The sub Rs 30,000 segment is one that can give flagship phones sleepless nights. In this budget, you pretty much get more than a handful of features that flagship device priced at 2X their cost brag of, namely powerful processors, loads of RAM and storage, excellent cameras and a classy design. While the sub-20K segment and sub-15K segment saw a massive churn over the past month or two, the sub-30K segment hasn’t seen as many new arrivals. But we do have a couple of new and interesting handsets that managed to gain a spot on our list this month. Time to look at the best smartphones one can buy under Rs 30,000 this March and what they have to offer.
Best phones under Rs 30,000 in India
Let’s start with the three phones with the most processing power in this segment, courtesy of Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 845 SoC. We will place them in descending order of onboard RAM and storage and in ascending order of aesthetics.
Xiaomi released its sub-brand Poco last year and launched a phone with Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 845 SoC at close to Rs 20K in India. While we included the base variant of the Poco F1 in our list of best phones under Rs 20,000 this month, you can get the top end variant of the same with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage for well under 30K. You can add another 256GB to it using a microSD card, just in case. The design isn’t the most eye-catching one out there, but it is a beast when it comes to performance.
The Poco F1 comes with a 6.18-inch full HD+ notched display and a 12 MP + 5 MP dual camera setup at the back that does a good job in average to good lighting. You don’t get premium features like optical image stabilisation but the image quality is pretty good. There’s also a more than decent 20 MP front camera for selfies. The Poco launcher is a refreshing change over MIUI that you get in most Xiaomi phones. If you are looking to play PUBG in its full glory on a tight budget, and aesthetics are secondary to you, Poco F1 is a practical option.
Poco F1 price in India: Rs 27,999 for 8 GB RAM/256 GB storage
Asus Zenfone 5Z was the first Snapdragon 845 phone to be priced under Rs 30,000 in India. And that was the price of the base variant then. Now, you can buy the mid variant with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage under 28K. It lets you expand the storage further up to 2 TB with a microSD card. Unlike the Poco F1, the Zenfone 5Z looks and feels a lot more premium courtesy of its glass and aluminium body. The 6.2-inch Full HD+ notched display is sharp and feels just right.
The 12 MP + 8 MP dual rear cameras do an impressive job in most lighting conditions courtesy of a bright f/1.8 24 mm wide angle lens with large pixel size and 4-axis optical image stabilisation. It can also record 4K videos at 30 FPS and slow-mo videos at 1080p and 720p resolution at 120 and 240 FPS respectively. The Asus Zenfone 5Z is a solid all-around phone with premium looks, very good cameras, the fastest SoC currently available and it’s affordable too.
Asus Zenfone 5Z price in India: Rs 27,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage
If you are a brand-conscious buyer or one who doesn’t trust Chinese brands for whatever reason, here’s one for you. Just like the earlier two handsets, the LG G7 ThinQ is also powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. It comes with modest but acceptable 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of internal storage that can be expanded further to 2 TB. A striking feature here is its 6.1-inch Super Bright QHD+ display with 3120 x 1440 pixels resolution. And the phone is IP68 rated dust- and water-resistant too. In simple terms, it can survive more than a splash or two. In simpler terms, you can take it along for the Holi party but don’t spend too much time in the pool with it.
Photography is taken care of by a pair of 16 MP cameras at the back with f/1.9 and f/1.6 apertures. The LG G7 ThinQ boasts of features like an ultrawide lens, optical image stabilisation along with shooting slow motion HD videos at 240 FPS. Just the thing you need to capture the festive madness. The quality of captured images and videos is quite impressive. The phone is expected to get an Android Pie update soon.
LG G7 ThinQ price in India: Rs 29,999 for 4 GB RAM/64 GB storage
Moving on from flagship SoCs, Nokia 8.1 is powered by Qualcomm’s new upper mid-range chipset Snapdragon 710, which is no slouch by any means. The phone is available in two variants — 4 GB RAM/64 GB storage and 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage. We will opt for the latter simply because it offers better value for a price difference of Rs 3,000 and still remains within our budget. The storage can be expanded further by 400 GB. The phone has the trademark Nokia metal and glass design with dual-tone anodised metal frame that users loved in the Nokia 7 Plus.
The Nokia 8.1 has a sharp 6.18-inch Full HD+ notched display. A 12MP + 13MP dual cameras at the back boast of Zeiss optics, dual pixel auto-focus and optical image stabilisation. The cameras produce some vibrant photographs with the right amount of sharpness and detail. One interesting thing I would like to point out here is the Live Bokeh (portrait) mode that saves depth data and lets you tweak the photos in Google Photos app after you shoot them. Like most Nokia phones these days, the 8.1 is also a part of the Android One bandwagon. So you get stock Android UI and regular OS and security updates. The phone runs Android Pie.
Nokia 8.1 price in India: Rs 29,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage
Remember the two new interesting phones I mentioned at the start of this article? Here’s the first. Vivo V15 Pro offers some interesting features like a pop-up front camera, a notch-less display and an in-display fingerprint scanner. Not that we haven’t seen these features before but now having all of them together in this budget is the interesting part. The feature set doesn’t end there. The phone boasts of a 90 percent+ screen to body ratio courtesy of its aforementioned 6.39-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED notch-less display.
While the 32 MP pop-up front camera grabs all the attention, the 48 MP + 8 MP + 5 MP triple camera setup at the back does all the heavy lifting to deliver good images in most lighting conditions. There’s ample processing power available here thanks to a Snapdragon 675 SoC coupled with 6 GB or RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. Its 3,700 mAh battery keeps the phone powered for a day of moderate usage. The phone runs Android Pie.
Vivo V15 Pro price in India: Rs 27,990 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage
The Oppo F11 Pro is quite similar to the Vivo V15 Pro in many ways. This too has quite an attractive design, a pop-up camera, 6 GB RAM and a notch-less display. There are a bunch of subtle differences too. You will have to make do with a Mediatek P70 SoC instead of its more popular Qualcomm counterpart, 64 GB less internal storage, a 16 MP front camera and dual cameras at the back instead of three that you get on the Vivo. None of these are deal breakers in my opinion. On the brighter side, you get a slightly bigger 6.5-inch screen, a larger 4,000 mAh battery with VOOC fast charging support and you save a few thousand Rupees too.
Though the Oppo F11 Pro does not have triple rear cameras, it retains the 48 MP primary sensor at the back that manages to capture some quality shots. The company has opted for a more classical rear-mounted fingerprint scanner instead of the in-display one — a smart decision. And lastly, the phone runs Android Pie out of the box with Color OS 6.0 on top.
Oppo R11 Pro price in India: Rs 24,990 for 6 GB RAM/64 GB storage