Dual-SIM smartphones let you use two SIM cards 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, 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 have been 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.
Do bear in mind that many smartphones officially sold in the UK are single-SIM variants, whereas alternative models of that very same phone sold elsewhere in the world are dual-SIM. If you have a specific phone in mind, a good place to check is Amazon for any dual-SIM variants of that phone.
1. OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro is arguably the company's first full flagship, finally incorporating long-requested features like wireless charging and an IP68 waterproof rating to make it a genuine contender with Samsung's finest.
Understandably the price has gone up accordingly, but at £799/$899 for the base model - no slouch at 8GB RAM and 128GB storage - it still represents serious value by flagship standards, meaning you will save at least some money by opting for OnePlus over most other manufacturers. You can save even more with the £599/$699 OnePlus 8, though you'll have to give up a few features and downgrade the display and cameras.
The 8 Pro camera is OnePlus' best yet, and while it still lags behind rivals slightly in some software the hardware is among the best around, which has helped to close the gap considerably. Throw in 5G, a great design, and the best Android skin around and the OnePlus 8 Pro is easy to recommend to anyone who can afford it.
Read our full OnePlus 8 Pro review
2. Samsung Galaxy S20 (Exynos model only)
The Galaxy S20 is the best phone in Samsung’s S20 series, and simply the best phone the company makes right now. It’s compact, powerful, and packs a versatile camera system that may not match the top-tier S20 Ultra on zoom or detail, but it meets - and sometimes beats - it across the rest of the board, which means it's more than a match for just about any other phone out there too.
The wider 5G ecosystem isn’t quite there yet, but will be within the lifetime of this phone, making it almost worth the upgrade. And while battery life remains a slight concern, that’s really the only major fault here. The Android ecosystem offers more for less elsewhere, but usually without Samsung’s level of prestige or polish, and in this case we think that’s worth paying for.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 review
3. Oppo Find X2 Pro
The Oppo Find X2 Pro is a phenomenal phone by any measure. The 6.7in, 10-bit, 120Hz, QHD+ panel is the best display in any phone right now, and Oppo backs it up with the fastest wired charging around at 65W, and a top-tier camera that boasts two 48Mp lenses and up to 10x hybrid zoom.
You’ll have to live without wireless charging, and the choice between bland grey ceramic or garish orange vegan leather finishes might leave some struggling to find a design that suits their style.
For pure performance though, the Find X2 Pro can’t be beat right now, with all of the above plus a Snapdragon 865 5G, 512GB storage, and 12GB RAM - you just have to be willing to pay the price, as at £1,099 it doesn't come cheap.
Read our full Oppo Find X2 Pro review
4. Xiaomi Mi 9
It's now been superceded by Mi 10, but at significantly higher cost. Devilishly fast, insanely beautiful and offering the best value for money you'll find in any smartphone, anywhere. Mi 9 is a cracking deal below £500 where stock remains available.
It has 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.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi 9 review
5. Realme X50 Pro
Realme's first 5G flagship (and second-ever flagship phone) is an impressively affordable device that doesn't skimp on high-end specs and features.
The Realme X50 Pro forgoes aspects like IP water resistance and a thin body, but in return sports the latest and greatest Snapdragon 865 chipset, 5G, up to 12GB of RAM, fast UFS 3.0 storage and insane 65W 'SuperDart' fast charging, which delivers 60% charge in just 15 minutes and a full charge in only 35.
Best of all, with an initial starting price of £569, the X50 Pro costs nearly half that of most top-tier Android flagships on the market in 2020.
Read our full Realme X50 Pro review
6. Realme X2 Pro
Although it may sound cliché, Realme is trying to redefine the mid-range phone market with phones like the X2 Pro, offering an unprecedented level of performance that will only be surpassed by much more expensive handsets.
We especially like the variety of models and configurations to choose from, something which means you can get a 90Hz screen for under £400. For this and many other reasons which are outlined below, this phone is easy to recommend.
Read our full Realme X2 Pro review
7. OnePlus 8
Colour quirks aside, the OnePlus 8 is a fantastic flagship smartphone at an amazing price. You rarely get this quality level of design, features and performance at such good value.
When the biggest let down is that the main camera can do a better job of close-ups than the macro lens, you know you have an excellent phone. The main thing is whether the Pro is enough to tempt you to splash out.
Read our full OnePlus 8 review
8. Oppo Reno 10X Zoom
The Reno 10x Zoom feels a lot like the OnePlus 7 Pro, but trades that phone's phenomenal screen for a better camera instead - a trade-off that's likely to make sense for a lot of people. It's got top 2019 specs, decent battery, and a slick design - as long as you don't mind the shark fin.
Getting a Snapdragon 855 and a full-screen, notchless display for £699 is a good deal no matter which way you look at it, but the real sell is the triple camera array. With a 48Mp main lens and a 5x optical zoom that can simulate 10x thanks to software tricks, this is one of the few cameras on the market that can rival the Huawei P30 Pro.
The few downsides are that the AMOLED panel is only 1080p, the speakers are a bit wimpy, and ColorOS still feels like a bit of a work in progress - but for most people these will hardly matter at all.
Read our full Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review
9. Huawei P30 Pro
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, even one year on.
Prices 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 to consider too.
Do note that the P30 was announced before Huawei was put on the US trade blocklist and Google announced its decision to pull support; therefore, it continues to have full access to Google apps, services and security updates.
Read our full Huawei P30 Pro review
10. Huawei Mate 20 Pro
The Mate 20 Pro is a very good phone, and it's even better at the current discounted prices. The cameras will be the highlight for many people, but it really is a fantastic all-rounder with a top-quality screen, super-fast charging, wireless charging and excellent battery life.
The P30 Pro has even better (and more versatile) cameras but does cost a fair bit more.
Read our full Huawei Mate 20 Pro review
11. Xiaomi Mi Note 10
With Mi Note 10 Xiaomi has made a giant step forward in design, and complements its elegant body with enhanced MIUI 11 software.
Its USP is the penta-lens 108Mp camera, which wows on paper but can't stand up to the best cameraphones. More successfully, then, battery life is incredible.
This is not a flagship phone, but it’s a strong all-round mid-ranger, and thanks to an attractive price point it has serious appeal.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Note 10 review
12. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
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 slider phones that shows how the concept should work. Not only allowing a proper full-screen display, but adding 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, and it's astonishing to see just how far the original full-display phone has come.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review
13. Nubia Z20
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 full Nubia Z20 review
14. Honor View 20
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.
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 full Honor View 20 review
15. Honor 20
The Honor 20 is a great-value phone that offers a lot for your money. It has better cameras than the View 20 and now costs about the same, though the premium finish (and headphone jack) help the View 20 just pip it in our view - though there isn't much in it.
The 20 is more powerful than the similarly priced Google Pixel 3a, but the trade-off is that you don't get stock Android or the guarantee of fast updates to new versions.
Read our full Honor 20 review
16. Oppo Reno2 Z
The Oppo Reno 2 Z, while not a complete redesign of the budget-friendly smartphone, offers a range of improvements including rear-facing quad-cameras, improved internals and large battery, making this a great incremental update and well worth considering at £329.
Oppo has managed to further improve the camera setup with a quad rear camera setup (48Mp + 8Mp ultra-wide + 2Mp mono + 2Mp depth sensor) and a retractable front-facing selfie camera that contributes to the smartphone's high-end look. It's also speedy, beating popular mid-rangers like the Pixel 3a in benchmarks, and the battery lasts all day without any issues.
Read our full Oppo Reno2 Z review
17. Realme 6
The Realme 6 is hands-down one of the best budget phones we've ever tested.
It's slightly chunky size won't be for everyone but this is currently the cheapest phone you can buy with a 90Hz display and it also has some decent cameras, speedy performance and solid battery life.
There's very little to dislike, especially when you can get it for just over £200. It can rival phones more than double the price.
Read our full Realme 6 review
18. Xiaomi Mi 9T
It never officially went on sale in the UK, but the Mi 9T is available through some UK distributors.
Until the Mi 9T Pro came along, the Mi 9T was the most balanced Xiaomi phone in the Mi 9 line-up, combining some of the best features of the Mi 9 series to create an affordable and strong all-rounder. Mi 9T Pro is now out of stock pretty much everywhere.
The large notch-less display, its huge battery and a triple-display camera promise to revolutionise the mid-range phone market.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi 9T review
19. Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
The Redmi Note 9S is one of the best budget phones we've seen. This is a fantastic phone for less than £200, a real all-rounder with decent performance and cameras, as well as mind-blowing battery life. The Redmi recorded the longest time in the Geekbench 4 battery life test that we've seen to date.
We are not fans of the rear camera module, and the lack of NFC in some territories is a shame, but those niggles aside it ticks all our boxes at this price point.
A fine example of not a lot of money very well spent.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S review
20. Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T
The Note 8 line-up has now been replaced by the Note 9 series, but the Redmi Note 8T is still available and at a lower price it offers extraordinary value.
This is a mid-ranger with a budget price, offering a 48Mp quad-lens camera, a 6.3in AMOLED display, a 4,000mAh battery and a capable Snapdragon 665 processor.
It also adds NFC and 18W wired charging to the standard Redmi Note 8.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T review
21. Oppo A9 2020
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 full Oppo A9 2020 review
22. Xiaomi Mi A3
Android One is attractive for its timely system and security updates, and less bloated interface. The Mi A3 from Xiaomi has a few tricks up its sleeve to help it impress in this increasingly crowded market, including some of the most advanced cameras we’ve seen on an Android One phone. Performance is also capable for daily use, and the design is much more appealing than you should expect at this price.
Mi A3 offers incredible value, but if your budget stretches a little higher and you're not fussed about Android One we'd plump for the Mi 9T instead.
Read our full Xiaomi Mi A3 review
23. Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
It's starting to get a little long in the tooth, but it's difficult to argue with the value offered by this mid-range phone with a budget price. Redmi Note 7 remains available from GearBest for just £147.60.
Looking more like the Mi flagship line than any before it, it has a gorgeous all-glass design and rocks an impressive dual-camera with 48Mp lens.
With a big screen and all-day battery life, we love Redmi Note 7's headphone jack and IR blaster, dual-SIM functionality and microSD storage expansion, and given the low price can turn a blind eye to the lack of NFC and premium features such as an in-display fingerprint sensor, wireless charging and waterproofing.
General performance is decent, up there with other Snapdragon 660 phones costing around £350, making this a great all-rounder.
Read our full Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 review
24. Huawei Nova 5T
While some manufacturers are looking for a headline feature to stand out from the crowd, the 5T quietly prioritises everyday usage by mastering the fundamentals of a solid smartphone. The design is superb, cameras great and battery life better than expected.
We are missing some premium features here - wireless charging, expandable storage, OLED display - but it’s remarkable how quickly you can look beyond these when you use the phone regularly.
As a complete package, it has to be considered among the very best mid-range phones you can buy.
Read our full Huawei Nova 5T review
25. Oppo A5 2020
The Oppo A5 2020 is a great affordable option without making too many compromises. With a huge 5000mAh battery, a classy exterior design and a big display, you'd find it hard to believe that it's priced at just £179.99.
Of course the quad camera doesn't quite match up to it's rivals - with just a 12Mp main lens and limited options, especially when it comes to low light. However, at this price compromises are expected, and these downfalls don't quite detract from what is a powerful entry-level phone.
Read our full Oppo A5 2020 review
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/5G, or even what size SIM cards they accept.
An exception to this rule seems to be Xiaomi, which supports dual-4G dual-standby on all the recent models that we have tested.
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 as '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, typically speaking 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.