We’ve got some exciting new additions to our list such as the Realme GT Master Edition, OnePlus Nord 2, Poco F3 GT. All these smartphones offer incredibly powerful SoCs and great features under Rs. 30,000.
Xiaomi’s Mi 11 series continues to make waves, and the Mi 11X is a strong contender on this list, making it one of the most powerful smartphones under Rs. 30,000. Realme recently launched the X7 Max 5G which displaces the X7 Pro 5G. The new model is more powerful but comes in at a lower price, making its predecessor irrelevant even though it’s still an objectively good phone
Samsung’s Galaxy A52 made a big splash with its IP67 rating and funky design. Some of our older recommendations also still remain strong contenders in this space.
It’s an exciting time to be buying a smartphone in this segment as premium features such as an IP rating for dust and water resistance have also started to trickle down. We’ve reviewed many new phones that have launched since our last update but only a few have managed to make the cut. Here’s a quick glance at the best phones you should consider if you have a budget of up to Rs. 30,000.
Best phones under 30,000
|Phones under Rs. 30,000
|Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)
|Price in India (as recommended)
|Realme GT Master Edition
|OnePlus Nord 2
|Poco F3 GT
|Realme X7 Max 5G
|Samsung Galaxy A52
|Vivo V20 Pro
|Realme X3 SuperZoom
Realme GT Master Edition
The mid-range is gradually becoming more crowded, and Realme’s GT Master Edition comes in at a competitive price with a unique suitcase-like design. Meant to replace the X series of smartphones, the GT series is a new lineup from Realme, and the GT Master Edition packs a punch even though it’s not an all-rounder. There’s a quality 120Hz refresh rate Super AMOLED display that’s good for gaming and watching movies. There aren’t stereo speakers but you do get a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Powering the gaming experience is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, which is a worthy upgrade over the 768G and is on par with MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200. Camera performance is quite good in daylight but low-light performnace is only saved by the Night mode. Battery life is quite good for a slim mid-range smartphone and it charges quite quickly, going from zero to a hundred percent in about 35 minutes.
OnePlus Nord 2
The OnePlus Nord 2 5G is the successor to the OnePlus Nord. It sports a 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a full-HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. It packs in a 4,500mAh battery and supports 65W Warp charging. The Nord 2 is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1200AI processor and is available in 6GB, 8GB and 12GB RAM options. Just like other OnePlus smartphones, the Nord 2 runs OxygenOS and this version runs on top of Android 11.
Camera performance of the Nord 2 is good for the price. Daylight photos are sharp but shots from the ultra-wide angle camera aren’t great. The Nord 2 manages close-ups and portrait shots very well. Low-light camera performance is also good, especially with Nightscape mode. Overall, the OnePlus Nord 2 is a good pick for someone on a budget.
Poco F3 GT
The Poco F3 GT is designed around gaming, and focuses on delivering performance. This new model has a premium body with a metal frame and a glass back. There are “maglev” trigger buttons which can be engaged by sliders on the side. You get a big 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It has support for HDR10+ and can reach a touch sampling rate of 480Hz while in game turbo mode. Poco has picked the Dimensity 1200 SoC to power the F3 GT and you can get it with 6GB or 8GB of RAM.
The Poco F3 GT has a triple camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel main, 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, and 2-megapixel macro camera. The smartphone delivered average photo quality in daylight as well as low light. On the other hand, the Poco F3 GT delivers great a gaming experience for the price.
The Mi 11X is priced starting just under Rs. 30,000, and it’s a very powerful smartphone thanks to the near-flagship-grade Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC. We like the fact that the Mi 11X looks refreshingly plain, with no elaborate flourishes and no over-the-top branding unlike some of its competitors. General and gaming performance is great, and content looks very good on the 120Hz AMOLED display. Small touches such as the fast charging, IP rating, and stereo speakers add to the overall pleasant experience.
Of course, MIUI being MIUI, spam notifications are aplenty. We also noticed that the Mi 11X would get unusually hot when charging, and the camera quality on the whole was rather average, though its telemacro camera is capable of delivering some stunning shots. Ultimately, the Mi 11X is not the best all-rounder but it’s definitely a strong contender especially if you’re after a powerful gaming SoC on a budget.
Realme X7 Max 5G
The new Realme X7 Max 5G replaces the Realme X7 Pro 5G, which itself was the spiritual successor to the Realme X2 Pro. Although it hasn’t been long since the X7 Pro 5G launched, Realme has already brought out a much more powerful model with a few improved features, and that too at a lower starting price. The Realme X7 Max 5G can be considered a “flagship killer” and is great for gaming thanks to its MediaTek Dimensity 1200 SoC, 5G support, stereo speakers, great battery life, and quick charging. It has a decent set of cameras for daytime shooting.
Realme has made the design of the rear more subtle, but the finish doesn’t make you think this is a premium phone. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack which its predecessor did not. The cameras don’t do too well in low light, and the macro camera is not very useful. If you can look past these shortcomings, you’ll find that the Realme X7 Max 5G offers very good value for the price.
Samsung Galaxy A52
The Samsung Galaxy A52 breaks away from the now-stale design of older A-series models, with something completely different. It looks youthful and, dare we say, fashionable. It also offers excellent features such as an IP67 rating, stereo speakers, and a 90Hz AMOLED display — a combination that’s hard to come by in this segment. We found the overall performance to be solid too, even though it uses a lower-tier Snapdragon 720G SoC.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 ships with the latest One UI skin, based on Android 11. There’s a bit of bloatware to deal with, which we are not big fans of. The cameras, while sold during the day, tended to fall a bit short in low light. Barring these issues, the Galaxy A52 is still a solid offering as you get a good set of features and the Samsung brand to back it.
Vivo V20 Pro
The Vivo V20 Pro continues to be a good choice under Rs. 30,000. With a similar slim and light design as the V20, the Vivo V20 Pro features a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC which also supports 5G. The AMOLED display is vivid and offers very good brightness and colours. It even supports HDR10 playback.
Battery life is quite impressive and there’s 33W fast charging, so you can fill the 4,000mAh battery very quickly. The 44-megapixel selfie camera has eye autofocus and can even shoot 4K 60fps video. There’s also an ultra-wide front camera for group selfies. The rear cameras don’t disappoint either, except when shooting videos at night, which could be better.
Realme X3 SuperZoom
The Realme X3 SuperZoom is a bit old but it’s still one of the only phones in this segment to offer a periscope-style telephoto camera, which makes it unique. 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 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 in 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.