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Dual SIM smartphones have been around for ages. The ability to use two SIM cards in one phone at the same time has been a welcomed advantage, particularly by those who want to separate business with pleasure without having to carry a second phone.

Not too long after the big-name smartphone companies (e.g., Samsung) entered the dual SIM smartphone arena, a new type of dual SIM smartphone emerged– the hybrid dual SIM smartphone. It’s very similar to the traditional dual SIM smartphone, but with a difference.

What’s the difference?

Both a dual SIM and a hybrid dual SIM smartphone can use two SIM cards simultaneously. The major difference is that the second slot in a hybrid dual SIM smartphone can also be used for a memory card. A dual SIM slot only accepts two SIM cards, no memory cards.

When used with a memory card, a hybrid dual SIM phone no longer functions as a dual SIM smartphone because it can only take one SIM card along with a memory card.

Let’s unpack this a bit further.

Dual SIM smartphone

A dual SIM smartphone is a phone that can use two SIM cards at the same time in one phone. Depending on whether the device is dual standby or active standby, you can make and receive calls and texts on two numbers simultaneously while browsing the net using data from either network provider.

But not all dual SIM smartphones are the same. Some have trays that you need to pull out using a special pin that comes with the phone, particularly smartphones with non-removable batteries. If you want to remove one SIM card, the tray will pull both SIM cards out. This is known as a dual SIM slot.

dual sim + microsd slot

In other phones, it is common to find two independent SIM card slots underneath the back cover of the phone. Although you may still need to remove the battery before taking the SIM card out, you generally don’t have to mess around with the other SIM card.

Whether or not a dual SIM smartphone has a third slot for a memory card depends on the make and model of the phone. Some dual SIM smartphones take memory cards while others don’t have an additional slot for a memory card. In some cases, the latter has a bit more internal memory than phones with a memory card slot.

Hybrid dual SIM smartphone

Ever heard the expression: “All jeans are pants but not all pants are jeans?” The same applies here. All hybrid dual SIM smartphones are dual SIM smartphones but not all dual SIM smartphones are hybrid dual SIM smartphones. What does that mean?

It basically means that at its core, a hybrid dual SIM smartphone is in essence a dual SIM smartphone. When used with two SIM cards, it works exactly the same as a dual SIM smartphone.

sim + memory

However, not all dual SIM smartphones can use the second SIM slot as a memory card slot. A SIM slot that can also accommodate a memory card is known as a hybrid SIM slot, and only hybrid dual SIM smartphones can do that. This gives you the choice to either expand your phone’s storage or use two phone numbers at the same time.

A hybrid dual SIM smartphone, unfortunately, does not have an additional slot for a memory card. So, if you decide to use one as a dual SIM phone with two SIM cards in it, you will not be able to insert a memory card, unless you use a hybrid dual SIM adaptor.

So, which is better?

Is a dual SIM smartphone better than a hybrid dual SIM smartphone? Or is it the other way around? Well, it all depends on your preference and the phone you’re using.

If using two SIM cards at the same time is more important to you than how much storage space a phone has, then a dual SIM smartphone is definitely the one for you. You will always have uninterrupted access to both SIM cards and because you don’t need much storage, you can be fine just using the phone’s internal storage.

A hybrid dual SIM smartphone is also perfect for you because you don’t have much use for additional storage space. You can just use the second slot on the hybrid SIM tray for SIM card number two.

If you have, and only ever use one SIM card, then look no further than a hybrid dual SIM smartphone. You can fit your SIM and memory cards in one slot, with the benefit of having the option to insert a second SIM card should the need ever arise.

Dual standby vs dual active

No matter if it’s a dual SIM or hybrid dual SIM smartphone, all phones that can use two SIM cards at the same time are classified as dual active or dual standby. This classification indicates to what extent you can use both SIM cards at the same time.

With a dual standby dual SIM smartphone (DSDS), you can receive calls on either number when the phone is not in use. However, when you’re on a call on one number, the other becomes unavailable until you’re done with the call.

A dual active dual SIM smartphone (DSDA) allows both numbers to always be available, even when you’re on a call on the other number. In fact, if you receive a call on the second number while you’re still talking on the first number, you can connect the two calls together on both SIM cards.

You can get more detailed information about dual active and dual standby smartphones here.


The difference between a dual SIM smartphone and a hybrid dual SIM smartphone is small but it makes a big difference if using two SIM cards and having a slot for a memory card is important to you. But for the average person who only ever uses one SIM card, it really doesn’t matter.

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