Flagship devices offer you top-of-the-line hardware and features but also demand top dollar. Then there are so-called budget flagships that offer powerful hardware but don't require you to break the bank. These “budget flagships” are mainly concentrated in the sub-Rs. 40,000 price range, but now quite a few are available for less than Rs. 30,000. If you are on the lookout for a device that offers a flagship-like experience on a budget, then you have found the right list.
|Phones under Rs. 30,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|Realme X2 Pro||9||Rs. 29,999|
|Redmi K20 Pro||9||Rs. 26,999|
|Vivo V17 Pro||8||Rs. 25,900|
|Vivo V15 Pro||8||Rs. 21,099|
|Asus 6Z||8||Rs. 27,999|
|Oppo Reno 3 Pro||8||Rs. 29,999|
The Realme X2 Pro does a little bit of everything right at a fraction of the price of a real flagship. It has a big 6.5-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint scanner and a 90Hz refresh rate. It is well designed and feels a lot more expensive than it actually is. Realme has also tossed in a 4,000mAh battery that delivers excellent battery life. That's not all, this phone comes with a 50W fast charger that is capable of topping the device up in about 31 minutes.
It also gets the flagship-grade Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ SoC and has three variants: 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, and 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. The 6GB/64GB variant was introduced post-launch and is now retailing for Rs. 29,999. Earlier, the 8GB/128GB variant was priced at Rs. 29,999, but following the GST hike, it has gone up to Rs. 31,999.
The Realme X2 Pro has a quad-camera setup and is capable of taking good photos in different lighting conditions. We had an issue with the low-light video quality of this device, and we also found that it heats up a little when subjected to load.
The Redmi K20 Pro is one of a few smartphones launched with flagship-grade processors for under Rs. 30,000. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC powers this device, and it also packs in a 4,000mAh battery. The Redmi K20 Pro has a pop-up selfie camera which means the big 6.39-inch display doesn't have a notch. The 20-megapixel selfie camera pops up for selfies and face recognition. The mechanism is a little slow and might need some patience on your end.
The battery life of this phone is good and it could easily go on for one and a half to two days. There is support for 27W fast charging but Xiaomi only bundles an 18W charger in the box. The Redmi K20 Pro has a triple camera setup at the back and takes good photos. We found that 4K video wasn't great though.
The V17 Pro is one of the very few phones to sport a dual-camera pop-up module. The primary selfie camera is a 32-megapixel shooter, while the other is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera. Vivo has managed to keep the bezels very thin and the lack of a notch gives you an uninterrupted screen.
Vivo has used the Snapdragon 675 SoC to power the Vivo V17 Pro, and so it isn't the most powerful option. It doesn't have the might to go up against the Snapdragon 855 SoC, but it is capable of delivering a usable experience. It has 8GB of RAM which makes multitasking easy, and there's also 128GB of storage.
Camera performance was good in daylight as well as low light. The Night mode on the Vivo V17 Pro helped the phone take dramatic-looking shots at night. Video quality is low light is one place when it fell a little short.
The Asus 6Z is the successor of the Asus ZenFone 5Z and brings a rotating camera module to the table. This camera module is unique to the Asus 6Z and lets you use the same dual-camera setup to take regular photos and selfies. Since it does not have dedicated selfie cameras, there is no notch on the front and you get a big display without any obstructions. The Asus 6Z also sports a big 5,000mAh battery which isn't very common on flagship smartphones.
Powering the Asus 6Z is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC. There are three variants of the Asus 6Z: 6GB of RAM with 64GB or 128GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. The Asus 6Z gave us a 14 hour 22 min loop test time which isn't great, but the phone can offer a day and a half of use.
The Asus 6Z only has two cameras and they are quite capable. Daylight performance was impressive, and since the camera flips for selfies, these were just as good. Low-light performance was slightly disappointing. At Rs. 27,999, the Asus 6 does offer a flagship experience at a bargain.
Oppo Reno 3 Pro is the newest smartphone on this list. It sports a 6.4-inch AMOLED display along with an in-display fingerprint scanner. Oppo has picked the octa-core MediaTek Helio P95 SoC to power this smartphone. It also has 8GB of RAM and there are two storage options, 128GB and 256GB.
The Oppo Reno 3 Pro has a 4025mAh battery and support for 30W VOOC charging. At the back, it sports a quad-camera setup with a 64-megapixel primary sensor. At the front, this phone has a 44-megapixel selfie shooter along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. We found photo quality to be good in daylight conditions and average in low light although there's a night mode that helps you take better shots. 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 a charge.
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