In the past, the term 'best cheap phones' was usually a warning rather than a tempting proposition, with shoddy build quality, sluggish performance, laughable screen resolution and woeful cameras. But this isn't the past, this is the present, and the market abounds with top budget phones.
Sadly smartphone innovation isn't cheap – and most of it is reserved for high-end contract handsets. There is however such a thing as a good cheap smartphone, and ever so gently all those amazing features from the flagship devices are slowly trickling down to the budget phones.
Here's a selection of our favourite cheap phones that cost under Rs 15,000.
- Don't need to worry about cost? Check out our best phone list
1. Lenovo P2
The phone with two day battery life
Weight: 177g | Dimensions: 153 x 76 x 8.3mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 5100mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
The Lenovo P2 is the best cheap phone you can buy right now. It has some incredible spec and it's all packed into an attractive package that looks like a premium phone that many won't even realise is a cheaper device.
The P2 offers two-day battery life. When we were testing this phone we were able to get through a full two days of using the phone without having to plug it in and put it on charge.
There's a powerful processor inside, considering the price of the phone, and it also features a great, bright 5.5-inch Full HD display. It's a heavier device than anything else on this list, but it's worth it considering how great the battery life on the Lenovo P2 is.
Read the full review: Lenovo P2
2. Moto G5 Plus
The best Moto G out there
Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 150.2 x 74 x 7.7mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5.2-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP
Moto G5 Plus is the newest member in the list, as the smartphone made its entry in the middle of the March. Dominating the sub 20K category, the Moto G5 Plus is launched in two storage variants- 3GB RAM/16GB internal storage and 4GB RAM/32GB internal storage. However, only the 3GB/16GB variant falls under 15K price segment.
It is the first G series phone to come with metal build, which looks very fresh and premium. Another highlight of the phone is its camera which has been surely sustains the standards set by its sibling, Moto G4 Plus. The Snapdragon 625 chipset does a great job and 3GB RAM makes it good enough for multitasking.
Read the full review: Motorola Moto G5 Plus
3. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
Solid specs, strong camera and superb price
Weight: 165g | Dimensions: 151 x 76 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 2/3/4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 4100mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
For just Rs 15,000, Redmi Note 4 has redefined the hardware capabilities on an affordable handset. It looks and feels like a much more solid, with an attractive good-looking aluminium build, smooth performance and great battery life.
Its camera is capable of taking decent shots, its fingerprint sensor works well, and the MIUI UI is a genuinely decent enhancement of the stock Android operating system.
Read the full review: Redmi Note 4 review
4. Lenovo Z2 Plus
Another phone raising the budget bar
Weight: 149g | Dimensions: 141.7 x 68.9 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1080x1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 3500mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP
The Z2 Plus has spent enough time in the market and till now there is no major issue found with the smartphone. It is the most affordable flagship and comes with the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 CPU, 4GB/3GB of RAM. It comes packed in an all-glass body that looks good but is obviously a fingerprint magnet too. Despite of the handy form factor, the smartphone looks slightly thick which is not an issue with me personally.
It comes with 24/7 activity tracking via dedicated sensor processing unit and a body. A great buy for those who want oodles of power in a small and compact chassis. Though, the camera is not one of the finest but battery life is impressive.
Read the full review: Lenovo Z2 Plus
5. Moto G4 Plus
The high-end of Motorola's budget line
Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 153 x 76.6 x 7.9-9.8mm | OS: Android 6.0.1 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Octa-core 1.5 GHz | RAM: 2/4GB | Storage: 16GB w/ microSD | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 5MP
The first of three entries in this list from Motorola, it's the Moto G4 Plus. It's the highest spec budget phone from the company from 2016 and features some of the best features we've seen on a phone at this price point.
The spec is much the same as the Moto G4, but it also comes with a fingerprint scanner and an improved camera - that's what the Plus means as it's the same size as the normal Moto G4.
The 16MP rear shooter is arguably the most impressive phone camera at the sub-15k mark. If you want to be able to take good photos but can't afford to buy a high-end phone, this is the best choice for you.
There's no NFC so you won't be able to use Android Pay on the Moto G4 Plus, but a bright display and strong performance is sure to make up for it. Before you buy, note it may be worth waiting for the newly launched Moto G5 Plus that's expected to come out in the next few months.
Read the full review: Moto G4 Plus
6. Xiaomi Redmi 4
Complete smartphone under a budget
Weight: 150g | Dimensions: 139.2 x 70 x 8.7mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Snapdragon 435 | RAM: 2/3/4GB | Storage: 16/32/64GB | Battery: 4100mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
The Redmi Note 4 was originally launched in China as the Redmi 4X. The company launched the smartphone in 3 different variants at three different price slots, which makes it the best phone in its category.
It comes in 2GB, 3GB and 4GB RAM variants with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of internal storage respectively. The Snapdragon 435 running at its heart makes it a decent performer for basic to moderate tasks.
For those who find it uneasy using a 5.5-inch screen and want a perfect alternate for a Redmi Note 4 or a Moto G5 Plus, the Redmi 4 can serve all your needs. The only issue with the Redmi devices is the supply, which Xiaomi says it's trying to improve.
Read the full review: Xiaomi Redmi 4
7. Honor 6X
Honor updates one of its best to Android Nougat
Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2 mm | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Kirin 655 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3340mAh | Rear camera: 12+2MP | Front camera: 8MP
Honor 6X made its entry in January 2017, becoming the second phone in this price range with a dual-camera. It comes with two cameras on the rear to enhance your photography experience on a mid-range smartphone. Other than camera, the smartphone boasts of an impressive metal unibody design and performs convincingly for the price.
It runs on its in-house Kirin 655 chipset, which is claimed to be a tough competitor to Snapdragon 625. It comes in two storage variants- 3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB. Only the 3GB/32GB variant falls under 15K category. It is still a good choice for those who like playing smartphone cameras and have a decent performance alongside.
Read the full review: Honor 6X
8. Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime
Worth every penny!
Weight: 144g | Dimensions: 139.3 x 69.6 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Snapdragon 430 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 4100mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
The Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime is nearly an ideal phone and can be termed as one of the best sub Rs 10,000 smartphones that you can buy in the market right now. The smartphone looks premium, works brilliantly with its octa-core CPU paired up with 3GB of RAM and can easily last for a day with its mammoth 4,100 mAh battery unit. The camera can also deliver when lighting is good and Xiaomi's MIUI also serves well in everyday usage.
If you are in the market to buy a budget handset and you just cannot cross the Rs 9,000 mark, then this is the handset you should buy. However if you feel that a 5-inch display is not enough for you and you can shed an extra Rs 1,000, then go for the elder sibling- the Redmi Note 4, which starts at Rs 9,999.
Read the full review: Redmi 3s Prime
9. Honor 5C
Honor's last low cost phone
Weight: 120g | Dimensions: 142.6 x 71.8 x 7.1mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU: Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2300mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP
Honor used to be a specialist in low priced phones but most recent releases from the company have skewed a little more on the expensive end of the market. That's except for the Honor 5C though.
The Honor 5C is a strong choice for your low cost mobile upgrade. It comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, Android 6 Marshmalllow software and a powerful Kirin 650 processor.
There's also a powerful 13MP rear camera and an 8MP selfie shooter to capture your gorgeous face and send it to your friends and family.
Read the full review: Honor 5C
10. Lenovo K6 Power
The K6 Power is a good all-round package.
Weight: 145g | OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 430 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
The Lenovo K6 Power when launched was one of the most value for money offering from Lenovo last year. It is not just cheap, but it also has all the qualities to give a tough time to competitors like Xiaomi and more. e
K6 Power is aimed to give exceptional battery life without carrying the ugly tag in its appearance. It is a 5-inch device, which comes in handy for most of its users and also gives a good in-hand feel.
The full HD display looks stunning in both indoors and outdoors, accompanied well by a decent set of hardware specifications.
- Happy to spend more on your phone? Read our best phone of 2017 guide