In the market for a good smartphone? Whatever you lack, it certainly is not options. From about a decade ago, when investing in a smartphone involved taking a significant dent to your budget, we are at a stage where you have multiple options at just about every price point you can think of.
So if you are in the market for a new smartphone and are confused at the sheer array of devices that you have to choose from, here is our take on what suits your budget the best:
(Note: prices are those at the time of writing.)
Up to Rs 7,000
Xiaomi Redmi 6A
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Phones like the Redmi 6A have made Xiaomi the number one smartphone brand in the country over the past year. Its design might not be pathbreaking but it is built on solid lines and for its price, it comes with a very respectable spec sheet: a 5.45-inch HD+ display, a Helio A22 processor, with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. It also sports a surprisingly good (at this price) 13.0-megapixel rear camera and a reasonably consistent 5.0-megapixel front facing camera.
The 3000 mAh battery is not the largest at this price point but it should comfortably see off a day of normal use, and it runs very smoothly. It's a great smartphone for the price.
The Honor 7S is a solidly built device with a 5.45-inch HD+ display. A Mediatek processor combined with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage ensures that the phone works smoothly enough for most tasks, with a battery that will see you through a whole day's usage.
The 13 megapixel rear camera is not the greatest, while the 5.0-megapixel front facing camera will deliver good enough selfies for your social networks. A good deal, for the price.
Rs 7,000 — Rs 10,000
In design and spec terms, the Realme C1 punches well above its price - it looks sleek enough to be flaunted and comes with an impressive 6.2-inch HD+ display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage.
The biggest strengths are a very good pair of 13 and 2-megapixel rear cameras and a large 4230mAh battery, which could see you through almost two days of work.
Xiaomi Redmi 6
The Redmi 6 is a slightly improved version of the Redmi 6A—and that's not a bad thing. It has similar specifications, but it's sleeker, and includes a fingerprint scanner instead of only using face-unlock.
More importantly, it has very good dual cameras (12 and 5-megapixel) at the rear, adding some very serious photographic muscle to the phone. The 5.0-megapixel selfie snapper is more modest in comparison but this is an excellent option for anyone who needs good cameras combined with solid performance.
Rs 10,000 — Rs 15,000
Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
The Redmi Note series has been a steady leader in the mid-segment, and the Redmi Note 6 Pro (review) is no exception. It looks very similar to the Redmi Note 5 Pro, and delivers consistent performance. The phone has a 6.26-inch full HD+display, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.
The 12 and 5-megapixel rear cameras, and 20 and 2-megapixel pair in the front are the showstoppers. Combined with some clever software touches, they are capable of delivering excellent photography. Add in battery life, and it's an easy pick.
One of the best-looking phones in the market at any price, the Honor 8X is also a decent performer. The 6.5-inch display is a good one, and although we expected more from the 20 and 2-megapixel rear camera duo, the Hisilicon Kirin 710 processor and the 3750 mAh battery more than compensate, delivering smooth performance and handling high end games and multiple apps with ease.
Rs 15,000 — Rs 20,000
Motorola One Power
The Motorola One Power ticks off a lot of boxes—rock solid design, competitive pricing, a good 6.2-inch full HD+ display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage and a massive 5000mAh battery.
The cameras are the only downside as its best photography happens in the daylight—low light pictures aren't as pleasing. But despite that, this phone is a winner thanks to its performance and battery life.
The Honor Play is arguably the most powerful phone you can get for under Rs 20,000. It comes with a 6.3-inch full HD+ display and is powered by the same HiSilcon Kirin 970 processor in the premium Huawei P20 Pro. With 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. This phone is a great performer that can handle high-end games, and juggling multiple apps easily.
The 16 and 2-megapixel camera combo on the back is adequate rather than exceptional, but it gets the job done, as does the 16-megapixel selfie snapper. The 3750 mAh battery keeps it going for a while easily.
Rs 20,000 — Rs 30,000
Xiaomi Poco F1
Rs 20,990 - 20,999
Perhaps the most disruptive phone to hit the flagship segment in terms of price in 2018, the Poco F1 is frankly a no-brainer in this price segment. It starts at Rs 20,999 for the 6GB/ 64GB edition and goes all the way up to Rs 29,999 for an 8GB/ 256GB "Armoured Edition" with a Kevlar back.
It has a very good 6.18-inch full HD+ display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, good 12 and 5-megapixel rear cameras, and an excellent 20-megapixel selfie camera. There's a big 4000mAh batter, and it's the best deal you'll get in this price.
Rs 30,000 — Rs 45,000
It started out as the "budget flagship" but recent years have seen OnePlus move up the price ladder. The OnePlus 6T (review) firmly out of the budget segment now, but it's delivering a great phone for the price.
There's a 6.41-inch full HD+ display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPU with 6GB RAM, and 128GB storage, and 20 and 16-megapixel rear cameras, and a 16-megapixel selfie camera, all of which perform well.Battery life has been beefed up with a big 3700mAh battery, and the result is a premium phone at a still affordable price, compared to the "big" brands.
It might be best known for its selfie-centric devices in the Rs 15,000-30,000 price range, but with the NEX, Vivo really came to the premium phone party. The phone made headlines for being one of the first to come with a pop up selfie camera (it actually slides out from behind the display) that not only took great selfies but also delivered a secure face unlock experience. Combine that with a stunning glass design, a very good 6.59 inch full HD+ Super AMOLED display (which also had a speaker right below it!), Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, and an excellent pair of 12 and 5-megapixel cameras at the back, and you can see why the Vivo Nex was one of the best performing and most innovative flagships of the year.
More than Rs 45,000
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
For those looking for perhaps the most distinct Android phone out there, the Mate 20 Pro is your pick. The glass back with changing textures and the three cameras and flash placed at the corners in a square window make sure that you cannot mistake it for any other. Those three cameras of 40, 20 and 8-megapixels deliver great pictures, and the 24-megapixel selfie camera is no slouch either.
The phone has a brilliant 6.39-inch display, a Hisilicon Kirin 980 processor, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, and a massive 4200 mAh battery that not only sees off close to two days of usage but can also charge other phones wirelessly.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
It might not have the same aura as it once did, but the Galaxy Note series remains one of the most distinct devices out there. It has a magnificent 6.4-inch quad-HD display, while the dual 12-megapixel cameras are still top class, and the Exynos processor handles anything you throw at it.
But the real selling point is the S-Pen stylus, which makes the Galaxy Note special. Samsung has a number of smart features built around the stylus, that make this phone a great buy, when coupled with its power and big battery.
Apple iPhone XS
And of course, there is the little matter of the iPhone. Simply said, it remains perhaps the most aspirational phone out there, notwithstanding a massive price increase in recent times—the base model of the latest iPhone costs as much as a high-end laptop. This is because that premium price is matched by a very premium performance. The 5.8-inch AMOLED display is perhaps the best in any phone, and the dual 12-megapixel cameras on the rear deliver the most consistently brilliant and realistic photographs we have seen.
iOS 12 does have its bugs but it also has the best apps and games out there. Battery life too has improved. And it remains easily the most flauntable phone out there, thanks to that very distinct design!