Best value for money phones under Rs 20,000 in India


A budget phone, for a lot people, means a phone under Rs 20,000. There are many options in the market and while that means you have plenty to choose from, it is very hard to make an informed decision. 

Between companies like Xiaomi, Motorola, Samsung and Lenovo battling it out in the Indian smartphone segment trying to win over the mid-range consumer, there's never a shortage of features in these phones. 

Though this dynamic leaves a lot of options at the consumers' disposal, it can be confusing to determine what the real world applications are between the differences in phones. The disparity can exist in anything from battery sizes to chipsets and from cameras to operating systems.

That said, selecting a phone can still be a challenging task despite the plethora of options. While some companies may have the best specs on paper in a given price range, the lack of software optimisation can make those phones a poor option when compared to others. 

In this post, we look at some of the best value for money options under Rs 20,000. 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

The best budget phone in the market

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

A better camera
Same design and build as Note 4
No fast charging

It's a little disappointing that the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro doesn't run Oreo out-of-the-box but it still offers the most value for money. 

The Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro are pretty similar in terms of design. They both have metallic bodies and fingerprint sensors on the back. The colors on the display are warm and sharp. The touch feature responds well and visibility isn't too horrible in full sunlight. 

Being the most dependable budget option in the market right now, the Redmi Note 5 Pro gives you a good camera, a decent processor with reliable power and incredible battery life. 

Read the full review: Redmi Note 5 Pro

Xiaomi Mi A2

Weight: 166g | Dimensions: 158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 5.99-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 1080 | CPU: Snapdragon 660 | RAM: 4GB / 6GB | Storage: 64GB / 128GB | Battery: 3,010mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 20MP | Front camera: 20MP

Android One
Powerful hardware
Smaller battery
No 3.5mm audio jack

Xiaomi has extended its Android One experiment with the new Mi A2 that was launched in India yesterday. Based on the Mi 6X, the Mi A2 offers a clean, stock Android 8.1 Oreo experience and features a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display.

Borrowing heavily from the design of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the Mi A2 offers slightly more powerful performance thanks to the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset that powers it. It also has a dual camera setup on the back with a 12MP and a 20MP sensor, along with a 20MP front facing camera.

If you are in the market for a budget smartphone that offers a stock Android experience and promises fast updates, the Mi A2 could be a noteworthy option.

Hands on: Xiaomi Mi A2 review

Honor Play

Weight: 176g | Dimensions: 157.9 x 74.3 x 7.5 mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 6.3-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Kirin 970 | RAM: 4GB / 6GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3,750mAh | Rear camera: 16MP + 2MP | Front camera: 16MP

Kirin 970 SoC with GPU Turbo
3,750mAh battery
Dated design

Huawei sub-brand Honor has upped its game in India with the new Honor Play, offering flagship grade specs below Rs. 20,000. The smartphone was launched earlier this week with Huawei's flagship Kirin 970 chipset and a new GPU Turbo feature.

Aimed at gamers in the mid-range segment, the Honor Play features a 6.3-inch display and sports dual cameras on the back. It also comes with several AI-based features including object recognition in the camera app, AI-based Face Unlock and face recognition and more.

Nokia 6 (2018)

Nokia 6 (2018)

Nokia 6 (2018)

Weight: 172g | Dimensions: 148.8 x 75.8 x 8.2mm | OS: Android Oreo | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 630 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP

Sturdy build
Fast charging
Soft low light photos
No 18:9 aspect ratio

The Nokia 6 (2018) entered the market in April and it's one of the most durable smartphones in the budget smartphone segment. If you're clumsy or have been victim to one to many cracked screens, then this phone is the one for you. 

The main complaint against last year's Nokia 6 was that it didn't support fast charging, something that is no longer a problem on the 2018 variant which comes with a USB Type-C and fast charging. 

Nonetheless, be warned that the phone's camera is slow to focus and doesn't perform all that well in low light conditions. 

Read the full review: Nokia 6 (2018)

Redmi Note 5

Redmi Note 5

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 58.50 x 75.45 x 8.05mm | OS: Android 7 Noughat | Screen size: 5.99-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP

Power-packed performance
Good battery life
Limited to Android Nougat
Rear camera struggles in low light

The Redmi Note 5 has been a very successful launch for Xiaomi in India. With this phone, Xiaomi has continued to offer excellent value for money to its customers along with its more premium variant featuring a dual rear camera, the Redmi Note 5 Pro

While it had focused on specs with its previous phones, the company has started aiming for improved design and build quality. This shows in the Redmi Note 5 – the phone looks good, feels good in your hand and is packed with more power as compared to other mid-range smartphones.

Also check out, Redmi Note 5 vs Redmi Note 5 Pro and Redmi Note 5 vs Mi A1.

Read the full review: Redmi Note 5

LG Q6 Plus

LG Q6 Plus

LG Q6+

Weight: 149g | Dimensions: 142.5 x 69.3 x 8.1mm | OS: Android 7.1.1 Nougat | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Snapdragon 435 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Camera performance
Design and build quality
Battery life
Mediocre performance

The LG Q6+ is an upgraded version of the LG Q6 with additional memory and storage in the device. While the Q6 comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, the Q6+ has 4GB memory and 64GB internal storage capacity. In terms of other specs, both the phones are similar. 

The highlight of the phone is its impressive Full Vision 18:9 display with Full HD+ resolution. This upgraded version will cost you extra Rs 3,000 than the regular LG Q6.

Honor 7X

Honor 7X

Honor 7X

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

Premium build
Impressive camera
No USB Type-C
Limited storage options

Launched in December last year, the Honor 7X has proven to be a good option in the mid-range. Featuring a dual camera setup on the back, the Honor 7X features a good set of specs overall. The display and camera performance are both good when it comes to smartphones in this price range. 

The design is another plus for the phone as it doesn't feel inexpensive, thus making it a good, balanced option. 

Read the full review: Honor 7X

Xiaomi Mi Max 2

Xiaomi Mi Max 2

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 

Weight: 211g | Dimensions: 174.1 x 88.7 x 7.6mm | OS: Android 7.1.1 Nougat | Screen size: 6.44-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 5300mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP

Huge display
Long lasting battery
Mediocre front camera 

How big can a phone get for it to be called a tablet? 

We'll leave that to you, but if you’re looking for a phone with a massive display, the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is the real deal. It comes with a 6.44-inch display and a big 5300mAh battery. 

Not just that, Xiaomi has also worked on its design which has helped the Mi Max 2 look slick, much like a premium smartphone.

Read the full review: Xiaomi Mi Max 2

Moto G5S Plus

Moto G5S Plus

Moto G5S Plus

Weight: 168g | Dimensions: 153.5 x 76.2 x 8mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3000mAh | Rear camera: Dual 13MP | Front camera: 8MP

Upgraded full metal shell
Very good value
Significant camera shutter lag
Occasional app crashes

Rounding off the list is another device from Motorola, the recently launched Moto G5S Plus. While almost all other features of the Moto G5S Plus are same as the Moto G5, it comes with a slightly bigger screen, a dual camera setup and an improved front camera. 

You still get the smooth stock Android experience coupled with Motorola’s software optimisations.

Read the full review: Moto G5S Plus

Honor 9i

Honor 9i

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1

The biggest battery

Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 159.0 x 76.0 x 8.46mm | OS: Android 8.0 Oreo | Screen size: 5.99-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2160 | CPU: Snapdragon 636 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 5000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP

Stock Android
Crisp FHD display
Massive battery
Unimpressive camera
Slightly wide

The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is one of the most value-for-money offerings in the market right now. It's main selling point may be the 5000mAh battery that lasts a little more than 48hours, but the fact that it runs on a pure version of Android adds to its allure. 

The camera is disappointing, but the phone's superior functionality more than makes up for it. The phone doesn't lag in the audio department either being louder than most its counterparts and with better sound quality. 

Read the full review: Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1

Oppo F7

Oppo F7

Oppo F7

'Le le selfie re.'

Weight: 158g | Dimensions: 156.0 x 75.3 x 7.8mm | OS: ColorOS 5.0 based on Android 8.1 | Screen size: 6.23-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2280 | CPU: MediaTek Helio P60 | RAM: 4/6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 3400mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 25MP

Clear and detailed images
Rounded edges
19:9 fullscreen mode for apps
Lacks fast charging
Plastic body
Prone to fingerprints
Over saturation in AI Beauty

Oppo's most recent selfie-centric smartphone is the Oppo F7. It's not bad considering that it does what it's supposed to do, and it does it well, which is it clicks good portrait and selfie shots. 

The phone's build isn't too bad either with it feeling sturdy in your hand. The best part is probably that it can force non-19:9 aspect ratio apps to run in 19:9 mode. It makes gaming and watching videos a lot more immersive than otherwise. 

Running on Android Oreo with Color OS layered on top, it's not as bulky as one would expect it would be. Aside from a few lags, the phone functions pretty well. 

Read the full review: Oppo F7