The Olympus VG-170 has a small but chunky body, with an oversized flash and a textured grip on the front, and a high resolution 3-inch screen, four buttons and a four way control pad on the back.
Both the small grip on the back and the front grip have a golf ball-like mottled texture that provides some design interest but is barely more grippy than the rest of the camera.
The overall construction of the camera is sturdy enough, but the battery and SD card slot door feels very flimsy when open. The flex in the Olympus VG-170's plastic door also means that it would be easy to snap it off accidentally when closing it quickly.
Similarly, the rubber USB cover feels quite fragile when open.
The menu layout of the Olympus VG-170 is very simple, with Program Auto, iAuto, Panorama and Scene modes to choose from. Within each of these modes there's an on-screen menu where settings such as flash, ISO and exposure compensation can all be selected. In the pared down iAuto mode the only options are flash, self timer and image size, which makes the camera very easy to use.
The control layout of the camera is similarly straightforward, with a dedicated video record button, main menu and image playback buttons, plus the four-way control pad on the back.
The only other controls are the on/off button and shutter release with wraparound zoom rocker on the top of the body.