Finding the very best smartphone under Rs 15,000 in a crowded market is difficult. While the big guns like the Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone X, LG V30 and Google Pixel 2 steal the show when it comes to flagship smartphones, there are a lot of intriguing options available in the world of budget phones as well.
Sadly though, smartphone innovation isn't cheap – and most of it is reserved for high-end phones. However, the technology that was once impossible to imagine on budget phones is now available at cheapest possible prices, thanks to the competitive market trends and Chinese manufacturers, who have changed the fate of affordable smartphones in India.
Here's a selection of the best phones priced under Rs 15,000.
- Don't need to worry about cost? Check out our best phone list
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro
The new budget king
Weight: 181g | Dimensions: 158.6 x 75.4 x 8.1mm | OS: Android 7.0 | Screen size: 5.99-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 636 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 5MP | Front camera: 20MP
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is the newest contender in sub 15k price segment. It is the first phone to ship with Snapdragon 636, which is an incremental upgrade over the 625. The phone offers solid performance for price and combines all the necessary features like a good battery, big display, software features and more.
Read the full review: Redmi Note 5 Pro
Xiaomi Mi A1
Weight: 165g | Dimensions: 155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3mm | OS: Android 7.1.2 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3080mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP | Front camera: 5MP
The result of Xiaomi's partnership with Google, the Mi A1 is supported by the Search giant's Android One program. It is aimed at users who want a premium smartphone experience at a low price.
The Mi A1 reboots Google's Android One program, which was at first created for budget phone makers. Google has now tweaked the finer points just a bit and will now house all phones that run on stock Android and not made by the company.
The Mi A1 features a full HD 5.5-inch IPS display and is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor, backed by 4GB of RAM and an onboard storage of 64GB which can further be expanded with the help of a microSD card.
The Mi A1 has a dual camera setup and houses twin 12-megapixel camera modules, one wide-angle, f/2.2 aperture and a telephoto f/2.6 camera. On the front, there is a 5-megapixel selfie camera as well.
As the smartphone is associated with Android One, it runs on stock Android 7.1.2 with promised update to Android 8.0 Oreo and even Android P. The Mi A1 draws power from a 3,080 mAh battery which supports fast charging.
Read the full review: Xiaomi Mi A1
Honor 9 Lite (32 GB)
Weight: 149g | Dimensions: 151 x 71.9 x 7.6mm | OS: Android 8 Oreo | Screen size: 5.6-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 1080 | CPU: Kirin 659 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP | Front camera: 13MP + 2MP
The Honor 9 lite has everything going for itself in the design department with the shiny 2.5D glass on back. It looks dapper in the Sapphire Blue colour variant.
The 18:9 aspect ratio display is vibrant and is reason enough to buy this phone. It also has a quad-camera setup. The front-facing cameras capture some good pictures while the rear one leaves much to be desired. There's no fast charge support which might be a deal breaker for some.
Read the full review: Honor 9 Lite review
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 (3GB RAM)
The 18:9 display make it to the Redmi
Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 158.5 x 75.5 x 8.1 mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5.99-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 3/4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP
For just Rs 9,999, the Redmi Note 5 replaces the Note 4 for the top spot. The new phone is an update over its predecessor. It has a new 18:9 display with a slightly better camera and software optimisations. The smartphone has everything that one expects from a phone of this range.
The Snapdragon 625 with 3GB RAM is good enough to sail you through intensive usage with a phenomenal full-day battery life.
Read the full review: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review
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
The Moto G5 Plus is one of the best smartphones under Rs 15,000. Dominating the sub 20K category, the Moto G5 Plus was launched in two storage variants - 3GB RAM/16GB internal storage and 4GB RAM/32GB internal storage. However, only the 3GB/16GB variant falls under the Rs 15K price segment.
It is the first G series phone to come with a metal build and looks very fresh and premium. Another highlight of the phone is its camera, which has sustained the standards set by its sibling, the Moto G4 Plus, and has improved upon them. 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
Honor updates one of its best to Android Nougat
Weight: 165g | Dimensions: 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5.93-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Kirin 659 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: 3340mAh | Rear camera: 16+2MP | Front camera: 8MP
The Honor 7X brings an 18:9 aspect ratio to the mid-range segment, along with dual-camera setup. Other than that, the camera onboard the 7X is a pretty good snapper while the slick metal unibody makes it feel like a premium smartphone.
It runs on the Kirin 659 chipset, which is claimed to be a tough competitor to the Snapdragon 625 backed by 4GB of RAM. It comes in two storage variants - 32GB and 64GB. Only the 32GB variant falls under the 15K category.
It is still a good choice for those who like playing with smartphone cameras but can't afford more expensive phones.
Read the full review: Honor 7X
Xiaomi Mi Max 2
The best gets even better
Weight: 211g | Dimensions: 174.1 x 88.7 x 7.6 mm | OS: Android 7.1.1 | Screen size: 6.44-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64/128GB | Battery: 5300mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP
Xiaomi's big-screen smartphone series, the Mi Max got a second iteration this year, which makes it one of the best big-display phones around. The 6.44-inch display is great to watch videos and consume other content.
That being said, it is nowhere near as bulky as you would expect from such a size. At just 7.6mm, it fits in the hand quite well and the aluminium casing gives it a robust and premium feel.
The Snapdragon 625 is one of the best available mid-range processors around and it's coupled with 4GB of RAM here. There are two storage variants: 32GB/64GB.
Speaking about its imaging capabilities, the 12-megapixel snapper is decent, but the front-facing camera is average.
What's amazing about the Mi Max 2 is the battery life. It lasts for a full day easily, despite the large display.
Read the full review: Mi Max 2