The upper end of the budget smartphone segment is known for providing exceptional value. But lately manufacturers have also started paying attention to design and adding some camera features that we only used to get with more expensive options. This would include devices with high-resolution primary cameras, and even features like optical image stabilisation (OIS). Also a must at this sub-Rs. 20,000 price point is 5G connectivity. We do have one entry on our list that lacks it but offers enough value to make up for that.
New to our sub-Rs. 20,000 smartphone guide is Vivo's T2 5G. It succeeds the popular Vivo T1 5G which also offered an optically stabilised primary camera for better low-light imaging. There's also the new iQoo Z7 5G which offers a good balance of power, camera performance, and battery life. Also on our list is OnePlus's shiny new Nord CE 3 Lite, which replaces the CE 2 Lite and brings a high-resolution camera to the budget smartphone segment.
Here are Gadgets 360's picks of the top phones under Rs. 20,000 in India, in no particular order.
|Phones under Rs. 20,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|Vivo T2 5G||8||Rs. 18,999|
|iQoo Z7 5G||8||Rs. 18,999|
|OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite||8||Rs. 19,999|
|Moto G72||8||Rs. 17,999|
|Moto G82||8||Rs. 19,999|
|Realme 9 5G SE||8||Rs. 18,999|
The Vivo T2 5G sure looks dazzling with glossy dual-tone gradient coloured back panel. Its design seems like quite an upgrade from the simpler Vivo T1 5G which it succeeds. But flip it over to the front and there's a rather dated waterdrop notch which takes away from its modern appearance. Still, this phone manages to balance form and function.
It has a 90Hz high-refresh rate AMOLED display and an IP52 rating for dust and water resistance. That 90Hz screen refresh rate is also supported by a 360Hz touch sampling rate which is of use when playing games. Also available is a 3.5mm headphone port. There's 44W fast charging and a 64-megapixel primary camera with OIS for better low light imaging.
The iQoo Z7 5G is an equally competitive offering from the Vivo sub-brand. The phone has a MediaTek Dimensity 920 SoC and a more subtle design language compared to the Vivo T2 5G in this list. However, despite making use of polycarbonate it still manages to appear quite premium. Its design manages to stay light at 173g and you also get an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance. There's a 3.5mm headphone port for those who need it.
In terms of power and performance the iQoo Z7 5G did quite well in our review. Gaming performance was satisfactory as it did not show any signs of lag or stutter while playing demanding 3D games. Battery life is also quite good and you can fully charge the device in a little over an hour. Camera performance is not far behind, but we have seen better performing smartphones at this price point.
Another solid contender for the sub-Rs. 20,000 segment from OnePlus, the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is a proper update to the older Nord CE 2 Lite. It probably has one of the best-looking designs in this segment with an eye-catching Lime Green option, but there's no alert slider like on most OnePlus devices.
The stereo speakers are accompanied by a 120Hz high-refresh rate LCD display with the hole-punch treatment. Under the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC and a large 5,000mAh battery which can be fully charged in just 50 minutes at 67W, even though this phone comes with an 80W charger. Apart from its stand-out design, there's also a 108-megapixel camera which offers good still image quality in daylight. The phone runs OxygenOS, which is well optimised for the hardware, making this the most affordable device with the OnePlus software experience.
The Moto G72 feels like an odd one out, mainly because it was launched after the Moto G82 5G and lacks 5G. It's quite capable, with impressive hardware specifications such as a 108-megapixel primary camera and a 120Hz high-refresh rate pOLED display. It is quite light, with a slim body, and even has an IP52 rating for splash resistance. In our testing, we found that its 108-megapixel camera produces decent results. The dual speakers and good battery life make for a good entertainment package, but its MediaTek Helio G99 SoC isn't the most powerful processor available at this price point.
Motorola's Moto G82 5G packs a lot of value which makes it a solid offering. It recently received a price cut and you get a lot for a budget smartphone, along with 5G connectivity. There's a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, a 120Hz refresh rate display, a large 5,000mAh battery, and an IP52 rating which means it should be able to withstand splashes of water. Camera performance is also a strong point with the G82 5G as its primary camera packs OIS, which is good for sharper low-light photos. Of course, the cherry on top is its near-stock Android software which has just one preinstalled third-party app.
The Realme 9 5G Speed Edition is a more appealing model than the Realme 9 5G. With prices starting at just under Rs. 20,000, this phone packs a powerful SoC, a 144Hz refresh rate display, and a big 5,000mAh battery. It also supports 30W fast charging, which is convenient. The base variant, which is the one to get in our opinion, does not have many direct competitors and offers the maximum bang for your buck if you're looking for good performance in this segment. One thing to keep in mind is that this phone does not have an ultra-wide camera and video stabilisation isn't the best.