Gaming on smartphones has become a bit too serious these days. Just like during the good old days of PC gaming, games on mobile platforms have been evolving at a rapid pace with visuals and gameplay getting more and more realistic with every passing month.

One can’t be faulted for assuming that he/she would need a flagship device to play all the newer games like PUBG Mobile with high details. Thankfully, the flagship processing hardware is also available in mid-range budgets courtesy of companies like Xiaomi, Asus, Honor, etc. Today, let’s take a look at some of the handsets under Rs 25,000 that let you play these resource intensive games smoothly.

Best phones under Rs 25,000

Poco F1

Xiaomi released their new sub-brand, Poco last year and brought the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip to a phone under Rs 21,000. Its successor may just be around the corner, but the Poco F1 still remains the most powerful phone (in terms of processing power) under Rs 25,000. Now, you can get the top end variant of the Poco F1 with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage in this budget. The Snapdragon 845 accompanied by Adreno 630 GPU can render almost any game smoothly at high settings. A large 4000 mAh battery lets you prolong your gaming sessions on a single charge.

In addition to that, you get a 6.18-inch full HD+ notched display and a 12 MP + 5 MP dual camera set up at the back that does a good job in average to good lighting. There’s also a more than decent 20 MP selfie camera up front. I know the gamers won’t really care much about it but it’s always good to have a capable camera. There’s life beyond gaming as well after all. The Poco launcher is a better alternative to MIUI that you get in most Xiaomi phones. If you are looking to play PUBG Mobile in its full glory on a tight budget and don’t care much about aesthetics, Poco F1 is the phone for you.

Poco F1 price in India: Rs 20,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage; Rs 24,999 for 8 GB RAM/256 GB storage

Asus Zenfone 5Z

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. It now sells for Rs 24,999. It comes with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. You often get the 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage variant for the same price in online sales. Either way, it provides sufficient power to crunch your games and also lets you expand the storage further up to 2 TB with a microSD card. The glass and aluminium body makes the phone look elegant and sturdy and has a flagship feel about it. The 6.2-inch Full HD+ notched display is sharp and feels just the right size.

If you wish to know about the photography department, the 12 MP+8 MP dual rear cameras do an impressive job in most lighting conditions courtesy of f/1.8 bright 24mm wide angle lens with fairly large pixel size and 4-axis optical image stabilisation. It can also record 4K videos at 30FPS and slow-motion videos at 1080p and 720p resolution at 120 and 240 FPS respectively.

The Asus Zenfone 5Z is a solid all-round phone with premium looks, very good cameras, a powerful SoC and a neat price.

Asus Zenfone 5Z price in India: Rs 24,999 for 6GB RAM/64GB storage

Best phones under Rs 20,000

Honor Play

Huawei’s sub-brand, Honor had ideas similar to Poco when they released the Honor Play with their then flagship Kirin 970 SoC under Rs 20,000. The performance is comparable to a Snapdragon 845 in many areas, though it doesn’t go past it. Despite that, it has enough muscle to play most games at high settings. It comes with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage that can be expanded further with a microSD card. The Kirin 970 chip along with Huawei’s GPU Turbo technology provides the necessary boost in gaming and other resource-intensive tasks.

Unlike Poco F1, the Honor Play (Review) has a metal (Aluminium) body and an elegant design. It has a slightly larger 6.3-inch Full HD+ notched display and a 3,750 mAh battery. It ran Android Oreo 8.1 with EMUI 8.2 on top at launch but received an Android 9 Pie update earlier this year. Photography is handled by 16 MP + 2 MP dual rear cameras, while there’s a 16 MP sensor at the front for selfies. The cameras do a decent job, but this phone is bound to appeal more to budget gamers than camera enthusiasts. The price of the phone has just dropped to Rs 16,000 on Amazon and wouldn’t be a bad idea for mobile gamers to grab one till the stocks last.

Honor Play price in India: Rs 15,999 6 GB RAM/64 GB storage

Redmi Note 7 Pro

Where the Poco F1 lacks in style, the Redmi Note 7 Pro more than makes up for it on that front and more. The glass-clad Redmi Note 7 Pro is pleasing to the eye and is protected against scratches by Gorilla Glass 5 at the front as well as at the back. A 6.3-inch Full HD+ display with a drop notch makes its appearance great as well. Though this handset isn’t powered by a Snapdragon 845 SoC, it has a fairly powerful new Snapdragon 675 SoC that is no slouch in gaming either. You get the 6 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage variant in this budget. Just like the Poco F1, this too has a 4,000 mAh battery for longer gaming hours.

Another major talking point of the Redmi Note 7 Pro is its 48 MP rear camera with a Sony IMX586 sensor. Like some of the flagship devices from other brands, it uses pixel binning technology that combines details from 4 pixels into one that provides more light data and helps retain finer detail in captured images. On the OS front, the new Xiaomi device runs the latest Android 9 Pie out of the box with MIUI 10 layer on top. If you care about other aspects of the phone beyond processing power like design and camera, this would be a great choice in this budget.

Redmi Note 7 Pro price in India: Rs 16,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage

Realme 3 Pro

Realme’s latest handset is another stylish phone that offers more than a little bit of everything. The curved edges and dual tone back make the Realme 3 Pro look classy and the wavy pattern at the back makes it eye-catching and unique. There is a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 on the 6.3-inch Full HD+ screen to protect it from scratches. It is powered by a Snapdragon 710 chip with a slightly more powerful GPU than the one found on Redmi Note 7 Pro. This is one of the rare phones under Rs 15,000 that supports Fortniteand lets you play it smoothly at reasonably high settings.

The Realme 3 Pro is fitted with a 4,045 mAh battery that lasts long. And in case it is running low at a crucial time, the company has bundled a 20W VOOC quick charger in the bundle. It charges the battery from 0 to 100 in under 75 minutes and if you are in a hurry, you can charge a third of it in just 20 minutes. ColorOS 6.0 based on Android 9 Pie is a refreshing change. The new design language and colour schemes make the UI look cleaner and lot less clunky as compared to its previous versions. You also get an app drawer now.

What about the camera, you ask? It is quite good in most lighting conditions. The 16 MP rear camera is fitted with a Sony IMX519 sensor, the same one that you get on a OnePlus 6T. There’s a 5 MP depth sensing secondary camera and 25 MP front shooter for selfies. All and all, a solid all-round device for gaming and more.

Realme 3 Pro price in India: Rs 16,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage

Best phones under Rs 15,000

If you are on an even tighter budget, we have just what you need. In fact, you don’t even need to look beyond this list. All three phones listed above under the 20K bracket — Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme 3 Pro and Honor Play have 4 GB RAM + 64 GB storage variants that sell for Rs 13,999 each. Rest of their specifications remain exactly the same. Choose one that suits you best and it won’t disappoint you in this budget.

Let the games begin!

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