Things have changed drastically since we updated our list of the best phones in India priced under Rs. 20,000 back in April. Xiaomi has launched a new device into the mix, and some of the other popular models have fluctuated in price. In this sub-Rs. 20,000 price band, you’ll find phones with powerful processors, good cameras, and massive batteries. Even if you don’t want to spend as much as Rs. 20,000 you will be able to get some really capable devices for well under Rs. 18,000. We have compiled a list of smartphones that have scored well in our reviews, making each of them a great pick. Check them out.
Best phones under 20,000
|Phones under Rs. 20,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|Redmi Note 9 Pro Max||8||Rs. 16,499|
|Poco X2||8||Rs. 17,499|
|Realme 6 Pro||8||Rs. 17,999|
|Samsung Galaxy M31||8||Rs. 16,499|
|Realme X2||8||Rs. 17,999|
|Poco F1||8||Rs. 17,999|
|Asus ZenFone 5Z||9||Rs. 16,999|
Redmi Note 9 Pro Max
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is the latest smartphone to join this list of the best phones under Rs. 20,000. When Xiaomi launched this smartphone, it was priced starting under Rs. 15,000, but the GST hike has caused prices to go up. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max shares a lot of hardware with the Redmi Note 9 Pro – both phones sport 6.67-inch displays which are good for video watching but not for single-handed use.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that lets you unlock it quickly. Sticking to current trends, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max has four rear cameras but the module protrudes quite a bit. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC. Xiaomi offers it in three variants: the base variant has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 16,499; the middle one offers 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 17,999. The top variant is priced at Rs 19,999 which is barely under the upper limit for this list.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max packs in a 5,020mAh battery and delivers very good battery life. It also fared very well in our HD video loop test. Xiaomi bundles a 33W charger in the box and this phone charges more quickly than the Redmi Note 9 Pro. The camera performance of the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is quite good, but photos tend to be oversharpened at times. Low-light camera performance is average but Night mode helps capture better output.
The first smartphone to come out of Poco after it became an independent entity is the Poco X2. The is not the successor of the Poco F1, but does a lot of things right in its own way. It is tall and has a big 6.67-inch display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. The panel also boasts of a 120Hz refresh rate which isn’t very common at this price. The Poco X2 has a dual-camera punch-hole on the front, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, both of which are slowly becoming more common. The Poco X2 feels large and bulky. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G which is a powerful chip that can handle gaming quite well.
The Poco X2 has multiple variants: 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. The prices of the Poco X2 have climbed since its launch and the base variant now starts at Rs. 17,499 while the middle one is priced at Rs 18,499 and the top variant is still at Rs. 20,999.
Poco has packed in a 4,500mAh battery and you get a 27W charger in the box. This phone sports a quad-camera setup at the back and we noticed that the photo quality in daylight is quite good. Low-light photo quality was also relatively impressive but not as detailed as during the day. Low-light video quality wasn’t as good.
Realme 6 Pro
The Realme 6 Pro was launched alongside the Realme 6, and both smartphones have made it to our lists at their respective prices. The Realme 6 Pro has a 6.6-inch display with a dual-camera hole-punch for the selfie cameras. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC just like the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max. The device is well designed but is a little slippery as it has a glass back. This phone is also a little heavy at 202g. One unique feature of theRealme 6 Pro is its 90Hz screen refresh rate. It also has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that is easy to reach and quick to unlock the phone.
The Realme 6 Pro is offered in three variants: 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage. The base variant starts at Rs. 17,999 while the other variants are priced at Rs. 18,999 and Rs 19,999 respectively.
There’s a quad-camera setup at the back. Camera performance was decent in daylight and for close-ups, but low-light camera performance needs some improvement. The Realme 6 Pro has a 4300mAh battery which isn’t as big as some of the other phones in the list but it delivered excellent battery life when we reviewed it.
Samsung Galaxy M31
Samsung has been focusing on the sub Rs. 20,000 market with its Galaxy M-series, and the Galaxy M31 is currently the best in the lineup. This model has a 6.4-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display that delivers vivid colours and very good viewing angles. There is a quad-camera setup at the back with a 64-megapixel primary camera. It also packs a big 6,000mAh battery and a capable Exynos 9611 SoC.
Samsung offers the Galaxy M31 with 6GB of RAM and two storage options, 64GB and 128GB. Prices start at Rs. 16,499 for the base model while the higher model is priced at Rs. 18,999. The big battery offers fantastic battery life and this phone could easily go on for two days. The cameras are good in daylight, the wide-angle one offers a wider field of view but loses out on details compared to the primary camera. We did notice that the camera AI can go overboard in terms of saturating colours. The primary camera is a little slow while focusing and you can see minor grain in the output. With Night mode enabled, the Galaxy M31 delivers better low-light shots. We found video stabilisation to be average as well.
The Exynos 9611 SoC is not as powerful as the Snapdragon 720G powering the Redmi Note 0 Pro Max and the Realme 6 Pro but it is capable of handling day-to-day tasks with ease. The battery is the highlight of the Galaxy M31 as it can outrun most devices on this list.
The Realme X2 is one of the older phones on this list, but has managed to stand its ground all this while. It has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint scanner, something that the others miss out on. It also packs in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor similar to the Poco X2. The phone is manageable for day-to-day use and isn’t as big as the Poco X2 or the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max. The Realme X2 has a quad-camera setup at the back and comes in a variety of colours.
Realme has packed in a 4000mAh battery and ships a 30W fast charger in the box which makes charging quick. The Realme X2 could handle day-to-day tasks and gaming very easily, and the battery lasted us over a day and a half. Realme sells three variants of the X2 in India: the base variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is priced at Rs. 17,999, the middle variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at Rs. 19,999, and the 8GB RAM, 128G storage variant is priced at Rs. 20,999.
The quad-camera setup lets you take good photos in daylight. We liked our portrait shots, as the dedicated depth camera helps with edge detection. Low-light camera performance is also good but there is some noise in the output. The Nightscape mode does help improve low-light photography. The low-light video performance wasn’t to our liking when we reviewed the Realme X2.
The Poco F1 is one of the oldest devices on this list but has managed to hold on because of the kind of performance it delivers for the price. It is powered by the flagship processor of 2018, the Snapdragon 845. This device has seen multiple price cuts but pricing hasn’t been stable in recent times. Regardless of that, you will still be able to buy all variants of the Poco F1 for less than Rs. 20,000 which is still good value for your money.
The Poco F1 has a big notch that cuts into its 6.18-inch display. It also packs in a 4,00mAh battery which delivers very good battery life. The top variant with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is currently very affordable at Rs. 17,999.
Since the Poco F1 is an older model, it only packs a dual-camera setup at the back. Low-light photos were strictly average, while daylight camera performance was better. The Poco F1 can record 4K video but has an 8-minute cap which feels restrictive.
Asus ZenFone 5Z
The Asus ZenFone 5Z is another older model on this list. This too is a 2018 flagship and you get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. Since the ZenFone 5Z was a flagship, it has better build quality than some of the other smartphones in this price list. It also offers good all-round camera performance.
While the ZenFone 5Z will continue to be available till stocks last, the pricing is definitely interesting. There are three variants of the ZenFone 5Z: 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. The base model is listed at Rs. 16,999 whereas the middle variant is priced at Rs. 18,999. The ZenFone 5Z has the smallest battery capacity here at 3,300mAh but manages to deliver decent battery life.
Just like the Poco F1, the Asus 5Z too has a dual-camera setup at the back. The cameras are quick to focus and get the exposure right in daylight. Low-light camera performance was good and noise was kept under control. Video recording tops out at 4K with no time restriction.
OnePlus 8 vs Mi 10 5G: Which Is the Best ‘Value Flagship’ Phone in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.