The sub-Rs. 20,000 segment aims to offer a lot more value than your typical budget smartphone. There’s a lot more power to play around with and display refresh rates are generally around the 90Hz to 120Hz, which also makes these smartphones good for some medium-level gaming. Some brands even offer AMOLED panels which offer deep blacks and make them more capable when it comes to streaming video. Camera capability is definitely better than your typical budget smartphone, although low-light camera performance still leaves a lot to be desired.
The new additions to our Rs. 20,000 smartphone buying guide include the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G and the Realme 9 5G Speed Edition. The Vivo T1 5G, Moto G71 5G and the Redmi Note 11T 5G continue to be some of our top recommendations. There are still a few older models that continue to deserve your attention. This includes the iQoo Z3 which focuses on all-round performance and 5G, but still offers great value.
Here are Gadgets 360’s picks of the top phones under Rs. 20,000 in India, in no particular order. We have reviewed all the phones on this list and have tested them in depth, including their raw performance, camera capabilities, software, ease of use, physical design, battery life, and charging speed.
Best Phones under Rs. 20,000
|Phones under Rs. 20,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G||8||Rs. 19,999|
|Realme 9 5G Speed Edition||8||Rs. 19,999|
|Vivo T1 5G||8||Rs. 15,990|
|Moto G71 5G||8||Rs. 15,999|
|Redmi Note 11T 5G||8||Rs. 15,499|
|Realme 8s 5G||8||Rs. 17,999|
|iQoo Z3||8||Rs. 19,990|
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 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 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 (Review), is a solid contender at an impressive price of Rs. 15,990 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.
Moto G71 5G
Priced at Rs. 18,999 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, the Moto G71 (Review) offers a near-stock Android 11 software experience, with an Android 12 update expected soon. Those who prefer stock Android will find this phone to be a better choice over the rest of the devices in this list. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, it also features 5G, making it more future-proof than the older Moto G60. With a decent camera and good battery life, the Moto G71 is one of our top picks for the 5G-conscious buyer who simply cannot do without stock Android.
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 (Review) 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 (Review) 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.
The 64-megapixel main camera managed 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.
The iQoo Z3 (Review) has been replaced by the pricier iQoo Z5 and more recently, the iQoo Z6 5G, but this older phone still offers a lot of CPU power thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G SoC. Its starting price is just under our budget cutoff. The 6.58-inch full-HD+ screen has a 120Hz refresh rate, and the 4,499mAh battery can be charged quickly using the included 55W adapter. The plastic back may not appeal to everyone and camera performance could use some improvement, but the features and specifications are hard to pass up at this price level.