Freshly arrived from it’s Chinese eBay padded mailer, behold the Aiek M3
The Aiek M3 is a quad band GSM phone which is exactly the same size as a credit card (but significantly thicker). It is the next generation following the older “real button” versions (M1 and M2) and instead uses some sort of capacitive touch key design.
Aesthetically it doesn’t look too terrible, with some nearly real metal at the top and bottom. The one button also has a nice click to it.
The screen is an exact copy of the old LG VX6000 external screen, and even features two colors. But they can’t be used at the same time — the bottom 75% of the screen is blue and the top 25% is yellow. Very cute.
The Aiek M3 ships with a crappy pair of micro-USB terminated headphones, a micro-USB cable, and a 110 volt to USB adapter. Note that there is absolutely NO MANUAL included (at least in my box). Getting to learn this device was a tad bit tricky, so I’ll go over the start up:
- Remove the back cover by sliding it up the phone. It should easily click out.
- The Aiek M3 takes a regular “Mini SIM card” and not a micro or nano sim card. Just slide it in the side tray.
- There is also room for a microSD card to store music.
Some basic usage:
- Switch on bottom must be turned to the ON position.
- Press and hold the only button the phone, down by the microphone.
- The phone will make a cute but incredibly annoying noise as it starts up.
- Short pressing the button will toggle the screen on or off, and the screen has an auto shutoff.
- The keys deactivate when the screen shuts off. The button must be pressed again to reactivate.
- Long press will shut the phone off, with an equally hideous noise emanating from the phone.
If you’ve used other cheap, crappy, Chinese cell phones, you’ll immediately note that this phone runs the exact same operating system with the same menu options as all the other phones. This includes the BLU style “must confirm everything with a two click process.” For example, to edit something you must press Options->Edit and then to Save it you must press Options->Save. To make matters worse, this is not consistent throughout the phone. “Add a New Contact” is at the top of the contacts list under “A”, and you must scroll up to get to it. In most cases pressing “Back” unceremoniously discards all of your changes to the current screen, but on several screens this is not the case. Enjoy figuring it all out!
The included earpiece speaker is mediocre, and you can here some interference just when using it at my desk (with another cell phone in somewhat close proximity…).
This is an audio sample that I recorded into a voicemail system letting you hear the quality of the transmitted audio:
Other Annoying Things
The text input method defaults to “Ying Yang Chinese” or something like that. Changing it requires morse coding your way through the 8 different options using the # key. It also has no automatic “first character of sentence is upper case and rest is lower case feature.” Switching from upper to lower requires one press from ABC mode to abc mode. Going back, on the other hand, requires going through all other modes (numeric and Chinese).
It includes the usual Media Player, FM Radio, and Calculator. Unfortunately, the media player is only functional when you plug in the included headphones as there is no speaker to speak of (hah).
By all intents and purposes this is a god-awful terrible cell phone. But at ~$40 shipped from China (and equipped with Quad Band GSM radios), it makes an excellent “slip into the wallet back up GSM phone.” Makes a good conversation starter.
UPDATE: Here’s the listing with the QuadBand specification: