Dual-SIM smartphones let you use two SIMs in a single phone. Most people who use dual-SIM phones find the functionality useful for mixing work and pleasure, rather than carrying separate phones for their work- and personal contracts.

Dual-SIM phones are also useful for maintaining two personal contracts, however, whereby one might offer a good rate on calls and texts, and the other offers unlimited data. Or perhaps you frequently travel abroad, and would like to carry a UK SIM for when you’re at home and another that is local to the country you’re visiting.

Dual-SIM phones are incredibly popular outside the UK, but for some reason us Brits are being left out of the dual-SIM party. This is one reason why the Chinese market has become a popular solution for picking up a dual-SIM phone, but there are risks involved

Since most dual-SIM phones are Chinese, you might also want to check our guides to the best Chinese phones & best budget Chinese phones.

Best Dual-SIM Phones 2020

1. Samsung Galaxy S20

2. OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus 7 Pro

3. Xiaomi Mi 9

Xiaomi Mi 9

4. Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

5. Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro

6. Vivo Nex 3

Vivo Nex 3

7. Honor View 20

Honor View 20

8. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

9. Huawei P30

Huawei P30

10. Oppo A9 2020

Oppo A9 2020

Your buying guide to the best dual-SIM phones in 2020

How do dual-SIM phones work? 

Something we’ve noticed when shopping for dual-SIM phones is that the manufacturer very rarely provides any information about the functionality other than it exists. It doesn’t tell you how the dual-SIM functionality works in practice, nor whether both SIMs support 4G, or even what size SIM cards they accept.

You can never assume: you’ll need to contact the manufacturer or check spec tables, reviews or forums to find out this information.

In all the dual-SIM phones we’ve tested both SIMs are on standby at all times (known as dual-standby phones), but you can actively use only one SIM at a time. This means that either SIM can accept a phone call or text at any time, without you having to actively swap between them or reboot the phone.

However, if you get a call on one number while a call is active on the other, it won’t start ringing in your ear or give you the option to put the first caller on hold – the call will simply not be successful.

What is the difference between Dual-Standby and Dual-Active?

Dual-active SIM phones use two modems and allow you to receive calls on both numbers at once.

If it’s you who wants to make a call or send a text, Android has a standard SIM Management menu that lets you specify which SIM should be used for voice calls, video calls, messages and mobile data. You can either specify a particular SIM for each of these tasks, or leave the setting at Always ask.

The data connection is where there seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to dual-SIM phones. Whereas both SIM slots on some dual-SIM phones are capable of supporting 4G or 5G connections, you can use data connectivity on only one SIM at a time. 

Unlike with calls and texts the data connection can’t be on standby for both SIMs: you must specify which SIM you want to use rather than select one when prompted, though some phones will let you set them to switch to the other SIM when the first can’t make a connection.

By default, when you are using the data connection on one SIM and a phone call comes in to the other it will pause the data connection on the first. 

Another issue when using dual-SIM phones is where your contacts are stored. We found that by default the contacts from both SIM cards are stored in the phonebook.

If you’d rather see the contacts from only one SIM, tap the three dots icon (within the Contacts app) and choose ‘Contacts to display’. You can then select All contacts, Gmail contacts, phone contacts or one of your two SIMs.





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