It’s not just smartphone users who get to enjoy all the flexibility and features of eSIM technology. There are a few tablets with eSIM capabilities on the market too.
Tablets are the quintessential mobile device. They aren’t as bulky as laptops but are big enough to work on. With an embedded SIM, they work anywhere you are.
There aren’t many tablets with an eSIM, unfortunately, but there is a decent selection to choose from. Apple and Microsoft have both released tablets with the technology.
We’ve put this post together to provide clarity on which tablets support eSIM and the key things you need to know about activating and using eSIM tablets.
GSMArena are the leading source of the latest information regarding phones and tablets and maintain a list of all tablets and their functionality. They list tablets with embedded SIMs here. However some earlier iPads support a proprietary embedded SIM called “Apple SIM” and these cannot scan and download regular GSMA compliant QR codes like ours. Be sure to read this article.
What is an eSIM?
An embedded SIM (eSIM) is a programmable chip built into smartphones and other portable devices – like tablets and laptops. It uses remote SIM provisioning to connect to networks, thus eliminating the need for a plastic SIM card.
The telecommunications industry is still adapting to embedded SIM cards and the uptake has been painfully slow, but they are the future. Just as removeable phone batteries became obsolete, so will removeable SIM cards.
Fortunately, it is a good future for industries and individuals.
WiFi vs Cellular Tablets
There are two ways tablets connect to the internet: via WiFi or Cellular (4G or LTE).
They do the same thing, essentially, but perform differently depending on your network reliability, coverage in your area, and the capabilities of your mobile device.
A cellular tablet can be used whenever and wherever you have cellular service, whereas a WiFi tablet can only be used in a WiFi hotspot.
You need a Cellular model to use an eSIM on tablets.
Are Tablets eSIM Compatible?
Yes, and quite a few of them too.
The original eSIM device was a smartwatch (Samsung Gear S2), but OEMs adapted quickly and soon many phones, laptops, and tablets had an embedded SIM.
Most new devices are likely to have an eSIM going forward.
Apple has released eSIM enabled tablets but we’re still waiting for Samsung to come to the party. Surprisingly, they are yet to launch a tablet with an eSIM despite being a prolific provider of Android eSIM phones.
Related | Android Support for eSIMs
eSIM Compatible Tablets and iPads
Whether you’re using it for meetings with clients or to work while on the move, having an eSIM in a tablet allows a new level of mobile connectivity and productivity.
And because eSIM services are plentiful thanks to eSIM providers like eSIM.net, you won’t have a hard time finding a mobile plan that suits your lifestyle and needs.
So which tablet computers have eSIMs?
Here’s a complete list of eSIM enabled tablets:
Apple eSIM iPads
Apple is the most prolific when it comes to tablets with eSIM.
These are the iPads with eSIM capabilities:
iPad (7th Generation onwards)
Sleek and compact, the 7th gen iPad from Apple is both attractive and functional.
A powerful A12 Bionic chip for editing 4K video, 10.2-inch Retina display, all-day battery, 8MP back camera, front FaceTime HD camera, and compatibility with the Smart Keyboard and Apple make this eSIM iPad the ultimate workmate for creatives.
12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd Gen onwards)
The 3rd generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with eSIM was released in 2018 and is still one of the most beloved iPads currently on the market thanks to its substantial screen size.
Along with its eSIM capabilities, the iPad Pro 3 also boasts a Liquid Retina XDR display, M1 chip for all-day battery, 5G connectivity, and Magic Keyboard compatibility.
11-inch iPad Pro (all versions)
Also released in 2018 but with a smaller 11-inch screen, this eSIM enabled iPad is a stylish work or travel companion that delivers on performance and features.
Its Liquid Retina display, M1 chip, Ultra Wide camera, 5G connectivity, and compatibility with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil is everything you need from a tablet.
iPad Mini (5th Gen onwards)
The iPad Mini 5 was launched in 2019 to much fanfare and is considered one of the best Apple iPads to date. With a 7.9-inch Retina display, it is Apple’s smallest iPad.
Despite its compact size, this eSIM iPad doesn’t disappoint on performance. An A12 Bionic chip, all-day battery, and f/2.4 8-megapixel camera are just some of its features.
iPad Air (3rd Gen onwards)
This 2019 eSIM iPad is beautifully designed and sports all the features you need for work and home. To some, it is the quintessential Apple iPad.
The iPad Air’s FaceTime audio and video capabilities together with its Retina display, A12 Bionic chip, and long-lasting battery, ensure connectivity wherever you are.
Windows eSIM Tablets
Microsoft was the first to introduce eSIM to its tablets.
These are the Microsoft tablets with eSIM capabilities:
Microsoft Surface Pro (5th and 7th Gen onwards)
The 5th generation Microsoft Surface Pro was released in 2017, making it the first tablet with an eSIM. The 7th generation Microsoft Surface Pro model arrived later, in 2019.
Ultra-light and versatile with a laptop class Intel® Core™ processor, long-lasting battery, and HD camera, the Surface Pro tablets are the perfect companion whether you’re potting around the garden, at the office, or travelling.
Microsoft Surface Pro X (5th Gen onwards)
Released in 2019, the 5th generation Microsoft Surface Pro X is a high-performance tablet with an impressive selection of features – Microsoft SQ® 1 and Microsoft SQ® 2 chipsets, two USB-C® ports, 13” touchscreen, and Surface Slim Pen compatibility to name a few.
The Surface Pro X is the second tablet model from Microsoft with an embedded SIM.
This list will grow as manufacturers launch new devices.
How to Activate an eSIM on a Tablet
Ensure your tablet is unlocked before trying to activate the eSIM.
You activate an eSIM by downloading an eSIM profile to your device. Mobile carriers and eSIM providers provide these in the form of eSIM plans.
How to Enable eSIM on iPads
There are 3 ways to activate an eSIM on an iPad:
Scan a QR code
- Go to Settings > Mobile Data
- Tap Add Mobile Data Plan
- Scan the QR code provided by your eSIM carrier
- Enter the number your carrier provided if you’re asked for a confirmation code
Manually set up eSIM plan
- Go to Settings > Mobile Data > Set Up Mobile Data (if it’s your first eSIM plan)
- Go to Settings > Mobile Data > Add a New Plan (if it’s a second eSIM plan)
- Choose an eSIM provider
- Choose an eSIM plan and create an account, or add your iPad to an existing plan
- Tap Confirm
- Your plan should take a few minutes to activate
Use an eSIM provider’s app
- Go to the App Store and download your eSIM provider’s app
- Use the app to purchase a mobile data plan
How to Enable eSIM on Microsoft Tablets
To set up an eSIM service on a Microsoft tablet, follow these steps:
Set up eSIM on Surface Pro (5th gen and 7th gen)
- Select Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Cellular
- Choose a data plan.
- Select SIM1 for Use this SIM for cellular data (SIM card)
- For 5th gen,select SIM2 for Use this SIM for cellular data (eSIM)
- For 7th gen, select eSIM for Use this SIM for cellular data (eSIM)
Set up eSIM on Surface Pro X
- Select Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Cellular
- Choose an eSIM plan
- SIM1 for Use this SIM for cellular data (SIM card)
- Select eSIM for Use this SIM for cellular data (eSIM)
Find out more about cellular settings in Windows 10.
Browse our range of prepaid eSIM plans for tablets
eSIM.net is a registered MVNO based in the United Kingdom and one of the world’s leading eSIM providers. We offer a range of UK domestic 5G plans.