Best Smartphones Under Rs.20,000

by | Sep 10, 2018

Are you the one looking for stepping up your geek game a bit?

With a bunch of choices lying around, you’re sure to sweat it out but don’t worry we will walk you through the tough part.

This list has been curated to provide you with an insight into the best phones under Rs.20,000.

Whether you are an amateur photographer, an avid gamer or a selfie lover, we’ve tossed the best smartphones with these features in this price range so that you can take your pick quite easily.

Without any further ado, here are the choices we have shortlisted for you.

Best Mobile Phone Under Rs.20,000

1. Honor PlayOverall Best Pick
2. Xiaomi Mi A2Runner-Up Pick
3. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 6GBBest Battery Life Pick
4. Huawei P20 LiteBest Design Pick
5. Nokia 6.1 PlusBest Build Quality Pick
6. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 ProBest budget pick

1. Honor Play

Overall Best Pick
Overall Best Pick
  • Systemwide AI integration
  • Gorgeous 6.3-inch display
  • Powerful processor

Honor Play is a high-end premium smartphone from Huawei that can be aptly called a flagship killer.

This device comes with a host of features that will bring many of its higher-priced counterparts to shame.

Minimal design with excellent build quality…

The Honor Play is exquisitely designed to perfection with minimal styling.

The device features a metallic unibody construction with cleverly concealed antenna lines.

The Full View display upfront blends in with the chassis very well and provides you with a very immersive experience while interacting with the screen.

Unlike the Honor 9N, Huawei hasn’t omitted the 3.5mm headphone jack this time, from this device.

The dual camera setup is placed horizontally on the rear with an AI camera branding which perfectly blends with the metallic backplate.

Top notch display… with a notch…

If you love a large screen on your smartphone, then this smartphone with a 6.3-inch FHD+ display might be your dream come true.

This panel has a pixel density of about 409 ppi and a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels to give you a detailed output. The colour reproduction is excellent so is the brightness level.

You can further fine tune the display according to your preference from the display settings offered by the phone.

The notch is present – those who love that, rejoice. Others do continue reading. You can turn off the notch if you don’t like it. That’s cool, right.

Processor and camera…

We mentioned at the beginning that this device is a flagship killer. Yes, it is!

The Honor Play is powered by the Huawei’s latest and greatest CPU, the HiSilicon Kirin 970 that is present in many of their premium handsets like the Huawei P20 Pro.

This processor performs excellently when it comes to multitasking and app management. There is no lags or stutters even if you try hard to bring the phone into its knees.

Huawei has introduced their latest GPU turbo technology with the Honor Play.

The company claims that this feature will improve the graphics performance of this device up to 60% and decrease the battery consumption up to 30% while gaming.

Both the 13MP + 2MP rear and the 16MP front camera is powered by the Huawei’s patented AI NPU technology.

The camera samples seem promising and deliver crisp images with a lot of details.

When it comes to video recording, this phone has an interesting combination of Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) and Artificial Image Stabilization (AIS) for buttery smooth video output.

AI… AI… AI Everywhere…

Honor has heavily implemented AI features across the system in this device.

From the camera app to intelligent charging to gaming, the specially designed Neural Processing Unit (NPU) chip inside is used to its full potential to enhance the functionality of this device.

Battery life…

Usually, companies provide cutting-edge technologies on their devices and when it comes to the battery capacity, they skimp.

This time around the Honor Play sports a respectable 3750 mAh battery inside that will easily last over a day even with heavy usage.

The device comes with a fast charger in the box so that you don’t have to purchase one extra to juice up your device quickly.

End words…

The Honor Play is perhaps the flagship grade smartphone priced under Rs.20,000.

With its elegant design and flagship grade internals, it beats the competition to dust quite easily.

The big gorgeous screen and the powerful GPU and CPU combination makes this a great device to play games with.

R

Excellent build quality

R

Capable AI assisted cameras

R

GPU Turbo feature

Q

No dedicated SD card slot

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo 8.1
Internal Memory64GB
RAM4 GB
ProcessorHiSilicon Kirin 970
Camera16 MP + 2 MP Rear, 16 MP Front
Battery3750mAh
Display6.3 inch (1080 x 2340) 19.5:9

2. Xiaomi Mi A2

Runner-Up Pick
Runner-Up Pick
  • Best in class camera
  • Promised android updates
  • Powerful Snapdragon 660 inside

Xiaomi and Android One is a dream we all had.

Then one fine day the company announced Mi A1.

Rest is history.

The Mi A2 is the successor of the famous Mi A1 which sold like hot cakes in the Indian market.

Updated design… Minus the notch

The Mi A2 has significant improvements in design and form factor over its predecessor, the Mi A1.

The new Mi A2 comes with the now industry standard 18:9 display. The metal back is retained with this release.

However, the orientation of the camera is now vertical, resembling that of iPhone X. That said the Mi A2 resembles closely to Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 5 Pro.

The build quality is superb with the quality material used for the construction.

Camera-centric smartphone…

Even though the USP of this smartphone from Xiaomi is its Android One tag, what makes it special is the optics used.

Xiaomi claims that this is one of the best camera phones available in the market at this price point.

The rear side of this phone features a vertically placed dual camera setup. This 12MP + 20MP setup provides some of the best shots, both in daylight as well as low light in the segment.

The 20MP shooter uses pixel binning technology to enhance the low light photos by reducing the noise of the processed image.

In the front, there is a 20MP AI camera that captures portrait selfies with excellent details and saturation levels.

A powerful processor inside…

The Snapdragon 660 is a very powerful midrange chipset that will carry out resource-intensive tasks with relative ease. ‘

Multitasking and gaming will not be a showstopper on this device for sure.

Coupled with a 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage, there isn’t much left worth asking for.

Battery and the Android One…

Xiaomi usually uses MIUI custom skin on top of Android releases with their phone.

With Android One programme, the device receives a stock Android OS with no or minimal changes from the manufacturer.

How does it benefit the end customers?

Phones under Android One programme receive updates and security patches directly from Google.

Unlike Xiaomi, which decided whether to upgrade a phone to the next Android version, Google assures that you will at least get two major OS upgrades for the device.

Newer updates mean more features and better security.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Now coming to the battery, this device packs a 3000mAh Li-ion cell inside. This will last for a day of moderate to heavy usage.

And with Qualcomm quick charge support, you can use a compatible charger and juice up this device pretty quickly.

The negatives…

The Mi A2 doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Yes. You heard it right.

Even though you get a USB C to 3.5mm adapter in the box, this is really a bad move from Xiaomi.

There is no way you can increase the storage size on this phone. The Mi A2 comes with a dual sim slot but no sd card slot.

Even a hybrid sim slot might have been good but somehow that’s the case – no expansion slots.

Conclusion…

The Mi A2 is probably the best camera phone that you can purchase at this price point.

The exceptional build quality and the stock Android OS with promised Google updates makes this phone one of the most desirable piece of gadget.

If you can live with the absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack, don’t think twice.

R

Excellent build quality

R

Amazing optics

R

Android One device

Q

No 3.5mm jack

Q

No SD card slot

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid Oreo 8.1
Internal Memory64 GB
RAM4 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 660
Camera12 MP + 20 MP Rear, 20 MP Front
Battery3010mAh
Display5.99 inch (2160 x 1080) 18:9

3. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 6GB

Best Battery Life Pick
Best Battery Life Pick
  • Value for money specs
  • Improved optics
  • Near Stock Android OS

The Zenfone Max Pro from Asus is a phone that is sold at an aggressive price with plenty of features loaded in.

We have earlier discussed about the 3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB variants in our best phones under Rs.15,000 post on our website.

The Zenfone Max Pro is powered by the latest Snapdragon 636 Octa-core chipset and Adreno 509 GPU.

Design and build quality…

Speaking about the design and build quality of Zenfone Max Pro, it has a rather ordinary design with an all-metal body except for the antenna portion.

The phone feels hefty in hand because of the massive battery it has but the weight distribution is really good.

Buttons on the side are tactile and clicky. We personally liked the silver colored variant more than the black color as it gave the phone a luxurious and classy premium feel.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 inside…

This is the best performing chipset in mid range smartphones under Rs. 15,000.

This processor performs really well in terms of multitasking and gaming. With the stock android powering the device, there isn’t much of bloatware to run in the background.

This almost stock Android OS results in significantly better performance than some other custom skin loaded devices out there in the market at this price.

Since the device launches with Android 8.1 out of the box, it supports Google’s project treble.

Having Project treble on your phone simply means it will be faster for the company to issue major Android updates and you can expect them fairly quickly after Google releases it.

18:9 display is awesome..

The display of this phone is a 5.99-inch full view display which is really immersive and colour accurate.

There are no protective glasses like Gorilla Glass here which significantly dents the overall build quality.

Speakers are located on the bottom side and with the help of an NXP amplifier and 5 Magnet speaker, the audio quality is loud and impressive.

Improved Camera and increased RAM…

On the camera front, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 6GB has got a decent bump.

The rear dual camera setup now boasts of a 16MP + 5MP shooter combo that provides much improved results when it comes to the level of details and colors in the photos when compared with the 3GB/4GB models which had a 13MP + 5MP camera.

The front camera also gets an upgrade to 16MP from the previous 8MP shooter.

Portrait mode now gives respectable output and the low light performance has seen a improvement as well.

This smartphone also has a 6GB RAM inside making it one of the few phones priced under Rs.15,000 to have it after the Oppo Realme 1.

Whopping 5000mAh battery…

This phone packs in a gigantic 5,000mAh battery that easily last 2 days of usage which is simply amazing for many power-hungry users.

You can game hard or binge watch your favourite series without being afraid of the battery being drained in the middle.

The Snapdragon 636 chipset supports fast charging. With a Quick charge 3.0 certified charger, you can quickly charge this beast in a relatively less time.

Final impressions…

If you love to have a mammoth battery inside so that you can possible use the phone with a peace of mind inside, this is it.

The improved camera now delivers excellent quality images and videos. With nearly stock Android OS, there’s nothing much to blame about the software either.

With Asus promising the Android P update, this smartphone should be definitely under your radar if you planning to buy a phone under Rs.20,000.

R

Dedicated SD card slot

R

Powerful processor

R

Long lasting battery

R

Excellent camera

Q

No Gorilla glass protection

Specifications

Operating SystemAndoid Oreo 8.1
Internal Memory64 GB
RAM6 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 636
Camera16 MP + 5 MP Rear, 16 MP Front
Battery5000mAh
Display5.99 inch (2160 x 1080) 18:9

4. Huawei P20 Lite

Best Design Pick
 Best Design
  • Premium design resembling flagships
  • All round performance guaranteed
  • Huawei Quick charge feature support

Huawei’s Lite series is a runaway hit in many markets around the world.

The Lite lineup offers a great design with reasonable specifications under an affordable budget.

Stunning design that’s a show stopper… 

The P20 Lite is the trimmed down version of the original Huawei P20 Pro.

The Huawei P20 is quite a stunner.

The all-glass construction feels premium and the shiny colours in which the phone is offered is awesome.

Huawei has even provided a headphone jack with this phone despite its very slim profile.

Duh… the same old Kirin 659..

This phone runs on Huawei’s own HiSilicon Kirin 659 Octa-core chipset with four cores clocked at 2.36GHz and the other four at 1.7GHz in order to provide a snappy yet energy efficient operation.

Huawei P20 Lite comes with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB of onboard storage which can be further expanded up to 128GB at the expense of a hybrid slim slot.

The performance while running apps and games is very good with no noticeable lags in between.

About the display and EMUI…

The display on this device is a 5.84-inch IPS HD+ display with a resolution of 1080 x 2280 pixels which sums up being 432 pixels per inch on this panel with a 19:9 aspect ratio.

The display is sharp and vibrant and the brightness levels are decent enough to pose any threat to sunlight legibility.

The device runs on Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box with Huawei’s custom Emotion UI 8 on top which adds a lot of features that will enhance the usability of this phone further.

The face unlock for instance is super quick and works very well.

Dual cameras – check!

On the optics front, this device comes with a dual rear camera module which houses a 16MP camera supplemented by a 2MP depth sensor for that bokeh and portrait shots you’d love to take.

The daylight photography yields some good quality photos with great details.

The 16MP front camera takes good selfies under optimal lighting conditions.

The camera app has pro modes that include tuning of exposure levels and shutter speed.

The camera is also capable of taking RAW photos (uncompressed) but no 4K videos, sadly.

The lack of 4K video capability is a bummer especially when even phones priced under Rs.10,000 such the Redmi Note 5 comes with it.

Quick charge…

This budget flagship phone from Huawei comes with 3000mAh battery that gives about 5 hours of screen on time.

The device supports Huawei quick charge and can juice up the battery to 100% in just 90 minutes.

Verdict…

The Huawei P20 Lite is probably the best looking phone under Rs.20,000 currently on sale in India.

The stunning color variants and the overall design makes this phone a gorgeous piece of gadget to get your hands own.

In terms of internals, the device sports respectable specs and features as well. The only major letdown we felt was the Kirin 659, which is a capable but slightly outdated processor.

Barring that, the Huawei P20 Lite is worth checking out at this price range.

R
Great design and build quality
R
Emotion UI packs a lot of features
R
RAW photo option in the Camera app
R
NFC
Q
No 4K recording
Q
Average low light photos

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid 8.0 Oreo / MIUI 9
Internal Memory64 GB
RAM4 GB
ProcessorHiSilicon Kirin 659 Octa-core
CameraDual: 16MP +2MP Rear, 16MP Front
Battery3000mAh
Display5.84 inch 1080 x 2280
(432 ppi density)

5. Nokia 6.1 Plus

Best Build Quality Pick
Best Build Quality
  • Guaranteed software updates
  • USB C port
  • Solidly built smartphone

Nokia isn’t the old Nokia anymore.

With HMD making the Nokia phones rather than the Microsoft, they’ve decided to go en route Android.

With a few phones such as Nokia 7 Plus priced under Rs.25,000 creating ripples in the market, Nokia is now back with a winner – the all new Nokia 6.1 Plus.

Design and build quality

Machines out of series 6000-grade Aluminium, the Nokia phones offer the best build quality in the market. They are built solid and feels extremely durable in hand.

The Finnish design exudes confidence and stands on par with the design of any other smartphone available at this price range.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with an edge to edge display that is protected by 2.5D curved Gorilla glass that blends in with the chassis seamlessly.

The back side of the chassis is adorned by a vertically placed dual camera module followed by a flash and a fingerprint scanner.

Having a USB C port for budget phones is still considered luxury by many smartphone brands, but not Nokia.

Overall, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is definitely one of the phones with the best build quality available in the market.

Performance

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC which is one of the mid-range champions when it comes to the efficient mix of performance and battery life.

With 4GB high-speed LPDDR RAM on board, this device can blaze through apps and can handle multitasking without any sort of lags or stutters.

The Adreno 509 GPU inside lets you play even high-end games but at low graphics settings.

The built-in 64GB ROM provides you with a sufficient starting point to store all your data – be it movies or songs on the phone offline, without the fear of running out of memory too soon.

This device also comes with a dedicated SD card slot which is another luxury that we are used not to expect from budget smartphones nowadays.

Display

The Nokia 6.1 Plus features a 5.8-inch full HD+ display with a resolution of 1080 x 2280 pixels.

This notched display has a 19:9 aspect ratio and has a pixel density of around 432 ppi.

The colours appear vivid and the contrast levels despite being an LCD display is excellent. The texts appear sharp and clear so does the images.

This being an IPS LCD, the viewing angles are great and there is no colour shift when viewed from extreme angles as well.

Camera

The Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with a dual rear camera setup which constitutes of a 16MP primary sensor accompanies by a 5MP depths sensing unit for accurate edge detection and portrait mode photos.

On the front, there is a 16MP shooter which has autofocus capabilities and an aperture size of f/2.0.

The pictures from both the front and rear cameras come out detailed and colourful in daylight conditions but suffer from oversharpening in photos shot at low light environments.

When it comes to the video, this phone does support gyro EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) for smoother video recording with minimal shakes.

Battery life

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is powered by a non-removable 3060 mAh Li-ion battery which easily lasts over a day of moderate to heavy usage.

The Snapdragon 636 is very much an energy efficient processor and combined with the stock Android OS running on this smartphone, energy consumption is very minimal when sitting idle.

Verdict

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is a great contender to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 pro and even trumps the device in certain aspects such as running a stock Android OS.

For those who love Nokia, this device is definitely one of the best devices that the company has launched this year.

Under Android, One programme promised future updates will make this device one of the most desirable gadgets to own in its price segment.

R

Excellent build quality

R

Android One device

R

Elegant design

Q

Comparatively smaller battery capacity

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Internal Memory64 GB
RAM4 GB
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 636
Camera16MP + 5MP Rear, 16MP Front
Battery3060mAh
Display5.8 inch (1080 x 2280) 19:9

6. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

Best Build Quality
Best Budget Pick
  • Premium features at a budget price
  • Solidly built phone
  • Latest powerful mid-range processor
  • Difficult to purchase due to the flash sale model

Xiaomi has now become a household brand name in India.

They started a revolution just like Ambanis did with reliance and now their mobile phone shipment volumes have even made Samsung feel the heat.

Redmi Note 5 pro is the successor to the highly successful Redmi note 4.

Build quality is amazing…

Chinese phones with low build quality is a thing of past.

Xiaomi came in with the Redmi 1S that has surprisingly robust features for its price and was really well built.

Fast forward from those plasticky days, the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a unibody design made of metallic back. The phone feels very durable while holding it in hands.

The 2.5D curved glass blends on to the metallic chassis very well and the overall look of the device is very pleasing.

Xiaomi has provided Gorilla glass protection for the glass at front to avoid accidental scratches.

First smartphone with the Snapdragon 636 SoC inside…

Note 5 features a brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chip that is more power and performance efficient than its predecessor 630.

Coupled with the Adreno 509 GPU, this device performs fast when it comes to the apps and games.

The 4GB RAM inside ensures that the apps stay in memory even in the background.

During multitasking, the apps in the memory can be quickly called backed without reloading and this saves a lot of hassle and time as well.

Awesome 18:9 5.99” display…

The new 18:9 screen gives the phone a much-needed facelift that screams premium
and at this price range, Xiaomi has managed to include a unit with punchier colours and great sunlight readability with good contrast levels.

The large tall screen makes it easier for you to watch videos on this phone. Also, more wider screen real estate means easier gaming as well.

The in-game buttons will be sufficiently spaced so that you won’t accidentally press thame during playing fast paced games such as PUBG ( Playerunknown’s BattleGrounds).

Rich in sensors…

Xiaomi phones are known to pack a ton of features at an affordable price tag. The Redmi Note 5 Pro packs in all sorts of sensors that enhance the functionality of device.

There is an infrared sensor on this phone to be used as a universal remote controller for all your devices at home.

Excellent dual camera setup…

The camera was one of the weak point of Redmi Note series in the past, but with the release of Note 5 Pro, Xiaomi has thrown in the dual camera setup into the mix.

The 12MP+5MP dual camera module in the back will help you take some nice shots and with the EIS enabled, your memories will feel less shaky, at least to the eyes.

Note 5 Pro runs on Android 7.1.1 nougat as of now and an update to Oreo, given the update track record of Xiaomi is unknown.

Although you are guaranteed to receive MI user interface upgrades regularly with some security patches in alternate months.

Should you buy this?

If you are not worried about updates and is looking for a solid smartphone with all the features in one box, Note 5 Pro is the choice for you.

Go grab one before the flash sale already ends..

R
Great screen with 18:9 aspect ratio
R
Has Electronic Image Stabilization
R
Massive 4000 mAh battery
Q
No 4K recording capability yet in Redmi Note 5 Pro

Q
Launches with outdated Android Nougat

Specifications

Operating SystemAndroid 7.1 Nougat / MIUI 9
Internal Memory64 GB
RAM6 GB
ProcessorSnapdragon 636 Octa Core 1.8 GHz
Camera12MP + 5MP Dual Rear, 20MP Front
Battery4000 mAh
Display5.99 inch (2160 x 1080) Full HD+

There concludes our list of the best upper mid range smartphones under Rs.20,000.

By no means, this is a complete exhaustive guide, but we believe this would help you to start making up your mind by providing some cues.

Don’t worry, the pain is real and we all know it.

Take your time and make your mind.

Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to check out our best smartphones list under every possible budget category on our website.

All the best for your next smartphone and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more such awesome buying guides.