Best dual SIM phones in Australia 2021
If you’re looking to run multiple phone numbers from just one handset, we’ve got the best picks for every price bracket and need.
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The best dual SIM phones in Australia
- Best dual SIM phone under $200: Nokia G10
- Best dual SIM phone under $500: Motorola Moto G 5G Plus
- Best $500–$1,000 dual SIM phone: Google Pixel 4a 5G
- Best premium dual SIM phone: Apple iPhone 12
How did we pick this list?
Dual SIM is a fairly standard inclusion these days on a lot of phones across a wide variety of price points and needs. We've tested out every phone in this list, and hundreds more besides, taking into consideration not only their dual SIM capabilities but also their general value for money within their respective price brackets, camera quality and everything else that goes into making a great smartphone.
- 3-year warranty
- Android One
- USB-C charging
- Fair performance for its price
- Only 720p display
- Average camera
- Doesn’t entirely live up to 3-day battery claim
Why we chose it
In the true budget category there's a surprising number of dual SIM phones, but HMD Global's Nokia G10 stands out nicely. Not so much just for dual SIM, but also the exceptional three-year warranty and two years of Android updates, which means it's a phone that'll keep on calling and being supported years after the other budget options are yesterday's news.
- Snapdragon 765G and 5G at a lower price point
- Multi camera array
- Large 90Hz capable display
- Side fingerprint sensor doesn't always work
- Macro camera struggles to focus
- Battery life could be better
Why we chose it
If you're looking at a dual SIM phone, you should probably also consider your 5G needs, now and in the future. Motorola's Moto G 5G Plus brings 5G capabilities and dual SIM to you for under $500 in a package that's not an utter standout in any single category, but instead a generally great all-round performer. The one caveat here is that the model sold through carriers is actually only single SIM, so if you want dual SIM action on the Moto G 5G Plus, you'll need to buy it outright.
- 5G compatibility
- Larger display than any other 2020 Pixel
- Easy-to-use cameras
- Guaranteed quick Android updates
- 5G is only sub-6 in Australia
- Design still feels plain
- AI bokeh doesn't always get it right
Why we chose it
Google's Pixel lines are all about Android stripped down to the basics and of its current Pixel line-up the Pixel 4a 5G is easily the best-value option. It has the biggest display, still has a headphone jack and has Google's excellent AI-driven camera to make taking photos a breeze. On the dual SIM side, it has a single slot for nano SIM cards and the option to use an eSIM as a secondary SIM, as long as your telco actually supports that feature. That covers the big network players, but not so much the MVNO space as much, although you could always opt for a physical MVNO-based SIM and then a telco network eSIM to meet those needs.
- Camera gives better low-light shots
- Apple A14 Bionic runs ludicrously fast
- Improved Ceramic Shield glass
- Dual cameras on a flagship is a little odd
- No charger or headphones included
- Battery life is still low for a premium priced phone
Why we chose it
If you've got the budget to spare, Apple's premium iPhone 12 Pro Max or Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G are great dual SIM handsets, but for those who want a little sanity in their mobile phone pricing, the iPhone 12 is our pick of the premium bunch. You get the same powerful processor as the Pro Max without the price sticker, along with a single nano SIM and eSIM capability to handle your dual SIM needs. Apple's operating system support tends to stretch over many years, so it's a dual SIM phone that you could comfortably keep upgraded and using for some time to come.
Amazon prices last updated on 27 January, 2022 at 06:34 pmeBay prices last updated on 27 January, 2022 at 10:11 pm
Mobile phones reviewed
Hours spent testing
Best smartphones ranked
- We've spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing mobile phones.
- Our editorial team has a combined 60+ years of experience writing about tech and reviewing the latest devices.
- The phones on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not based on commercial relationships.
What is a dual-SIM phone?
At the most basic level, a dual-SIM phone is one that has two SIM card slots. This means that you could drop SIM cards from different telecommunications providers into a single phone and have them both active on your phone simultaneously.
Why would you want a dual-SIM phone?
The classic problem that the first dual-SIM phones tackled was one of phone call costs, especially for businesses. If your work supplies you with a phone (or just a SIM card) and you've got your own private number, it's fiddly to keep two phones on you plus nearly impossible to handle them if they're both ringing at the same time!
The advantages of a dual-SIM phone relate to managing both your communications and your costs. If you've got one SIM with unlimited calls and another that's your direct contact number that perhaps has better international calling rates, a dual-SIM phone would allow you to pick and choose which provider you use for each service type.
Frequent travellers would also benefit from a dual-SIM device, with the ability to keep your own Australian SIM in one slot and use a prepaid SIM from your destination country in the second. This will allow you to avoid hefty international data roaming fees, but still keep your phone number accessible while overseas.
Dual-SIM phones were never massive in Australia as a direct category and they're still somewhat rare at the full retail level, although many popular phone models are actually produced in dual-SIM variants in markets where it is more popular.
The carrier trap
The biggest issue for Australians wanting to source dual-SIM phones locally is that local carriers who offer contract phones rarely stock them, and it's not hard to see why. They don't want you even thinking about switching providers, so why introduce the concept in the first place?
What this means is that while many popular phones are actually manufactured with dual-SIM variants for the international market, they're rarely available locally on contract in a dual-SIM model. That doesn't mean that you can't get the dual-SIM version here, but it does mean you need to buy them outright so be careful to ensure that you're getting the model you want.
Which phones support dual SIM?
With the carrier trap out of the way, the good news is that it's quite easy to get a dual-SIM version of many popular Android phones, especially from international resellers or some local models sold outright in the budget or mid-range space. As an example, while not every handset sold in Australia or to Australians features dual SIM capability, the following phones are produced for some markets with dual SIM:
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
It's also possible to get third-party SIM adapters that allow you to "add" a second SIM to a single-SIM Android device, but their utility can vary and you can run the risk of damaging the SIM card if you're not careful.
Can I get a dual-SIM iPhone?
No, you can't.
Apple does produce some variant models of its very popular iPhone series for different international markets, most notably a few China-specific models as well as "SIM-free" models that operate (to date) on US networks only, but it's never produced a dual-SIM iPhone.
If you're offered one through a retailer or online auction site, it's certainly a fake – probably Android running an iOS-like launcher.
Why wouldn't you want a dual SIM phone?
Running multiple SIMs and having them connected to two networks at once means that there's more of a power draw to keep that kind of service running on the phone. Comparatively, a single-SIM version of a phone that also has a dual-SIM variant will offer longer battery life.
They are also arguably a little less compelling in the current Australian market simply because so many plans offer unlimited standard national calls and texts. If your outgoing calls are infinite while bearing in mind no Australian carrier charges for incoming calls, the financial impetus for dual-SIM phones is greatly reduced.
The other limiting factor to recognise for dual-SIM phones is that often the two SIM slots are not equal in network terms.
Typically one SIM will be designated as a full 4G LTE slot while the secondary slot will operate only as a 3G, or in some cases 2G GSM slot. 2G is dead here in Australia, so any dual-SIM phone with a secondary 2G-only SIM card slot is in essence only going to work as a single-SIM phone locally.
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