How to Choose a Smartphone As a Digital Nomad

Defined as a person who works remotely, a “digital nomad” has the freedom to travel the world while pursuing their career. To sustain this type of work and lifestyle, digital nomads require modern technology.  

In addition to a laptop, a powerful smartphone is a crucial piece of technology for digital nomads. However, not all smartphones are made alike, and there are some specific elements that digital nomads should look for in their device.

Here is the ultimate guide to choosing a smartphone as a digital nomad.

1. It must work internationally.

As a digital nomad, it is essential that you have a phone that can work overseas. This means that your smartphone must be unlocked for international roaming (something that you must sort before you travel abroad).

To get your phone operating with international roaming, you have a couple of options. You can purchase a local SIM card in each country you visit, or you can buy a plan from your home country that works internationally.

For digital nomads, the most convenient smartphone is one with dual SIM capabilities, as it allows you to have a slot for a home SIM, as well as a travel SIM. By opting for a dual SIM phone, you don’t have to give up your home number, you won’t lose SIM cards, and you don’t have to be constantly switching between SIM cards.

Additionally, having two SIM cards allows you to use two-factor authentication or other types of verification that online services sometimes require.

Having a smartphone with a dual SIM capability and a Zain 3G internet package is undoubtedly the most versatile option.

2. It must have a lot of storage.

You don’t want to be traveling the world, seeing and experiencing incredible things on a regular basis, and not be able to capture and save those memories. You need to have a phone that you can snap lots of pictures and video with, and also download apps and entertainment with.

Purchase a phone with lots of storage (nothing less than 32GB) and opt to have your data automatically backed-up to cloud software. Many digital nomads also prefer to have a smartphone that comes with a micro-SD slot, so they can utilize removable storage cards if the necessity arises.

3. It must have excellent battery life.

If you are going to be building and running your empire from your devices, you are going to need a smartphone with excellent battery life. You want to be able to depend on your smartphone for a full day of travel, including using maps to get around, booking accommodation and travel, replying to emails, posting photos in real time, and anything else you have to do.

In other words, your phone needs to be able to keep up with you.

Choose a smartphone that has a battery that is 3000 mAh or larger. To be on the safe side, always have a fully charged portable charger in your bag so that you will never be without a phone.

4. It must have a fantastic camera.

In addition to all the technical specs, you also want a smartphone that takes fantastic photos and videos. Not only will this give you quick access to a camera (isn’t your phone always in your pocket?), but it also means you can post and share your snapshots immediately, and don’t have to carry a big DSLR camera around with you.

In 2018, there are a wide variety of smartphones on the market that have camera capabilities that are just as excellent as (if not superior to) actual cameras. In reality, it is up to you to shop around for one that feels comfortable and easy to use. But, no matter which one you purchase, having a smartphone with a fantastic camera assists you in creating your travel memories.

What do you look for in your devices as a digital nomad? Let us know in the comments below!


Azhar Abulhamayel is the Head of Marketing – National Segment and High Value at Zain KSA. The company was the first operator in the Middle East to commercially launch the 4G/LTE network. Zain serves +10M customers, has extended its network coverage to 94% of the population, and attracts thousands of new customers daily.