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 Realme X3 SuperZoom features a periscope-style telephoto camera, which is the first we've seen in this price segment. The 8-megapixel telephoto camera features 5x optical zoom and a maximum of 60x hybrid zoom. Camera performance is very good during the day, but not so much at night. To help with the latter, there's Night mode, which is quite effective. The main 64-megapixel camera captures good photos in daylight, but struggles a bit in low light. The X3 SuperZoom can record video at 4K and the quality is good in the day, but could be better when shooting at night.
The X3 SuperZoom uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ SoC, which offers plenty of processing power for apps and games. The phone also featrues a 120Hz refresh rate LCD panel, so scrolling through menus feels fluid. Battery life is also solid. The X3 SuperZoom is also very well built and looks stylish. It's mising stereo speakers but the single bottom-firing speaker gets pretty loud. The phone runs Realme UI, based on Android 10.
The Vivo V19 is the successor to the Vivo V17 and is yet another selfie-focused smartphone from the company. Vivo has focused on the design and the build quality of the device and the V19 feels like a premium device. The body is made out of Corning Gorilla Glass 6 and feels premium to the touch. Vivo also offers it in some interesting colours.
The 6.44-inch AMOLED display has full-HD+ resolution and sharp output. It has excellent viewing angles, and the panel gets bright enough when outdoors. Vivo also offers an in-display fingerprint scanner on the Vivo V19 which is quick to unlock the device. Powering the smartphone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 SoC which is weak. There is 8GB of RAM which helps the smartphone handle day-to-day tasks well.
It has a quad-camera setup at the back and a dual-camera setup for selfies. We found the camera performance to be good and the software easy to use. Daylight camera performance is good and the phone manages good edge detection in portrait shots. Low-light camera performance is acceptable but shooting in night mode is a tad slow.
Oppo Reno 3 Pro was launched on 2nd March 2020 in India. This smartphone has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display along with an in-display fingerprint scanner. The Oppo Reno 3 Pro is sold in three colours, Auroral Blue, Midnight Black and Sky White. It is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P95 SoC. It comes with 8GB of RAM and has two storage options, 128GB and 256GB.
The Oppo Reno 3 Pro has a 4025mAh battery and also has support for 30W VOOC charging. It runs ColourOS 7 on top of Android 10. The AMOLED display has good viewing angles and the in-display fingerprint scanner is fast to unlock the device. It also has the face unlock feature which can be used to unlock the smartphone.
It sports a quad-camera setup at the back consisting of a 64-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, a 13-megapixel telephoto camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 119-degree field of view, and a 2-megapixel mono camera. At the front, this phone has a 44-megapixel selfie shooter along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. We found the photo quality to be good in daylight conditions and average in low-light conditions. The Reno 3 Pro has a night mode as well that helps take a better shot. Low-light video recording was a little disappointing.
Battery performance on the Oppo Reno 3 Pro was good and the phone lasted us for about a day and a half easily before needing charge.
Realme has finally moved beyond the polycarbonate bodies we've seen so far on its phones, for an aluminium body with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back of the X2. The device can be a little slippery and the glass back attracts smudges easily. The earpiece also doubles as a second speaker for stereo sound, which is a welcome feature.
The Realme X2 has a 6.5-inch full-HD+ AMOLED panel and a 90Hz refresh rate. It also has slim borders around the display (including the bottom chin) and a relatively shallow notch. The Realme X2 Pro is a bit on the thicker side at 8.7mm but the curved back tries to compensate for this. It's also quite heavy at nearly 200g but the weight is distributed well.
The X2 is avilable in multiple RAM and storage variants in India, all of which have the Snapdragon 855+ SoC onboard. The phone can accommodate two Nano-SIMs, and dual 4G VoLTE is supported. It ships with ColorOS 6.1, based on Android 9.
When it comes to performance, the phone ran cool in general but the sides and back got quite warm when gaming and even with heavy camera usage. In videos with Dolby Atmos-encoded audio, the surround effect is somewhat perceptible. The X2 Pro has a 4000mAh battery, which was dependable. On average, we easily got about a day and a half of runtime on a single charge.
The Realme X2 Pro has a good mix of sensors at the back, which include a 64-megapixel main camera, 2-megapixel macro camera, 13-megapixel telephoto and a depth sensor. In general, image quality is really good during the day and we were happy with low light pictures too.
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 2Z is one of the smartphones the company launched as the part of the Reno 2 series. This smartphone has a quad-camera setup at the back and is among the few in the market to sport the MediaTek Helio P90 SoC.
Oppo has opted for a 6.5-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display on the Reno 2 which houses an in-display fingerprint scanner. We found the display to be legible outdoors and the in-display fingerprint scanner is quick to unlock the smartphone. There is no notch on the display and the phone has a pop-up module for the selfie camera.
The phone runs ColorOS on top of Android 9 Pie and has some useful features added to it. There is some amount of bloatware preinstalled on the device and it is best to uninstall them since they are a source for spammy notifications.
We found the MediaTek Helio P90 SoC to be a decent performer but it does not offer the same value for money as some of the other processors available at this price point. Oppo offers the Reno 2Z in one variant only with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The quad-camera setup at the back helps the Reno 2Z deliver good photos during the day but the performance takes a dip in low-light. It has a night mode as well which helps improve low-light images. The selfie shooter clicks good photos which can go on to social media directly.
Oppo has packed in a 4,000mAh battery that is capable of delivering about a day and a half of battery life. The company also supplies a 20W charger in the box to top the battery up.
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.
|Best Mobile Phones Under 30000 In India||Prices|
|Realme X3 SuperZoom||Rs. 27,999|
|Vivo V19||Rs. 27,990|
|Oppo Reno 3 Pro||Rs. 27,240|
|Realme X2 Pro||Rs. 28,997|
|Vivo V17 Pro||Rs. 25,800|
|Oppo Reno 2Z||Rs. 25,490|
|Asus 6Z||Rs. 27,999|
|OnePlus 7||Rs. 29,999|