If you are looking for excellent value and don't mind shelling out a bit more for solid camera performance, you have indeed come to the right place. The sub-Rs. 40,000 segment is all about premium features and value pricing. It's rare to find a smartphone in this segment that seems overpriced mainly because companies squeeze in more features and hardware than what most buyers would expect or have on their checklist.
Design is important, but mostly from a physical perspective as better-looking cosmetic designs are usually reserved for the higher tier (premium segment). While most smartphones will have two or more cameras, the best imaging quality is mainly reserved for the primary one, while the others are mainly there to fill up the spec sheet. Low-light image quality should not be a problem here, and most devices are also quite capable when it comes to video.
Our latest entrants include the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G which brings along a solid set of premium features to the sub-Rs. 40,000 smartphones segment after receiving several price cuts. Apple's most affordable and sensible smartphone, the iPhone 11 is also now available at a low price, despite being several years old, but just like the Galaxy S21 FE 5G, offers many premium features.
Here are the best smartphones priced under Rs. 40,000 in India that are reviewed and rated by Gadgets 360, in no particular order.
|Phones under Rs. 40,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|Galaxy S21 FE 5G||9||Rs. 34,999|
|Apple iPhone 11||9||Rs. 38,999|
|Motorola Edge 30 Pro||9||Rs. 35,999|
|Vivo V25 Pro||8||Rs. 35,999|
|Motorola Edge 30 Fusion||9||Rs. 39,999|
|Xiaomi 11T Pro||9||Rs. 36,999|
|Oppo Reno 7 Pro 5G||8||Rs. 34,999|
|Realme GT Neo 3||-||Rs. 36,999|
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G is the successor to the do-it-all Galaxy S20 FE 5G. Upgrades to the S21 FE 5G are mostly incremental, so the difference is mainly down to the slightly refreshed design and SoC. The Galaxy S21 FE 5G gets the premium Galaxy S22's contour cutout camera design with flat-finished rear panels and cutouts for each camera lens. It's also quite light and thin which makes it good for one-handed use. The big upgrade here is the Exynos 2100 SoC from the Galaxy S21 series and it does a good job with gaming. All the good stuff from the S20 FE 5G has been retained on the S21 FE 5G including wireless charging and an IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, which it now brings to the sub Rs. 40,000 segment.
Launched in 2019, Apple's official starting price for the iPhone 11 is now lower than ever, at Rs. 38,999, which makes it a better choice over Apple's actual affordable offering, the iPhone SE (2022).
However, do keep in mind that this is just for the base 64GB variant, but it's still an iPhone and not a very old one either. The iPhone 11 introduced an ultra-wide camera to Apple's non-Pro models and features the still powerful A13 Bionic SoC. Since this is an iPhone, you should expect to receive timely software updates for a few more years at least. The cameras are great, battery life is excellent, and it's available in a variety of colours.
The Motorola Edge 30 Pro was an incredible value for money product and offered good performance at launch. Today, it continues to do so after a recent price cut. The phone is available in a single 8GB RAM and 128GB storage configuration but at a very competitive price. It's no longer the flagship for Motorola, but still has a 144Hz AMOLED display, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, two 50-megapixel cameras on the back, and a 60-megapixel selfie camera. There's a large 4,800mAh battery to alleviate your battery anxiety. Its design may be a bit chunky in comparison to the newer Edge 30 Fusion, but there is an IP52 rating for basic dust and water resistance, which seems like the bare minimum, but it's something. Motorola's near-stock MyUX software experience which comes with just one preloaded app is the cherry on top.
The Vivo V25 Pro is the successor to the more fashion-forward Vivo V23 Pro 5G. The Vivo V25 Pro gets a slightly chubbier design (along with a bigger battery) which is more practical for gaming, and it retains the colour-changing rear panel in a more subtle form. In terms of specifications, there are plenty of upgrades and Vivo has managed to retain the curved-edge design of the pOLED display while bumping up its refresh rate to 120Hz.
Its MediaTek Dimensity 1300 SoC is quite mid-range, but gets the job done when it comes to software performance and gaming. The bigger battery also offers a whole day's worth of backup despite heavy use which is an improvement over its predecessor. Camera performance is not the best in this segment as it produces image quality that's comparable to mid-range devices. This one's mainly for those looking for a stylish smartphone with a curved-edge display at the lowest possible price tag.
The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion is quite a good offering that looks stylish and has good features. The phone packs premium hardware including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ SoC and a curved-edge pOLED display and offers a great user experience. The camera offers good performance but it needs a little bit of software tweaking in order to do proper justice to the hardware.
While the phone can record up to 8K resolution videos, the internal storage is limited to only 128GB. There are other phones in this list that offer similar hardware for the price. Then there's the Motorola Edge 30 Pro as well, which offers better performance but the Edge 30 Fusion is clearly the better-looking one between the two.
The Xiaomi 11T Pro doesn't stand out in terms of cosmetic design, even though its polycarbonate mid-frame sandwiched between two sheets of glass feels premium. However, it delivers good raw performance thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and is a good all-rounder.
Its attractive price and features make it a good deal. Its AMOLED display showcases accurate colours and is also one of the few Android smartphones with a Dolby Vision certification for streaming video. You get stereo sound with Dolby Atmos support, which makes for an immersive entertainment experience. Battery life is top notch and this phone offers up to two days of casual use on a single charge. You also get a 120W fast charger in the box. Camera performance is quite good, except for the quality of selfies in low light.
Design has always been a big talking point for the Oppo Reno series, and the Reno 7 Pro 5G sure looks the part with its glass back and a laser micro-etched finish. The notification LED strip around the camera module of the Oppo Reno 7 Pro is also quite unique.
The 6.5-inch full-HD+ 90Hz AMOLED panel delivers very good colours and contrast, and there's Corning Gorilla 5 for scratch protection. The MediaTek Dimensity 1200-Max SoC may be a bit old and seems a bit mid-range, but is said to have custom optimisations for a smoother gaming experience. While the phone was launched with Android 12, it was recently updated to ColourOS 13, which is based on Android 13. Battery life is solid, and charging is super-fast.
The Realme GT Neo 3 is all about speed. It surely looks the part with racing stripes on the rear panel. Then there's the large 6.7-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The phone comes with a MediaTek Dimensity 8100 SoC which is good enough for gaming. The major improvements over its predecessor (the Realme GT Neo 2) comes in the form of upgraded cameras which perform a lot better as well.
We did test out the more expensive model of the GT Neo 3, which is equipped with a smaller 4,500mAh battery but supports faster 150W wired charging, but the regular model is no slouch either with a larger 5,000mAh along with 80W charging support.