have to first set up the voice commands for each contact in your list that you want to be able to voice dial, then remember that command when you’re ready to call the person. The Kyocera also allows voice commands to dial a number from your contact list, OR you can speak the phone number digits one-by-one and the phone will then confirm and dial the number you want to call. All of these phones are currently available from TracFone bundled with some form of airtime card.

I also think that this is something worth asking for from TracFone in future handsets. If you share my opinion that voice-activated dialing is an option that’s not only convenient but also a safety feature, perhaps you’d like to let TracFone know that you are concerned about it. You can contact them at the following email address: ERDManagement@tracfone.com. Ask when they will offer a GSM phone with voice-activated dialing, and if they can’t answer that then encourage them to include it in future models. It just might save a life.

24 thoughts on “TracFones with Voice-Activated Dialing

    • Hi John
      I could be mistaken, but I don’t know of any reason why the technology inherent to the CDMA/GSM issue would dictate whether voice-activated dialing is possible. I think it’s just the decision of the manufacturer on whether to include the voice dialing option.

    • After reading the article and seeing the TracFone email “comment” address, I sent this note to TracFone:
      Quote: As a TracFone user, I just purchased a Bluetooth equipped Samsung T301G , having first tried, unsuccessfully, to find a voice activated TracFone enabled resource.

      1. Hawai’i, where I live, requires hands free cell phone use beginning July 1, 2009.
      2. Please initiate implementation and sale of hands free calling resources as soon as possible … if not sooner.
      3. Please advise me when the hands free calling feature is added/restored to Samsung T301G units.
      End quote.

      Thanks for the insights and pointers…. 808Tom

      06/23/09 1057 AM HST

      • Tom – Thanks for taking the time to write that email. I love it, and hope it inspires some action out of TracFone.

  1. I have a tracfone LG 200C (for almost 2 years)and it has VAD. I bought it as an upgrade from Walmart to replace the motorola that TRACFONE sold me directly and does not work from my home. My only problem with the phone us that none of the audio is loud enough. You can hardly hear the ring and if I don’t hold the earpiece right to the ear it is hard to hear person speaking. HOWEVER do not have it to your ear when turning on as the opening “tune” is ear splitting. THANK YOU for your insights.

    • I have an LG 200C also. I made my home land line voice-dialable and it recorded my voice. But how do you actually make the call???

      thanks, Jack

  2. Hi pbushx2,

    This is more a comment on your overall blog. I just came across your blog for the first time today and I wanted to say a big THANK YOU! I have been a tracfone user for almost 4 years and I have never met anyone else who used it so I have not been able to exchange info or find out all the tips and tricks. In fact, I sometimes feel like I’m the only tracfone user on earth, especially when one of my friends shows off their new iphone or blackberry. (But then I feel better when I think about how much money I’m saving per month!!). So anyway, thanks for writing this blog and showing me that there are lots of other tracfone users out there. Your blog is such a valuable forum for sharing information and advice.

    By the way, it is time for me to upgrade my ancient Nokia so I found your review of the Motorola w376g extremely helpful. I am hoping to be able to transfer my current tracfone phone number, so it’s also been good for me to read others’ experiences with this (good and not so good) to what to expect.

  3. Sorry to start a new subject here, but I’m new at this and don’t quite know how to start a new subject! I have an LG 600g Tracfone and am trying to figure out how to take a picture with it. I can access the ‘camera’ menu, but that just is for settings like brightness, resolution, etc. What i need to know is what mode do I need to be in and what button do I then push to actually take a picture? And then how do i view my pictures? and how can I delete pictures?
    The manual I downloaded and printed out is no help, and I called Tracfone’s tech support and they basically said they didn’t know and I should take it back to where I bought it and they should help me. Auck! If the Tracfone tekkie people don’t know, how do they expect that a 17-year-old clerk at WalMart will know????

    • cjb – I could be remembering incorrectly, but when in camera mode I believe that the “OK” button in the middle of the directional keypad snaps a pic.

  4. i have voice-activated dialing with my w376g because i was able to link my phone with my car (actually the dealership did it.) i say “call bob,” for example, and the number is dialed. it’s wonderful. the dealership was very insistent that i get a phone with this bluetooth capability for safety reasons. i’m so glad i did.

  5. I emailed Tracfone on 01/12/2009 and haven’t received a confirmation about my email. Teenagers and young adults laugh when they find out that I use Tracfone then suggest I get a “real” cellphone. Tracfone is hurting themselves by crippling features on their phones.

  6. I was looking on your blog (which is fantastic, thank you so much!) and ran across the LG3280 800 minute plus double minutes deal. It was just now that I realized the phones available differ depending on which zip you enter. My question is….if I buy the phone, even though it wasn’t offered in the options for my zip, will it still work for me or will it be more of a headache. I live in Connecticut and our phone options are definitely not as good as those I see when I enter the zip you listed in the blog entry.
    Once again, thank you so very much for your blog. I have been a tracfone user for years and it’s so nice to see reviews of their phones and services. I’ve even learned a thing or two!

    • Pepper –
      The LG 3280 is a CDMA phone, which means that it operates on networks owned by either Verizon or Alltel (which is now Verizon, anyway). If you have either of these two carriers in your area, then the 3280 will work for you. Another way to figure this out is to go to this page in TracFone’s site, and enter your zip code. Now look at the phones listed on the right-hand side of the screen. If the phone that you are interested in is listed there, then click on that model number to see the coverage map. If it’s not listed, then it won’t work in your area (or at least TracFone won’t let you activate it with a local number there, but that’s another long story).

  7. yes, thank you. i finally sent an email to tracfone and they did reply as to how to use the camera. (But I don’t understand why they don’t print this kind of stuff in the manual! Certainly there are other clueless people like me out there!) By the way, I LOVE my LG 600g phone. I live way out in the country, and have had several tracfones which I used just when I was away from home; the phones did not work in my home as I’m too far from a cell tower. But the LG 600 works GREAT even with the very weak signal…..I get at least 4 or 5 bars all the time. It’s a nice safety feature to have it work in my home! Thanks for the posting concerning this feature of the phone; it’s the reason I bought it and i’ve not been disappointed.

  8. Just wanted to thank pbushx2 for suggesting I check out buy.com for a bluetooth headset for my LG600G cell phone. I don’t use a headset much, so I did not want to spend a lot. I got a Jabra BT2050 for $13 and free shipping if anyone is interested. Good sound and price (website says regular price is $50). I googled it, and another site had it for $35 plus $9 shipping. This is my first bluetooth headset so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I am satisfied. The earpiece is a little large for my ear so I use the ear loop. You can check the reviews by purchasers of it on the buy.com website.

  9. I do not like the voice dialing. I think setting your phone up for speed dialing is easier than getting the voice dialing feature to work. I don’t talk on my phone very often while driving but if I do I would only dial someone who is on my speed dial list.

    Molly

  10. This is the response I received in regards to why Tracfone doesn’t offer voice-activated dialing and cripples Blue-Tooth features on their phones.

    “Thank you for your interest in TracFone Wireless. We are responding to your recent inquiry.
    TracFone Wireless would like to take this opportunity to apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced with our service. Feedback from our customers is very important to us. We are constantly working to improve our service. Be assured that will keep doing our best to serve your cell phone needs.

    If you have any additional suggestion or comments that might help us to improve our services, please let us know it will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for being a TracFone Wireless customer. We appreciate your business.

    Sincerely,
    Executive Resolutions Management
    TracFone Wireless, Inc.”

  11. Hi,
    Thank you so much for your help. Again, I love your blog and I thank you so much for your work on it. I’ve learned so much even though I’ve been using tracfone for many years now.

  12. Hello Pbushx2,
    Thanks again for a great website full of great info. I recently purchased the LG 6oo replacing a v170. The reception is not what I expected, the same as the 170. Well I decided to up grade my wife’s v170 to a 3280 as her year card was about to expire. I often pickup a year card on ebay for 80 to 90 dollars. This time the cheapest has been 96.00. So that I was wanting to up grade anyhow I went with the bundled package. A recond. 3280 dmfl with a year card for 99.99. I tried the 23444promo for 3.00 off and it still works. So for 96.99 plus tax I was able to upgrade to a cdma phone (better service in our area)plus a year card that I would of had to purchase anyhow.
    Keep up the great website,
    Ken

    • Ken, that’s great that it worked out for you. I’m happy to have been of service, and thank you for sharing your experience with everyone here. It is important to consider quality of network coverage when picking a phone, and in many areas Verizon just covers more ground than ATT or T-Mobile. I know that many TracFone users are hoping for a new CDMA model soon, but I’ve been very happy with my experience using the 3280. It works great as a phone, just lacks some of the “cool” factor of the newer GSM phones.

  13. Pingback: LG 600G FAQ | LG 600g Prepaid Phone Discussion

  14. i love my trac phone (motorola w376g with bluetooth capability so i can use it in my car hands-free), but a friend has ecnountered a problem recently when trying to reach me on my trac phone. she gets this message: “The wireless customer you are trying to reach is unavailable. Please call again later”.

    this is a new problem for me, but it’s only with this person. she has a verizon cell phone plan.

    does anyone have any thoughts on what might be causing it?

    i apologize if this is not the appropriate place to ask this question.

  15. Muffin, that’s really odd. Are you sure your friend has your number stored correctly in her phone? Assuming that’s not the problem, are you sure that your phone rings correctly when someone else calls you? If neither of those two ideas help, I guess the next option is for your friend to check with Verizon. Their customer service might be able to help.

    • thanks for getting back to me. yes, she has the correct number and i did have someone else call me and he got through fine. i will ask her to check with verizon.

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