Moto G6, Redmi Note 5 Pro, Nokia 6.1, Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 among best phones under Rs 20,000
The sub-Rs 20,000 segment in India is where you'll find affordable mid-range smartphones that offer plenty of hardware and good design at low cost. This segment is highly competitive and bustling with phones that deliver all-round performance along with appealing designs. In the first half of this year alone, we have seen a bunch of impressive mid-range phones like the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Moto G6. Asus, in fact, surprised everyone (including the competition) with the ZenFone Max Pro M1 and HMD Global continues to expand its product portfolio with the Nokia 6.1.
Each one of these phones have something unique to offer and are worth considering if you're in the market looking for an affordable mid-range smartphone. These phones not only bring impressive hardware and software performance, but they also come with a premium design language that make them look much more than simple low-cost smartphones.
Redmi Note 5 Pro: Rs 14,999
Xiaomi has had a terrific run in the budget and mid-range segments for a few good reasons and understandably its Redmi Note 5 Pro makes it to this list. It's not easy for a phone in the affordable segment to nail all aspects right, but the Redmi Note 5 Pro does just that. The phone is a stellar all-round device and perhaps the best under Rs 20,000 phone right now as it not only brings a solid, premium metal design but is packed with some serious hardware that makes it a performance powerhouse.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro sports a 5.99-inch FHD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a Snapdragon 636 processor which brings Qualcomm's Kryo 260 CPU cores that will deliver around 40 per cent more power than the Snapdragon 630. This is coupled with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM along with 64GB of internal storage. Thanks to a powerful as well as a power efficient chipset, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is a smooth and fast phone no matter what you throw at it.
Apart from a solid performance, the Redmi Note 5 Pro also comes with some of the best cameras in this segment. The 12MP + 5MP dual camera setup on the back manages to capture some crisp and detailed photos under good light and more importantly they also manage to hold well under low-light.
While there are a lot of things to like about the phone, I feel that one of the reasons some users may not feel confident about the phone is because it runs a dated Nougat software and a MIUI skin that takes a while getting used to. Many people may prefer a more stock Android experience and one that more up-to-date with Oreo and timely security updates and these are some things that the Redmi Note 5 Pro unfortunately cannot promise.
Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1: Rs 10,999
It's safe to say Asus surprised everyone with the ZenFone Max Pro M1. The phone comes at a pretty great price considering all that Asus is offering which includes stock Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box, a bezel-less design with an 18:9 display, dual rear cameras and a whopping 5,000mAh battery, among other things.
The ZenFone Max Pro M1 is powered by a very capable and powerful Snapdragon 636 chipset, which is the same chip that powers the Redmi Note 5 Pro as well. The phone sports a 5.99-inch FHD+ display and comes with up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which is expandable up to 256GB via microSD. The dual-SIM phone supports 4G LTE (VoLTE-ready) and also USB OTG. The dual rear camera system includes one 13-megapixel camera (f/2.2 aperture) and a secondary 5-megapixel camera for depth sensing. The cameras are assisted by PDAF and LED flash, and are capable of shooting 4K videos as well. On the front, you get an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash.
Asus in the past has struggled to compete in the low-end segment due to phones with uninspiring designs and software experience. But the ZenFone Max Pro M1 has managed to surprise everyone by offering not only an attractive design but also a solid performance alongside stock Android Oreo software. The only are where the phone falters a little is with regards to camera, but largely this is a perhaps the most value-for-money phone in this segment right now.
Moto G6: Rs 15,999
Motorola launched the Moto G6 in India earlier this month which succeeds last year's Moto G5 and Moto G5S. The affordable mid-range smartphone brings a brand new design language to the Moto G lineup by introducing an all-glass design and a full-screen display, among other things. I reviewed the phone and found it to be the best looking phone under Rs 20,000 right now thanks to a solid Gorilla Glass rear panel in Indigo Black that refracts light in all the right ways to give it an extremely appealing look.
The Moto G6 sports a 5.7-inch FHD+ 1080p IPS LCD Max Vision display and is powered by a 1.8GHz Snapdragon 450 chipset. The base variant that's priced below Rs 15,000 comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The phone runs near stock Android Oreo and houses a 3,000mAh battery with TurboCharge support. It comes with a 12MP + 5MP dual camera setup on the back and a 16MP front-facing camera.
While a Snapdragon 450 chipset may sound pretty underwhelming for a phone that costs Rs 15,999, the Moto G6 largely performed smoothly and will easily handle day to day tasks thanks to some good optimisation along with a near stock Android Oreo software. Perhaps the two areas that undercut what is otherwise a solid phone is its battery which doesn't last longer than a day and some average cameras. For every other purpose, the Moto G6 should be on your list if you're in the market. It is available on Amazon India and across Moto Hub stores offline.
Nokia 6.1: Rs 16,999
After reviving back the Nokia brand last year with a few noteworthy smartphones, HMD Global this year has been all about rapidly expanding its portfolio with a slew of phones, most of which are refreshed versions of last year's models. The Nokia 6.1 as the name suggests is a refreshed Nokia 6 and draws on some of the elements that made the Nokia 6 look so appealing. This includes a classy yet terrifically solid design that looks premium and feels sturdy in the hand. But it's not just the looks, the Nokia 6.1 also performs pretty smoothly and this is largely due to a combination of a Snapdragon series 600 chipset and some neat optimisations with the phone being part of the Android One program.
The new Nokia 6 brings a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display with a standard 16:9 display. Now, this may put off some people in 2018 since 18:9 display is the new norm, but nevertheless the display looks vibrant and sharp thanks to a full-HD resolution. It is powered by a Snapdragon 630 processor. The base variant is offered with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage while a top-end variant which costs Rs 18,999 comes with a 4GB + 64GB configuration.
Consumers looking for a pure, stock Android phone should look no further than the Nokia 6.1 in this segment. Not only does the phone offer a smooth and attractive performance, but it also looks elegant with copper accents all around and is a phone that is built like a tank. Battery life is another big plus point here. But like the Moto G6, the Nokia 6.1 is plagued with underwhelming cameras which is probably my only gripe with the phone. The phone is available via Amazon India and Nokia's online store.