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How To Use Your Tablet As A Phone

Can you use tablets as a phone? Yes, except for iPads, most tablets with a SIM card slot can also make phone calls and send text messages.

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Nokia T10 LTE SIM card slot

Smartphones are the primary way people stay in contact with friends and family in this period of time. They fit in our pockets and bags, but you may have noticed how some tablets come with SIM card slots. While those slots are sometimes used for microSD cards, you may wonder if using tablets as phones is viable. The answer is yes, but not everyone is a fan.

I own a tablet that accepts SIM cards, and there’s one more on the way. To help answer this question, I decided to test the hypothesis myself. There are two main ways to do so, and I’ll cover them below.

Can Tablets Work as Phones?

Yes, but not all of them will work as phones optimally. Some tablets don’t have SIM slots at all, so you can’t use cellular data to call people. There are even tablets that support LTE and 5G networks but can’t make or receive phone calls because the manufacturers disabled them. That’s the case with all iPads, for example. In this case, you can only call people using apps like Skype or WhatsApp.

Fortunately, practically every modern tablet, even without SIM slots, can connect to the internet. You can call others using an internet connection, but without cellular data, it’s less convenient unless you can connect to WiFi.

I personally wouldn’t use a tablet as a phone, but I’m glad that some models support this function. For those who need a larger device due to poor eyesight, tablets are a blessing. Additionally, some users only want one device for everything, and LTE-enabled tablets can replace smartphones.

Tablets With SIM Card Slot Usually Can Make Phone Calls

If your tablet has SIM slots, it usually accepts and supports a SIM card for phone calls. After inserting your SIM card, you can make phone calls. Some tablets already have a phone app that accepts calls immediately after detecting your SIM card.

However, if your tablet doesn’t come with one, you’ll have to try downloading it. The Phone app from the Google Play Store should work. Try it and see if you can make and receive calls. If not, you can only use other social media apps.

For most carriers, you should be able to use your SIM card like normal immediately, but others require some additional setup. In this situation, follow your provider’s instructions. My current provider requires some additional setup, but it only took less than a minute.

In our following review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active3, you can see Andrzej using the tablet as a phone. It works and behaves just as a normal phone does and in this case, the Active3 even has an earpiece.

Use Messaging Apps For Voice Calls

Tablets that don’t support phone calls will still let you reach others via apps connected to the internet. Many people today already have apps to stay in contact with others. There are many apps available for free and all of them support voice calls over the internet. Take a look at this list:

Once you install one or more of these apps, log in or register for an account. You should be able to message or call contacts after that.

Should I Get Earbuds?

Not every tablet has an earpiece, which lets you call people like you would using a smartphone by holding it up to your ears.

You can get a pair of earphones for tablets without an earpiece, but you’ll need a 3.5mm earphone jack to use wired ones. Your tablet may not have a headphone jack, but you can buy a cheap USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter. Some devices even come with one in the box. Naturally, these wired earphones must have a microphone.

If you prefer true wireless earbuds, you’re in luck. You can easily activate your tablet’s Bluetooth connection and pair your favorite earbuds to call others. I personally recommend wireless earbuds for everyone because they won’t get caught on surrounding objects, but if your tablet already has an earpiece for calling, earphones are optional.


Many Android tablets today can be used like smartphones, but not all of them let you make phone calls, even with a SIM card inserted. The good news is you can easily install apps like WhatsApp and Skype to call others using an internet connection. Ultimately, it depends on your tablet’s model and capabilities.

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