The under-Rs 20,000 smartphone segment in India has become very crowded over the past few years. After all this is what is driving volume and most brands want to play in the segment. Phones under Rs 15,000 now offer all the latest specifications and features, including good performance, dual-rear cameras and Portrait mode, coupled with good battery life.
Here is our list of top budget phones in the Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 price bracket for 2018.
Best mid-budget phone: Redmi Note 5 Pro
Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 Pro is our winner in this year’s mid-budget segment. Yes, the Redmi Note 6 Pro has also launched in the market, but that was only towards the end of 2018. For the rest of the year, Redmi Note 5 Pro has helped Xiaomi cement its number one position in the Indian smartphone market.
Redmi Note 5 Pro offered a solid performance and dual-rear cameras, which were excellent for the price. The display, battery life on this phone all live up to the claims, and overall the phone proved to be a best-seller for Xiaomi.
In fact, Xiaomi continues to sell the device in the market, and at its current price of Rs 12,999 it is still a good deal. Of course, those who want dual-front cameras and slightly bigger display, now have the option of considering the newer Redmi Note 6 Pro variant.
Runner up mid-budget phone: Realme 2 Pro
Realme might have just entered the market back in May 2018, but it has managed to really shake up the budget space. The Realme 2 Pro was one of the company’s best offerings in this segment, launched at Rs 13,990 for the 4GB RAM and 64GB variant going up to Rs 17,990 for the 8GB RAM and 128GB variant.
Realme 2 Pro has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, a stylish design, display with a more elegant water drop notch and excellent dual cameras at the back. The device impressed us with its performance and camera and for its price it is definitely a winner.
Best camera for under Rs 20,000: Mi A2
In the budget category smartphone cameras can be a hit and miss. Yes, dual-cameras are common in this segment now, but very few phones deliver a consistent performance no matter what the lighting conditions. Xiaomi’s Mi A2 offered an impressive camera performance for its price.
The camera’s Bokeh mode is excellent and works well on both objects and actual human portrait subjects. The low-light performance is also better than what the competition offers, at least in this particular price segment.
Best value for money phone: Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1
Asus made a solid comeback in 2018 with phones like the Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M1), which launched back in April 2018. The successor to this phone, the Zenfone Max Pro (M2), is already here as well, and was launched this month.
Asus went for stock Android and packed a big 5000 mAh battery coupled with good performance on the Zenfone Max Pro M1. With the M2 Pro, it has gone for a slightly better Snapdragon 660 processor compared to the 636 on the M1 variant. Overall, Asus got it right with the pricing, the performance and the features when it came to the Zenfone Max Pro series.
HMD Global has been trying very hard in the mid-budget segment and its phones like Nokia 5.1 Plus and Nokia 6.1 Plus really stood in terms of the price and performance. The quality of these Nokia-branded phones, and overall design and look is very premium, something on rarely sees in the under Rs 20,000 price segment.
Nokia 5.1 Plus in particular impressed us with its performance and cameras. With Nokia 6.1 Plus, the performance and camera were also very good. There’s no doubt that in the mid-budget segment, Nokia phones have managed to stand out thanks to their impressive design and features.
Another brand which has been playing aggressively in this segment is Huawei’s Honor, which has showcased a slew of devices in 2018. Honor 8X really stood out in our view thanks to the big display, which was nearly 6.5-inches in size, elegant design, and good performance.
The camera performance on the Honor 8X was also impressive considering its price of Rs 14,999 for the 4GB RAM option.