SIM Card Adapters Reviewed

by Joshua Ho on 5/24/2014 5:12 AM EST


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  • NedSarm - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    While I don't have first hand experience with a nano Sim card yet, I've found the easiest solution to be to get a real Sim card - more specifically a mini Sim - to use as an adapter. I ordered one of those sim cutters years ago along with some adapters. But even mini Sims back in the day were of different thickness. My Nokia N8 - which I believe has the worst Sim slot design ever -accepted the ATT Sims no problem but the T-Mobile one was a little thicker and it damaged the push to eject feature. Anyway I use a old ATT mini Sim with a cut out for micro Sim to switch back and forth with some clear tape. Reply
  • 4745454b - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Thought I'd chime in as I have some experience with this. FYI, I'm the same 4745454b as the mod on Toms hardware.

    I recently bought a "new" Galaxy S2. It wasn't as unlocked as I was lead to believe and my TMobile micro sim wasn't going to work. It needed an ATT sim. Because nano is the new size I went ahead and ordered an ATT nano sim from my carriers website and one of the "middle" type adapters. I was worried about the first and third type as tape can wear out over time. I didn't want to go remove the sim later on and find out the tape was torn and it was going to be a PITA to get the sim out. Overall I was very happy with the middle type. I didn't have any problems with thickness. My two complaints are; it's not big enough and the design is flawed.

    Why make it so small? You can see in the first and third type that they go all the way to the top/sides. The middle doesn't. It's not that much more plastic, and if it was EXACTLY the same size I wouldn't worry about the sim coming loose. The flawed design comment is because putting the sim into the adapter is easy. But with my phone had to then flip it over to slide it in. This means that there is no longer anything holding the sim in place and getting it to slide in and not let gravity work took some doing on my part. I don't know if this is a problem with all phones but it seems to be with all the phones I've seen. If you put the sim in from the other end and THEN flip it over it would work a lot better.

    That being said I'm happy with the one I've bought. I haven't lost my sim at any time. Removing it didn't seem to be an issue, though I admit I've only done it the one time when I was testing the adapter. I'll test it again when I come back from EDC2014/Vegas and buy my new phone in July. I don't know for sure if the tape is really an issue, but I've had no daily problems with the middle solution.
  • londedoganet - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    My experience with cutting a SIM to fit into a smaller slot is this: Don't.
    It's not the cutting that will fail you, it's the thickness of the resulting hacked-up card.

    My first experience (cutting down a SIM into a microSIM) involved a supposedly professionally-done cut at a phone shop. It worked in the shop's tester iPhone. It didn't work in my phone. Why? It was too thick. In the end, I had to get a new microSIM from my telco. It wasn't cheap.

    Oh, and when I tried to put my spanking-new microSIM into my old phone using a cut-out adapter, even the smallest amount of scotch tape made it impossible to fit. It was just TOO THICK. Imagine that; the regular SIM cut down is too thick to work as microSIM, the microSIM with an adapter is too thick to work as a regular SIM! You can't win.

    Second experience went a lot better; did it myself, with a very sharp knife, a template, all that jazz. It didn't fit into the slot. Wanna know why? It was TOO THICK. I ended up having to thin it by some fraction of a millimetre by running the back of the card on some fine-grit sandpaper, all the while praying that I didn't sand down to the silicon die by the time it could fit.

    It was at this point that I thought to myself; really? Is it really worth it, when you're doing basically reconstructive surgery on a piece of plastic, just to get it to fit in a phone?
  • greyhulk - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    The trick is to get a nano sim and then just adapt it to the bigger micro sim phones with one of these adapters. I have never had issues with it fitting any phone, and I currently have six different models that I switch between. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    My experience from cutting from a mini-SIM to micro-SIM is this: it worked 100% fine. Reply
  • londedoganet - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Good for you. My telco used thicker cards for their miniSIMs, which caused these problems in the first place. It varies from provider to provider. In my case, at least, it really wasn't worth it. Reply
  • evonitzer - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    I do not see a solution in your post. Don't trim it down because it might not fit, and then you might have to buy a new one. Or just buy a new one. Might as well try trimming it, don't you think?

    I'm 1 for 1. I sanded the edges a bit to take out the roughness my cuts created, but otherwise didn't do anything too special. I went mini to micro.
  • londedoganet - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    The solution was in my first paragraph: get a new SIM from your telco, and eat whatever fee they charge you for it. Either that, or sand down your SIM's thickness until it fits properly into the slot. Reply
  • londedoganet - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    *second paragraph Reply
  • londedoganet - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    By all means, try trimming it. The worst that could happen is that you're down one SIM card that neither can't be used in your old phone (adapter makes it too thick) nor your new one (SIM is too thick to begin with). And even that can be fixed with a little sandpaper.

    If you've already made that decision to hack up and sand down your SIM card, who am I to stop you? I'm speaking mostly to those less willing to endure any potential hassles (in which case, maybe Anandtech is the wrong venue...)
  • londedoganet - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    (By which I mean, Anandtech is a site catering to people who are more technically-inclined, to whom tinkering is second nature, so of course they would be more game to try SIM card surgery) Reply
  • greyhulk - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    I have been using the second type (specifically, the noosy brand) for over a year with no double-sided tape and no issue. My sim card just stays in and I swap it in and out of phones weekly, with models varying from the Galaxy S5 to Note 3, to slide in tray models like the HTC One M8 and Lumia 1520. My sim has never fallen out or gotten stuck.

    For me, that's the best possible sim adapter and the only one that has ever worked that well.
  • Mitch89 - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    I second the recommendation of the Noosy adapters. Been using them for ages and they've always worked well. Even better with the nanosims, since they are thinner than microsims so the adaptors fit perfectly. Reply
  • Jon Tseng - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    >However, it’s absolutely critical to make sure that strong scotch tape is used to make the
    >adapter/SIM combination, and to never try inserting the adapter by itself

    I disagree with that. I just use the cut-out I get when I punch the micro SIM out from the full sized SIM. Have used it in a variety of phones sans scotch tape with no problems at all.

    Particularly if you need to inserted the full size SIM into some sort of slot, that keeps it in place without requiring additional support just fine.
  • JoshHo - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    It may work, but I personally think it's too risky that way, so a piece of scotch tape fixes that. Reply
  • sherifone - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    I've used the 2nd type for years without issue. Probably with 8-10 phones. Reply
  • hughlle - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    I just go to my carriers local shop or phone them and ask for the appropriate seized replacement sim Reply
  • LordConrad - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Here's a novel idea: Purchase the correct-size SIM for your phone. Duh! Reply
  • Morawka - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    i just came here to say, i use the Noosy ones because they are $5 and work great. The only time i use them is when i sell my iphones yearly to buy the new model, and use a cheap android loaner until my new phone is delivered. Reply
  • pata2001 - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    Micro to mini is usually fine. I have done this many times with various adapters. The big problem is nano to micro, simply because most micro SIM slots are slot in type, where if things gets stuck, you are in big trouble. Worse is if you use a custom cutout nano SIM from a micro/mini SIM. The thickness plus the adapter can ensure the SIM to be stuck. Had this exact problem on my phone where the SIM was stuck. I thought the phone was a goner. Luckily I managed to pull the SIM out by force with the help of super glue. After that, I swear I will not deal with custom cut SIM and these adapters anymore. Not worth the potential headache and repair cost if things are stuck. I rather pay the money for a new SIM than playing with this. The only time I would is for a mini SIM as the slot is usually exposed, thus when things are stuck, you can get things out quite easily.

    Power tip: If you are on AT&T, AT&T gives SIMs for free. Yes, free. Just go to their corporate store and ask for one. They are more than happy to give it to you. If they ask questions, just say you need one for an iPad. Most other carriers, especially outside the US, charge a good amount of money when you simply want a replacement SIM (sometimes upward to $20-$30).
  • pliablemoosethebanned - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    I've been trimming sim cards for years now, it's simple stuff, and you can make your own adapters if you get a sim card trimmer that does multiple sizes, and have some old sim cards to use...

    LOL, looking at 4 sim cards sitting on my monitor base now, 1 trimmed from full size to micro, and 3 trimmed down to nano size.
  • fokka - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    i once cut down my sim to fit it into an old iphone 4 my father bought from some guy. it worked quite well and for a time i used the cut down card in my htc sensation again without any kind of adapter. i just had to carefully position it and the tension of the pins held it in place. i'm using an adapter now, just for the peace of mind, but i didn't know this can be such a delicate matter for other people/phones. Reply
  • joshschwartz - Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - link

    I travel a lot, so I've done my research on pre-paid SIM Card companies, and without a doubt, offers the best deals overall on international calling. You can save up to 90% on roaming (compared with your home carrier) with a single SIM-Card that has global coverage.

    The set-up is a simple pay-as-you-go plan without bundling or contracts, which is exactly what I was looking for, since I didn’t know exactly how many hours I would use and did not want to pay more than necessary. I would definitely recommend if you want the best deals for international calls.
  • gorcorps - Monday, June 16, 2014 - link

    AT&T didn't charge me when I asked for a different SIM size after buying a used phone. Why bother with all this cutting and adapter BS if you can get the correct size for free? Reply

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