The prices of flagship-class smartphones have skyrocketed over the past few years, and it isn’t shocking at all to see people spend more than Rs. 70,000 for the latest iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and Google Pixel models. Thankfully, if your budget isn’t quite so generous, you can get very nearly the same performance, features, and style for less than half as much. The sub-Rs. 30,000 category has plenty of options, and some of the recently launched models at this price level even boast of features that much more expensive flagships don’t have yet.
If you can spend up to Rs. 30,000, you can get yourself a phone that does it all. You don’t have to compromise on camera quality, battery life, or modern conveniences. Some of our picks for the best smartphones priced below Rs. 30,000 might surprise you with their features, such as the Vivo V15 Pro’s pop-up selfie camera and in-display fingerprint sensor, or the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)’s four rear cameras.
We review hundreds of smartphones each year and put them through a number of tests to see whether they’re good enough to recommend. We check out their performance, cameras, displays, batteries, software, and physical construction quality, and we also tell you everything you need to know about how they hold up in day-to-day use. The following phones have scored the highest across the board, so you know that you’re getting the best possible bang for your buck.
Here are our current picks for the best smartphones priced below Rs. 30,000.
The Vivo V17 Pro is a unique offering, with two pop-up selfie cameras and four more at the back. It's well built and looks premium, despite the all-polycarbonate build. It's a little chunky and heavy but still quite manageable. The 6.44-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display is bright, has good colour saturation and viewing angles. There's also Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for protection.
The in-display fingerprint sensor works well but face unlock is only used as a last resort and can't be used as the primary method for unlocking the phone. The phone has two SIM card slots but nothing for a microSD card. You also get a 'smart key' button which can be customised to perform different functions.
The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC and comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The SoC is a little weak for the price but is fairly capable of handling apps and games. Keep in mind that it does make the phone quite hot with prolonged camera use or gaming.
The rear 48-megapixel camera shoots good quality oversampled shots in both daytime and in low light. The ultra wide-angle camera captures more in the frame and is also used for shooting super macros. There's a telephoto camera too which offers 2x optical zoom. The V17 Pro also has a depth camera, which helps when shooting bokeh portraits. The 32-megapixel selfie camera captures pleasing selfies and also supports Night mode. The secondary 8-megapixel wide-angle camera lets you get a lot more people in one frame.
Battery life is very good. The 4100mAh battery easily lasts for a day and half. There's fast charging too, which charges the battery fully in about two hours.
The Oppo Reno 2 is one the three smartphones recently launched as the part of the Reno 2 Series in India. This smartphone has a shark-fin module which houses the selfie camera, earpiece as well as the secondary microphone. The Oppo Reno 2 packs a quad-camera setup at the back and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC.
The Reno 2 sports a 6.5-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display without any notch. It also has an in-display fingerprint scanner that is quick to scan and unlock the smartphone. The display has good viewing angles and gets bright enough when viewed outdoors.
We were happy with the performance of the Snapdragon 730G as it could handle our day-to-day tasks easily. Oppo offers only one variant of the smartphone with 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage. You do have the option to expand storage further but at the cost of the second SIM slot.
It has a quad-camera setup at the back consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor with 20x digital zoom; a 13-megapixel telephoto camera and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera. The fourth sensor on the Reno 2 is a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Image quality from the rear sensors were quite good under most lighting conditions. The selfie camera was a bit average, overexposing the shots most of the time.
The 4,000mAh battery on the Reno 2 delivers good battery life and gets a 20W charger in the box. The Oppo Reno 2 runs ColorOS on top of Android 9 Pie
The Asus 6Z is a budget flagship contender with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 4.4-inch notchless screen. Its main selling point is a flip-up camera module that lets you use the primary 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 camera and secondary 13-megapixel wide-angle camera for selfies as well as the usual photos. The camera module needs to flip around every time you want to use face recognition or take a selfie, which means there's a slight delay. Asus has thought of a few tricks though, such as the ability to take sweeping panoramas with one tap, or pivot the module while in the middle of recording a video. You can even set its position manually to take some creatively angled shots.
In terms of design, the 6Z is fairly plain, with only the bright blue Asus logo and text on the rear standing out against the Midnight Black Body. The Twilight Silver option offers a silver-blue gradient. There is a 3.5mm audio socket on the bottom along with the USB Type-C port. An extra button on the right is set to trigger Google Assistant by default but can be reprogrammed. There's no IP rating but Asus has used Gorilla Glass 6 on the front.
Performance is great thanks to the high-end processor and ample RAM. The full-HD+ screen supports HDR and was bright and vibrant in our experience. We were slightly underwhelmed with the cameras at night, as our photos were somtimes a little blurry. Battery life was good but not great, and we think that Asus's promise of two-day usage is optimistic.
The Asus 6Z is a compelling option at its price, and brings a lot of power to a hot market segment.
The OnePlus 7 is the successor of the OnePlus 6T and was launched alongside the OnePlus 7 Pro. It looks identical to the OnePlus 6T. At the front, the OnePlus 7 sports a 6.41-inch Optic AMOLED display with full HD+ resolution. The AMOLED panel has good viewing angles and has multiple display modes to choose from. OnePlus has opted for a dewdrop notch on the 7 which houses a 16-megapixel selfie camera. The OnePlus 7 has Corning Gorilla Glass protection at the front and the back which should help it resist scratches.
Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC that is capable of running every game out there. There are two variants of the OnePlus 7, 6GB RAM with 128GB storage and 8GB RAM with 256GB storage. We had the 8GB RAM variant for review and it managed to score high in all our benchmark tests. It was snappy for day-to-day performance but could also handle heavy games easily.
The OnePlus 7 packs in a 3700mAh battery and is able to deliver all-day battery life. The company supplies a 20W charger with the phone and it is capable of topping the battery up completely in an hour.
OnePlus has opted for a dual camera setup on the phone consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The camera performance was slightly disappointing and the camera suffered in low-light conditions. On the software front, the phone runs on Oxygen OS 9.5 on top of Android 9.0 Pie. There are useful software additions on top that are very useful.
The new OnePlus 6T introduces an in-display fingerprint sensor that is sure to draw attention and be the one feature that you really want to show off. It also has a smaller notch, bigger screen and higher capacity battery, but loses the notification LED and 3.5mm audio jack. Nearly everything else is the same as it was with the OnePlus 6. There's still no wireless charging or IP rating, which are the only ways in which this phone doesn't feel like a true flagship. Camera performance is pretty good, though it suffers at night. The battery will get you through a full day. The OnePlus 6T replaces the OnePlus 6 but isn't necessarily a compelling upgrade.
|Best Mobile Phones Under 30000 In India||Prices|
|Oppo Reno 3 Pro||Rs. 29,149|
|Realme X2 Pro||Rs. 27,999|
|Vivo V17 Pro||Rs. 25,900|
|Oppo Reno 2||Rs. 29,990|
|Asus 6Z||Rs. 27,999|
|OnePlus 7||Rs. 29,950|
|Black Shark 2||Rs. 29,999|
|OnePlus 6T||Rs. 25,999|