The sub-Rs. 30,000 smartphone segment in India is brimming with quality hardware. If you are looking to upgrade from a budget smartphone, the mid-range currently offers plenty of choice and a lot of value provided you are willing to stretch your budget by a bit. In 2023, there's little that differentiates mid-range smartphones from the next tier, which are premium devices. Save for camera performance, most mid-range devices offer more than enough power along with good battery life and reliable software support.
Our latest additions include the Motorola Edge 40, Poco F5 5G which replaces the older Poco F4 5G, and Samsung's new Galaxy A34 5G. Also making it to our list is the Google Pixel 6a, which has received a price cut of sorts after the launch of the Pixel 7a in India.
Here are Gadgets 360's picks of the top phones under Rs. 30,000 in India, in no particular order.
|Phones under Rs. 30,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|Motorola Edge 40||8||Rs. 29,999|
|Poco F5 5G||8||Rs. 29,999|
|Samsung Galaxy A34 5G||8||Rs. 30999|
|Google Pixel 6a||8||Rs. 28,999|
|iQoo Neo 7 5G||8||Rs. 28,999|
|Nothing Phone 1||8||Rs. 29,999|
|Oppo Reno 8||8||Rs. 29,999|
|OnePlus Nord 2T 5G||8||Rs. 28,999|
After getting its software experience just right, Motorola surely seems to be working on its hardware game and the latest Edge 40 is proof of this. It has a stunning design which is sleek and curvy, and screams premium in its faux-leather back. With half the war already won, it then entices you with its near stock software experience and the promise of delivering years of software and security updates.
However, this Moto performs as good as it looks. There's a 144Hz pOLED display, an IP67 rating, and Motorola's even included wireless charging to complete the package. Camera performance is where the Motorola Edge 40 falls a bit short, even though this is more to do with its Portrait mode than its low-light performance (which seems pretty good). Gaming performance with its MediaTek Dimensity 8020 SoC is also quite good, but battery life is where this phone takes a proper hit, only lasting a day with regular use and nothing more. Thankfully Motorola includes a 68W fast charger in the box.
The Poco F5 5G replaces its predecessor the Poco F4 5G on this list, which was a solid mid-range contender in this segment. The F5 5G does not offer the premium feel of its predecessor but makes up for it when it comes to performance and gets you a basic IP53 rating for dust and water resistance. There's a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 SoC, which has a lot in common with the premium Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC found in premium smartphones.
Its software is loaded with bloatware but the hardware handles it all without breaking a sweat. Gaming performance is where it really shines, and the phone is easily capable of running demanding titles like Genshin Impact. Battery life is also sorted with the Poco F5 5G lasting more than a day with heavy usage. There's no wireless charging, but you do gets 67W fast charging which takes an hour to charge its large 5,000mAh battery. Camera performance of the main camera is also decent, both in daylight and in low light.
The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G's design is a proper upgrade over its predecessor's rather boxy and recycled rectangle with rounded edges. The A series has received proper updates in terms of design over the years and this one, like the previous models, also takes inspiration from the premium Galaxy S series. In fact, Samsung even added an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance which almost brings it on par with a premium device in terms of build quality and design.
Despite its focus on design, Samsung did make an odd choice with its display by going with a water-drop-style notch which does appear a bit dated. As for the rest, you get a quality 120Hz refresh rate AMOLED display, smooth software performance with One UI, and five years of software support which is good for those who don't upgrade their devices frequently. Daylight camera performance is quite good but the same cannot be said about low light. With a MediaTek Dimensity 1080 SoC, this phone clearly isn't built with gaming in mind. Charging is also relatively slow and Samsung does not provide a charger in the box.
The Google Pixel 6a has been replaced with the Pixel 7a which demands the same premium price that the former launched at. But the Pixel 6a now gets a more down-to-earth price tag, which makes it a very attractive 5G smartphone despite its lacklustre hardware when compared to the competition. This would include its now-slightly-dated Google Tensor SoC and its OLED display, which despite offering HDR capability runs at a standard 60Hz refresh rate.
A key factor here is its stock Android software which also gets upgraded to the latest version of Android the day it's made available by Google. Since its near-stock with a few Google customisations, it also lacks the bloatware which is found on every other smartphone on this list. Also a highlight are its cameras, which easily takes one of the best photos you can possibly get from a smartphone in this segment. While it lacks features such as wireless charging, you do get an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance which seems like a big plus given its current price tag.
The iQoo Neo 7 5G gets many things right. It offers best-in-class performance with great battery life and fast charging. The big display and loud speakers also make this phone ideal for multimedia consumption. While the software has become better, there is still some room for improvement.
A major plus point is that the iQoo Neo 7 5G comes with the latest software. Cameras are where the iQoo Neo 7 5G is not very versatile, and you have better options, such as the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G, in this segment. However, if you are a gamer and have a budget of around Rs. 30,000, the iQoo Neo 7 5G can certainly be recommended.
The Nothing Phone 1 may seem more about style at first but it offers balanced performance and great features to warrant its asking price. While it's no longer the only smartphone in this segment which offers wireless charging and an IP53 rating, it still has some other features going for it. The Nothing Phone 1's design really stands out with its unique LED lights that are mounted under the transparent rear panel and can be controlled and customised using the phone's software.
Flashy lights and premium design aside, there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ SoC at the helm which offers enough power for day to day tasks and some mid-level gaming. There are dual speakers and a large display which also makes it good for entertainment. Camera performance, while good in daylight, is not as impressive in low light. Battery life is a bit problematic but typically lasts a full day with casual usage.
Those looking purely for a stylish smartphone will find Oppo's Reno 8 5G in the Shimmer Gold variant interesting. With hardware that's nearly similar to the OnePlus Nord 2T 5G, it's priced a bit higher but offers good camera performance in all types of lighting conditions. There's a 90Hz AMOLED panel which seems a bit low when compared to the competition but should be sufficient for the non-gaming audience.
At the helm is a MediaTek Dimensity 1300 SoC which is good for some mid-level gaming and more than sufficient for regular multi-tasking. While the software is loaded to the brim with third-party apps, these can be uninstalled, and we did not face any problems in terms of overall performance either. While the Reno 8 5G is quite slim and light, Oppo managed to make enough space for a 4,500mAh battery that can charge it pretty fast with the bundled 80W charger.
The OnePlus Nord 2T 5G is a proper mid-range smartphone from OnePlus. It checks all the boxes when it comes to features one would expect from a mid-range device and combines it with a premium design. Just like other OnePlus smartphones, the software is quite good as it offers a fluid experience with minimal bloatware. The MediaTek Dimensity 1300 SoC ensures good software performance and can also handle games quite well.
Camera performance is also quite good. The phone features a camera setup that is similar to the Oppo Reno 8 5G and delivers equally good performance whether its daylight or low light.The Nord 2T 5G's 4,500mAh offers excellent two-day battery life with casual usage and can also charge up quickly with the bundled 65W charger. The phone has also received its Android 13 update.