Twenty-one dual SIM mobiles, priced from $89 to $399, tested in the CHOICE labs.
Through our rigorous tests, we can reveal which smartphones have the best:
- sound, picture, and video quality
- email and SMS performance
- handling, and
On this page you'll find:
Why buy a dual SIM phone?
A dual SIM phone lets you pick and choose the best mobile plans and deals. They come with two separate SIM slots, allowing you to make and receive phone calls and text messages from two different numbers as well as two different mobile carriers, if that's what suits you.
Dual SIM phones have improved markedly from the first basic talk-and-text models with the arrival of the Android operating system. Now you'll get features such as 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, GPS and most of the bells and whistles you'd expect from a smartphone. One notable omission is support for 4G networks, which may be an issue for some users, particularly if you download large files or stream video on your phone.
Two SIMs, lots of phone plans
Depending on how you like to communicate, a dual SIM mobile will let you have the best of all possible deals by letting you mix and match your phone plans, choosing the best value options.
Unfortunately, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone seem reluctant to offer a mobile solution that allows you to choose another carrier to make savings under certain scenarios, like a plan that lets you make cheaper calls at night. However, the models tested are readily available online or from major retailers, unlocked and ready to use. Sites such as mobileciti.com.au or mobicity.com.au have a selection of dual SIM mobiles available, as well as local retailers such as Dick Smith and JB Hi-Fi.
Brands and models tested
- Acer Liquid E2 Duo
- Alcatel One Touch Idol Mini Dual Sim 6012D
- HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM
- Huawei Ascend G525
- Huawei Ascend G700-U10 Dual SIM
- LG Optimus L3 II Dual E425
- LG Optimus L5 II Dual
- Nokia 206 Dual SIM
- Nokia 301 Dual SIM
- Nokia Asha 210 Dual SIM
- Nokia Asha 305 Dual SIM
- Nokia Asha 308 Dual Sim
- Nokia Asha 501 Dual SIM
- Samsung Champ Neo Duos GT-C3262
- Samsung Galaxy Fresh Duos GT-S7392
- Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos GT-I9082
- Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo Duos GT-I9060
- Samsung Galaxy Star S5282 DUAL SIM
- Samsung Galaxy Y Duos GT-S6102
- Samsung Galaxy Young Duos GT-S6312
- Sony Xperia tipo dual ST21a2
How we test
Our testers rate the following aspects of each phone:
Durability is assessed through dropping the phone (to simulate falls from a table or out of a shirt pocket) up to 25 times, as well as storing the phones in hot, damp conditions and carrying out a rain test.
Reception performance measures the phone's receiving sensitivity and sending power (particularly important in areas with poor network coverage) in both the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands for GSM networks and on 2100MHz for the 3G network.
Sound quality For both incoming and outgoing calls, this test is carried out by recording a number of acoustic measurements, such as frequency response. In addition, a user panel subjectively rates the sound quality of calls.
SMS Our testers write and receive an SMS, checking the suitability of the display for texting.
Email Our testers see how easy it is to set up an email account as well as send, retrieve and read emails.
Internet performance is scored on how easy it is to start the inbuilt web browser, navigate to sites, enter addresses and use favourites and bookmarks.
Camera performance examines the phone's digital camera capabilities to produce an image in different lighting situations. The resulting photo images are then printed and rated for resolution, colour reproduction and noise. Our testers also look at how easy the phone is to use in picture-taking mode.
Music quality Our testers measure the ability of the phone to perform as a music player. They test the phones with the headphones supplied as well as a set of reference headphones. They also assess how easy it is to navigate through playlists, music transfers, volume control and available memory.
Handling Our testers assess the keypad, touchscreen and keyboard, as well as general handling and menu controls when using the phone.
Touchscreen quality is examined including the speed of refresh and accuracy of operation.
GPS performance is measured for accuracy and speed.
Synchronisation This score is based on how easy the phone is to use when working with contacts and information stored on another computer or online to keep contacts and messages up to date.
Display Our testers look at the size of the display as well as quality of the image with regard to sharpness and colour clarity.
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