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.
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 LG G8X ThinQ sports a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a tiny water drop notch at the top. The bezels are thin on the sides of the display while the bottom chin is slightly thicker. It has a dedicated Google Assistant button and is among the few phones to still retain the 3.5mm headphone jack. LG also bundles a dual screen accessory with the device which helps connect a similar display to the phone.
The LG G8x ThinQ smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC and it comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage. It packs in a 4,000mAh battery and has support for fast charging. The LG G8X ThinQ runs LG UX 9.0 on top of Android 9 Pie. The device also has a Hi-Fi DAC feature and supports DTS:X 3D Surround sound. It offers good performance and the device is capable of handling anything you throw at it.
LG has stuck with a dual-camera setup on the LG G8X ThinQ with a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 13-megapixel wide-angle-camera. The phone clicks decent photos in daylight and low-light photos were also good. Video recording is another strong point for the LG G8X ThinQ.
The Realme X7 Pro 5G looks quite similar to the Realme 7 Pro, especially the design of the rear camera module. One-handed use is quite comfortable thanks to the slim body and relatively low weight of 184g. The display is one of the highlights of the Realme X7 Pro which is a 6.55-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED panel with an in-display fingerprint sensor, 120Hz refresh rate, Gorilla Glass 5, and support for HDR video playback.
Another feature worth noting is the use of MediaTek's Dimensity 1000+ 5G SoC which is a power-efficient SoC with strong CPU and GPU performance. The Realme X7 Pro 5G ran smoothly in the short time I had to test it. I didn't notice any unwarranted heating, system lag, or slowdowns of any kind.
The Realme X7 Pro 5G is still running Realme UI 1.0, based on Android 10. There's not much that we haven't already seen. It's still flooded with bloatware, although most of that can be removed. The Realme X7 Pro 5G posted strong benchmark numbers, and games such as Oceanhorn and Call of Duty Mobile ran effortlessly.
The Realme X7 Pro 5G has a familiar camera configuration which we've seen on some of its previous smartphones. You get a 32-megapixel selfie camera on the front, and at the back, there are four sensors which include a 64-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, a 2-megapixel monochrome camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Daylight performance is good but it struggles to give satisfactory results in low light.
Just like the Vivo V20, the Vivo V20 Pro focuses on design and cameras. The patterns created on the Sunset Melody colorway when light hits the back panel look very funky. The display on the Vivo V20 Pro is once again very similar to that of the V20. It is a 6.44-inch full-HD+ AMOLED panel with Schott's Xensation Up cover glass. Colours are rich, it gets very bright, and there's HDR support too.
Videos look great on the Vivo V20 Pro thanks to the vivid AMOLED panel. HDR videos on YouTube play smoothly. The Vivo V20 Pro is a good phone for gaming since the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G can handle even demanding titles fairly well without overheating. Funtouch OS 11 on the V20 Pro is packed to the gills with shortcuts and customisation options.
The Vivo V20 Pro boasts of impressive camera specifications. For selfies, you get a 44-megapixel primary camera with a f/2.0 aperture and autofocus, and an additional ultra-wide-angle 8-megapixel camera. Compared to the OnePlus Nord, the V20 Pro offers slightly sharper selfies and more interesting shooting modes, however the Nord does have a slight edge when it comes to video performance.
If you're looking for a mid-range 5G smartphone that's not a OnePlus Nord, the V20 Pro gets our recommendation.
The iQoo 3 is the first smartphone from the brand in the Indian market. It is also one of the few smartphones to sport the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC. iQoo has launched three variants of the iQoo 3 out of which only the top version supports 5G networks. The base variant has 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage, the mid-variant has 8GB RAM and 256GB storage while the top variant has 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.
The iQoo 3 has a big 6.44-inch display and is a bit heavy at 214g. It also packs in a 4,440mAh battery and has support for 55W FlashCharge. It has touch-sensitive shoulder buttons which can be useful when gaming on the smartphone.
iQoo 3 runs iQoo UI on top of Android 10 and have a few apps preinstalled. The smartphone has a quad-camera setup at the back comprising of a 48-megapixel primary sensor, 13-megapixel telephoto camera, 13-megapixel wide-angle-camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite is an affordable version of the Galaxy Note 10 series. While it is more affordable, it still houses the S-Pen stylus that is bundled with the Galaxy Note series. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite sports a big 6.7-inch display and has an in-display fingerprint scanner. Samsung has packed in a big 4,500mAh battery which makes it a little heavy at 199g.
Powering the Galaxy Note 10 Lite is the Exynos 9810 SoC which is the same chip powering the Galaxy S9 phone. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite is available in two variants and 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage and 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite runs One UI 2.0 running on top of Android 10.
The Galaxy Note 10 Lite delivered god performance and it was quite efficient as the battery could last over a day easily. The stylus is also very useful to jot down notes on the device. It has a triple camera setup at the back and does a good job in different lighting conditions. Video recording is good during the day but needs some improvements for low light.
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.
|Best Mobile Phones Under 30000 In India||Price in India|
|Realme X3 SuperZoom||Rs. 27,999|
|Realme X2 Pro||Rs. 25,999|
|LG G8X ThinQ||Rs. 25,990|
|Realme X7 Pro 5G||Rs. 29,999|
|Vivo V20 Pro||Rs. 29,990|
|iQoo 3||Rs. 29,990|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite||Rs. 29,999|
|Vivo V17 Pro||Rs. 27,980|