Notches, the disappearing 3.5mm headphone jack and multiple cameras are all the rage this year. Not to mention making screens as bezel-less as possible. Once flagship models initiate a design or functionality trend, it's rare that new devices in the budget segment don't follow.
In India, specifically, the budget segment of the smartphone market is booming. The best selling brands in country, including Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Samsung, all have their strategy for this year aimed towards launching as many budget phones are possible.
Currently, a user who plans to spend somewhere under Rs 20,000 on a smartphone has loads of options.
We have compiled a list of devices which will provide you a bunch of features without burning a hole in your pocket.
Apart from the teardrop notch and the colorful back designs, the P30 Lite has little in common with its siblings. The P30 Lite discards several key features from the higher-end P30 phones but aims to retain the spirit of the P30 series by offering a high-end striking design alongside an adept camera setup.
The phone can handle most tasks well enough for casual users. You can easily get a days worth of moderate use with the conservative battery capacity and if you happen to run out of juice the phone can charge up relatively quickly with the bundled fast charger.
The Note 7 Pro is one of Redmi's first two launches as Xiaomi's official sub-brand in India (the other being the Note 7). It brings the 48MP camera to the budget smartphone market, and while the design isn't new, it's certainly a revamp for the brand.
Under the hood is the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 octa-core chipset, and an Adreno 612 GPU. There are two storage variants- the 4GB/64GB variant is priced at Rs 13,999, while the 6GB/128GB version is priced at Rs 16,999. It will go on sale on March 13 at Mi Home stores, mi.com, Flipkart and Mi Partner stores.
The Redmi Note 7 is the younger fraternal twin of the Note 7 Pro, and it looks like it too. It boasts of the cheapest 48MP camera in the Indian market- it starts at Rs 9,999 for the base 3GB/32GB storage variant. Like its better-looking brother, it will go on sale on March 13 at Mi Home stores, mi.com, Flipkart and Mi Partner stores.
The Galaxy M30 follows the same design language as its younger siblings, the M20 and M10. It has a polycarbonate rear panel with a glossy finish and a triple rear camera setup on the top right corner- the M10 and M20 only have a dual rear camera. The Super AMOLED FHD+ display (2280×1080 pixels) is a definite upgrade on the other two as well.
Samsung Galaxy M30 is powered by Exynos 7904 chipset, the same one as the M20. You can get either 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage or 6GB RAM with 128GB storage. The phone starts at Rs 14,990 for the 4GB/64GB base variant.
The newly-launched Samsung Galaxy M20 invokes a single watchword- 'balanced'. While it lacks the flair and performance specs of the pricier Samsung devices, it's a neat, attractive-looking piece in its own right. Priced at Rs 10,990 onwards, the Galaxy M20 brings an immersive display, impressive selfie camera, and smooth UI/UX performance to the budget smartphone sector.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy M20 review
The Samsung Galaxy A50 is a stunning device- the reflective coating on the back makes for a very good-looking phone, and the large Super AMOLED display is great for video and graphic content. The daylight camera isn't too shabby either, though the Live Focus is a bit hit-and-miss.
But there are a few snags- the OneUI needs more fine-tuning, and definitely more speed. There's a noticeable lag in performance, which doesn't bode well. Hopefully further updates will iron the kinks. The low-light camera is disappointing too.
The successor to the popular Max Pro M1, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 is a great all-round performer. It runs stock Android and has only 3 pre-loaded apps- Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. The Snapdragon 660 is paired with an Adreno 512 GPU; the pair can handle most tasks and heavy games with minimal glitching.
The low-light camera is a bit of a let-down, and the phone runs Android Oreo out of the box, but the Android Pie update has been available since January. The battery life is great, but the lack of fast charging means that the device takes nearly 3 hours to charge fully. A full battery will last about 9-10 hours of heavy usage and multitasking, so it will last the ordinary user over 24 hours.
Xiaomi has added the new Redmi 6 Pro smartphone to its sub 10K lineup this time. It's the first Pro smartphone in the segment, and it justifies the name with some promising specs on paper and reliable real-life performance. It gets the notch design, the first from the company to have the feature, a 4000mAh battery and last year's most reliable mid-range chipset Snapdragon 625 with 3GB/4GB of RAM and a full HD display. At Rs 8,999, it's a steal.
The successor to the Oppo Realme 2, the Realme 3 is a good value-for-money proposition. It comes in two storage variants- 3GB/32GB, and 4GB/64GB- and in two colour options, Radiant Blue and Dynamic Black.
The price starts at Rs 8,999 for the base variant, and Rs 10,990 for the higher storage variant. The performance of the ColorOS 6.0 and the cameras could have been better- the OS especially has a few kinks in the performance that need to be ironed out. But for the asking price, it's a good option if you don't mind a few hits and misses.
Read our full Realme 3 review
In the shadow of the Galaxy S10, Galaxy Fold, and the Galaxy Buds, Samsung also launched the Galaxy A30 phone. It's the middle child, but nevertheless, quite a good phone in its own right.
Performance is smooth- the A30 runs Android 9 Pie out of the box, with the Samsung One UI. The camera effects can be a bit unreliable, and you're clearly getting the camera that you paid for. The 4000mAh battery can easily last a day, and the phone supports 15W fast charging.
It comes with only 4GB/64GB of storage, but there is a microSD card slot if you want more. It retails for Rs 16,990 on Amazon.
The Honor 10 Lite has an excellent display, and is a premium-looking smartphone in the budget category. The camera's also pretty decent, though some images might feel overly processed. The micro USB port also feels a bit dated. But it's a well-performing device, well worth the price.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro, another phone that's worth a gander, was released last year as a successor to the very popular Note 5 Pro. It has dual rear and front cameras, a rarity in the budget segment; both cameras produce detailed, above-average pictures. The 4000mAh battery easily lasts a day, and the phone also supports fast charging. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, but should soon get the Pie update.
- On a strict budget? Try our buying guide of Best phones under Rs 15,000 in India for March