dual sim SIM cards

Everything You Need to Know About Dual SIM Phones for Travel

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So, what is a dual SIM telephone?

In essence, it’s precisely what the identify suggests: a telephone that may use two totally different SIMs. A SIM, or Subscriber Id Module, is (sometimes) a small, removable plastic card with metallic contacts that fits into a slot within the aspect of the telephone and helps determine a device on a cellular network. If the SIM is permitted to join to the community, you’ll get service. If it isn’t, you gained’t.

Most phones bought in america solely have a single SIM slot. Dual SIM telephones are much more widespread elsewhere on the earth, nevertheless, and lots of producers supply totally different versions of their phones due to this.

Buy the US mannequin of the Motorola Moto G7, our prime price range smartphone decide, and it’ll have one SIM slot. Buy the “international” model, nevertheless, and it’ll have two.

Technically, issues don’t finish with simply two SIMs. Triple and even quadruple SIM telephones do exist, but they’re very rare, and sometimes solely obtainable in creating markets like India. They provide little additional for the vast majority of travelers, and there’s no specific purpose to attempt to hunt one down.

Why Use a Dual SIM Telephone?

Individuals tend to use dual SIM phones for two principal reasons in day by day life. In nations the place calls and texts are sometimes free between units on the identical community, clients typically have SIM playing cards from two totally different corporations and change between them depending on who they’re calling.

Likewise, people who don’t need to carry a separate telephone for work and personal use will typically end up with a dual SIM model that lets them combine each numbers in a single gadget.

There’s some impression on battery life when using two SIMs, nevertheless it’s pretty minimal.

How Is a Dual SIM Telephone Helpful for Travel?

Dual SIM phones are very useful for international travelers, since they will provide one of the best of each worlds when it comes to staying related.

You can purchase and use a prepaid SIM card from whatever country you’re touring in to get low cost native calls, texts, and knowledge, while nonetheless preserving your traditional quantity accessible. Equally, you’ll be able to drop a world SIM card into one of many slots, and retain your own home SIM within the other.

Virtually all dual SIM telephones allow you to set a default SIM for calls, texts, and knowledge. You can typically also turn knowledge roaming on or off individually, and disable one or each SIMs as wanted.

This strategy will get round an issue confronted by many international vacationers: how to avoid paying high roaming charges to use your telephone overseas, while nonetheless being contactable by family, pals, and establishments like banks that want to send authentication codes to your typical quantity.

As long as you will have roaming enabled with your own home SIM, you’ll still receive calls and texts to it, even with the other SIM set because the default.

Not All Dual SIM Phones Are the Similar

Man buying SIM card in shop

Simply because two phones have twin SIM capability doesn’t mean they both work exactly the identical means. There are a number of technical variations to concentrate on.

Dual Lively vs Dual Standby

Up to now, one of many largest variations between twin SIM units was whether they have been dual standby (DSDS) or dual lively (DSDA). As the names recommend, dual-active units can both be lively on a name or utilizing knowledge at the similar time. Dual-standby units will “listen” with both SIMs, however just one might be lively directly.

This mattered much more with older GSM voice and knowledge networks, since using one SIM for calls, texts, or 2G knowledge would forestall the opposite from receiving a call. LTE networks don’t have the same limitations, and most telephone makers now don’t hassle with the extra hardware required for dual-active help.

Lately, the primary thing you need to keep in mind with DSDS units is that until your service is using VoLTE (Voice over LTE), the other quantity will go to voicemail whenever you’re on a call,

What About eSIMs?

Embedded SIMs (eSIMs) have been out there in a number of Android units for the final two or three years, nevertheless it was Apple including it to the newest iPhones that basically popularised the know-how.

Moderately than using a bodily, removable SIM card, eSIMs are constructed into the telephone and configured by way of software program. Since only a small number of carriers presently help the know-how, telephones with eSIM additionally embrace a separate bodily SIM slot as properly.

Consequently, the iPhone XS and iPhone XR fashions are the primary twin SIM iPhones that Apple has made. In a lot of the world, these fashions have one bodily SIM slot, coupled with an eSIM. Most or all the versions bought in Hong Kong, Macau, and China, nevertheless, take two bodily SIMs as an alternative.

Whereas utilizing an eSIM to present a second SIM choice is definitely useful, it doesn’t but present the same flexibility as two physical slots. As talked about, carriers around the globe have been sluggish to help eSIM, with none aside from a couple of international SIM suppliers presently offering pay as you go service.

We’ve talked a lot more up to now about eSIMs for travel, and the easiest way to use them.

Don’t Overlook About MicroSD Cards

Many twin SIM Android phones additionally embrace microSD card help, letting you add further space for storing as needed. If that’s one thing you plan to use, it’s value checking the small print of precisely how it’s finished on the system you’re buying.

Some twin SIM telephones have a separate microSD slot, so adding additional storage gained’t affect your capacity to use a pair of SIM cards.

Other models, nevertheless, get monetary savings and area by combining the microSD card reader with one of many SIM card slots. In that case, you should use both two nano SIMs, or one SIM and one microSD card, however not all three playing cards directly.

What’s the Greatest Dual SIM Telephone?

One of the best twin SIM telephone, for journey or another function, is likely to depend as much on the place on the planet you’re buying it as anything. As talked about earlier, relatively few phones bought in the USA have two physical SIM slots. You’ve obtained a number of extra choices in the event you’re glad to use an eSIM, however it’s still a restricted vary.

Elsewhere on the earth, it’s a special story. Not only are there much more dual SIM telephones that aren’t even bought within the US, as talked about earlier there are worldwide variants of several well-liked fashions which have two SIM slots as an alternative of one.

It’s typically potential to purchase these worldwide fashions from the US Amazon store and elsewhere, but they sometimes don’t embrace a producer guarantee. If they fail after the return period (sometimes 30 days), you’re by yourself.

Greatest Dual SIM Phones With Two Bodily SIM Slots

OnePlus is among the few corporations selling high-end smartphones with two bodily SIM slots within the US (and elsewhere), and is an obvious suggestion right here. We’ve reviewed the OnePlus 6 and 6T prior to now, and the OnePlus 7 and seven Professional proceed where they left off.

For those who’re buying outdoors the USA, or are proud of the shortage of warranty help when buying from a US vendor, the international model of the Motorola Moto G7 is our prime price range decide.

A number of of our different finances smartphone suggestions have twin SIM slots (including the US variations), such as the Nokia 6.1 and BLU Vivo XL4.

Greatest Dual SIM Phones With eSIM

Once you start including telephones which have a bodily SIM slot and an eSIM, your options open up a bit extra. Apple’s newest fashions both fall into this class, so in the event you’re an iPhone fan and have the cash to spend, each the iPhone XR and XS are good twin SIM decisions.

The most effective dual SIM telephone that makes use of an eSIM proper now, nevertheless, has to be the Google Pixel 3a. It’s exceptional worth given the high-end digital camera, regular software program updates, headphone jack, and more, and we’d still purchase it even when it only had a single SIM. With two, it’s a no brainer.

What Different Dual SIM Units Are There?

Many SIM cards

While a number of SIM slots are most often seen in smartphones, that’s not the only place you’ll discover them. A number of corporations have come out with dual SIM cellular hotspots, and it’s still potential to find Android and iPhone twin SIM adapters in the event you look exhausting enough.

Dual SIM Cellular Hotspots

While the overwhelming majority of moveable hotspots have a single SIM slot, there are a number of that buck the development. The GlocalMe G3, one in every of our prime cellular hotspot picks, truly has three SIMs: a pair of slots to put bodily SIM playing cards in, along with an eSIM that gives surprisingly reasonably priced roaming knowledge packages.

The advantage of that strategy particularly is having the ability to use the roaming knowledge as soon as you arrive in a new nation, switching to an area SIM whenever you get round to buying one. Only one SIM, physical or embedded, may be lively directly, but that’s not a problem with data-only units like these.

Hotspots like these are only a partial communication answer, since you’re nonetheless restricted to the SIM card in your telephone for calls and texts. Given the give attention to knowledge for most vacationers, nevertheless, that limitation typically doesn’t matter much at all.

Dual SIM Adapters

A couple of years in the past, twin SIM adapters have been fairly widespread for each Apple and Android units. They arrive in two fundamental varieties: a ribbon cable that hangs out of the telephone’s SIM tray, and a Bluetooth adapter with a pair of SIM slots.

For a long time adapters like these have been really the one means of getting a dual SIM iPhone particularly, but each varieties have their flaws. The ribbon cable strategy is ugly, cumbersome, and fairly delicate. The Bluetooth adapters are sometimes quite expensive, don’t have nice battery life, and mean carrying a second gadget.

Until you want calls and texts on each SIM cards, you’ll often find an unlocked moveable hotspot is a more sensible choice than any of the dual SIM adapters. That in all probability helps clarify why the adapters have dropped in reputation in recent times.

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Dual SIM telephones are available many various variations. They’re simply out there in some elements of the world, and exhausting to discover in others. Some let you use two physical SIM playing cards, while others use an embedded SIM that’s poorly supported by most carriers. Using a second SIM will cease you adding additional storage with some dual SIM telephones, however not others.

Whatever sort you go for, nevertheless, you’ll discover a dual SIM telephone useful overseas. Having the ability to drop in a prepaid SIM to get low cost native calls, texts, and knowledge whereas still having entry to your own home number is effective on the street. You’ll save time and cash, with no additional effort.

In case you’ve acquired the choice the place you live, it’s properly value making your next telephone a twin SIM mannequin.

Received any questions on dual SIM phones? Drop them within the comments!

Photographs by way of andrewbecks (SIM card and plastic holders), PublicDomainPictures (many SIM playing cards), Dusan Petkovic (man shopping for SIM card in store), De Repente (man eradicating SIM card from telephone)

About the Writer

Dave Dean

Dave Dean

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Founder and editor of Too Many Adapters, Dave has been a traveler for 20 years, and a geek for even longer.

When he’s not enjoying with the newest tech toy or understanding how to maintain his telephone charged for just some extra minutes, he can in all probability be found sitting in a broken-down bus in some obscure corner of the planet.

Everything you need to know about dual SIM phones