There’s a new heavy-hitter in the sub-Rs. 30,000 smartphone segment, the Google Pixel 4a. This long-awaited model promises outstanding software-powered camera enhancements, and hits a more tempting price point than its predecessor. Realme and OnePlus continue to offer strong options as well, with the Realme X3 and the Realme X3 SuperZoom both offering powerful specifications and impressive telephoto cameras for the price. The heavily hyped OnePlus Nord is relatively affordable and offers many of the features that people care most about. Vivo also impressed us recently with its V20 models.
These new phones join several models that first appeared on earlier editions of our list of the best phones priced under Rs. 30,000 in India. We have updated our recommendations based on recent Gadgets 360 reviews, and taking into account any price changes. Here’s the November 2020 edition of the best smartphones you can buy for less than Rs. 30,000 right now.
Best phones under 30,000
|Phones under Rs. 30,000
||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)
||Price in India (as recommended)
|Google Pixel 4a
||Rs. 29,999 (introductory price)
|Realme X3 SuperZoom
|Realme X2 Pro
|Oppo Reno 3 Pro
Google Pixel 4a
If you’re looking for excellent photo quality but don’t mind missing out on features such as an ultra-wide or macro camera, Google has pulled off its usual software and AI-powered enhancements with the Pixel 4a. This is the best Pixel phone we’ll get in India this year thanks to a lack of 5G networks. Performance is snappy thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC. You get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and there are no variants. You get a vivid 5.8-inch HDR10-capable full-HD+ OLED panel with an embedded 8-megapixel front camera. The 3,140mAh battery delivered average battery life, lasting for just about a day in tests.
The single 12.2-megapixel rear camera has an f/1.7 aperture and optical stabilisation. You get plenty of camera modes and controls to tweak. Daytime landscapes look excellent, with good details and vibrant colours. Portrait shots also come out well with good edge detection. You can shoot 4K video at up to 30fps and it also looks good.
You can usually find the Pixel 4a selling for Rs. 29,999, although its official price is Rs. 31,999.
The OnePlus Nord is a new budget offering from OnePlus, which manages to deliver a comparable Android experience to the OnePlus 8, but at a more affordable price. OnePlus has kept all the staples such as the AMOLED display, Warp Charge fast charging, and a big battery in the Nord. However, it has made some cuts when it comes to the SoC and the build quality. The OnePlus Nord still has glass on the back, but instead of a metal frame, it’s plastic.
The SoC used is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, and not an 800-series chip as we’re used to seeing. However, the Nord does support 5G, which is a cool bonus. As an overall package, it’s really hard to find fault with the OnePlus Nord. App and gaming performance is good, it captures good photos and videos in daylight, and the display supports HDR10+.
Low-light image quality suffers a bit, but that’s pretty much this phone’s only major weakness. Battery life is very good and the single speaker gets decently loud. One impressive feature of the OnePlus Nord is its ability to shoot selfie videos at 4K 60fps, which is something even the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro can’t do.
The base variant costs under Rs. 25,000 but is still competitive with more expensive smartphones. If you step up to higher RAM and storage variants, you can get a great phone for under Rs. 30,000.
Realme X3 SuperZoom
The Realme X3 SuperZoom is a powerhouse of a smartphone. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ SoC is more than capable of handling anything thrown its way. It has a sharp display, a big battery, and a quick fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button., The highlight feature of this model is of course its telephoto camera.
The Realme X3 SuperZoom can do 5x optical zoom and a total of 60x digital zoom, which is impressive for a phone priced under Rs. 30,000. The rest of the cameras perform well under good light too. Realme has also added a lot of night shooting modes to play with, which is a great value-add for night photography lovers. The Realme X3 is identical to the SuperZoom model in every way except for the cameras. The standard model can only do 20x hybrid zoom and has a 16-megapixel main selfie camera, instead of 32-megapixels on the SuperZoom model. Apart from these differences, both phones are identical.
Even though we haven’t reviewed this more affordable model yet, the rest of its features and performance should be very similar to what we experienced with the X3 SuperZoom, so we can say it’s worth considering if you’re on a tight budget.
The Vivo V20 is available in a multi-coloured Sunset Melody option as well as more sober colours. It prioritises design over specifications but can still pack a punch. You get a 6.44-inch AMOLED panel with narrow borders but a dewdrop notch which might seem old-fashioned now. On the back, you’ll see a stepped camera module with a 64-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle/macro camera, and a 2-megapixel mono camera. For selfies, there’s a 44-megapixel front camera.
Performance is just about adequate, thanks to the Snapdragon 720G processor. You get 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. This phone ships with Android 11 and Vivo’s FunTouch OS on top. Photos look good, even low-light ones. Close-ups are impressive with soft natural depth. Video is stabilised at 1080p as well as 4K. Battery life isn’t great, but that’s to be expected with such a slim phone.
Realme X2 Pro
The Realme X2 Pro does a little bit of everything right at a fraction of the price of a real flagship. It has a big 6.5-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint scanner and a 90Hz refresh rate. It is well designed and feels a lot more expensive than it actually is. Realme has also tossed in a 4,000mAh battery that delivers excellent battery life. That’s not all, this phone comes with a 50W fast charger that is capable of topping the device up in about 31 minutes.
It also gets the flagship-grade Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ SoC and has three variants: 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, and 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. The 6GB/64GB variant was introduced post-launch and is now retailing for Rs. 29,999. Earlier, the 8GB/128GB variant was priced at Rs. 29,999, but following the GST hike, it has gone up to Rs. 31,999.
The Realme X2 Pro has a quad-camera setup and is capable of taking good photos in different lighting conditions. We had an issue with the low-light video quality of this device, and we also found that it heats up a little when subjected to load.
Oppo Reno 3 Pro
Oppo Reno 3 Pro is the newest smartphone on this list. It sports a 6.4-inch AMOLED display along with an in-display fingerprint scanner. Oppo has picked the octa-core MediaTek Helio P95 SoC to power this smartphone. It also has 8GB of RAM and there are two storage options, 128GB and 256GB.
The Oppo Reno 3 Pro has a 4025mAh battery and support for 30W VOOC charging. At the back, it sports a quad-camera setup with a 64-megapixel primary sensor. At the front, this phone has a 44-megapixel selfie shooter along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. We found photo quality to be good in daylight conditions and average in low light although there’s a night mode that helps you take better shots. Low-light video recording was a little disappointing.
Battery performance on the Oppo Reno 3 Pro was good, and the phone lasted us for about a day and a half easily before needing a charge.
Will OnePlus 8 series be able to take on iPhone SE (2020), Samsung Galaxy S20 in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.