Every month, several smartphones from various manufacturers are released for various segments, and if you ask me how I can describe the current state of the smartphone industry in a few sentences, I would say:
From a brand standpoint, the current smartphone market is divided into three categories:
- Brands that dominate the flagship market, such as Samsung and Apple.
- Brands such as OnePlus that are attempting to gain a significant market share in the flagship segment.
- Brands that dominate the budget and mid-range segments, such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and others.
With each new release, the flagship devices become more expensive, with little improvements over previous versions. The mid-range category is the most competitive and offers the majority of the flagship specs from a premium smartphone (and sometimes even more).
I believe that the price range of Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 30,000 is the sweet spot if you want to experience premium features on a smartphone without maxing out your credit card bills.
In this article, I’ll discuss the best smartphones under Rs. 30,000 in terms of value for money. I’ll also explain briefly why I chose the specific smartphone, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each device on the list.
The best smartphones under Rs. 30,000
NOTE: Four of the five devices mentioned below are labelled as having 5G support. Bear in mind, however, that they only endorse the sub-6GHz band and might not work with all carriers when 5G becomes available in India.
1. iQOO 7 5G
The best bang for the buck.
Specs: 6.62 inch AMOLED Display with 120Hz refresh rate | Snapdragon 870 chipset | 8GB RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage | 48MP primary camera with OIS (Sony IMX598 lens), 13MP Ultra-wide and 2MP Monochrome Sensor | 16MP selfie camera f/2.0 lens | 4400 mAh battery with 66W fast charging (fast charger included in the box)
iQOO 7 has received a lot of praise from the tech community. It is equipped with the flagship Snapdragon 870 chipset, which will easily handle any task you throw at it. Furthermore, even with heavy usage, the 4400 mAh battery will easily last a day.
The cameras on this device are the main attraction. Even in low light, the 48MP primary camera produces photos that are vibrant, sharp and color accurate. The 13MP ultra-wide camera also takes high-quality photos with a good dynamic range.
2. Mi 11x
Excellent performance with only a minor trade-off on cameras.
Specs: 6.67 inch FullHD+ AMOLED Display with 120Hz refresh rate | Snapdragon 870 chipset | 6GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage | 48MP primary camera (Sony IMX582 lens), 8MP Ultra-wide and 5MP Macro Sensor | 20MP selfie camera f/2.0 lens | 4520 mAh battery with 33W fast charging (fast charger included in the box).
The Xiaomi Mi 11x is an excellent phone for the price. It falls short on the cameras, particularly in terms of indoor shots and dynamic range on the ultra-wide sensor. In addition, the camera lacks OIS support.
The performance is extremely good thanks to the 7nm SD 870 chip, and if you play a lot of games, you’ll love this device.
Due to the liquid cooling support, it does not overheat when under heavy use, and the device manages to keep the CPU clock speeds high for longer periods of time.
The Dolby certified stereo speakers sound good, and the battery will easily last you more than a day on a single charge.
3. OnePlus Nord
The clean Oxygen OS experience
Specs: 6.44 inch FullHD+ AMOLED Display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection and 90Hz refresh rate | Snapdragon 765G chipset | 8GB/12GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB/256GB of UFS 2.1 storage | 48MP primary camera (Sony IMX586 lens) with OIS, 8MP Ultra-wide and 5MP Depth Sensor | 2MP macro lens | 32MP selfie camera f/2.45 lens and an additional 8MP ultra-wide lens on the front | 4115 mAh battery with 30W fast charging (fast charger included in the box)
The OnePlus Nord was a big success when it was released last year, although the cameras aren’t great, with soft skin tones and a lot of noise in low-light shots.
The device itself is an excellent overall kit, boasting a still powerful Snapdragon 765G chipset and a high-quality AMOLED display. The Oxygen OS, on the other hand, is the device’s best feature.
The Oxygen OS makes the 90Hz display feel buttery smooth, which improves the user experience on the device.
This phone’s battery life is also excellent. However, it falls short in terms of certain device features that have become a standard in 2021 at this price range, such as stereo speakers, to name a few.
4. Mi 10i 5G
A well balanced smartphone for a low price
Specs: 6.67 inch FullHD+ LCD Display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection and 120Hz refresh rate | Snapdragon 750G chipset | 6GB/8GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage | 108MP primary camera (Samsung HM2 lens), 8MP Ultra-wide and 2MP Depth Sensor | 2MP macro lens | 16MP selfie camera f/2.45 lens | 4820 mAh battery with 33W fast charging (fast charger included in the box)
The Mi 10i is the cheapest phone on the list, but it is also the best if you want a well-rounded smartphone for any situation. The device performs admirably with the Snapdragon 750G.
When I used the device for a while, I encountered some RAM management issues. MIUI was clearing apps from memory, forcing me to relaunch them, which was extremely inconvenient. The battery life, on the other hand, is decent, and a 33W fast charger is included in the box.
The cameras are fine, particularly the primary one, though there is some noise in low-light situations. When you keep the phone at 120Hz, it can become a little sluggish. When you switch to 90Hz, however, there are no lags
5. Samsung Galaxy A52
An overall good performer but at a premium price
Specs: 6.5 inch FullHD+ sAMOLED Display with 90Hz refresh rate | Snapdragon 720G chipset | 6GB/8GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage | 64MP primary camera with OIS (f/1.8 lens), 12MP Ultra-wide and 5MP Depth Sensor | 5MP macro lens | 20MP selfie camera f/2.2 lens | 4500 mAh battery with 25W fast charging (fast charger not included in the box)
The Samsung Galaxy A-series has been in a dire need of an update for quite some time, and Samsung has finally delivered it. The Galaxy A52 is indeed a good device, but its processor is underpowered compared to the other devices on this list.
Samsung is also charging a hefty price for a device that is made from plastic and does not support 5G. The battery life is adequate, but the lack of a fast charger in the box is a disappointment.
The monitor and camera quality are good, but you are paying a significant premium to Samsung for these features.
The above list is non-exhaustive, and this is purely my opinion based on the experience with the devices listed. I understand that most of you would not be able to purchase these devices because non-essential deliveries have been halted in order to combat the second wave pandemic in India.
However, once everything is normal, you can choose a phone from the above list based on your preferences. If you have any other phones in mind that I haven’t included in this list, please let me know in the comments section below.