The best smartphones under Rs. 20,000 can be bought in India


It’s been a couple of action-packed months in the Indian smartphone space and we’ve now got some really good new phones out there starting under Rs. 20,000. Realme introduced new phones in both the primary number series and the X series, two of which made the cut for this list. Xiaomi recently achieved a solid one-two with the Redmi Note 10 series, which essentially set new standards for the features to be expected in this segment. We had to make some cuts from our previous list, but kept a few slightly older models that we think are still worth your attention.

If you are on a budget of Rs. 20,000, here are some of the best smartphones to consider for your next purchase.

Best phones under 20,000

Phones under Rs. 20,000Gadgets 360 Review (out of 10)Price in India (as recommended)
Realme 8 Pro8thRs. 17,999
Redmi Note 10 Pro max8thRs. 18,999
Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G8thRs. 16,999
Realme X7 5G8thRs. 19,999
Infinix Zero 8i8thRs. 15,999
Realme 7 Pro 8thRs. 19,999
Samsung Galaxy M318thRs. 15,320
Poco X38thRs. 16,999

Realme 8 Pro

The Realme 8 Pro had some big shoes to fill as the Realme 7 Pro was a pretty solid offering and continues to find a spot on this list. The lower starting price of Rs. 17,999 definitely has a positive impact on it, along with other positives like very good battery life, fast charging, a sharp and vibrant AMOLED display, and quite a decent selfie camera.

While this is supposed to be the successor to the Realme 7 Pro, the company has gone in a different direction and is missing some features. You lose the stereo speakers which we think is a huge mistake. There isn’t a high refresh rate for the display, and despite a 108-megapixel camera, the performance is still not convincing. Not to mention the spam nature of some of the pre-installed apps in Realme UI 2.0 which can be quite annoying. Overall, it’s still a good deal, just not what we expected.

Redmi Note 10 Pro max

The Redmi Note series has always stood for value, with features a step or two away from the Redmi series, yet still affordable enough for most people. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max raises the bar and offers segment-leading functions such as a 120 Hz Super AMOLED display, a 108 megapixel main camera, a massive battery and stereo speakers. It’s also a powerful smartphone thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC. In our test, we found the display to be excellent. The surprisingly useful macro camera, sleek design, and IP53 rating for dust and water resistance are also big selling points.

Some areas that we think could improve with future software updates are the camera’s low-light performance, as well as the annoying bloat and promotional content in the software that we experienced at launch. We also need to give a quick greeting to the Redmi Note 10 Pro, which is basically identical to the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max except for its lower resolution main resolution camera and has a lower price of Rs. 3,000.

Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G

One of the goals for the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G was to be the cheapest 5G smartphone in India. With a starting price of Rs. 16,999, it features MediaTek’s Dimensity 700U SoC that we generally see in cell phones that cost well over Rs. 20,000. Other things that speak for it are very good battery life and fast charging, a 120Hz display, and fast overall performance.

The Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G has the well-known problem of being exposed to unwanted notifications from its standard apps, which can quickly become annoying. We’ve also found that cameras perform a little poorly in low light, and the overall design is a little too bland for our tastes as Realme tends to offer patterns on the back of their phones.

Realme X7 5G

The Realme X7 5G was the company’s cheapest 5G phone until the Narzo 30 Pro 5G hit the market. The X7 5G was designed to offer a premium experience without costing a lot, almost a “flagship killer” if you will. Powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 800U SoC and with the option of a sophisticated color scheme that is sure to get you noticed, it offers strong overall performance, excellent battery life with fast charging and, above all, good value for money. It’s also a light and compact smartphone, which is something we don’t see often these days.

Realme’s UI can spam very quickly if you haven’t cleared the required check boxes in the default apps. We also noticed that the camera’s performance is a little weaker in low light.

Infinix Zero 8i

Infinix launched new smartphones this year at a much faster rate than we can keep up. However, we did manage to test one of its more unique – the Zero 8i – which is worth considering in this budget segment. Its strengths include a snappy MediaTek Helio G90T SoC, a refresh rate of 90 Hz, and a range of cameras that work well in good light. It also has a pretty unique design on the back, which sets it apart from the competition. It’s one of the few phones in this segment to offer an ultra-wide-angle selfie camera that we hope others will adopt.

A few notable things are that it’s a little big and unwieldy, there is a lot of bloatware pre-installed, and the camera focus was a bit dodgy at times when taking close-ups. If you’re looking for something other than a Xiaomi or a Realme, we think it’s worth a look.

Realme 7 Pro

The Realme 7 Pro has some compelling features like an AMOLED display, 65W fast charge, and stereo speakers and continues to be a great choice in this segment. The phone is pretty slim and light too, which is a nice bonus. It runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC, so the performance is more than good enough for everyday use.

The primary rear camera is pretty decent too. While the Realme 8 Pro has now been launched, this model is still great value for money.

Samsung Galaxy M31

The Samsung Galaxy M31 is still a convincing option in this segment and is now available at a slightly reduced price. This model has a 6.4-inch Full HD + AMOLED display that delivers vivid colors and very good viewing angles. On the back is a quad camera setup with a 64 megapixel primary camera. It also contains a large 6,000 mAh battery and a powerful Exynos 9611 SoC.

The large battery offers fantastic battery life and this phone can easily be used for two days with our use. The cameras are good in daylight, the wide-angle camera offers a wider field of view, but loses details compared to the main camera. When night mode is activated, the Galaxy M31 delivers better images in poor lighting conditions. The Exynos 9611 SoC isn’t as powerful as what the competition offers, but it is capable of handling everyday tasks with ease. Battery life is the main focus of the Galaxy M31 as it can overtake multiple devices on this list.

Poco X3

The mid-range Poco X3 is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC and has a 6,000 mAh battery and a 6.67-inch Full HD + display. This phone is relatively bulky and heavy, but the design is relatively fresh, with a very distinctive camera module on the back. You get IP53 water and dust resistance.

Overall performance is good, as is the battery life. This is a great option for games and entertainment. The cameras are also suitable for everyday use. If you don’t mind a somewhat bulky smartphone, the Poco X3 is still good value for money.

Is the OnePlus 9R old wine in a new bottle – or something more? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (from 11:00 p.m.) we will talk about the new OnePlus watch. Orbital is available in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere you can get your podcasts.

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