If 2017 was the year of smartphones then the year 2018 can be described as that of budget and mid-range smartphones. 2018 was a prime example of how smartphone components diminished in value and led to powerful and improved smartphones in the mid-range segment. If flagship smartphones got good then budget and mid range smartphones got better.

According to a data from Counterpoint Research, Indians spent more on their smartphones than they ever did before. This is evident from the fact that flagship smartphones from OnePlus consistently emerged as the best selling device in the premium device segment. Another big talking point remains the fact that India is the fastest growing smartphone market in the world, and there is plenty of potential for existing and new brands to expand their base. With that mind, Team BGR picks the best smartphones you can buy in India now if your budget is Rs 20,000.

Xiaomi Poco F1

If your budget is Rs 20,000 then you cannot look any further than Xiaomi‘s Poco F1. The Poco F1 from Xiaomi is a showcase of how far OEMs will go to undercut their rivals. It can be described in three words as: Nerd’s dream phone. The Poco F1 ticks every specification list, be it the Snapdragon 845 chipset from Qualcomm or nearly edge to edge display design.

The base model alone comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage and consumers can even buy variants with up to 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. It offers dual rear camera setup with 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensors and a 20-megapixel selfie shooter. There is fingerprint sensor, facial recognition, 4,000mAh battery and Android 9 Pie.

Nokia 7.1

There are Android phones and then there are Android phones running the software as imagined by Google. If you are someone who considers themselves as a purist then you should look at Nokia 7.1. Finnish company HMD Global has done commendable job reviving the Nokia brand so far and the new Nokia 7.1 is the strongest expression of its technology prowess.

It features a 5.84-inch Full HD+ LCD display with 19:9 aspect ratio and has glass finish on the back and edge-to-edge display with tiny chin at the front. It stands out for its design, and runs Android 9 Pie. HMD’s track record also suggests it will be among the first set of devices to get Android Q when it is released sometime next year.

Xiaomi Redmi 6A

If Xiaomi Poco F1 and Nokia 7.1 sit on the higher end of this price spectrum then Redmi 6A sits on the lower end. It is for those planning to experience smartphone for the first time. With Redmi 6A, Xiaomi has once again proven what an entry-level smartphone should like like in 2018.

The Redmi 6A features a 5.45-inch display with a resolution of 1440×720 pixels and 18:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a MediaTek Helio A22 SoC coupled with 2GB or 3GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB storage. There is a 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, Android 8.1 Oreo with MIUI 9, and 3,000mAh battery.

Realme 2 Pro

Realme is the company that deserves a special mention for disrupting the Indian smartphone market. The company started under the wings of Oppo, and quickly turned itself into a separate entity and is now doing wonders in terms of product portfolio and pricing. Its approach so far seems like a replay of Xiaomi’s entry into the Indian smartphone market in 2014.

Realme has launched five smartphones so far and the Realme 2 Pro is the most promising of the pack. It packs a 6.3-inch display with a teardrop-style notch and runs ColorOS 5.2 based on Android Oreo.

Realme U1

Realme U1 is the second smartphone from the company on this list, and it achieves that spot on its own merit. If you want to buy a sub-Rs 20,000 smartphone and want the best selfie camera then you need to buy the Realme U1. The smartphone is the first selfie-centric device from the company and it perfectly nails on that aspect with its 25-megapixel front camera.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro

There is no denial that Xiaomi rules in India’s sub-Rs 20,000 price segment and has multiple devices but its best offering would be the Redmi Note 6 Pro. The smartphone was launched last month and it starts at Rs 13,999 for the base model with 4GB RAM while the 6GB RAM variant is offered for Rs 15,999. Xiaomi has retained the price of its predecessor but has focused all its energy in the camera department.

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2

If there is one phone that rivals the Redmi Note 6 Pro then it has to be the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2. With Zenfone Max Pro M2, Asus, in fact, seems to have a better package than its Chinese rival. The biggest selling point of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 is that it is the cheapest smartphone with Snapdragon 660 in the market right now with a starting price of Rs 12,999.

The Zenfone Max Pro M2 features a 6.26-inch Full HD+ display, Snapdragon 660 chipset, up to 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage. It sports a dual rear camera setup with 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensors and a 13-megapixel selfie shooter. It packs a massive 5,000mAh battery and runs Android Oreo.

Apple iPhone SE

Yes, the iPhone SE launched in March of 2016 and is more than two and a half years old but you just cannot go wrong with this one. The iPhone SE’s secret recipe continues to remain iOS, and with iOS 12 released few months back, the old iPhone has gotten a boost in terms of speed and zippy performance.

Samsung Galaxy J8

Samsung lost big time to its Chinese rivals, and then it made a surprise comeback with its Galaxy J8. The smartphone showed that the Korean giant has what it takes to still challenge the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Honor. With Galaxy J8, Samsung has a device that brings modern device, faster performance and reliability associated with the brand.

Honor 9N

Honor 9N can easily be described as one of the most trending smartphones of this year. It was launched in July but multiple price cuts have made the smartphone noteworthy even towards the end of this year. The Honor 9N features a 5.84-inch Full HD+ display, Kirin 659 SoC, dual 13-megapixel and 2-megapixel rear camera system, and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. It runs Android 8.0 Oreo.

Honorable Mentions:

We saw a lot of smartphones launch this year, and most were aimed at consumers with a budget of around Rs 20,000. While every smartphone was unique in its own respect there were some that deserve a special mention. The first such smartphone is the Honor Play, which brought performance to the sub-Rs 20,000 price segment. The second device is the Motorola One Power for being the first Android One smartphone from the Lenovo-owned company. We also want to give a shoutout to Oppo F9, Samsung Galaxy A6+ and Vivo V9 Pro for their price, design and features but they miss out from top honors by a tiny margin.

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