India is known to be one of the best budget smartphone markets in the world, with numerous capable offerings in the sub Rs 20,000 segment. Unsurprisingly, it comprises of almost 95% of the Indian smartphone market.
Budget smartphones have come a long way, and offer incredible value for money. For 2020, these phones have matured enough to sport multiple cameras, fast processors, big batteries that refill quickly and aspirational designs.
Between companies like Xiaomi, Realme, Samsung and Motorola battling it out in the Indian smartphone segment trying to win over the mid-range consumer, there’s never a shortage of features in these phones.
That said, selecting a phone can still be a challenging task despite the plethora of options. While some companies may have the best specs on paper in a given price range, the lack of software optimisation can make those phones a poor option when compared to others.
In this post, we look at some of the best value for money options available under Rs 20,000 in India. In case you’d like to explore the adjoining price segments, you can also check out our other compilations.
The legend is back
Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 165.3 x 76.6 x 8.8 mm | OS: MiUI 11, Android 10 | Screen size: 6.67-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2400 | CPU: Snapdragon 730G | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 4500mAh | Rear camera: 64 + 8 + 2 + 2MP | Front camera: 20MP
Very capable cameras
Poco is finally back to India, and this time, it tries to replicate the same success in the budget segment with the Poco X2. For starters, it is now the most affordable smartphone in India with a Snapdragon 730G chipset.
Not just that, it is also the cheapest phone with a 120Hz refresh rate display, with the closest alternative costing almost twice as much. This should combine well with the hardware and MiUI 11 optimizations for a very smooth experience.
Lastly, it also brings one of the most capable camera packages on any smartphone, with the new 64MP Sony IMX686 image sensor as the primary camera, and 8MP ultra-wide shooter, a 5MP macro lens and a depth sensor.
Topping it all off, the Poco X2 has a generous 4,500mAh battery with support for 27W fast charging.
Read our Poco X2 hands-on
Realme 6 Pro
Weight: 202g | Dimensions: 163.8 x 75.8 x 8.9 mm | OS: Realme UI, Android 10 | Screen size: 6.6-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 720G | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 4300mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 12MP + 2MP + 2MP | Front camera: 16MP + 8MP
30W fast charging
Dual selfie camera
The Realme 6 Pro aims to be the best all-rounder in this segment, and pretty much succeeds at that. It has a smooth 90Hz display which is a rare find in this segment.
It is powered by the new Snapdragon 720G, which strikes a beautiful balance between performance, efficiency and thermals. It’s also the only one with a meaningful dual-selfie camera setup, bringing an ultra-wide sensor to the front as well. The rear cameras are extremely reliable too, and this is the only one with a telephoto shooter in this segment.
Buy the Realme 6 Pro from Amazon.in
Redmi Note 9 Pro
Weight: 209g | Dimensions: 165.8 x 76.7 x 8.8 mm | OS: MIUI 11, Android 10 | Screen size: 6..67-inch | Resolution: 2400 x 1080 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 720G | RAM: 4GB/6GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB | Battery: 5020mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 5MP + 2MP | Front camera: 32MP
Amazing battery life
Lots of camera modes
Advertisements in MIUI
The Redmi Note 9 Pro series is a big departure from its predecessor, bringing a much more premium design to the mix. Its best feature is its battery life – the 5,020mAh pack will easily last you over a day. 33W fast charging comes handy too.
On the inside, it is powered by the Snapdragon 720G chipset, which is the most reliable silicon available at this price. Combine that with a quad-camera setup and a big screen, and you get a very easy-to-recommend phone.
Buy Redmi Note 9 Pro on Amazon.in
A worthy upgrade
Weight: 183g | Dimensions: 158.7 x 75.2 x 8.6 mm | OS: Android 9.0 Pie with ColorOS 6.0 | Display: 6.4-inch Super AMOLED | Resolution: 2340 x 1080 | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP | Front camera: 32MP
Reliable 64MP quad-camera
Lots of shooting modes
ColorOS 6 can be a little heavy
Building upon everything that was good in the XT, the Realme X2 brings upgrades across the board without pushing the price by a lot. You get a Snapdragon 730G inside, for the first time at this price, along with up to 8GB of RAM. The reliable 64MP quad-camera setup returns with a few more tricks up its sleeve now such as Video Portrait mode, ultrawide video recording, ultra-steady video and 960fps slow-motion.
The 4,000mAh battery inside is sufficient to last a day, and 30W VOOC charging will take care of the rest. One of the best budget smartphones to buy in India right now. Pricing starts at Rs 16,999.
The best budget phone in the market
Weight: 182g | Dimensions: 155.5 x 75.3 x 8.8mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 6.18-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2246pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: 4000mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 5MP | Front camera: 20MP
The Poco F1, the only launch so far from Xiaomi’s first sub-brand Poco is a feature packed mid-range device. It is the cheapest Snapdragon 845 powered device in India and with the recent price cuts, it offers even more value for your money. While the device’s design is something that the company has compromised on, the Poco F1 is durable with a sturdy plastic build.
If you prefer performance over looks, the Poco F1 is the device for you. It is priced starting at Rs 17,999 in India.
Read our full review: Poco F1
Xiaomi Redmi K20
Xiaomi continues to surprise us
Weight: 191g | Dimensions: 156.7 x 74.3 x 8.8mm | OS: Android 9 Pie with MIUI 10 on top | Screen size: 6.39 inches | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Snapdragon 730 SoC | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 4,000mAh | Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 13MP | Front camera: 20MP
Very good camera performance
Big battery, fast charging
MIUI has ads
The Redmi K20 was introduced as ‘Flagship Killer 2.0’, and while the K20 Pro takes care of that, the Redmi K20 kills the competition in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment. More so now that it actually starts at Rs 19,999 in India.
At this price, you get a vibrant notchless display, the latest in-display fingerprint sensor, a pop-up selfie camera and a very adequate triple camera setup on the back. Sealing the deal is the gradient design on the back.
Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 154.8 x 75.8 x 8 mm | OS: Android 9.0 Pie | Screen size: 6.18-inch | Resolution: 2280 x 1080 | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 | RAM: 4/6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 3,500mAh | Rear camera: 12MP + 13MP | Front camera: 20MP
Well built design
Large, clear display
Average camera performance
HMD Global has been tweaking its Nokia smartphone line-up for the Indian market which is very price sensitive. In this vein, the company recently announced a price cut on the Nokia 8.1, making it a great alternative for buyers who want a clean, reliable stock Android experience.
The Nokia 8.1 strikes a good balance between premium design, value for money features and performance. While it may end up losing when it comes to the megapixel race that is currently on in the Indian market, it manages to hold its ground with its decent performance and fast updates.
Read our full review: Nokia 8.1
Samsung Galaxy M31
All about that batt-ery
Weight: 191g | OS: OneIU 2.0, Android 10.0 | Screen size: 6.4-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2400 pixels | CPU: Exynos 9611 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/128GB | Battery: 6000mAh | Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 5MP + 5MP | Front camera: 32MP
15W fast charging
Super AMOLED display
Quad camera setup
Samsung’s new M series is a breath of fresh air in the budget segment. While they aren’t the best at performance, they make up for that with brand value and other features. Take the Galaxy M31 for example, which brings a mammoth 6,000mAh battery for unmatchable battery life without getting too bulky.
The quad-camera setup is good to have, but the results were usually underwhelming. The same goes for performance. It’s not an all-rounder like the others on this list, but has a very specific audience.
Buy Samsung M31 from Amazon.in
With the lockdown restrictions slowly easing out, we expect brands to resume their product launch cycles. On the horizon, the Realme X3 series is a notable contender under Rs 20,000.