The prices of flagship-class smartphones have skyrocketed over the past few years, and it isn’t shocking at all to see people spend more than Rs. 70,000 for the latest iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and Google Pixel models. Thankfully, if your budget isn’t quite so generous, you can get very nearly the same performance, features, and style for less than half as much. The sub-Rs. 30,000 category has plenty of options, and some of the recently launched models at this price level even boast of features that much more expensive flagships don’t have yet.
If you can spend up to Rs. 30,000, you can get yourself a phone that does it all. You don’t have to compromise on camera quality, battery life, or modern conveniences. Some of our picks for the best smartphones priced below Rs. 30,000 might surprise you with their features, such as the Vivo V15 Pro’s pop-up selfie camera and in-display fingerprint sensor, or the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)’s four rear cameras.
We review hundreds of smartphones each year and put them through a number of tests to see whether they’re good enough to recommend. We check out their performance, cameras, displays, batteries, software, and physical construction quality, and we also tell you everything you need to know about how they hold up in day-to-day use. The following phones have scored the highest across the board, so you know that you’re getting the best possible bang for your buck.
Here are our current picks for the best smartphones priced below Rs. 30,000.
The Realme 9 Pro+ elevates the 9 series from the mainstream segment to the mid-range. The 9 Pro+ is priced higher than the 9 Pro and offers some added features such as optical image stabilisation (OIS) in the camera, which has been missing from Realme’s lineup for a long time.
The Realme 9 Pro+ is available in a colour-changing Sunrise Blue finish. The back panel transitions from blue to red upon exposure to UV light if you choose this. It has a slim profile overall and is also quite light, which makes it comfortable for one-handed use.
The phone offers enough grunt with its MediaTek Dimensity 920 SoC and it can easily handle demanding 3D games as well as take care of day-to-day tasks. Battery life is also quite good and it charges quickly using its bundled 60W charger.
Still camera performance is quite impressive. The primary camera with its OIS system captures clear and crisp photos in daylight and performs well in low-light conditions too. Android 12 also makes it here with Realme UI 3.0 and it brings most of its highlight features with it.
The Realme 10 Pro+ is the latest mid-ranger from the company. It has received some upgrades in multiple departments over the Realme 9 Pro+, with the display being the highlight.
The Realme 10 Pro+ 5G sports a 6.7-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate support. It is the most affordable smartphone to feature a curved screen. The phone's base model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at Rs. 24,999. The 8GB + 128GB and 8GB + 256GB storage options are priced at Rs. 25,999 and Rs. 27,999.
The phone comes with a MediaTek Dimensity 1080 SoC, and a 5000mAh battery with 67W fast charging support.
The 108-megapixel main camera misses out on OIS support. Its triple-camera setup includes an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and a 2-megapixel macro sensor. For selfies, there is a 16-megapixel front camera. The handset runs on the Android 13-based Realme UI 4.0 out-of-the-box.
Some of the features of the Nothing Phone 1 that really stand out are its premium build quality, vibrant display, good primary camera, and clean Android experience. The glyph lights are a nice differentiator but you may or may not find them actually useful for daily use. The one thing that needs the most improvement right now is the secondary cameras, especially in low light. Video recording could also benefit from better stabilisation and features.
Phones such as the Xiaomi 11T Pro and iQoo 9 SE offer better specs and features for a simialr price. However, if you want a phone that looks completely unique while still having all the essential features, there's nothing quite like the Phone 1 right now.
The OnePlus Nord 2T 5G comes with minor upgrades over the previous model. Its design mostly remains the same as before, but has some minor changes around the back, which includes a new layout for the cameras.
Its processor has been upgraded to a Dimensity 1300 SoC, which brings some performance improvements. The display remains the same as before and offers a 90Hz refresh rate.
The phone offers OxygenOS 12.1 which is based on Android 12. It has minimal bloatware and comes with just one preinstalled third-party app. Software performance is smooth and it all feels fluid thanks to the 90Hz display.
Gaming performance is quite good as well. The phone still lacks a macro camera unlike the original Nord, but the primary camera can shoot decent close-up images. Low-light performance is quite good. Battery capacity remains the same as before, but OnePlus has amped up the charging to 80W.
The Pixel 6a is a big upgrade and a step up from the Pixel 4a, which was Google’s last smartphone to make it to India. It packs in plenty of upgrades over the previous model but also a higher price tag.
Its design utilises glass for the display and a plastic panel for the rear, both of which are held together by an aluminium frame. While it feels solid, it's far from premium since the plastic panel is a massive smudge and dust magnet.
Software performance does not feel as fluid because of its 60Hz refresh rate display, but you do get the latest and greatest from Google which is Android 13 with no added bloatware.
Camera performance in all kinds of lighting conditions is top-notch, but video quality seems a bit lacking. Battery life is good for a day’s worth of use but charging is quite slow.
The new design of the Oppo Reno 7 looks nice. The rounded frame and curved edges of the back gives the phone a sleek aesthetic. The Reno 7 also gets the same laser-etched pattern on the back like on the Reno 7 Pro, which looks good and does’t attract fingerprints. The 6.4-inch AMOLED display is similar to the one on the previous phone. It has a full-HD+ resolution, 90Hz refresh rate and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.
Oppo hasn’t bothered refreshing the SoC in the Reno 7 as it’s still the MediaTek Dimensity 900, along with has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The software experience of the Oppo Reno 7 is identical to the 7 Pro. Day-to-day performance has been solid so far with the Oppo Reno 7. The SoC is plenty powerful for handling the usual productivity and social apps. The bump in battery capacity to 4,500mAh (from 4,300mAh) seems to have made a noticeable impact on battery life.
It’s a good phone overall without any glaring faults but just know that there are better feature-packed offerings available online, that offer a lot more bang for you buck.
|Best Mobile Phones Under 30000 In India
|Price in India
|Realme 9 Pro+ 5G
|Motorola Edge 40
|iQOO Neo 7 5G
|Realme 10 Pro+
|Nothing Phone 1
|Oppo Reno 8
|OnePlus Nord 2T 5G
|Google Pixel 6a
|Oppo Reno 7 5G
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