Best Smartphones Under Rs.12,000 (November 2019)

by | Nov 16, 2019

If you are looking for a smartphone above Rs.10,000 and you can’t extend your budget to Rs.15,000, then the best option is to go for a smartphone under Rs.12,000.

The sheer variety and competition in this segment are massive in India and almost every phone manufacturer launch a product in this price range.

So, which is the best smartphone under Rs.12,000?

Who offers the best value for money as well as build quality?

Let’s find out here.

Best Phones Under Rs.12,000

1. Realme 3 ProOverall Best Pick
2. Redmi Note 7 ProFeature-Rich Smartphone
3. Nokia 7.1Best Build Quality
4. Samsung Galaxy M20 Best Reliable Smartphone
5. Motorola One ActionValue for Money Smartphone
6. Honor 20iHonorable Mention

1. Realme 3 Pro

realme-3-pro
Overall Best Pick
  • Powerful Snapdragon 710 processor
  • VOOC Flash charge 3.0
  • Full HD display

RealMe 3 Pro is a mid-range Android smartphone released back in Q2 2019 to compete with the likes of Asus Zenfone Max Pro and Redmi Note Pro series devices.

Design and Build Quality

The Realme 3 Pro smartphone is completely made of plastic. There isn’t even a single piece of metallic insert anywhere to be seen on the chassis of this device.

However, the excessive use of plastics doesn’t mean that the build quality is inferior. The use of excellent quality plastic does make the device feel rigid and durable.

The shiny tinted colour plastic back may seem to be made of glass but it isn’t. We advise you to use the supplied PU case in the box to avoid scratches on this device.

The horizontally arranged dual camera rests a bit raised from the surface and is covered with a metallic ring around the edge.

The fingerprint scanner is placed on the rear at a comfortable position where your index finger rests naturally.

The power button is placed on the right side and the volume rockers to the left. These buttons feel responsive and tactile.

The headphone jack and the speaker is placed in the bottom side. One of the biggest letdowns of this device is that it comes with the outdated micro USB port instead of USB-C.

Overall, the attractive colour options and the waterdrop notch display makes this phone quite a looker in its segment.

The build quality is okayish but not something worth writing pages about.

Display

The display was one of the strongholds of RealMe devices and they did the same in RealMe 3 Pro as well.

The RealMe 3 Pro has kept the legacy with its large 6.3-inch full HD+ IPS display with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels.

The main USP of this display is its waterdrop notch, which houses the front camera and looks rather appealing than a regular-sized wide notch.

This tiny notch does help this budget smartphone to rock an impressive 84% screen to body ratio.

This 19.5:9 display comes with a pixel density of 409 ppi, which results in excellent visual clarity.

The colours look popping with this display and the brightness levels are up to the point as well.

You will have no issues using this display under sunlight or in brightly lit environments.

As an added cherry on top, the RealMe 3 Pro comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection for the display which will protect the glass from accidental scratches.

Processor and Performance

Realme 3 Pro features the more powerful, more efficient Snapdragon 710 SoC, which is the best in its segment available at present.

Whether you are a gamer or a casual user, this device won’t hold you back with bottlenecks.

With 6GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage, you can play your favourite game or do intense multitasking effortlessly on this device.

Network

The RealMe 3 Pro comes with dual VoLTE feature which can be utilized for two active 4G SIM connections.

The signal reception is excellent because the entire chassis is made of plastic and nothing interferes with the signals.

The call quality through the earpiece is loud and clear and even with the loudspeaker, there is no jitter.

Camera

The Realme 3 Pro has a dual rear camera unit with 16MP primary shooter and a 5MP depth-sensing unit.

The f/1.7 primary camera in the back performs well in low light conditions and provides images with considerably less noise.

The pictures turn out great with an excellent level of detail and colour accuracy in well-lit conditions and outdoors.

The front camera is a 25MP shooter which is one of the best in its segment, The AI selfie mode works great and results in perfect portrait selfies with no jagged edges or aberrations.

There is HDR support and the rear camera is capable of recording 4K videos up to 30fps.

Battery Life

The 4045mAh Li-ion battery inside this device will easily last for a day of heavy usage with the screen on time lingering around 6-7 hours.

If you’re a game fanatic, expect this figure to come down significantly.

Verdict

If you’re looking for a smartphone with overall all-round performance, the RealMe 3 Pro should be on your watch list.

Combining the elegant design with the novel waterdrop notch and the powerful processor inside, this smartphone stands right up to the likes of Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 and Redmi Note 7 Pro in the sub Rs 12,000 budget.

R

Gorilla glass 5 protection

R

960fps super slo-mo video

R

25MP AI selfie camera

Q

No USB Type C

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid 9.0 Pie
RAM6 GB
Internal Memory64 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 710
Camera16MP+5MP Rear, 25MP Front
Battery4045mAh
Display6.3-inch HD+

2. Redmi Note 7 Pro

redmi-note-7-pro
Feature-Rich Smartphone
  • Excellent low light photography
  • Long-lasting 4000mAh battery
  • Powerful Snapdragon 675 processor

Redmi Note 7 Pro is the newest weapon from the Redmi arsenal, which is a recently spun off Xiaomi subsidiary for manufacturing and marketing budget and mid-range Android smartphones.

The Redmi Note 7 Pro comes as a successor to the popular Redmi Note 6 Pro and is launched in India at an enticing price point of just under Rs.15,000 for the 4GB/64GB variant.

Design and Build Quality

The Redmi Note 7 Pro borrows some design elements from the Honor phones in terms of colour schemes and builds quality.

The all-new Redmi Note 7 Pro features a glass sandwich design at the front and rear protected with the latest gorilla glass 5.

The shiny back panel reminds us of the Honor phones off late, which is always a good thing because those phones looked so stunning.

The fit and finish of this budget Android smartphone are on par with its competitors and Xiaomi has not done any visible cost-cutting in terms of build quality.

Display

The Redmi Note 7 Pro features a large 6.3-inch FHD+ panel with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels.

This dot notch display has a screen to body ratio of 81.4% and has minimal bezels on all four sides.

As we’ve already mentioned, the display is covered with corning gorilla glass 5 for protection from accidental scratches and dents and an additional p2i splashproof protection.

This IPS LCD delivers visuals with excellent colour quality and brightness levels.

The pixel density of 409 ppi and the minimal bezels ensures crisp, clean as well as immersive visual experience with this budget Android smartphone.

Processor and Performance

The Redmi Note 7 Pro comes loaded with the latest mid-range SoC offering from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 675.

This octa-core chipset along with the 6 GB RAM and the 128 GB of internal storage lets you multitask, game and whatnot with this phone like a breeze.

There is no stutters or lags whatsoever and at the same time, there is no thermal throttling as well.

Camera

This is where things get slightly more interesting with the Redmi Note 7 Pro.

This budget Android smartphone packs in a 48MP + 5MP dual rear camera setup and a 13MP front camera.

But wait, 48MP?

Yeah, on paper it’s a 48MP shooter, but technically, the sensor takes four 12MP shots and combines into one single shot with enhanced details and colour profile.

The low light performance of this smartphone is possibly the best in its category.

The selfie camera comes with AI features to make you look even more beautiful.

Miscellaneous

The Redmi Note 7 Pro comes with the regular set of sensors, USB-C port for charging and data syncing, 3.5mm jack for plugging in your favourite earphones and headphones.

The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor on this device is lightning-fast to unlock the screen.

The Redmi Note 7 Pro comes with L1 Widevine certificate which lets you watch online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon prime in full HD resolution.

Battery Life

The Redmi Note 7 Pro packs in a 4000mAh battery inside which will last for an impressive one and a half days of moderate to heavy usage.

This phone supports quick charging and comes with an 18W charger for juicing up the device fast.

Verdict

If you can get your hands on this device during the second-long flash sale, it would be a steal for under Rs.15,000.

R

Elegant design

R

Excellent build quality

R

Quick charging support

Q

No dedicated SD card slot

Specifications

Operating SystemAndorid 9.0 Pie
RAM4 GB
Internal Memory64 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 665
Camera48MP+5MP Rear, 13MP Front
Battery4000 mAh
Display6.3-inch Full HD+

3. Nokia 7.1

nokia-7.1
Best Build Quality
  • Great build quality
  • Android One device from Nokia
  • Guaranteed software updates

Nokia 7.1 was one of the most exciting launches of the yesteryear from HMD Global.

It ticks all the right boxes and adding a cherry on top, this device comes with the Android One program that runs a true stock Android version straight from Google.

Design and Build Quality

Carved out of a single block of Series 6000 Aluminum, Nokia 7.1 is as strong as it could get.

The design looks fresh and the accent colours give a flair of modernity to the device.

Nokia still hasn’t left out the 3.5mm headphone jack as some of the other manufacturers are doing.

A type C charging port is one of the most needed but ignored feature on phones under the Rs.20,000 price segment.

Fortunately, this device features one.

Overall, the build quality of this device is amazing – just like the other Nokia devices out there.

Processor and Performance

The Nokia 7.1 comes with a moderately powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset inside, which is the most budget SoC member of the Snapdragon 6xx series.

Apps and games run perfectly fine with deal-breaking lags whatsoever.

This device comes with 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM along with an inbuilt storage size of 64GB which can be further expanded to 256GB via an SD card slot.

This phone comes with a hybrid SIM slot meaning either you have to use two SIM’s without having the option to increase the storage size or just one SIM with an SD card.

Display

This device features a 5.84-inch full HD+ IPS LCD with a resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels at a 19:9 aspect ratio.

The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 which is both polarized as well as laminated to reduce the gap between the glass and the digitizer.

The colours look stunning and brightness levels are good. The texts appear sharper on the screen with no pixelation even when zoomed into closely.

Camera

Nokia had a partnership with Zeiss optics in their glory times and has decided to continue the bond.

The Nokia 7.1 has a dual-camera setup with a primary 12MP sensor along with a 5MP depth-sensing unit.

The images from the rear camera unit look great with detailed subjects and accurate colour reproduction.

In the front, an 8MP sensor is present that works well even in low light environments.

Battery Life

The Nokia 7.1 makes a return from the high capacity battery found on the Nokia 7 Plus with a mere 3060 mAh battery on this one.

With moderate usage, the battery will last for about a day on this smartphone.

Verdict

This device has a fantastic build quality that resembles those Nokia phones back in its glory days.

The Android One program will make sure that the device will stay up to date up to two years with the latest software updates directly from Google.

R

Gorgeous display

R

Camera output is great

R

Bothie mode feature

Q

Less powerful processor

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo
RAM6 GB
Internal Memory64 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 636
Camera12MP + 5MP Rear, 8MP Front
Battery3060mAh
Display5.84 inch Full HD+

4. Samsung Galaxy M20

samsung-galaxy-m20
Best Reliable Smartphone
  • 5000mAh battery
  • Ultra wide dual camera
  • Infinity V display

Samsung Galaxy M20 is the latest mid-range budget offering from Samsung loaded with features aimed to compete with the likes of Xiaomi and Asus.

Design and Build Quality

The Samsung Galaxy M20 is made from polycarbonate plastic shell with a textured finish which looks decent for the price tag it carries.

The build quality seems quite decent for the price and matches the competition.

The rounded corners and the edges help this phone to be easily held in the hand and aides better one-hand usability.

The rear side of the phone houses the dual cameras assisted with an LED flash and at the bottom is the speaker grill.

The Galaxy M20 comes with a micro USB port for charging and data syncing and has a 3.5mm jack for plugging in earphones and headphones.

Display

This budget entry-level smartphone has a large 6.3-inch full HD+ display with a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels.

The company fondly calls this display as an infinity V display, thanks to the waterdrop notch in the front.

The 19:9 display has an impressive screen to body ratio of 83.6% and comes with a pixel density of around 409 ppi.

The quality of this display is very good and possibly a tad bit better than its competitor devices.

The colour accuracy and saturation levels are excellent and the display also delivers excellent viewing angles.
Samsung has included an automatic brightness sensor on this phone so that you won’t have to manually slide around to get the desired brightness levels anymore.

Processor and Performance

The Samsung Galaxy M20 packs in a homebrewed octa-core Exynos 7904 chipset clocked at 1.8GHz.

This processor coupled with 4GB of RAM runs all the casual applications with relative ease and no stutters.

However, the limited RAM might exhibit lags if you are planning to heavily multitask or play memory-intensive games on this device.

Apart from the 64GB internal storage, this device comes with a dedicated SD card slot which can take cards up to 128GB.

Connectivity

This dual SIM budget Android smartphones have two SIM slots and support dual VoLTE.

Camera

This smartphone has a 13MP + 5MP rear camera setup of which the 5MP is a wide-angle sensor which helps you cover more of the subject in a single shot.

The front 8MP shooter does its job in well-lit conditions.

Battery Life

Powering the Samsung Galaxy M20 is a massive 5000mAh Li-Po battery which is rated to last for two days worth of heavy usage.

Samsung also bundles a fast charger which can charge this mammoth battery from 0 to 100% in just under 2.30 hours.

Verdict

If you are in search of a branded budget smartphone with unmatched reliability, the Samsung Galaxy M20 is one of the best phones available under Rs.12000.

R

Fingerprint scanner

R

Dedicated SD card slot

R

Ambient light sensor

Q

Slow OS updates

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid 8.1 Oreo
RAM4 GB
Internal Memory64 GB
ProcessorExynos 7904 octa-core
Camera13MP+5MP Rear, 8MP Front
Battery5000mAh
Display6.3-inch FHD+

 

5. Motorola One Action

motorola-one-action
Value for Money Smartphone
  • Assured 2-year software updates
  • Stock Android OS
  • Fast charger bundled with the package

Motorola has been receiving a lot of flake for its pricing strategy as well the choice of the processor on their latest G7 series phones.

The company, it seems has understood the mistake and is back in business with an Android One powered device, the One Action which is exclusive to the Indian market.

Design and build quality

The Motorola One Action has a metallic unibody design with a curved glass back.

The backside of the device resembles the Redmi Note 5 Pro from Xiaomi due to the vertical dual camera placement.

Even though the bezels are thin around the display, there is a considerable lower chin on the front which houses the Motorola brand name.

The rear-mounted fingerprint has the famous Motorola logo embossed on it.

Overall the build quality feels very premium and the device doesn’t feel too heavy.

Display

The display on this device is a 6.3-inch IPS LCD panel with a Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2246 pixels.

The display is sharp and vivid with accurate colours. The brightness and contrast levels are excellent as well.

The 21:9 aspect ratio display has a centre-punch camera hole similar to the ones found on expensive Samsung devices.

The pixel density of 402 ppi means the images and texts will appear sharp and less pixelated.

Performance

Motorola has been notorious for including outdated SoC in their newer gen smartphones and selling at exorbitant prices.

This time around, the Motorola One action comes with a Samsung Exynos 9609 processor which is a budget powerhouse.

Accompanied with 4GB of RAM, this device can handle multitasking very well. Games like PUBG plays smoothly and notably, without any overheating.

Camera

This device has a triple rear camera setup which constitutes of a 12MP main unit, a 16MP ultra wide-angle sensor and a supplementary 5MP depth sensor for that accurate portrait mode clicks.

The front 12MP shooter lets you take good quality selfies even under low lighting conditions.

The rear camera supports 4K recording and even supports 1080p recording at 60 fps.

Miscellaneous

One of the main USP of this device is that it comes under the Android One programme.

This means that you get the stock Android experience just as on Google’s hardware, the Pixel phones and assured software updates up to two years.

Battery

Powered by a respectable 3500mAh battery, this device will last easily over a day of moderate to heavy usage, especially with the pure stock Android OS.

The company bundles the fast charger with the box always and this will let you charge the device faster than from a normal charger or a power bank.

Verdict

It seems Motorola has got it right this time around.

With a great display on a well-built chassis, powered by a powerful processor, the Motorola One Action ticks all the right boxes for a phone priced under Rs.15,000.

The long-lasting battery makes this a media consumption device without having to worry about the device getting turned off amidst your favourite show.

R

USB C

R

Great display

R
Moto action gestures
Q

No dedicated SD card slot

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid 9.0 Pie
RAM4 GB
Internal Memory128 GB
ProcessorSamsung Exynos 9609
Camera12MP + 5MP + 16MP Rear, 12MP Front
Battery3500mAh
Display6.3-inch Full HD+

6. Honor 20i

honor-20i
Honorable Mention
  • 128GB internal storage
  • 3D portrait lighting
  • Gorgeous design

Honor 20i is the stripped-down version of the latest Honor flagship – the Honor 20.

This android smartphone packs almost all goodies that are present in its elder brother, but omits certain features to keep the price tight under Rs,15,000.

Design and Build Quality

The Honor 20i has a familiar rounded drop notch design which looks almost similar to the Essential one smartphone.

The glass sandwich design with the gradient back looks nice and feels premium to hold in the hand.

The buttons are placed on easy reach and feel clicky and responsive. The headphone jack and the speaker is located in the bottom part.

One of the downsides of this smartphone is that it still packs an obsolete micro USB 2.0 port for charging and data transfer.

Processor and Performance

The Honor 20i features a mid-range HiSilicon Kirin 710 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM.

Although the device lacks an expandable storage option, the phone comes with 128GB of internal memory out of the box.

For most users, this will be more than sufficient for storing their files and installing apps on the device.

The Kirin 710 performs so well without any lags even while having multiple apps open in the background.

The games do run smoothly without any frame drops as well.

Display

Talking about the display, Honor this time decided to join the notch bandwagon. The Honor 20i features a 6.21-inch full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 19:9.

The notch up the front of the device accommodates the front camera.

This display gets sufficiently bright and the visuals come out clean and vivid.

Camera

Optics front, this smartphone has a 24MP + 8MP + 2MP rear camera unit.

The 24MP is a primary sensor that captures details in the frames precisely. The 8MP wide-angle sensor provides a whole new perspective of the subject you’re trying to capture.

The 2MP depth-sensing unit allows you to take portrait mode shots with a blurred background as you might get on a DSLR camera.

The 32MP front camera takes pictures with a hell lot of details and colour accuracy under well-lit environments.

The AI effect produces over-processed photos which can be easily achieved by applying filters from one of the photo editing apps.

The camera app has a manual mode that will let you tweak finer aspects such as aperture size, white balance, ISO etc to get a more desired output.

Battery Life

Honor 20i comes with Android 9.0 Pie OS out of the box with the latest EMUI 9 on the top.

EMUI skin adds a lot of extra features that are useful for more tighter control over the operating system but frequent updates are a concern.

The 3400mAh battery holds pretty well and lasts well over a day with moderate to heavy usage.

Verdict

The Honor 20i from Huawei is a smartphone that’s a stunner in terms of design and looks. The phone has capable internals and performs excellently as well.

R

Triple rear camera

R

Excellent build quality

R

32MP front camera

Q

No USB C

Q

AI camera modes are less impressive

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid 9.0 Pie
RAM4 GB
Internal Memory128 GB
ProcessorHiSilicon Kirin 710F
Camera24MP+8MP+2MP Rear,32MP Front
Battery3400mAh
Display6.21 Full HD+

And that concludes our list of the best mobile phones under Rs.12,000.

We have taken a genuine effort to list out only the best smartphone in this price category.

We will be updating this list when new phones that can challenge our top picks are launched.

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