India

Best Budget Smartphones in India below INR 15,000 (Q1 2019)

The best of 2019 so far

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A couple of years back, excitement was at its epitome for flagship phones from companies like Samsung and LG. Now, things have changed completely and the most exciting segment is the budget range.

Competition has been aggressive in terms of pricing and features, hence every brand wants to distinguish itself. Top-tier offerings are now quickly trickling down to the budget range and the overall costs have drastically reduced.

It becomes a herculean task for a consumer to select a phone when so many options are available, so we’ve compiled a list of the best budget phones you can buy in India right now. We’ve considered various user demands like performance, battery life, cameras, and longevity.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro (INR 14,499)

This phone is practically a flagship in the Redmi series and has proven itself to be the perfect all-rounder one needs. Even though the processor remains unchanged from its predecessor, it still gets all tasks done smoothly and receives faster updates. The cameras have been lauded for their output in well-lit and low-light areas. Lastly, the battery is more than sufficient to get you through a full day on exceedingly heavy usage.

Nokia 6.1 Plus (INR 15,499)

Nokia-branded phones have made a reputation for themselves thanks to stock Android and on-time updates. If you’re looking for a phone with butter-smooth performance, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is built for you. The design is compact yet premium thanks to the sandwiched glass and metal body. In addition, the display is sharp and among the best in class, along with a pair of rear cameras that do a good job for a phone in this segment.

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 (INR 12,999)

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 goes a step further in terms of performance and sports a proven midrange chipset along with pure Android. Its design is radically different and genuinely looks stunning. ASUS has gone all in and added a humongous battery that’ll get you through two days of heavy usage on a single charge. For a power user, there’s no better option than this. Even the cameras have seen considerable improvement and portrait shots are among the best. 

Realme U1 (INR 11,999)

For a brand this young, the Realme U1 has been a surprise for us all. It’s powered by a new processor and can seamlessly finish any task you throw at it. The phone has a plastic design that imitates glass, which makes it exceptionally light in weight. Selfie lovers are also going to be pleased with its front camera performance. It runs on OPPO’s ColorOS for a bunch of nifty tricks like gesture support and face unlock.

Honor 8X (INR 14,999)

If you’re looking for a huge display for media consumption, this phone is built for you. It’s powered by a midrange processor and comes with Honor’s GPU Turbo technology for an enhanced gaming experience. The battery will also get you through a day and a half on heavy usage with support for fast charging. It has an average pair of rear cameras, but the design is acutely premium.

Vivo V9 Pro (INR 15,000)

This phone brings a midrange design and processor to the budget range, making it a near perfect all-rounder. The cameras are above average and the battery is enough to get you through a day’s heavy usage. Performance-wise — and this is great for gaming — the phone has 6GB of RAM, which is among the highest in this segment. 

Motorola One Power (INR 14,999)

The name itself suggests this phone is built for “power” users. The processor is capable enough, but the main selling point is its huge battery. At 5000mAh, the phone will last for days on a single charge and it also supports faster charging. It runs on pure Android and hence we expect updates to roll out quickly, as well. The cherry on top is it’s officially splash resistant.

India

Samsung Galaxy M31 goes official with a 6000mAh battery

And a 64-megapixel camera!

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It seems 2020 has finally arrived in India as companies are now gearing up to launch phones one after the other. Samsung is the latest one to join the bandwagon and has announced the Galaxy M31 today. It’s placed in the affordable segment and shall be going up against Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 8 Pro and Realme X2 Pro.

The M-series has massively helped Samsung in India and the brand’s strong presence in the offline market has worked wonders. The Galaxy M31’s main highlight is its 64-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a huge 6000mAh battery.

On the front is a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution. The body is made of polycarbonate plastic, in-line with all other M-series phones. Powering the phone is an Exynos 9611 chipset along with 6GB RAM and 64GB or 128GB internal storage.

The rear features a 64-megapixel primary lens, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 5-megapixel macro sensor, and a 5-megapixel portrait camera. By default, the primary lens captures pictures in 16-megapixels and the user can opt for 64-megapixel output manually. For selfies, a 32-megapixel camera is located on the front in a punch-hole cutout.

Backing these internals is a 6000mAh battery that supports 15W fast charging via USB-C. The phone runs on OneUI 2.0 out of the box.

The 4GB+64GB variant is priced at INR 14,999 (US$ 210) and the 6GB+128GB variant is priced at INR 15,999 (US$ 224). The phone will go on sale starting March 5 via Amazon India’s website.

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iQoo 3 is a flagship phone with Snapdragon 865, 55W fast charging

Vivo’s new sub-brand

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Vivo’s sub-brand iQoo announced its first phone today in India — the iQoo 3. It’s pronounced as “aai ku” and the brand has roped in popular cricketer Virat Kohli as its ambassador. Considering the scale at which the company has promoted its first phone, the brand has ambitious goals.

The iQoo 3 is also the first smartphone from the brand which comes with 5G support and the second such phone to enter the country after Realme X50 Pro 5G.

It comes with a Snapdragon 865 chipset, liquid cooling technology, LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage, and a lot of software tweaks for gamers. In fact, it has touch-sensitive buttons on the side, automatically covering the need for any external switch or toggle. This will be extremely handy for folks who love PUBG, Fortnite or even Mobile Legends.

The iQOO 3 has a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution. An in-display fingerprint scanner has been provided for authentication. The brand calls the screen “Polar View Display” and it supports 60Hz refresh rate along with HDR compatibility.

Coming to the cameras, the device packs a quad rear camera setup with a 48-megapixel sensor as the primary camera. Along with that, it also carries a 13-megapixel telephoto lens, another 13-megapixel wide-angle sensor, and a 2-megapixel portrait camera. On the front, it houses a 16-megapixel selfie camera in a punch-hole design.

Backing these internals is a 4400mAh battery with 55W Super FlashCharge technology. The company claims it can charge 50 percent of the battery in just 15 minutes. It ships with iQoo UI and has a few nifty features like Ultra Gaming Mode and Turbo suite of intelligent optimizations.

The iQoo 3 is available in both 4G and 5G variants. The 4G 8GB+128GB option is priced at INR 36,990 (US$ 515) and the 4G 8GB+256 GB carries a price tag of INR 39,990 (US$ 557). Along with these, the top-end model of iQoo 3 comes with 5G support and houses 12GB RAM and 256 internal storage. It’s available for INR 44,990 (US$ 626).

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Realme X50 Pro with Snapdragon 865, 5G launches

India’s first 5G phone

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After a long wait, Realme has finally launched the Realme X50 Pro today. It has 5G and comes equipped with the flagship Snapdragon 865 processor.

To start with, it has a glass body construction that gives a matte finish thanks to AG Glass technology and multiple layers of coating. For exterior protection, it consists of Gorilla Glass 5. It’ll be available in Moss Green and Rust Red color options.

On the front is a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution and a 20:9 screen ratio. Realme claims it has a wide color gamut for accurate reproduction and refreshes at 90Hz.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 865 processor along with 5G support. It supports all majorly used 5G bands in service around the world and automatically switches between 4G and 5G for maximum efficiency. It gets up to 12GB of RAM along with 256GB internal storage. For extended periods of uninterrupted gaming, liquid cooling has also been included.

On the rear is a 64-megapixel primary camera, something we’ve previously seen on the Realme X2 Pro. Backing the primary camera is an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, and a portrait lens. For selfies, a 32-megapixel primary camera along with an 8-megapixels wide-angle lens are located on the front.

Backing these internals is a 4200mAh battery that supports 65W SuperDart fast charging. Realme claims it can charge 60 percent in just 20 minutes. It also supports 18W PD charging and 30W VOOC charging. Lastly, it runs on RealmeUI out of the box.

Realme’s first premium phone in India

This is the first time Realme has launched a premium offering in India.

The Realme X50 Pro starts at INR 37,999 (US$ 527) for the base variant with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. There’s an 8GB RAM variant with 128GB storage priced at INR 39,999 (US$ 555) and the maxed-out model goes up to 12GB RAM and 256GB storage and costs INR 44,999 (US$ 625). The phone goes on sale in India from today, February 24, on Flipkart and Realme India store.

It’s worth noting that even though it’s India’s first 5G phone, users will not be able to leverage it completely since 5G hasn’t rolled out in the country yet. In fact, the country is yet to auction spectrum to telecom companies and experts estimate a roll-out in 2022.

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