With 5G connectivity now official in India, most budget smartphones these days either offer better hardware sans 5G radios or slightly compromised features with 5G connectivity. With that said, there's plenty of choice available in the sub-Rs. 20,000 smartphone segment, whether you are looking for better cameras, good battery life, faster charging, or even an IP52 rating.
Our newest additions to this guide include the Moto G72 and the Moto G82 5G. Both smartphones compliment one another as they offer capable hardware with interesting designs. However, the Moto G72 which is priced at Rs. 17,999 offers only 4G connectivity, while the Moto G82 adds 5G connectivity at a slightly higher price tag of Rs. 19,999. The latter recently received a price cut and now makes for a competitive offering in our sub-Rs. 20,000 guide.
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)
|Moto G82 5G
|OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
|Realme 9 5G Speed Edition
|Vivo T1 5G
|Redmi Note 11T 5G
|Realme 8s 5G
The Moto G72 feels like the odd one out, mainly because it was launched after the Moto G82 5G and still lacks 5G. The phone is quite capable and offers impressive hardware specifications on paper such as a 108-megapixel primary camera and a 120Hz high-refresh rate pOLED display. It is quite light, offers a slim design and even offers an IP52-rating for splash resistance. In our testing, we found that its 108-megapixel camera offers decent performance. 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.
Moto G82 5G
Motorola's Moto G82 5G packs enough value which makes it a solid offering. It recently received a price cut and it offers everything you can possibly want from a budget smartphone, along with 5G connectivity. There's a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, a 120Hz high refresh rate display, a large 5,000mAh battery, and an IP52-rated design which can 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 the icing is its near-stock Android software which has just one preinstalled third-party app.
OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
A lot of fans have been waiting for a sub-Rs. 20,000 OnePlus phone and in 2022, we finally have it. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is a more affordable version of the Nord CE 2 5G for the most part, but it does offer slightly better specs in some areas. The phone has a crisp 120Hz display, and runs the latest Android version with little to no bloatware. It delivers excellent battery life plus decently quick charging, and good all-round performance for the price. If you have your heart set on owning a OnePlus smartphone or if long-term software updates rank high on your ‘must-have' list, you should consider the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G.
Realme 9 5G Speed Edition
The Realme 9 5G Speed Edition is a more powerful and certainly 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.
Vivo T1 5G
The first smartphone in Vivo's T series, the T1 5G, is a solid contender at an impressive price for the base variant. You get a 120Hz display and a 5G-ready Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, all packaged in a body that's just 8.25mm slim. The dewdrop notch at the top of the display may feel a bit outdated, but this display packs a 240Hz touch sampling rate, which should be good for gamers. The Vivo T1 5G lacks an ultra-wide-angle camera and comes with a relatively slow 18W charger, but for those focussed purely on performance, it should be a good purchase.
Redmi Note 11T 5G
Powered by MediaTek's Dimensity 810 SoC, this 5G-enabled budget smartphone from Xiaomi packs in good performance for gamers along with good battery life. Shutterbugs may not be too happy with the Redmi Note 11T 5G's two rear cameras and their average performance. At the same time its 90Hz LCD panel with 240Hz touch sampling rate makes it a capable budget smartphone for gaming. There's also a large 5,000mAh battery which can be charged quickly using the 33W charger provided in the box. The device is IP53-rated for dust and water resistance, so it can survive light splashes of water.
Realme 8s 5G
The Realme 8s 5G looks nearly identical to the Realme 8 5G, except for a slightly thicker display chin. It's powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 810 5G SoC and comes with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, depending on the variant you choose. Battery life is one of this phone's strong suits, and the 5,000mAh battery easily lasts for more than a day of typical use. Its 64-megapixel main camera manages good photos in daylight in our tests but the lack of an ultra-wide-angle camera makes the 8s 5G less versatile than some of the competition. Low-light camera performance was average, though Night mode helped improve the output. Overall, the Realme 8s 5G is only a mild improvement over the 8 5G, but an improvement nonetheless.