Best dual-SIM phone under $400USD
February 11, 2019 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a dual-SIM phone which would work in the US and Europe and has a decent camera and should last 2 years at least? I'd prefer something that isn't a operation is a good thing, as is fitting into a pocket. My original budget was $200, but under $300 is preferred. Or should I bite the bullet and get the used Galaxy s9 for $400? (Background and details in "extended explanation")

So, I live in the US and my partner lives in the UK. Because of this, I put a UK SIM card in my old Galaxy S5, and have my US Sim card in my Galaxy S7. I dropped my S7 and it's been glitchy since, so I'm looking for a new (Android) phone. I would like to find one which offers dual-SIM capability so I can skip the extra phone. I found a budget phone for under $100us that has 2 SIM slots and a dedicated memory card slot. I can deal with a slower processor, lower ppi, etc, for the price, but I cannot deal with a crappy camera. In theory, it's a 16mp with similar features to the S7, but in practice it is terrible.

I upped my budget to $300us, and was hoping for a used Galaxy s8. Unfortunately, that's hard to find in the US with the dual SIM. (Even if you order the dual-SIM, lots of sellers send the standard US version, which is single-SIM). I'm now tempted to bump my budget *again* for a used Galaxy s9 at $400, but before I do that, I figured I'd ask here.
posted by Musichick2004 to Technology (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've previously had good luck with the Motorola G line--you can buy the international version of the G6, which does have a dual sim, for $270 on Amazon. I've bought a couple international versions of phones off of Amazon and have never had a problem with them sending the wrong version or anything like that.
posted by mishafletch at 8:55 AM on February 11, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks. If I ordered new, I'm sure I wouldn't have a problem, but the used/refurbished sellers are listing the US versions under international, and the single-SIM international under the dual-SIM...Amazon marketplace isn't usually this daunting, but apparently, they just see a listing for Galaxy s8 and don't check model numbers until I send a message!

I'll look at the G6. My Motorola Droid turbo 2 was a royal PITA toward the end, (and a friend had issues with an earlier Droid line phone) so I get worried with Motorola!
posted by Musichick2004 at 9:22 AM on February 11, 2019

I've had good luck with Blu phones, and many of them are double-sim and in your price range. (Mine have all been purchased new off Amazon.)
posted by stormyteal at 9:52 AM on February 11, 2019

I have an original Google Pixel. It works in many, many countries. I recently used it as my primary phone while living in the UK and it worked great. It works great in the US, too. My friends are always jealous of my camera, especially in low-light settings. If you get it through the Google Fi plan, you will pay $20/month for US texts and calls (I always use What's App on wifi though) + $10 per GB of data you use. If you use 1/2 a GB, you only pay $5, etc. Google just released the Pixel 3, so I'm sure the price of the original has dropped. Refurbished may be even cheaper. I got my Pixel 1 in July 2017 and I still enjoy using it.
posted by Penguin48 at 10:46 AM on February 11, 2019

I've got a MotoG6 Play and it has 2 SIM slots. I got mine off of Amazon and no complaints about it yet. I've never actually used the 2nd SIM slot. My previous phone also had a 2nd SIM slot that I never used.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:08 AM on February 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have an original Google Pixel.

That's a single-sim phone.

I'll suggest a Galaxy Note FE.
posted by dobbs at 12:04 PM on February 11, 2019

Response by poster: I've had good luck with Blu phones,
My sister suggested Blu, but said she'd had poor experience with the camera--though the battery was great. I've been spoiled by flagship cameras...

Pixel is a single SIM phone, as is the Note FE (at least what I can find on it) --plus, the note is way bigger than I'd wanted (see above: one handed operation and pocket-ability are important).

And another recommendation for the G6. It is definitely on my list to look at reviews tonight!
posted by Musichick2004 at 12:50 PM on February 11, 2019

Some of the new Nokia phones come in dual-SIM variants, as does whatever the latest Motorola G iteration is.
posted by pharm at 1:41 PM on February 11, 2019

Pixel is a single SIM phone, as is the Note FE

I linked to the dual sim version in my response.
posted by dobbs at 4:48 PM on February 11, 2019

It's not explicitly stated why you must use two SIMs, and you probably have good reason for this need (like, if you're locked into contracts or have a us based, work provided sim), then if so, please disregard.

Else, would a service provider that charges the same rate for voice and data in the us and overseas in the UK, with no roaming fees, open up your options a bit? Penguin48 suggested Google Fi with a Pixel. You buy the phone outright and always keep the same number if you're in the us or 170 other countries. Pricing is quite reasonable, plus Fi now officially works with iPhones, if that's a perk.

(I am a customer of the service but otherwise have no affiliation with goog or AAPL.)
posted by enfa at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2019

Response by poster: I use 2 SIM cards because it is less expensive, tbh. My current regular plan is under $30USD for 5gb of data (unlimited texts/calls), and my UK plan ends up being £4 for a week's worth of calls/data, which I use about 3 - 4 times a year. I tend to use at least 3gb of data per month, so the Google Fi plan would be $50-$60.

To Dobbs: I saw the dual SIM version of the note FE in your link, but it's *much* more difficult to find in the US, and the Canadian site was definitely out of my price range. Thank you though!
posted by Musichick2004 at 8:13 PM on February 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I brought the Nokia 7.1 last week, which meets your cost & dual sim requirements. A few days in and I'm quite pleased with it. I haven't taken many pics yet but the camera seems pretty good to me.
posted by bluesapphires at 8:59 PM on February 11, 2019

Another vote for Motorola G series. I had a G5 Plus as a backup/travel phone to my iPhone 6. When my iPhone dies I switched to the G5 Plus as my regular and later got a G6 as my backup/travel phone. Hardware wise comparable to the iPhone. Android version better than older Samsung, but I have not used a recent Samsung to compare. Motorola just announced their G7 series, also with dual SIM models. is a really good site for comparing internal models of these phone options.
posted by Short End Of A Wishbone at 4:37 AM on February 12, 2019

Another vote for the Moto but you haven't really explained why you need two sims If you are only using your UK number 3 - 4 times a year, why can you not just swap the SIMs when you land?

(I mean, not that it matters... if you want dual sim, you do you.)
posted by DarlingBri at 11:51 AM on February 12, 2019

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