Best Mobile Phones Under Rs.12,000 (February 2019)

by | Feb 5, 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. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1Overall Best Pick
2. Realme U1Runner-Up Pick
3. Nokia 5.1 PlusBest Build Quality
4. Huawei Honor 9NBest Value for Money 
5. Redmi 6 proBest Design
6. Samsung Galaxy J4 PlusBest Reliable Smartphone
7. Moto G6 PlayHonorable Mention

1. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1

asus-zenfone-max-pro-m1
Overall Best Pick
  • Rivals Redmi Note 5 pro
  • Near stock Android experience
  • 2-day battery phone

The Zenfone Max Pro from Asus is a phone that is sold at an aggressive price with plenty of features loaded in.

There are 2 variants of this model in the market, a 3GB/32GB variant sold at Rs. 8,999 and a 4GB/64GB variant at Rs, 10,999.

Reliable mid range Snapdragon 636 processor…

The Zenfone Max Pro is powered by the latest Snapdragon 636 Octa-core chipset and Adreno 509 GPU.

This is the best performing chipset in mid range smartphones under Rs. 12,000.

The phone comes bundled with Android Oreo with an almost stock like feel.

There is not much bloatware on this smartphone. Updates are also confirmed until Android Q.

Design and build quality…

Coming to the design and build of Zenfone Max Pro, it has a rather ordinary design with an all-metal body except for the antenna portion.

The phone feels hefty in hand because of the massive battery it has but the weight distribution is really good.

Buttons on the side are tactile and clicky.

Awesome 18:9 full HD+ display…

The display of this phone is a 5.99-inch full view display which is really immersive and colour accurate.

There are no protective glasses like Gorilla Glass here which significantly dents the overall build quality.

Speakers are located on the bottom side and with the help of an NXP amplifier and 5 Magnet speaker, the audio quality is loud and impressive.

The Snapdragon 636 chipset and Adreno 506 GPU can handle most of the tasks you throw at it with ease.

The RAM management and multitasking are butter smooth on this smartphone.

We recommend the 4GB RAM variant only if you’re a heavy performer, otherwise, the 3GB variant will be perfectly fine.

Decent dual camera onboard…

On the camera front, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro is a decent performer.

It packs a dual rear camera with single LED flash that takes some good bright light
shots and portrait photos but most of the pictures are a bit over saturated.

The low light photos lack a lot of details as well.

The front camera is an 8MP shooter that does an okayish job.

Gigantic 5000mAh battery and more…

This phone packs in a gigantic 5,000mAh battery that easily last 2 days of usage which is simply amazing for many power-hungry users.

Some nifty additions like 4K video recording, true dual 4G VoLTE on both the SIM cards and dedicated memory card slot are impressive.

All in all, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is a worthy phone for most of the tasks at its price.

Final impressions…

If you love to have a mammoth battery inside so that you can possible use the phone with a peace of mind inside, this is it.

With nearly stock Android OS, there’s nothing much to blame about the software either.

With Asus promising the Android P update, this smartphone should be definitely under your radar if you planning to buy a phone under Rs.12,000.

R

Feature rich phone

R

Impeccable metal body design and premium look

R

Audio output is very good

R

Excellent phone even for heavy gaming

Q

No Gorilla glass protection for the display

Q

No NFC chip

Q

No FM support

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo
RAM3GB / 4GB
Internal Memory32GB / 64GB
ProcessorSnapdragon 636 Octa core 1.8GHz
Camera13MP+5MP Primary | 8MP Secondary
Battery5000mAh
Display5.99 inches
1080 x 2160 18:9 (402ppi)

2. Realme U1

realme-u1
Runner-Up Pick
  • Best in class powerful Helio P70 SoC
  • Dedicated SD card slot
  • AI-powered camera

The Realme U1 is the company’s first U series smartphone launched recently in the Indian market.

This budget Android smartphone comes with cutting-edge features that give the established brands like Xiaomi and Asus, a run for their money in the sub. Rs.12,000 price category.

Design and Build Quality

The Realme U1 comes with the famed water drop notch borrowed from its elder siblings at Oppo.

Made of glass at the front and glass type acrylic material at the back, this is definitely one of the best-looking devices in its price range.

This device has a 90% screen to body ratio with minimal bezels on all four sides, resulting in an immersive smartphone experience.

At the rear, the Realme U1 has the same design as that of the budget Realme C1 Pro with an additional fingerprint scanner, that the former lacked.

The glossy acrylic back is a fingerprint magnet and knowing this, Realme has included a clear case in the box with this smartphone.

There’s still the micro USB port for charging and not the USB C and has a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom for wired music listening.

The quality of the construction is premium and the phone feels really solid and built to last.

Display

The Realme U1 comes with a large 6.3-inch IPS LCD FHD+ display with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels.

This display has a 19:9 aspect ratio and comes with a teardrop notch at the top. The screen is very bright and colour accurate and offers excellent contrast levels.

Even though the display is large, the 19.5:9 aspect ratio makes it possible to use the phone single-handedly. For protection, this display is covered with a 2.5D Corning gorilla glass to prevent accidental scratches and damage.

Processor and Performance

The Realme U1 is the first smartphone to launch with the Helio P70 processor. This octa-core processor from Mediatek performs on par with the Snapdragon 660 at times and easily beats the Snapdragon 636.

With the 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, multitasking and gaming work very well without any annoyances, even with resource intensive apps.

There is a dedicated SD card slot for memory expansion if the 32GB doesn’t make the cut.

MediaTek has incorporated many AI techniques on to this chip which Realme has taken advantage of to improve the performance of the processor as well as the camera and sound output.

Camera

Realme pitches the camera prowess of the U1 to an extent calling it as the best selfie camera in its segment.

At the rear, there is the 13MP + 2MP camera combo of which the 2MP is just a depth sensing unit.

The photos and videos which comes out this setup is decent and has enough details to make it look more natural. Realme has included a 90 fps slow motion with this camera as well.

At the front is a 25MP ‘selfie pro’ camera that comes with the support of A1 features like studio lighting effects and enhanced bokeh mode.

This camera is said to be specifically tuned for Indian conditions to give a natural skin tone and other regional features.

Battery Life

The Realme U1 comes with a slightly smaller capacity battery than its recent predecessors. The 3500mAh battery is rated to last for a day of heavy usage without any issues.

The chipset inside supports fast charging, but you have to invest a few bucks to purchase a fast charger for that.

Verdict

The Realme U1 has a great display and a powerful processor which at a price tag of Rs.12,000 is an absolute steal.

If you are into gaming or heavy multitasking, we recommend you to purchase this phone and rest assured, you won’t regret the choice.

R

Elegant design

R

90% screen to body ratio

R

Excellent large display

Q

No USB C

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo
RAM3 GB
Internal Memory32 GB
ProcessorHelio P70
Camera13MP+2MP Rear, 24MP Front
Battery3500mAh
Display6.3-inch FHD+

3. Nokia 5.1 Plus

nokia-5.1-plus
Best Build Quality
  • Powerful Helio P60 processor
  • USB C
  • Android One device

Nokia has been known for great phones in the past and at present HMD, which build Nokia phones under a trademark license does the same but the pricing was always a little offset, similar to Motorola.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus packs in kickass internals at a very competitive price point which makes it one of the top performers in its price category.

Design and build quality

The Nokia 5.1 Plus has a premium design for its price. The notched display and the glass back makes this device looks attractive than ever before.

The side bezels are minimal and the chin bezel houses the Nokia logo. The side inserts are made of high quality plastics and feels strong and durable.

The fingerprint on the back is located at an ideal resting position for the index finger, making the locking and unlocking process easier.

Since this budget smartphone has a high body to screen ratio and rounded 2.5D glass, one hand usage is not a problem.

The main attraction of this sub Rs.12,000 device is that it has USB C.

Yes, you heard it right – USB C.

Display

Display is the part where Nokia has done some cost cutting with this device.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus features a 5.8-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 720 X 1520 pixels.

Should it had been a full HD display, the Nokia 5.1 Plus would had became our top choice in this segment.

The edge to edge 2.5D curved display is a treat to look at despite its low resolution. The colours are accurate and the brightness levels are decent.

The notch cuts the upper middle portion of the display to house the front camera and other sensors and the earpiece.

Processor

The Nokia 5.1 Plus comes with the powerful Helio P60 processor, the same one found in the Realme 1, which is a smartphone priced under Rs.10,000.

This processor is on par with the likes of Snapdragon 636 and even works better at times.

The 3GB RAM is enough for this SoC to show its might when it comes to app loading and multitasking.

Running on stock Android 8.1 under Android One programme, the interface is fluid and smooth as no other.

You can even play games on this phone without any difficulty, the Helio P60 being such a powerful performer.

Camera

As with other smartphone manufacturers, Nokia also banks on AI for its camera.

The dual rear camera setup has a 13MP primary and a 5 MP depth sensor for bokeh and portrait mode photos.

The output from the real cameras look great and has a lot of details and colour accuracy.

The front 8MP camera is a selfie shooter and features artificial portrait mode as well.

You can also make use of the special Nokia Bothie mode that lets you capture images from both the front and rear camera on a single screen.

Battery life

The Nokia 5.1 Plus has a 3060 mAh Li-ion battery that last for a day of moderate to heavy usage.

Being stock Android and free of bloatware , this device does deliver impressive battery life for its size.

Verdict

If you don’t mind the HD+ display, that’s however indistinguishable from a full HD one for an untrained eye, the Nokia 5.1 Plus is an amazing deal for under Rs.12,000.

The USB C, dual cameras and the assured software support makes this a compelling product worth investing your money into.

R

Build quality

R

Excellent performance

R

AI powered camera

Q

No full HD display

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo
RAM3 GB
Internal Memory32 GB
ProcessorHelio P60
Camera13MP+5MP Rear, 8MP Front
Battery3060mAh
Display5.8-inch 19:9 HD+

4. Huawei Honor 9N

huawei-honor-9n
Best Value for Money
  • 19:9 immersive notch display
  • AI integration across the system
  • Capable rear and front camerain

Honor has been aggressively releasing smartphones targeting the budget consumers with alluring specifications and build quality, a little while for now.

The Honor 9N is the company’s answer to the Xiaomi’s much acclaimed Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1.

The notched design is the trend…

Honor has been one of the first brands to bring the notch design to the budget smartphones.

We’ve seen them releasing the Honor 7A sporting the notch in the Indian market which is a smartphone priced under Rs.10,000.

The Honor 9N also sports the same notch up front for those who love the trend.

Honor phones are known to be stylish and sleek. The 9N features a glass back that reflects light off from it in a distinct style.

The outer shell cover is metallic and it makes the chassis feel much more durable and tough.

The device, despite its budget pricing, is very well built and looks like a premium flagship phone.

Gorgeous 5.8-inch TFT-LCD display…

The Honor 9N has one of the best display in its class. The 5.8-inch LCD display has a full HD+ resolution with a 19:9 aspect ratio having 2280 x 1080 pixels.

The brightness levels are excellent, so does the colour reproduction and contrast ratio.

Covered by the 2.5D glass up front, the display certainly looks vivid and seamlessly integrated with the chassis.

The bezels on the sides of this 5.8-inch display are thin and unobstructive to the seamless viewing experience.

HiSilicon Kirin 659 – this time as well…

Xiaomi has been using the Snapdragon 625 on a lot of their devices and we all complained. The same is the case with Honor.

The Kirin 659 is a capable chipset, but not up to date with the likes of Snapdragon 660 or even 636.

Daily apps and games run buttery smooth, thanks to the 4GB RAM and the ample 64GB storage that comes on board.

With Huawei announcing the GPU turbo feature, when it arrives on the Honor 9N, the company claims that the GPU performance will bump to 40% more.

AI Camera…

Honor has been banking on its AI prowess a lot.

The company has integrated AI not only to the camera app, but system-wide implementations are expected to hit more devices soon.

The rear dual camera houses a 13MP shooter accompanied by a 2MP depth-sensing camera for accurate portrait effects.

The 16MP front camera is capable of taking some excellent snaps in good lighting conditions as well.

Honor has made a lot of improvements to their camera app and it just works so well out of the box.

The controls are handy and the operations are quick with no stutters or lags, even with wide aperture mode photography.

Emotion UI and the battery…

Emotion UI is a custom skin from Huawei that has some nice tricks up its sleeve. The Honor 9N comes with the EMUI 8.0 on top of Android Oreo 8.1.

EMUI adds a lot of useful features such as ride mode and game mode that enhances the overall usability of this device.

What’s powering the Honor 9N inside is a 3000mAh Li-ion battery. On our tests, the battery lasted easily for a day, thanks to the power efficient Kirin 659 processor.

Depending on your usage pattern, the battery life may vary from time to time, so take our words for it with a pinch of salt.

Final verdict…

If you’re interested in a smartphone with a notch design under Rs.15,000, the Honor 9N is your best bet.

This device has got the looks of a premium flagship smartphone and offer decent performance along with a gorgeous 19:9 display.

R

Elegant glass back design

R

Immersive notch display

R

Feature-rich EMUI 8.0

Q

Kirin 659 is a bit outdated SoC

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid oreo + EMUI
RAM3 GB
Internal Memory32 GB
ProcessorKirin 659 Octa Core Processor
Camera13 MP + 2 MP Rear, 16 MP Front
Battery3000mAh
Display5.84 inch Full HD+ (2280 x 1080) 18:9

5. Redmi 6 Pro

redmi-6-pro
Best Design
  • AI enhanced dual camera
  • Excellent battery life
  • Original accessories availability

Xiaomi is launching smartphones frequently in the Indian market under all possible budgets.

Things have reached a level where the Chinese company has at least a launch every other week.

This time it’s time for the Redmi 6 Pro to be unveiled in the country which is a high end successor to the Redmi 5 smartphone.

Design and build quality

With smartphones getting launched left, right and center, it seems Xiaomi isn’t getting any time to improve their designs.

Most of their recent devices looks and feel the same despite having variations when it comes to the internal hardware.

The Redmi 6 Pro looks exactly similar to the Redmi 6 which ironically has its design roots in the Redmi 5.

The vertical dual camera and fingerprint scanner adorns the back while at the front there is a 19:9 aspect ratio display for immersive media content watching experience.

The build quality is good with the mix of aluminium and plastic back. With the rounded corners, this device feels comfortable to hold in the hand.

Display

The Redmi 6 Pro has a 5.84-inch full HD+ display having a resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels.

Riding with the trend, Xiaomi has gone in for a notched display with 19:9 aspect ratio.
The display is very bright and offers good contrast levels. The colors appear vivid and lifelike with less distortion when viewed at different angles.

With a pixel density of 432 ppi, the Redmi 6 Pro offers one of the best display on smartphones under this price segment.

Performance

Xiaomi has been receiving flak from the community for the overuse of Qualcomm Snapdragon 625.

Although a very power efficient and performing processor, it has been released a lot earlier and there are newer chips that costs roughly the same.

With 3GB of RAM, the Redmi 6 Pro can handle almost all the apps with relative ease.

You can also play games with low to medium settings with this phone.

Multitasking works great and with the impending MIUI 10 update which promises better multitasking performance than ever before, things end up positive for the Redmi 6 Pro.

Camera

The Redmi 6 Pro comes loaded with a dual sensor rear camera setup.

The primary 12MP sensor is a normal lens and the assisting secondary 5MP one is a depth sensing unit.

With the AI camera capability, Xiaomi claims better scene detection and much refined final output with these camera.

Up front, the 5MP camera is laden with AI beautification features that will let you take the best selfies.

Battery life

Having larger capacity battery inside budget phone has been a norm for most the Xiaomi phones.

The Redmi 6 Pro comes with a 4000mAh Li-ion cell inside which is non-removable.
With battery optimizations of Android 8.1 Oreo, this device will last easily over a day worth of usage in normal conditions.

Verdict

The Redmi 6 Pro comes loaded with a lot of features for the budget it retails at.

This device checks our three basic needs of a smartphone – having a sufficiently powerful processor, better camera, awesome battery.

If you love Xiaomi and want a better performing device on a budget, this is a great choice to start with.

R

Good build quality

R

4000 mAh battery

R

Feature rich MIUI skin

Q

Bloated OS

Q

Slightly outdated processor

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo
RAM3 GB
Internal Memory32 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 625
Camera12MP + 5MP Rear, 5MP Front
Battery4000mAh
Display5.84 inch Full HD+

6. Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus

Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus
Best Reliable Smartphone
  • Excellent AMOLED display
  • Great battery life
  • OTG support

Samsung is more like a less agile giant when it comes to budget smartphones.

Samsung smartphones aren’t often low specced when compared with the competitor models but reliability is what makes these devices stand out from the rest of the competition.

The Samsung J4 Plus is a budget Android smartphone for casual users, preferably for elder people who are in need of a less complicated and more reliable handset for their day to day usage.

Design and Build Quality

If you have used Samsung smartphones in the past, the design of the Galaxy J4 Plus will make you feel right at home.

This device comes with a plastic shell textured with an intricate pattern which not only adds to the visual appeal but also enhances the hand grip.

The independent volume buttons flank the right side of the phone and the power button is placed to the left.

The micro USB charging port and the headphone jack is placed at the bottom side.

This is a dual SIM device with a dedicated SD card for increasing the storage space.

There isn’t a fingerprint scanner in this phone, which might be a bummer for many but features a face unlock based on the front camera.

Display

Samsung is known for the quality of display technology they implement in their devices.

The Galaxy J4 Plus comes with a 6-inch HD+ AMOLED display with a resolution of 1480 x 720 pixels.

There is a considerable chin on both the top and bottom part of the display – reminiscent of yesteryear smartphones.

Even though the display is not full HD, the AMOLED technology makes up for it. The colours are vivid and bright and the deep blacks look stunning for a phone in this sub Rs.12,000 price bracket.

The minimal UI and the AMOLED display blends in well, providing the user with a delightful visual experience.

Processor and Performance

Earlier in this post, we have bailed out this phone that it is ideal for elders for their causal usage.

You’ll now know why.

The Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus is powered by the outdated Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset clocked at 1.4GHz.

While this chipset is perfectly usable for normal applications and web browsing, it won’t perform well when it comes to multitasking and gaming.

The limited 2GB RAM also bottlenecks the performance at times. There is 32GB internal storage on this device with the option to increase via a dedicated SD card slot.

Camera

This smartphone comes equipped with a single 13MP shooter with an aperture size of f/1.9.

Lower the aperture stop, more the light entering the sensor and better will be the low light photos.

This 13MP shooter takes some of the best-detailed photos in its segment.

In the front, there is a 5MP shooter which delivers decent quality selfies.

Battery Life

Battery Life is one area where the Galaxy J4 Plus shines over its competitor models.

Powered by a 3300mAh Li-ion battery, this smartphone can last over a day of moderate to heavy usage comfortably.

The energy-efficient AMOLED display and the underpowered processor really helps this phone to push the limits in terms of battery life.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy J4 Plus is a great choice as a secondary device or as a gift to your parents or elder people who want a no-nonsense smartphone which excels in reliability.

R

Dedicated SD card slot

R

Wide service centre network

R

Very capable camera

Q

No fingerprint sensor

Q

Limited 2GB RAM

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo
RAM2 GB
Internal Memory32 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon SD425
Camera13MP Rear, 5MP Front
Battery3300mAh
Display6 inch HD+ 720 x 1480

7. Moto G6 Play

moto-g6-play
Honorable Mention
  • All new 18:9 budget Moto
  • Massive 4000mAh battery
  • Fast charging with supplied turbo charger

Moto fans rejoice!

The long wait for the Motorola fans out there is now over.

The company has launched the latest G series phones in India after a short break.

So was it worth the wait? Let’s find out.

Major improvement in design and build quality…

The design is what received a major overhaul.

Moto has decided to jump in the 18:9 budget smartphone bandwagon with the Moto G6 Play.

In addition to the display, the glass like plastic back looks way better than its predecessors.

On the other hand, the glossy back picks up fingerprints and smudges very well.

Do remember to carry a wiping cloth if you want your phone to look spotless.

18:9 HD+ display that is quite bright and sharp…

The 5.7-inch 18:9 HD+ display looks decently bright and images seems to look fine and crisp.

We expected a full HD display, but hey – not all the wishes will come true.

Moto G6 Play now has the fingerprint sensor on the back, hiding on the famous Moto dimple.

The sensor is fast, accurate and most importantly placed on a comfortable position  for your fingers to tap on.

The company has been kind to provide a dedicated SD card slot for all the storage crazy people out there.

No need to sacrifice between connectivity and storage this time around.

Snapdragon 430 SoC – a letdown for the price…

Stop! Speaking about sacrifice, we’ve just remembered something – the processor inside.

This phone rocks a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC inside.

For a price of Rs.11,999 the 430 chipset is not just a sacrifice, we must say it’s suicidal.

Especially when similarly priced phones like Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 features a powerful Snapdragon 636 processor.

Single camera, but surprisingly impressive…

No dual camera on this one peeps!

The Moto G6 play features a single 13MP rear camera and an 8MP selfie shooter with flash.

The cameras take pictures with adequate details under optimal lighting conditions.

The camera app has been overhauled by Moto and packs quite a lot of features including a Pro mode.

Massive 4000mAh battery inside…

If your initial excitement just died out, we’ve something to make you feel better – the 4000mAh battery.

With a 720p display and relatively under-powered processor, you can expect impressive battery life with this phone.

With the phone coming out with Android Oreo out of the box also helps in app optimizations and performance, increasing the battery backup further.

Conclusion…

The Moto G6 play has an average processor for the price but packs in a near to stock Android OS and a single camera at the rear that takes some of the best detailed images in daylight.

If you want a smartphone for your causal use with a very good battery life, the Motorola G6 Play is one of the better choices out there priced under Rs.12,000.

R

Elegant design with quality construction

R

Moto gestures

R

Close to stock Android

Q

Under-powered processor for the price

Q

No full HD display

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo
RAM3 GB
Internal Memory32 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 430
Camera13 MP Primary
8 MP Secondary
Battery4000 mAh
Display5.7 inches
720 x 1440(~282 ppi)

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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