Best Smartphones Under Rs.20,000

by | Jan 12, 2019

Whether you are an amateur photographer, avid gamer or a selfie lover, a budget of Rs.20,000 can now get you a quality smartphone that match neck to neck with the flagships of smartphone world.

We have pitted the best smartphones under Rs.20,000 with these features in mind so that you can take your pick quite easily. Here are our top recommendations.

Best Mobile Phone Under Rs.20,000

1. Poco F1Overall Best Pick
2. Honor PlayRunner-Up Pick
3. Xiaomi Mi A2Value for Money
4. Oppo F9 Best Selfie Cam
5. Honor 8xBest Design Pick
6. Asus Zenphone Max Pro M2Honorable Mention

1. POCO F1

poco-f1
Overall Best Pick
  • Performance beast
  • Undermines most of the other flagships
  • Value for money device

As you might have already known, Pocofone is a new subsidiary of Xiaomi that was recently unveiled in the country.

The company’s first launch in the market, the Poco F1 is already the new talk of the town even before the device is being released to the hands of the public.

Build Quality and Design

For a premium budget smartphone priced under Rs.20,000, the Poco F1 has exceeded our expectations. The metallic body feels firm and easy to hold in hand.

The curved edges help this comparatively large device easy to hold and operate with a single hand.

The Poco F1 looks similar to many of the expensive flagships in the market with a vertical dual camera set up at the back and a notched display up front.

What makes this device stand out from the pack is the inclusion of a liquid cooling technology that will avoid the device from getting hot while gaming or any other intense resource-hungry operations.

Processor and Performance

Most of the mid-range smartphones today feature perfectly capable, but not necessarily high-end processors.

The last greatest SoC to be used in a premium budget smartphone was the Snapdragon 660 which is powerful and efficient.

The absolute beasts like Sandragon 845 were only reserved for the elite flagship smartphones that priced a fortune. But not anymore.

The Poco F1 comes with the top of the line Snapdragon 845 processor for under Rs.25,000.

This beast is supported by a fast LPDDRX 6GB RAM to chew through whatever apps or games you throw at it.

This device also comes with a 64GB storage and gives the option to increase the storage capacity by a hybrid SIM slot.

Display

The Poco F1 features a large 6.18-inch full HD+ display that reproduces stunning lifelike images with true to life colours.

This IPS display has excellent viewing angles and gives a sharp and crisp output, thanks to the 403 ppi pixel density even with this large size.

The display has a notch up top, which is of fairly big size.

If you don’t like the intrusion of a notch, you can technically turn it off in the settings but with a slight reduction in screen real estate.

Camera

The Poco F1 comes loaded with a rear dual camera setup that has a 12MP+5MP setup of which a second lens is a depth-sensing unit.

Along with the physical depth calculations, the AI integration that the company has built in will give you possibly one of the best image output in the segment.

The front camera is a 20MP shooter assisted with infrared sensors to give clear selfies even in low-light environments.

The only gripe we had with the camera department is that there is no Optical Image Stabilization available.

OIS houses a physical motor unit on top of which the camera sensor is mounted. This tiny motor moves in three or more axis to counteract the shakes arising from the movement of your hands while filming and aids in a perfectly balanced smooth frame.

Battery Life

The Poco F1 has a 4000mAh Li-ion battery inside which will easily last over a day even with heavy use.

Xiaomi is already known for including higher capacity batteries on their certain models such as the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

This time the company has even bundled a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 certified fast charger that will let you charge the device even faster.

Verdict

If you can get hold of a unit while the lottery like flash sales in Flipkart, this might be the best mobile money can buy in recent times.

The absolute beast of a performer, the Snapdragon 845 is the centrepiece of all attractions and won’t definitely fail your expectations – be it multitasking or gaming.

With the slightly modified, less cartoony MIUI interface, you are going to get a plethora of customization options as well.

R

Snapdragon 845 SoC

R

Liquid cooling technology

R

Fast charger bundled with the box

Q

Average build quality

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid 8.1
Internal Memory64 GB
RAM6 GB
ProcessorQualcomm SD 845
Camera12MP + 5MP Rear, 20MP Front
Battery4000mAh
Display6.18 inch FHD+ IPS

2. Honor Play

honor-play
Runner-Up Pick
  • Systemwide AI integration
  • Gorgeous 6.3-inch display
  • Powerful processor

Honor Play is a high-end premium smartphone from Huawei that can be aptly called a flagship killer.

This device comes with a host of features that will bring many of its higher-priced counterparts to shame.

Minimal design with excellent build quality…

The Honor Play is exquisitely designed to perfection with minimal styling.

The device features a metallic unibody construction with cleverly concealed antenna lines.

The Full View display upfront blends in with the chassis very well and provides you with a very immersive experience while interacting with the screen.

Unlike the Honor 9N, Huawei hasn’t omitted the 3.5mm headphone jack this time, from this device.

The dual camera setup is placed horizontally on the rear with an AI camera branding which perfectly blends with the metallic backplate.

Top notch display… with a notch…

If you love a large screen on your smartphone, then this smartphone with a 6.3-inch FHD+ display might be your dream come true.

This panel has a pixel density of about 409 ppi and a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels to give you a detailed output. The colour reproduction is excellent so is the brightness level.

You can further fine tune the display according to your preference from the display settings offered by the phone.

The notch is present – those who love that, rejoice. Others do continue reading. You can turn off the notch if you don’t like it. That’s cool, right.

Processor and camera…

We mentioned at the beginning that this device is a flagship killer. Yes, it is!

The Honor Play is powered by the Huawei’s latest and greatest CPU, the HiSilicon Kirin 970 that is present in many of their premium handsets like the Huawei P20 Pro.

This processor performs excellently when it comes to multitasking and app management. There is no lags or stutters even if you try hard to bring the phone into its knees.

Huawei has introduced their latest GPU turbo technology with the Honor Play.

The company claims that this feature will improve the graphics performance of this device up to 60% and decrease the battery consumption up to 30% while gaming.

Both the 13MP + 2MP rear and the 16MP front camera is powered by the Huawei’s patented AI NPU technology.

The camera samples seem promising and deliver crisp images with a lot of details.

When it comes to video recording, this phone has an interesting combination of Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) and Artificial Image Stabilization (AIS) for buttery smooth video output.

AI… AI… AI Everywhere…

Honor has heavily implemented AI features across the system in this device.

From the camera app to intelligent charging to gaming, the specially designed Neural Processing Unit (NPU) chip inside is used to its full potential to enhance the functionality of this device.

Battery life…

Usually, companies provide cutting-edge technologies on their devices and when it comes to the battery capacity, they skimp.

This time around the Honor Play sports a respectable 3750 mAh battery inside that will easily last over a day even with heavy usage.

The device comes with a fast charger in the box so that you don’t have to purchase one extra to juice up your device quickly.

End words…

The Honor Play is perhaps the flagship grade smartphone priced under Rs.20,000.

With its elegant design and flagship grade internals, it beats the competition to dust quite easily.

The big gorgeous screen and the powerful GPU and CPU combination makes this a great device to play games with.

R

Excellent build quality

R

Capable AI assisted cameras

R

GPU Turbo feature

Q

No dedicated SD card slot

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo 8.1
Internal Memory64GB
RAM4 GB
ProcessorHiSilicon Kirin 970
Camera16 MP + 2 MP Rear, 16 MP Front
Battery3750mAh
Display6.3 inch (1080 x 2340) 19.5:9

3. Xiaomi Mi A2

xiaomi-mi-a2
Value for Money
  • Best in class camera
  • Promised android updates
  • Powerful Snapdragon 660 inside

Xiaomi and Android One is a dream we all had.

Then one fine day the company announced Mi A1.

Rest is history.

The Mi A2 is the successor of the famous Mi A1 which sold like hot cakes in the Indian market.

Updated design… Minus the notch

The Mi A2 has significant improvements in design and form factor over its predecessor, the Mi A1.

The new Mi A2 comes with the now industry standard 18:9 display. The metal back is retained with this release.

However, the orientation of the camera is now vertical, resembling that of iPhone X. That said the Mi A2 resembles closely to Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 5 Pro.

The build quality is superb with the quality material used for the construction.

Camera-centric smartphone…

Even though the USP of this smartphone from Xiaomi is its Android One tag, what makes it special is the optics used.

Xiaomi claims that this is one of the best camera phones available in the market at this price point.

The rear side of this phone features a vertically placed dual camera setup. This 12MP + 20MP setup provides some of the best shots, both in daylight as well as low light in the segment.

The 20MP shooter uses pixel binning technology to enhance the low light photos by reducing the noise of the processed image.

In the front, there is a 20MP AI camera that captures portrait selfies with excellent details and saturation levels.

A powerful processor inside…

The Snapdragon 660 is a very powerful midrange chipset that will carry out resource-intensive tasks with relative ease. ‘

Multitasking and gaming will not be a showstopper on this device for sure.

Coupled with a 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage, there isn’t much left worth asking for.

Battery and the Android One…

Xiaomi usually uses MIUI custom skin on top of Android releases with their phone.

With Android One programme, the device receives a stock Android OS with no or minimal changes from the manufacturer.

How does it benefit the end customers?

Phones under Android One programme receive updates and security patches directly from Google.

Unlike Xiaomi, which decided whether to upgrade a phone to the next Android version, Google assures that you will at least get two major OS upgrades for the device.

Newer updates mean more features and better security.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Now coming to the battery, this device packs a 3000mAh Li-ion cell inside. This will last for a day of moderate to heavy usage.

And with Qualcomm quick charge support, you can use a compatible charger and juice up this device pretty quickly.

The negatives…

The Mi A2 doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Yes. You heard it right.

Even though you get a USB C to 3.5mm adapter in the box, this is really a bad move from Xiaomi.

There is no way you can increase the storage size on this phone. The Mi A2 comes with a dual sim slot but no sd card slot.

Even a hybrid sim slot might have been good but somehow that’s the case – no expansion slots.

Conclusion…

The Mi A2 is probably the best camera phone that you can purchase at this price point.

The exceptional build quality and the stock Android OS with promised Google updates makes this phone one of the most desirable piece of gadget.

If you can live with the absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack, don’t think twice.

R

Excellent build quality

R

Amazing optics

R

Android One device

Q

No 3.5mm jack

Q

No SD card slot

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo 8.1
Internal Memory64 GB
RAM4 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 660
Camera12 MP + 20 MP Rear, 20 MP Front
Battery3010mAh
Display5.99 inch (2160 x 1080) 18:9

4. Oppo F9

oppo-f9
 Best Selfie Camera
  • Powerful mid range processor
  • Excellent display
  • Dedicated SD card slot

Oppo stunned the smartphone world with the release of the Oppo Find X which featured an industry first motorized sliding camera.

The company is again at it with a new design ideology dubbed as the water drop notch.

The Oppo F9 is a budget mid ranger priced just under Rs.20,000 following the new design strategy and has respectable internals that makes it one of the best in the business in its class.

Design and build quality

The Oppo F9 has a very eye catchy design that looks amazing at the first look.

The back is made of polycarbonate but has a gradient glossy colour design with diamond cut texture which looks similar to those in the budget Realme devices.

The back is susceptible to scratches so do remember to use a transparent case if you want to conserve the style and that pristine look on your smartphone.

The water drop notch is very stylish and masks the ugliness of the notch (our opinion!) to an extend.

Display

The Oppo F9 features a tall 6.3-inch TFT LTPS display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. This amounts to about 409 ppi and the visuals and text appear sharp and detailed.

Since the display is of 19:9 aspect ratio, the phone doesn’t feel too much over-sized to use with a single hand.

This display offers great contrast levels and deep blacks. The colours are much more natural and vivid as well.

This panel also gets sufficiently bright up to 530 nits which is enough for good sunlight legibility.

The water drop notch can’t be hidden via software and there isn’t actually a need for that as well.

Performance

The Oppo F9 is powered by the powerful midrange SoC, MediaTek Helio P60.

This chipset performs similar or even better than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 found on the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

With the 4GB of RAM, multitasking is great and the device breaks no sweat processing two resource intensive apps side by side.

The device comes with 64GB of inbuilt memory and has a dedicated SD card slot that takes up to 256GB in case you yearn for more space to store your photos and files.

Camera

In the rear, the Oppo F9 features a 16MP + 2MP dual camera setup of which the secondary 2MP is a depth sensor.

The pictures taken using this rear camera comes out nice in daylight and has very good details and less noise.

The front camera is a 16MP shooter which can take portrait selfies and the edge detection works just fine.

The abundance of beauty modes and related options make this smartphone an excellent choice for selfie lovers out there

Battery life

The Oppo F9 has a 3500mAh Li-ion battery inside which delivers excellent battery life.

Under heavy usage, this phone will last over a day comfortably with enough juice to spare for a couple of hours.

Not only that, Oppo supplies a fast charger with the box, certified to be VOOC enabled, which is the companies answer to OnePlus’s Dash charge feature.

This charger charges the battery up to 56% in just under 30 minutes.

Verdict

The Oppo F9 is a mid range smartphone with capable internals that justifies its price point.

What makes this device stand out from the rest is the design. The phone is definitely a stunner when it comes to the looks and is sure to turn some heads in the crowd.

Value added features such as bundling the fast charger with the device makes this a much more compelling option worth purchasing.

R

Bundled fast charger

R

Water drop notch

R

Excellent battery life

Q

No USB C

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo 8.1
Internal Memory64 GB
RAM4 GB
ProcessorHiSilicon Kirin 659 Octa-core
CameraDual: 16MP +2MP Rear, 16MP Front
Battery3000mAh
Display6.3 inch (2340 x 1080) 18:9

5. Honor 8X

honor-8x
Best Design Pick
  • 19:9 immersive notch display
  • AI integration across the system
  • Excellent battery life

The all-new Honor 8X is the latest mid-range Android smartphone from Huawei that comes with some noteworthy features rivalling the likes of Asus and Xiaomi.

This slim and elegantly crafted smartphone is perhaps the best looking device that you can purchase under a budget of Rs.20,000 in the Indian market.

Design and Build Quality

Honor phones are known to be stylish and sleek. The Honor 8X 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.

The full view display with really narrow bezels makes the front of this phone to look like an endless slab of a display.

The back glass on this device is intrinsically designed with patterns that is only visible when light strikes the surface.

However, having glass on both the sides has its own problems. If the phone drops from your hand, there is a chance of glass breakage that wouldn’t end well with the pocket.

Display

The Honor 8X features a large 6.5-inch LCD display that has a full HD+ resolution of 2340 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 6.5-inch display are thin and unobstructive to the seamless viewing experience.

This 19:9 aspect ratio display with the notch up top gives this phone an impressive screen to body ratio of about 91%, which is quite unheard of in its segment.

The colours look very punchier straight out of the box. If you are a fan of a more natural colour tone, there is an option to adjust the colour profile built right into the EMUI skin.

Processor and Performance

The Honor 8x is powered by the latest HiSilicon Kirin 710 processor which is comparable with the Snapdragon 660.

This SoC which is built based on the 12nm architecture ensures excellent battery life and performance optimizations to the phone.

Daily apps and games run buttery smooth, thanks to the 6GB RAM and the ample 128GB storage that comes on board.

Supported by the patented turbo GPU technology from Huawei, the graphical performance of 8x is much more improved and refined than its predecessors.

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 20MP shooter accompanied by a 2MP depth-sensing camera for accurate portrait effects.

However, the quality of photos from these cameras pale in comparison with other competitors such as Mi A2 and even Realme 2 Pro.

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

Talking about the video, even though the chipset inside supports 4K, the camera app limits the recording to a maximum resolution of full HD.

Additionally, there is no Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS), which makes the videos extremely shaky.

EMUI and Battery Life

Emotion UI is a custom skin from Huawei that has some nice tricks up its sleeve. The Honor 8X 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 8X inside is a 3750 mAh Li-ion battery. On our tests, the battery lasted easily for a day, thanks to the power efficient Kirin 710 processor.

Even with the need to push pixels on to a large 6.5-inch full HD+ display, this phone gets an average screen on time of about 10 hours.

If you’re a casual user, this phone will last for 2 days on a single charge comfortably.

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.

Verdict

If you’re interested in an elegant looking smartphone with a notch design under Rs.20,000, the Honor 8X 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 and excellent battery life.

R

Elegant glass back design

R

Immersive notch display

R

Feature-rich EMUI 8.0

Q

No EIS

Q

Average camera quality

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo
Internal Memory128 GB
RAM6 GB
ProcessorHisilicon Kirin 710 Octacore
Camera20MP + 2MP Rear, 20MP Front
Battery3750mAh
Display6.5 – inch  FHD+ 2340 x 1080 pixels

6. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2

asus-zenfone-max-pro-m2
Honorable Mention
  • Powerful Snapdragon 660 SoC
  • Near stock Android experience
  • 2-day battery phone

The Zenfone Max Pro M2 from Asus is a substantial upgrade over the successful Zenfone Max Pro M1 which was sold at an aggressive price tag with plenty of features loaded in.

Design and Build Quality

The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 is one of the better-looking smartphones in the under Rs.20,000 budget.

The glass looking plastic back has an interesting texture design which becomes visible once the light hits the surface and makes the device look like its a piece of art, more than just another gadget.

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. The responsiveness has now been improved from the original model and overall, the quality of the construction feels extremely premium.

The only disappointing point about this design is that it lacks a USB C port and instead comes loaded with the legacy micro USB standard port.

Display

The display of this phone is a 6.2-inch full view display with a full HD+ resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels which is really immersive and colour accurate.

This is an IPS display and incidentally offers excellent viewing angles without any colour degradation.

One of the main drawbacks of the original Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 was that it didn’t have any sort of screen protection.

But with the Max Pro M2 Asus has rectified it and now the phone comes loaded with the 2.5D Corning gorilla glass 6 protection to keeps accidental scratches at bay.

There is obviously the late 2018 trend notch up top, resulting in a 19:9 aspect ratio for the display.

Processor and Performance

The Zenfone Max Pro is powered by the latest Snapdragon 660 Octa-core chipset clocked at 1.95GHz.

This is the best performing chipset in mid-range smartphones under Rs. 15,000.

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.

The 6GB RAM and 64GB inbuilt storage work well with the Snapdragon 660 processor to give the users a right mix of power and performance.

Be it the multitasking or gaming, this phone performs excellently without breaking a sweat. Thanks to the near stock Android 8.1 Oreo OS, the RAM management is very good and right on point.

Camera

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

It packs a dual 12MP +5MP rear camera with single LED flash that takes some good bright light shots and portrait photos.

If you feel that the stock camera app isn’t for your taste, there are numerous online tutorials describing ways to install the much revered Google Camera application which will deliver breathtaking photos and videos out of these sensors.

The front camera is a 13MP shooter that does reasonably well to capture selfies.

Battery Life

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.

The Snapdragon 660 supports fast charging and you can get the device juiced up fairly quickly with a fast charger.

Verdict

If you love to have a mammoth battery inside so that you can possibly 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.15,000.

R

Feature rich phone

R

Elegant and premium look

R

Audio output is very good

R

Suitable for heavy gaming

Q

Average front camera performance

Specifications

Operating SystemAndoid Oreo
Internal Memory64 GB
RAM6 GB
ProcessorSnapdragon 660
Camera12MP+5MP Rear, 13MP Front
Battery5000mAh
Display6.26 inch 2280 x 1080 18:9

There concludes our list of the best upper mid range smartphones under Rs.20,000.

By no means, this is a complete exhaustive guide, but we believe this would help you to start making up your mind by providing some cues.

Don’t worry, the pain is real and we all know it.

Take your time and make your mind.

Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to check out our best smartphones list under every possible budget category on our website.

All the best for your next smartphone and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more such awesome buying guides.