Dual-SIM smartphones have been around for a while, but have become increasingly more popular amongst travellers and working professionals. These can be especially useful to those who combine both, working and travelling from country to country in the space of weeks or months.

A dual SIM smartphone allows you the flexibility of:

  • Using one SIM card for calls and another for data.
  • Using two different phone numbers at once (e.g. personal and work numbers).
  • Swapping out local SIM cards as you travel, while keeping your primary number.

Despite the increased popularity of dual SIM smartphones, the options are relatively limited to a small selection of international versions of popular models (Samsung Galaxy S9+ or Samsung Galaxy Note 9) or more niche smartphones aimed at a tech-savvy audience (Huawei P20 Pro and OnePlus 6). Chinese-made Xiaomi also has plenty of dual SIM options, but its availability to the international market (outside of China) is also rather limited. That being said, there are plenty of solid options that we’ll cover below.

As for iPhone users, you’re out of luck. Apple doesn’t make dual SIM versions as of yet, and it doesn’t seem like this is going to change any time soon.

If you’d like to start your own research process, the user reviews on Amazon’s dual SIM unlocked cell phones section are a great place to start.

Best Dual SIM Android Phones of 2018

With this list, I’ve aimed to identify the best dual SIM smartphones from budget to the high-end. However, I’ve also made careful note to only recommend something that won’t break or become obsolete after a year – this means only including phones that have had a solid track record.

Keeping all of this in mind, the top picks are as follows:

For those looking for a high-end device with an amazing camera, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (or even the Samsung Galaxy Note 9) and the Huawei P20 Pro are the best dual SIM phones available right now. For those who want to spend less but still have flagship-level features, the OnePlus 6 is the all-rounder to beat.

The Huawei Mate 10 satisfies those who want great battery life without sacrificing performance, while more budget-focused people should consider the Moto G6 or the gorgeous and equally priced (but slightly slower) Huawei P20 Lite.

Now, let’s get into the details.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9+

Samsung has built up a solid reputation of quality Android smartphones over the past few years, primary based around its high-end Galaxy S and Galaxy Note range. Though tech geeks might nitpick over details, the fact is that these two Samsung flagship lines are consistently the ones to beat.

That’s why it’s great news that the international dual-SIM variant of the Samsung Galaxy S9+ exists, as well as the slightly smaller Samsung Galaxy S9 – though you’d miss out on the second telephoto lens of the S9+.

Apart from the fact that its specifications and features are market-leading, it also helps that Samsung is the only manufacturer other than Apple that has physical service centres scattered all around the world.

Features

  • Stunning 6.2″ Super AMOLED touchscreen
  • Dual SIM compatibility across 2G/3G/4G networks
  • Super-fast Exynos 9810 Octa-core processor
  • Market-leading camera with variable apertures (f/1.5-2.4)
  • Secondary 2x zoom f/2.4 lens with bokeh effect
  • Global network of official service centres
  • Expandable microSD card slot

Another huge plus to the Galaxy S9+ is the camera, which (alongside the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Apple iPhone X, both of which unfortunately have no dual SIM variant) has one of the best cameras today. It features a 12 megapixel camera with a world-first f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture, Dual Pixel phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilisation and 4K video recording.

While the standard Galaxy S9 (no “+”) shares almost all the same specifications, it lacks the S9+ exclusive second stabilised 2x zoom lens with f/2.4 aperture, live focus with bokeh and dual capture.

I personally switched from a DSLR to mirrorless to a premium compact, before relying exclusively on my Google Pixel 2 XL for photographs (see here for examples).

It’s pretty astonishing what smartphone cameras can now achieve.

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Alternatives

If you don’t mind not having the global coverage or following in Samsung’s stellar track record, the Huawei P20 Pro is an intriguing choice that challenges all three of the major flagship smartphones with dual SIM capability and an excellent, AI-driven camera. Add the fact that Huawei is starting to set up their own stores around the globe, and we might be onto a new leader.

Winner: OnePlus 6

If you don’t quite have top-of-the-line cash to splash, there’s no better alternative than the OnePlus 6.

What started out as a niche product, the aim of OnePlus was to offer cutting edge features and performance at a more affordable price point. Though they had a slightly rocky start, the OnePlus 6 has unanimously been hailed as the best choice for those who want flagship-level hardware (and software) on a budget.

Features

  • Vivid 6.28″ Optic AMOLED screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Dual SIM compatibility across 2G/3G/4G networks
  • Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 Octa-core processor
  • Class-leading USB Type-C “Dash” fast charging
  • Multiple storage, RAM and warranty options
  • Dual 16MP cameras with f/1.7 and f/2.0 lenses

In the <$700 price range, there are very few phones that all tick the boxes as well as the OnePlus 6.

As of November 2018, the OnePlus 6T has been released, which is the natural successor to the OnePlus 6. Many (including myself) believe the improvements made are simply not worth the upgrade: the headphone jack has been removed, a slower on-screen sensor has replaced the rear fingerprint sensor, and the battery has been slightly upgraded alongside minor design changes. There are software updates as well, however this is not as significant as they will be coming to the OnePlus 6 as well in due course.

Note: the version of the OnePlus 6 linked here is the higher end version with 128GB storage and 8GB memory, as opposed to the lower end version with 64GB storage and 6GB memory. In real-world terms, either is a great choice.

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Alternatives

There’s not much else that hits the sweet spot of quality, performance and price, however LG offer a decent alternative in the form of the LG G6, though it’s one generation behind it’s direct competition (the high-end Samsung Galaxy S9+). There’s also the OnePlus 6T, which is the latest – and debatably – greatest of what OnePlus has to offer.

Winner: Huawei Mate 10

The general rule of thumb is that bigger phone equals better battery life, however Huawei decided to cram a huge 4000 mAh battery into the Huawei Mate 10 instead. Your mileage may vary, but with light use, the Mate 10 will easily last you 3 days of usage.Even better, they kept the 3.5mm headphone jack – an increasingly rare feature for modern smartphones.

If you want even more performance with the same battery life and IP67 water resistance, have a look at the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

Features

  • 5.9″ Full HD IPS LCD screen with slim bezels
  • Dual SIM compatibility across 2G/3G/4G networks
  • Huawei’s superfast, AI-driven Kirin 970 processor
  • Fingerprint sensor and fast charging
  • Dual 20MP + 12MP cameras
  • Excellent battery life

While Huawei is a relatively new name to many, they have a solid background in building wired and wireless networks in multiple countries across the Americas, Europe and Australia, not to mention spending billions on R&D centres across the globe. So it’s no surprise that they’ve nailed the smartphone market as well – and the Mate 10 is no exception.

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Alternatives

The Mate 9 was the old favourite for battery life, and the Mate 10 is its successor – so the verdict is pretty unanimous here. Still, if you want more punch, check out the Mate 10 Pro.

Winner: Motorola Moto G6

As a brand, many would say that Motorola peaked during the flip-phone RAZR days and has sort of been in the background ever since. What they don’t know is that Motorola has carved out a solid reputation for themselves as a brand that creates high-quality smartphones on a budget.

This is rare – most brands have also issued budget phones in the past years, but they tend to be an afterthought. Not so with the Moto G6. Prices start in the mid-$200s (although there is a cheaper variant available – more on that later) and it just gets the basics right.

Features

  • Full HD+ IPS 5.7″ display (1080p), Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Dual SIM compatibility across 2G/3G/4G networks
  • No frills, practical design with solid build quality
  • 1.8 GHz octa-core processor and 3000 mAh battery
  • 12 MP & 5 MP dual rear cameras (f/1.8 aperture)
  • USB Type-C charging and an update to Android P

For the price, you’d be hard pressed to find anything that’s similarly featured with the same quality. However, if you want to go below the $200 mark, there’s also the “Play” version – officially called the Moto G6 Play – which features a 4000 mAh battery, plastic back (instead of glass), slower processor and a slightly less sharp display.

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Alternatives

The Moto G6 Play shaves off a few extra dollars for the budget conscious, however those looking for an alternative from another brand might want to check out the sleek Huawei P20 Lite. The looks defy the listed price, but it falls a little behind the Moto G6.

How to Choose a Dual SIM Android Phone

Choosing your next smartphone is a deeply personal decision – with the exception of keys and your wallet, it’s likely that nothing is kept close by as much as your phone. So when trying to decide, it’s a good idea to consider what you want to use your phone for.

Do you:

  • Want the best camera possible to take great photos on your travels? Have a look at the Samsung Galaxy S9+ or the Huawei P20 Pro.
  • Want something that does everything pretty well at a great price point? Have a look at the OnePlus 6.
  • Want a smartphone that will last all day (and some more)? Have a look at the Huawei Mate 10 or it’s biggest sibling, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
  • Simply need a phone that does all the basics, and does them well? Have a look at the Moto G6 or the Huawei P20 Lite.

Another thing to keep in mind is the longevity of your device. If you’re a technology enthusiast and want to update your smartphone every year, that’s entirely your choice – but some of us want something that just works and will continue to work for years to come. The options that I’ve picked out in this article are likely to last you for at least a few years.

Alternative: A Second Budget Phone

If you already have a decent smartphone and simply need a second phone to stay connected (for example, receiving SMS verification from your home bank), simply picking up a cheap second phone might be a good solution.

If you don’t need a smartphone, you could even go with an old-school keypad phone, but if you want to treat your second phone as a backup in case your main devices has issues, you might want to spend a little more. The main thing I’d use my backup phone for in case of emergency is WhatsApp, so make sure it’s running a version of Android that is recent enough.

Conclusion

In 2018, there are more options than ever when it comes to dual SIM Android phones. This is great thing, but it also makes choosing difficult. The focus of this article has been on choosing those that have a proven track record, good customer support and have a strong existing base of customers who are happy with their purchase – with the potential for this to be your phone of choice for years to come.

To recap, the top picks are:

If you liked this guide, please be sure to share with your friends, family, or anyone that you think might find this useful.

Thanks for reading!

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