We have 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 replaces the X7 Pro 5G. The new model is more powerful, but comes at a lower price, making its predecessor irrelevant, even if 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 area.
It’s an exciting time to buy a smartphone in this segment as premium features like an IP rating for dust and water resistance are also starting to trickle in. We’ve reviewed many new phones launched since our last update, but only a few managed to make the cut. Here’s a quick look at the best phones to consider if you’re on a budget 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||8||€ 27,999|
|OnePlus North 2||8||€ 27,999|
|Poco F3 GT||8||€26,999|
|Realme X7 Max 5G||8||€26,999|
|Samsung Galaxy A52||8||€26,499|
|Vivo V20 Pro||8||€29,990|
|Realme X3 SuperZoom||9||€ 27,999|
Realme GT Master Edition
The mid-range is gradually getting busier and Realme’s GT Master Edition comes in at a competitive price with a unique suitcase-like design. Intended to replace the X series of smartphones, the GT series is a new lineup from Realme, and the GT Master Edition impresses, even if it is not an all-rounder. There is a Super AMOLED display with a high quality 120Hz refresh rate which is good for gaming and watching movies. There are no stereo speakers, but you do get a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The gaming experience is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, which is a worthy upgrade over the 768G and is comparable to MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200. The camera performance is quite good in daylight, but low-light performance is only saved by the night mode. The battery life is pretty good for a slim mid-range smartphone and it charges quite quickly, going from zero to 100 percent in about 35 minutes.
OnePlus North 2
The OnePlus Nord 2 5G is the successor to the OnePlus Nord. It has a 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a Full-HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. It packs 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. Like other OnePlus smartphones, the Nord 2 runs on OxygenOS and this version runs on top of Android 11.
The camera performance of the Nord 2 is good for the price. Daytime shots are sharp, but shots from the ultra-wide-angle camera aren’t great. The Nord 2 handles close-ups and portrait shots very well. The low-light performance of the camera is also good, especially with the Nightscape mode. Overall, the OnePlus Nord 2 is a good choice 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 that can be activated by side sliders. You get a large 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It has support for HDR10+ and can reach a touch sampling rate of 480 Hz in the game’s turbo mode. Poco has chosen 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 camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and 2-megapixel macro camera. The smartphone delivered an average photo quality in both daylight and low light. On the other hand, the Poco F3 GT delivers a great gaming experience for the price.
The Mi 11X is priced from just under Rs. 30,000, and it is a very powerful smartphone thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC of almost flagship class. We like the fact that the Mi 11X looks refreshingly simple, with no elaborate embellishments and no over-the-top branding unlike some of its competitors. Overall and gaming performance is great and the content looks really good on the 120Hz AMOLED screen. Small details like fast charging, IP rating and stereo speakers add to the overall pleasant experience.
Sure, MIUI is MIUI, spam notifications abound. We also noticed that the Mi 11X would get unusually hot when charging, and the camera quality was quite average overall, although the telemacro camera is capable of taking some stunning photos. Ultimately, the Mi 11X isn’t the best all-rounder, but it’s certainly a strong contender, especially if you’re looking for 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. While it hasn’t been long since the X7 Pro 5G was launched, Realme has already released a much more powerful model with a few enhanced 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 fast charging. It has a decent set of cameras for daytime shooting.
Realme has made the design of the back more subtle, but the finish doesn’t make you think that this is a premium phone. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack that its predecessor didn’t have. The cameras don’t do very well in low light and the macro camera isn’t very useful. If you can look past these shortcomings, you will find that the Realme X7 Max 5G offers very good value for money.
Samsung Galaxy A52
The Samsung Galaxy A52 breaks with the now outdated design of older A-series models, with something completely different. It looks youthful and, shall we say, fashionable. It also offers excellent features such as an IP67 rating, stereo speakers and a 90Hz AMOLED display – a combination that is hard to find in this segment. We also found the overall performance to be solid, even though it uses a lower Snapdragon 720G SoC.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 comes with the latest One UI skin, based on Android 11. There is a bit of bloatware to deal with, which we are not big fans of. The cameras, although sold during the day, tended to fall a little short in low light. These issues aside, the Galaxy A52 is still a solid offering as you get a good set of features and the Samsung brand to back it up.
Vivo V20 Pro
The Vivo V20 Pro remains a good choice under Rs. 30,000. With a similar slim and light design to the V20, the Vivo V20 Pro has a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G SoC that also supports 5G. The AMOLED display is vibrant and offers very good brightness and colors. It even supports HDR10 display.
The battery life is quite impressive and there’s 33W fast charging, so you can top up the 4000mAh battery very quickly. The 44-megapixel selfie camera has autofocus on the eye and can even record 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 few 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 that comes its way. It has a sharp display, a large battery and a fast fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button.
The Realme X3 SuperZoom is capable of 5x optical zoom and a total of 60x digital zoom, which is impressive for a phone priced below Rs. 30,000. The rest of the cameras also perform well in good light. Realme has also added many night shooting modes to play with, which is a great plus for night photography enthusiasts.