Smartphones priced between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 are currently some of the best value-for-money devices which offer good performance and build quality along with good-looking designs and capable cameras. That said, there are some phones in the price range which outperform rivals in key areas like gaming, camera performance, etc. Here’s a list of the best phone under Rs 30,000 for each such category and why our choice beats the competition. Note that all prices mentioned below are as of August 25, and mentioned without any offers.
Best phone for performance & gaming: Redmi K50i (Rs 25,999)
If it is sheer performance or gaming capability you want out of your next phone, the Redmi K50i is pretty much unmatched in the under-Rs 30,000 bracket. The phone comes with a Dimensity 8100 chip, which you’d usually find on more expensive phones like the OnePlus 10R, the Realme GT Neo 3 or the Oppo Reno 8 Pro. This translates to snappy day-to-day performance and more in-game settings for graphics and frame-rates.
The Redmi K50i comes with some cut-corners like an LCD screen, but the flagship-level chip compensates for that. In addition it also comes with a 144Hz refresh rate screen with seven-zone adaptive switching. You can read more about the Redmi K50i in our full review.
Best phone for cameras: Realme 9 Pro+ (Rs 24,999)
Most good phones you’ll find under Rs 30,000 will click good, pleasing shots in the day, but when it comes to low light, not many phones come with the good processing and 50MP Sony IMX 766 combination that you’ll find on the Realme 9 Pro+. While camera shots in day can feature a little extra processing and contrast to make colours punchy, you will still be able to see great dynamic range with photos captured from the Realme 9 Pro+.
If low-light and indoor lighting scenarios aren’t important to you, you could also consider the iQOO Neo 6, the Poco F4 5G and the OnePlus Nord 2T, all of which come with very capable cameras, and better performance than the Dimensity 920-powered Realme 9 Pro+.
Cleanest software: Moto Edge 30 (Rs 29,999) and OnePlus Nord 2T (Rs 28,999)
Clean software may have two different meanings catering to different users. Either it’s completely stock Android that you’re looking for, with no custom UI, extra customisations and pre-installed apps, or a custom user interface (UI) that is feature packed, but doesn’t throw bloatware and unnecessary suggestions and ads at you.
For those looking for the first kind, you can consider the Motorola Moto Edge 30. The Moto Edge 30 comes with near-stock Android along with a super-compact form factor as well. You do get a few Moto-exclusive extra features like twist-to-open-camera and a karate-chop gesture that toggles the flashlight. But the software is exactly like using a Google Pixel-series phone. The phone is powered by an upper-midrange Snapdragon 778G chipset.
For those who want extra features without the ads and the bloat, we can recommend the OnePlus Nord 2T. Yes, OxygenOS is not what it used to be since the operating system’s codebase was merged with Oppo’s ColorOS. But you still get a feature-packed UI with lots of customisations and tricks, all of which are hidden neatly into menus so users don’t feel overwhelmed. You also get only Google Apps, Netflix and a handful of other apps pre-installed, which isn’t a lot of junk compared to something like Realme UI or FuntouchOS.
Fastest charging : Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge (Rs 23,899)
Faster charging is quickly growing to become an important aspect of smartphones these days. If you’re someone on the move and one of your biggest pain-points is dealing with slow charging, the Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge is the fastest charging phone in the segment right now.
The device comes with a 4,500mAh battery and 120W fast charging that Xiaomi claims can get you a full charge in 15 minutes. The phone also sports a Dimensity 920 chipset, a 120Hz AMOLED screen, a 108MP triple camera setup and up to 8GB RAM and 256GB UFS 2.2 storage.
Best overall phone: iQOO Neo 6 (Rs 29,999) and Poco F4 5G (Rs 27,999)
If you want a smartphone that has a balanced performance in all aspects including general performance, camera, gaming, battery life and fast charging, look no further than the iQOO Neo 6 and the Poco F4 5G. Both phones are powered by the reliable Snapdragon 870 chip and come with similar specifications. This includes large 120Hz AMOLED screens, 64MP triple camera setups, stereo speakers, decently sized batteries and fast charging.