The sub-Rs. 20,000 price segment today features a range of powerful smartphones which offer everything that most people will want or need for everyday use. While we don't have new additions for the month of December, we did see some pretty good launches recently which are still worth considering. Our list includes phones that offer features that were once restricted to much more expensive phones, such as multiple high-quality cameras, fast charging, loads of RAM and storage, and gaming-grade processors. We have recently reviewed several excellent phones priced below Rs. 20,000 that offer great value for money.
Realme launched the 7 Pro as part of its new 7-series earlier this year, which has a host of cool upgrades over the Realme 6 Pro. Samsung also launched the Galaxy M31s, which sports a modern hole-punch display and faster charging compared to the Galaxy M31. Prices of some models have fallen, so there are plenty of choices. We've also updated the rest of this list by retiring some of our previous recommendations.
If you have a budget of Rs. 20,000, here are some of the best smartphones that you should be considering for your next purchase.
|Phones under Rs. 20,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|Samsung Galaxy M31s||8||Rs. 19,499|
|Realme 7 Pro||8||Rs. 19,999|
|Motorola One Fusion+||8||Rs. 17,499|
|Redmi Note 9 Pro Max||8||Rs. 16,999|
|Poco X3||8||Rs. 16,999|
|Realme 6 Pro||8||Rs. 17,999|
|Samsung Galaxy M31||8||Rs. 16,499|
Samsung launched the Galaxy M31s at Rs. 19,499, and thought there have been some fluctations, it's still available for this price. Samsung has a habit of tweaking prices, so by the time you read this article, we wouldn't be surprised if the price has changed.
We think the Galaxy M31s a decent update to the Galaxy M31. It has a higher starting price, but for this extra money you get an Infinity-O AMOLED display, a higher capacity bundled charger, and a slightly tweaked design. It retains many of the things that made the Galaxy M31 great, such as the large 6,000mAh battery, but also carries forward some negatives such as the dated SoC. That's not to say that the phone can't handle Android well, but compared to what the competition offers at around this price, the processor definitely feels weak.
The cameras are decent but video stabilisation is not great, and low-light photos don't have the best detail. However, if battery life is the top priority for you, then the Galaxy M31s is still among the best in its class.
The more premium model in Realme's 7-series, the Realme 7 Pro features some big upgrades over the Realme 6 Pro such as an AMOLED or high-refresh-rate display, 65W fast charging, and stereo speakers. With a starting price of Rs. 19,999, this model does have a unique mix of features that few others can match in this segment. 65W charging works well, and the stereo speakers make content sound more immersive. The new phone is also slimmer and lighter compared to the 6 Pro, which is a nice bonus.
However, you don't get a 90Hz display which is a little disappointing. The 7 Pro also has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC as the 6 Pro, so there's no real performance gain either. The primary rear camera has improved a bit, but once again, you lose out on the ultra wide-angle selfie camera and the rear telephoto camera of the 6 Pro.
While there's no doubt that the Realme 7 Pro is a good phone, it does take a step backwards in some areas, which is why the Realme 6 Pro is also still a viable option in this segment.
The Motorola One Fusion+ is a welcome addition to the sub Rs. 20,000 price segment. While the price is very competitive, Motorola has not skimped in terms of hardware. It sports a big 6.5-inch display without a notch. This panel is HDR10 certified and has very good viewing angles. It also has a loud bottom-firing speaker that compliments the crisp display. Powering the Motorola One Fusion+ is the very capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC.
It scored very well in our benchmarks. The One Fusion+ is available in one configuration only, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You can expand storage thanks to the hybrid dual-SIM tray. Motorola has also packed in a 5,000mAh battery, and this phone comes with an 18W TurboCharger.
It runs clean stock Android and we did not encounter any preinstalled bloatware. The Motorola One Fusion+ sports four cameras at the back and a pop-up selfie camera. It has a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, a 5-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The camera performance was good in daylight, and the phone was quick to lock focus and meter light correctly. Low-light shots were average but using Night mode made a huge difference. Video recording maxes out at 4K and the phone does a good job at stabilising footage in the daytime.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max was launched starting under Rs. 15,000, but a GST hike caused prices to go up. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max shares a lot of hardware with the Redmi Note 9 Pro – both phones sport 6.67-inch displays which are good for video watching but not for single-handed use.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that lets you unlock it quickly. Sticking to current trends, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max has four rear cameras but the module protrudes quite a bit. The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC. Xiaomi offers it in three variants: the base variant has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 16,999; the middle one offers 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 18,499. The top variant is priced at Rs 19,999 which is barely under the upper limit for this list.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max packs in a 5,020mAh battery and delivers very good battery life. Xiaomi bundles a 33W charger in the box. The camera performance of the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is quite good, but photos tend to be oversharpened at times. Low-light camera performance is average but Night mode helps capture better output.
The mid-range Poco X3 succeeds the Poco X2 which has been a recommendation in the past. It is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC and boasts of a 6000mAh battery as well as a 6.67-inch full-HD+ screen. As you can guess, this phone is relatively bulky and heavy. The design is relatively fresh, with a very prominent camera module on the back. The body is made of plastic and the glossy finish is prone to smudging, but you do get IP53 water and dust resistance.
The base variant has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The middle variant has 128GB of storage, while the top-end one raises the RAM to 8GB on top of that. All three cost under Rs. 20,000 in India. You get MIUI 12 on top of Android 10 with some unnecessary bloatware. Performance is good overall, and so is battery life. This is a good option for gaming and entertainment. The cameras are also adequate for everyday use.
If you don't want your phone to be too bulky, you might want to look elsewhere. If that isn't a problem, the Poco X3 offers plenty of value for money.
The Realme 6 Pro was launched alongside the Realme 6, and both smartphones have made it to our lists at their respective prices. The Realme 6 Pro has a 6.6-inch display with a dual-camera hole-punch for the selfie cameras. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC just like the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max. The device is well designed but is a little slippery as it has a glass back. This phone is also a little heavy at 202g. One unique feature of the Realme 6 Pro is its 90Hz screen refresh rate. It also has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that is easy to reach and quick to unlock the phone.
The Realme 6 Pro is offered in three variants: 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage. The base variant starts at Rs. 17,999 while the other variants are priced at Rs. 18,999 and Rs 19,999 respectively.
There's a quad-camera setup at the back. Camera performance was decent in daylight and for close-ups, but low-light camera performance needs some improvement. The Realme 6 Pro has a 4300mAh battery which isn't as big as some of the other phones in the list but it delivered excellent battery life when we reviewed it.
Samsung has been focusing on the sub Rs. 20,000 market with its Galaxy M-series, and the Galaxy M31 is still a compelling option. This model has a 6.4-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display that delivers vivid colours and very good viewing angles. There is a quad-camera setup at the back with a 64-megapixel primary camera. It also packs a big 6,000mAh battery and a capable Exynos 9611 SoC.
Samsung offers the Galaxy M31 with 6GB of RAM and two storage options, 64GB and 128GB. Prices start at Rs. 15,999 for the base model while the higher model is priced at Rs. 16,499. The big battery offers fantastic battery life and this phone could easily go on for two days. The cameras are good in daylight, the wide-angle one offers a wider field of view but loses out on details compared to the primary camera. We did notice that the camera AI can go overboard in terms of saturating colours. The primary camera is a little slow while focusing and you can see minor grain in the output. With Night mode enabled, the Galaxy M31 delivers better low-light shots. We found video stabilisation to be average as well.
The Exynos 9611 SoC is not as powerful as the Snapdragon 720G powering the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and the Realme 6 Pro but it is capable of handling day-to-day tasks with ease. The battery is the highlight of the Galaxy M31 as it can outrun several devices on this list.
Is OnePlus 8T the best 'value flagship' of 2020? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.