There are not a lot of affordable eSIM-Compatible phones in the market yet. The technology is still largely restricted to premium flagships. As such, if you switch to eSIM, your choice of compatible smartphones are seriously limited if you do not have the budget for a premium flagship device.
Most of the affordable eSIM-compatible phone listed in this article are 5G devices. One 4G smartphone makes it to the list, and it is the very cheapest smartphone on the list.
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Advantages of eSIM-compatible phones
eSIM-compatible phones offer several advantages for users, making them a convenient choice for those who value flexibility and ease of use. Here are some of the key advantages of eSIM-compatible phones:
- Multiple Mobile Plans: eSIM technology allows users to have multiple mobile plans on a single device. You can switch between different carriers or plans without needing physical SIM card swaps, making it ideal for travelers or individuals who need separate business and personal phone numbers.
- Space and Convenience: Since eSIM eliminates the need for a physical SIM card slot, it frees up space within the device for other components, such as larger batteries or additional features. This can result in slimmer and more compact device designs.
- Remote Activation: With eSIM, you can remotely activate a new mobile plan or carrier without needing to visit a physical store. This is particularly convenient when switching carriers or setting up a new plan, as it can be done entirely online.
- International Roaming: Travelers can benefit from eSIM’s flexibility by easily adding local or international mobile plans to their device when traveling. It eliminates the need to purchase and insert a physical SIM card for each new location.
- No SIM Card Swapping: For those who frequently switch devices, eSIM allows for seamless transitions. There’s no need to physically transfer a SIM card, as the eSIM profile can be transferred electronically.
- Enhanced Security: eSIMs can be more secure than physical SIM cards because they are not susceptible to physical theft or tampering. They are protected by device-level security.
- Eco-Friendly: eSIM technology contributes to reducing the need for plastic SIM cards, which is more environmentally friendly.
- Dual Standby Devices: Some eSIM-compatible phones can be set up to support dual SIM functionality. This means you can have two active phone numbers on the same device, allowing for better work-life balance or easy management of different contacts.
- Futuristic Capabilities: eSIMs are integral to the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). They enable various connected devices, such as smartwatches, tablets, and wearables, to have cellular connectivity without needing a physical SIM card.
- Continuous Connectivity: eSIMs can be programmed to connect automatically to the strongest available network, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity in areas with varying signal strengths.
Premium eSIM-compatible phones
Premium or high-end eSIam compatible phones are easy to find. Pretty much all premium flagships and budget flagships from Apple, Samsung, Google, OnePlus, and other brands now come with at least an eSIM. Some are dual eSIM. All you have to do is pick one of them and ask the retailer to confirm eSIM compatibility.
Chinese mobile phone companies like Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, and others are not officially present in the United States, so you won’t be finding their eSIM-compatible phones in the market anyway, unless you want to order from Gearbest, AliExpress, and the like.
The Most Affordable eSIM-Compatible Phones you can buy in 2023
Listed below, with key features, are the most affordable eSIM-compatible phones available in the U.S. market in 2023. The devices are listed from the most expensive to the most affordable. All of them cost below $500.
Apple iPhone SE 2022
If you are an iPhone lover, the most affordable eSIM-compatible phone for you is the iPhone SE 2022. Its 4.7-inch OLED display is really small by today’s standards, but it is usable. This is one smartphone you can conveniently operate with one hand. The Apple A15 Bionic processor is one of the most powerful around today, and there is 4 GB RAM to go with it. Storage options include 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB. The base variant sells for $429.
Do check out our in-depth Apple iPhone SE 2022 review.
Nokia X30 5G
The specs of the Nokia X30 5G include a 6.43-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, Snapdragon 695 processor, 4200mAh battery, and 33W fast charging. Prices start from $400 for the 6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage base variant.
Google Pixel 6a
The Pixel 6a is an affordable eSIM-compatible phone that sports a 6.1-inch OLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It is powered by a Tensor chipset, coupled with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. The battery’s capacity is 4410 mAh, and there is 18W wired fast charging. It costs $300.
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G
Samsung Galaxy A54 has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Under the hood is an Exynos 1380 chipset and a 5000mAh battery. There is 25W fast charging included in the package. Prices start from $300 for the 6GB RAM + 128 GB storage trim. The Samsung A54 5G is an impressive affordable eSIM-compatible phone to consider.
Nokia G60 5G
The specs of the Nokia G60 5G include a 6.58-inch display, Snapdragon 695 processor, 4500 mAh battery, and 20W fast charging. Prices start from $270 for the 4 GB RAM + 64 GB storage base variant. Do check out our detailed Nokia G60 5G review.
Motorola Moto G 2023
The Moto G 2023 comes to play with a Snapdragon 480+ chipset and 4 GB RAM, along with 128 GB storage. The battery capacity is a respectable 5000 mAh along with 15W fast wired charging. Screen size is 6.5 inches, with a poorly 720 x 1600 pixels resolution. The price of the Motorola Moto G 2023 is $199.99.
TCL 40 XL
The TCL 40 XL is the most affordable eSIM-compatible phone right now. For just $150, you get a 6.75-inch, 720 x 1600 pixels resolution display, MediaTek Helio G37 4G chipset (no 5G here), options of 4 GB and 6 GB RAM, as well as 128 GB and 256 GB storage. It has a 5000 mAh battery and 18W wired fast charging.
Where to buy these phones
Check popular retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and others. Ask your carrier, too, as you might find one or more on special deals. The official website of each phone maker is also where you can purchase these phones unlocked, if you want to avoid a contract.