There used to be a time when power users needed to extend their budgets up to the ₹35,000-₹50,000 price point to buy a smartphone that could handle all their demanding needs. Be it gaming, 4K video shooting, multitasking, and more; reliable phones would cost a pretty penny. However, in 2023, this is no longer the case. Power users needn’t shelve out the big bucks to get a device that can handle all their needs while also providing good build quality, cameras, and battery life. The smartphone market is currently brimming with powerful devices, all under a budget. For as low as ₹20,000, you can find a capable smartphone that would meet up to the expectations of power users, and we’ve listed out some of the best for you. We’ve tested most of these smartphones thoroughly – putting them through industry-standard benchmarks as well as some of Digit’s rigorous performance-gauging tests. On the basis of that, some options we can suggest right off the bat include the Moto G84, Tecno Camon 20 Pro 5G and iQOO Z7 5G for pure power and the Samsung Galaxy M34 5G for a battery life monster.
The Samsung Galaxy M34 is a safe choice for most people. It comes with one of the fastest processors in the price segment which delivers solid performance for most tasks. The 6,000 mAh battery is one of the largest in this price bracket and provides an astounding screen-on time of almost 22 hours when playing native 4K videos. So, it is easily a two-day phone that will keep going without having to constantly charge it. The camera is also decent enough for basic use and social media. So, if you’re looking for an all-rounder under ₹20,000, this is it.
The Motorola G84 is a solid phone to consider if you prefer a clean Android experience. The phone comes with minimal bloatware and no ads. You’ve got the reliable Snapdragon 695 SoC that performs quite well in benchmarks and real-world applications. The phone’s GPU is powerful enough to handle games such as BGMI, Call of Duty: Mobile, and more. The phone looks and feel fantastic. It comes with splash and dust resistance as well making it a well-rounded choice. One drawback is the low-light camera performance which we found to be pretty mediocre.
The Tecno Camon 20 Pro surprised us with its stellar performance in benchmarking apps. It was by far the fastest phone in benchmarks such as AnTuTu, GeekBench, and PCMark. In fact, it was speedier than more expensive devices such as the Realme 11 Pro+ and Samsung Galaxy F54. The phone is also excellent for gaming, whether you’re playing simple titles or more demanding ones like FPS games. However, there’s a kink in its armour here since the UI is quite clunky and can get a bit laggy – breaking the illusion of speed.
iQOO phones are all about keeping performance first, and the iQOO Z7 5G does just that. Powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 920 SoC, the iQOO Z7 is one of the fastest smartphones in this price segment. The phone scored 479779 in AnTuTu, which is impressive at this price. This translates to smooth gameplay with no frame drops or stutters. We got a Gamebench score of 40 fps at 100 per cent stability when playing Call of Duty: Mobile. The battery life of the phone is also good and we were able to achieve around 5 hours of on-screen time on this device with heavy usage. The cameras are decent in daylight, but the quality takes a hit in low light.
The Realme 11 5G has a lot going for it. Although the display and chipset aren’t the best in the segment, the camera performance is quite strong. You’ve got a 108-megapixel primary camera that can achieve 3x in-sensor zoom with minimal detail loss. This camera also clicks some stellar low light photos for the price. There’s minimal noise and lots of detail. The phone’s 5,000 mAh battery is quite long-lasting and the 67 W SUPERVOOC charger tops up the phone’s battery to full in no time.
The OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite is a great all-rounder under 20K, but the areas it shines are cameras and battery life. The phone houses a massive 5,000 mAh battery which clocked an impressive 11 hours and 10 minutes of screen-on time in our 4K video loop battery test. So, the device will easily power through a day’s worth of usage with some battery still left to spare at the end of the day. The camera setup is also fantastic, one of the best at this price – the phone clicks detailed shots with good colour accuracy and dynamic range. Low-light results are also exemplary with good detail and little to no noise.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 5G offers users a lot of things that other competing phones don’t. You get a crisp AMOLED display, fantastic battery life, and a pretty decent array of cameras. It provides excellent bang for your buck and future proofs your purchase because of 5G connectivity. MIUI is filled with bloatware though, so if you prefer your phones to have a cleaner interface, you can go for Moto phones instead.
The Vivo T2 is a 5G-enabled smartphone that is powered by the reliable Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC. This is a very popular processor at this price which runs smoothly and generally doesn’t heat up too much, however, it is one of the slower SoCs at this price in 2023. The SoC generally gets a good AnTuTu score of around 4,00,000, which is enough for casual smartphone users. The T2 also adds a 64 MP primary lens with OIS support. Optical Image Stabilisation is a great feature to have at this price since it eliminates shake in photos and provides clearer pictures. You’ve also got an AMOLED display on this phone – again this is not so common at this price point.
With a focus on gaming, the Infinix GT 10 Pro offers brilliant performence. It is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 8050 chipset which outputs an AnTuTu score of just under 700,000. This is one of the fastest in the segment. The battery and display on the Infinix GT 10 Pro are also pretty solid. We also get a 108MP triple rear camera setup, but the camera is not where the Infinix GT 10 Pro shines.
The POCO X5 is another 5G smartphone that is equipped with the Snapdragon 695 processor. As we’ve seen with other Snapdragon 695 phones on this list, you can expect decent enough performance that can get through basic tasks and handle gaming decently well. You also get an AMOLED panel with 120 Hz refresh rate, so scrolling will feel jitter-free, making the device feel more snappy overall. The phone’s display also boasts a 4,500,000:1 contrast ratio and 1200 nits of peak-rated brightness, so content should look vibrant on this screen. The design is quite understated yet classy and the phone is quite lightweight at only 188 g.
When it comes to raw performance dominance, none come close to the iQOO Z7 5G. Packing the MediaTek Dimensity 920 SoC, the iQOO Z7 beats most of its competitors in the combined CPU and GPU benchmark scores. Other options that offer excellent performance at under ₹20K include the Samsung Galaxy M14, Realme 9 5G Speed Edition, Motorola Moto G73, and Vivo T2 5G.Are smartphones under ₹20,000 good for daily use?
For ₹20,000, you can get some power-packed phones sporting 5-6 nm processors, a good 6-8 GB RAM, impressive cameras, and large-capacity batteries – all of which make these devices value-for-money daily drivers. Furthermore, manufacturers are also constantly striving to bring more premium designs to the masses – so curved displays, matte-finish rear panels, punch-hole displays, and in-display fingerprint sensors are all up for grabs under ₹20K.Which phone under ₹20,000 has the best camera quality?
If you’re looking for a phone under ₹20K with good camera quality as well, you can consider the Samsung Galaxy M14 5G. You get really nice and detailed shots in daylight, with good HDR processing and dynamic range. Other options with good cameras include the Moto G73 and OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G.