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.

Your buying guide to the best dual-SIM phones in 2019

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 3G or 4G connections, you can use 4G 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. 

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.

Best Dual-SIM Phones 2019

1. OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus 7 Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 15 October 2019

There's really very little to fault in the OnePlus 7 Pro. The display, camera, and core specs are essentially all best-in-class - or close enough to count - while the few shortcuts (wireless charging, an IP rating) are easily explained away by a price point - starting from £649/$669 - that still undercuts the closest comparable rivals by some way.

Yes, this costs a bit more than you're probably used to from OnePlus, but it delivers on enough of its promises to justify that price hike - and if you're not convinced, the regular OnePlus 7 is always there (outside the US at least), at the same ol' £499 price OnePlus has been hitting for the last year or two.

In a year that's already seen both Samsung and Huawei drop pretty phenomenal flagships, OnePlus has still managed to drop a device that might just be the phone to beat in 2019.

Read our OnePlus 7 Pro review.

2. Xiaomi Mi 9

Xiaomi Mi 9
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 29 November 2019

Devilishly fast, insanely beautiful and offering the best value for money you'll find in any smartphone, anywhere. Mi 9 is a cracking deal at £329, and well worth the upgrade from even Mi 8.

New is an in-display fingerprint sensor as standard, Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 855 processor, 20W wireless charging, a larger screen and a triple-lens camera that includes a massive 48Mp lens.

A Tech Advisor award winner at MWC 2019, Mi 9 is one of the best phones in the world, yet it comes at a mid-range price. It is also one of the top-rated camera phones.

It's available direct from Xiaomi at £329, or on contract from Vodafone

Read our Xiaomi Mi 9 review.

3. Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 15 July 2019

Beaten by the more recent Mi 9 but not out of the running yet, Mi 8 Pro offers phenomenal value at £299 from eBuyer. And now that Xiaomi phones are easily available in the UK, there's no reason not to consider it.

With powerful performance, decent cameras, some genuinely useful software, a fancy in-display fingerprint sensor and a cool transparent back cover, this is a great all-rounder at a fantastic price.

Read our Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro review.

4. Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 2 December 2019

We love the P30 Pro. The design is top drawer stuff, the display is outstanding and the cameras are truly some of the best ever seen on a phone.

Priced have dropped since it launched early in 2019 and it’s great value compared to many rival flagships.

If you want to spend less (and get a little less), there's the Huawei P30 instead.

Do note that the P30 was announced before Huawei was put on the US trade blocklist and Google announced its decision to pull support, and therefore will continue to have full access to Google apps, services and security updates.

Read our Huawei P30 Pro review.

5. Vivo Nex 3

Vivo Nex 3
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 27 September 2019

With specs to rival anything else out there, some of the best battery life we've seen, and a beautiful curved screen, the Vivo Nex 3 is the epitome of a 2019 flagship phone - right down to the circular camera cutout on the back.

The curved 'waterfall' display covers the entire front of the phone, with no notch, cut-out, or anything - helped by a pop-up selfie camera at the top of the phone. There aren't even any buttons to get in the way of the curved edges, with pressure-sensitive spots combined with haptic feedback to create the 'feel' of the volume and power buttons you'd normally expect.

You can't buy it in the west - and importers are probably better off ditching the 5G and sticking to the regular 4G model - but if you're willing to jump through some extra hoops to get hold of the Nex 3 there really isn't much to disappoint. The only real letdowns are the lack of waterproofing, an occasionally clunky operating system, and a camera that's good but can't quite keep up with the best out there - but the combo of a 64Mp main sensor, 2x optical zoom, and wide angle will keep all but the most ardent camera connoisseurs happy regardless.

Read our Vivo Nex 3 review.

6. Honor View 20

Honor View 20
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 23 January 2019

The Honor View 20 is stunning to look at - from just about any angle, thanks to the one-two punch of the pinhole camera on the front and the genuinely unique holographic V effect on the glass rear. The photos look great, but don't really do this thing justice - it's properly gorgeous.

With a Kirin 980 and 6/8GB RAM the specs are plenty powerful to match, and comfortably rival much more expensive flagship phones (including Huawei's own Mate 20 Pro). And perhaps for the first time, Honor deserves to be in the same conversation as the big names when it comes to camera quality. Touting a 48MP lens is meaningless, but it's hard to argue with the results, especially from the AI Ultra Clarity mode.

At just £499 for the base model, and £579 for one with extra RAM and storage, this is genuinely affordable too. Honor's flagships have always offered serious specs and slick design while undercutting rivals on price, but it usually feels like there are a couple of compromises along the way.

For perhaps the first time, the View 20 doesn't feel that way. Sure, premium features like wireless charging and waterproofing are still missing, but for most people those remain nice-to-haves - whereas with the core features here Honor is firing on all cylinders.

Read our Honor View 20 review.

7. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 27 November 2019

Swapping out the awkwardly placed selfie camera with a new dual-lens model that is tucked away behind the screen, the Mi Mix 3 is one of several new slider phones that shows how the concept should work. Not only allowing a proper full-screen display, but adding new quick-access functionality to the phone.

In other respects Mi Mix 3 is not a huge upgrade over the 2S, and actually loses some of its bling over its predecessor with the absence of its 18K gold camera surround. But it's still a great phone, available at an incredible price, and it's astonishing to see just how far the original full-display phone has come.

We recommend purchasing the UK model, unless you're on an extremely tight budget. But you can't argue with the pricing: at £499 Mi Mix 3 offers phenomenal value. There's also a 5G version, available via Vodafone and Three, which is the first - and cheapest - 5G phone to go on sale in the UK.

Read our Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review.

8. Huawei P30

Huawei P30
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 20 May 2019

Huawei's pitch for the P30 is all about the camera, and it's fair to say that the company has delivered. The Pro model may be one step ahead, but this version is still a match for almost any flagship out there, especially in low light and long-distance shots, where Huawei has really thrown down the gauntlet with a combination of three great lenses and some software tricks that even Google's Pixel phones can't yet match.

The P30 also looks stunning, with a big display (and small notch), some lovely colourful finishes, and a seriously slim body - though the trade-off is one of the worst camera bumps we've ever seen. And there's even a headphone jack.

If you want a phone with a phenomenal camera but can't justify dropping close to a grand in one go, the Huawei P30 is seriously worth a look.

Do note that the P30 was announced before Huawei was put on the US trade blocklist and Google announced its decision to pull support, and therefore will continue to have full access to Google apps, services and security updates.

Read our Huawei P30 review.

9. Vivo Nex

Vivo Nex
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 23 August 2018

It's not perfect, but the Vivo Nex is certainly an impressive smartphone that offers something a little different for consumers. It boasts a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display, a notch-less design and a front-facing camera that pops out of the frame when required. It's not just a gimmicky concept phone though; the performance is good enough to compete with flagship smartphones from the likes of Samsung, OnePlus and LG. 

Oh, and it's £100s cheaper than the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9+ too. 

Read our Vivo Nex review.

10. Xiaomi Mi 8

Xiaomi Mi 8
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 1 May 2019

It's now been updated with the Mi 9, which adds wireless charging, a faster processor, an in-display fingerprint sensor as standard (previously Pro and Explorer Edition only), and adds a larger display and a third camera lens on the rear. Regardless, the Mi 8 continues to offer astonishing value, insane performance and awesome photography. 

Read our Xiaomi Mi 8 review.

11. Oppo A9 2020

Oppo A9 2020
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 6 December 2019

The Oppo A9 2020 is a budget handset the manages to excel in multiple areas - with an attractive design, a 48MP quad-camera and a massive 5000mAh battery that outshines even some of the most expensive phones on the market. 

It's not without faults, of course. Though the battery life is excellent, there's no fast charging. Though the night mode on the camera is stellar, the user-experience of taking photos really needs refining to be simpler and cleaner.

For the price point, however, you're getting a very good camera smartphone that feels high-end and a device that won't die on you quickly. For these reasons we'd definitely say that the Oppo A9 2020 is a budget contender.

Read our Oppo A9 2020 review.

12. Nubia Z20

Nubia Z20
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 14 October 2019

A dual-screen phone won’t be for everyone, but the Z20 is the closest you’re likely to get to a second display with mass-market appeal. A variety of settings and options mean you can use the second display as little or often as you like (for multi-tasking, always-on display, the camera, and more), while still enjoying all the benefits of the main camera for selfies, but it still feels a little awkward even at the best of times.

It’s just a shame that camera itself isn’t better, with strong triple lens hardware let down by software that’s only OK, resulting in heavily over-saturated colours in every shot. Then again, factor in the price - and super specs - and the Z20 delivers plenty of bang for its buck, competing surprisingly comfortably with phenomenal mid-range offerings from Xiaomi, Asus, Honor, and more.

If you want a second screen, the Z20 is almost certainly the best dual-display phone on the market right now - but it’s probably not quite enough to win over any new converts.

Read our Nubia Z20 review.

13. Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 23 November 2018

In the P20 Pro Huawei has delivered a stunning phone which should be on your shortlist along with the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X. Sure, there are some niggles such as the lack of stabilisation for 4K video, no headphone jack and no wireless charging,but if your priority is photography then the P20 Pro does not disappoint.

Add in the long battery life, dual SIM slots and great screen and you've got the complete package: this is one of the best phones of 2018.

It's a fair amount more than the regular model so save yourself £200 on the regular P20 if you don't mind 'only' dual rear cameras, no waterproofing and an LCD screen vs OLED.

Read our Huawei P20 Pro review.

14. Honor 9X

Honor 9X
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 14 November 2019

The Honor 9X manages to mimic some elements of flagships but for a fraction of the price. With a geometric, shimmery exterior and a notch-free display thanks to a pop-up camera, you'd find it hard to believe that this is a phone below £250 - especially when you take into consideration the camera that comes with it. 

Of course it's not without its flaws. The triple lens camera isn't quite as good as the specs suggest, and night mode in particular doesn't hold up, while performance across the board gives away that this isn't as high-end as it looks. But still, you get a lot for the price, and a phone that looks like a lot more.

Read our Honor 9X review.

15. Honor 10

Honor 10
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 July 2019

The Honor 10 is a solid phone.

Battery life might not be anything to write home about but that's not unusual and there's so much to like here. Much of what the Honor 10 offers, like display, cameras and build quality are at the level you'd expect from a phone twice the price.

The software is better than ever and you get a whopping 128GB of storage as standard. Add in smooth performance, a headphone jack, dual-SIM and attractive design and you can see why this is a mid-range king.

Read our Honor 10 review.

16. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 November 2018

The original full-display smartphone is evolving into something really special. Now with wireless charging, faster performance and a dual-camera that builds in AI, the Mi Mix 2S is a closer rival to western flagships than ever - and at a fraction of the price. 

The Mi Mix 2S majors on performance and design. With its ceramic, mirror-finish case and 18:9 display it looks and feels incredible in the hand.

With full Google services the Xiaomi is easy to recommend, although it's not ideal for selfie and audio fanatics with a poorly positioned front camera and a mono speaker that doesn't make up for the lack of a headphone jack.

Battery life could also be better, and we'd like to see the company finally take the plunge with a Quad-HD display and waterproofing.

Read our Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S review.