eSIM vs. Physical SIM — What's the difference? (2024)

eSIM vs. Physical SIM — What’s the difference? (2024)

Trying to understand the difference between a physical SIM card (also known as a pSIM) and an Electronic SIM (eSIM)? Watch the video above or read on for a breakdown and comparison.

What is the difference between physical SIM and eSIM?

The essential difference here is that the physical option is for inserting a SIM card into your phone. You can get a physical SIM card by ordering a free starter kit.

eSIM on the other hand is embedded inside your phone. This option downloads your phone plan from the cloud without having to fumble with any tiny pieces of plastic. Plus, it means you can get activated right away.

There’s no difference in quality of service or speeds so you can choose whatever option works best for you.

Note: Some major manufacturers have chosen to remove the option for a physical SIM entirely, in favor of an eSIM-only device.

Ultimately, an eSIM makes it much easier to switch mobile networks. Gone are the days of having to order a new SIM, waiting days for it to arrive, and then inserting it into your phone. eSIM allows you to switch to a different network with a phone call or online. You also won’t need to go hunting for a SIM ‘ejector tool’ to remove the old SIM from your phone.

Is an eSIM better than a physical SIM?

Yes! It is safer since an eSIM cannot be removed like a physical chip. However, both eSIM and a physical SIM can connect to the same networks, meaning one isn’t better in terms of connectivity. It’s almost like comparing a digital wallet with your real wallet. All the same cash, but one less “physical” thing to worry about.

Which is safer SIM or eSIM?

An eSIM card cannot be stolen without stealing the phone, whereas removable SIM cards are sometimes stolen, and used in port out scams.

Does eSIM have worse signal than physical SIM?

The signal strength depends on carrier coverage and the device’s compatibility with different frequency bands. Both eSIM and physical SIM cards provide reliable network connectivity.

Does eSIM drain battery?

No. An eSIM itself doesn’t use more battery than a physical SIM. However, if you’re using your phone with two lines (one eSIM and one physical SIM), your phone must maintain a connection to two networks, which may drain battery faster.

Does eSIM slow down your phone?

An eSIM has nothing to do with the internet speeds or better cellular reception. It is just like a digital copy of your SIM card.