If you are looking for better value than your typical budget smartphone, then the sub-Rs. 20,000 segment is the right place to begin with. The smartphones in this segment offer a lot more power and features. Display refresh rates are generally around the 90Hz to 120Hz, which also makes these smartphones good for some medium-level gaming. Some brands even offer AMOLED displays which benefit from deep blacks and richer colours compared to IPS displays, and this is useful when streaming video. Camera capabilities are definitely better than your typical budget smartphone, although low-light camera performance is often disappointing. 

The new additions to our Rs. 20,000 smartphone buying guide include the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion, which has recently had a price drop. The Vivo T1 5GMoto G71 5G and the Redmi Note 11T 5G continue to be some of our top recommendations. There are still a few older models that continue to deserve your attention.

Here are Gadgets 360’s picks of the top phones under Rs. 20,000 in India, in no particular order. We have reviewed all the phones on this list and have tested them in depth, including their raw performance, camera capabilities, software, ease of use, physical design, battery life, and charging speed.

Best Phones under Rs. 20,000 

Phones under Rs. 20,000 Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10) Price in India (as recommended)
OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G 8 Rs. 19,999
Realme 9 5G Speed Edition 8 Rs. 19,999
Vivo T1 5G 8 Rs. 15,990
Moto G71 5G 8 Rs. 15,999
Redmi Note 11T 5G 8 Rs. 15,999
Realme 8s 5G 8 Rs. 17,999
Motorola Edge 20 Fusion 8 Rs. 17,999


OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G

A lot of fans have been waiting for a sub-Rs. 20,000 OnePlus phone, and in 2022, we finally have it. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G is a more affordable version of the Nord CE 2 5G for the most part, but it does offer slightly better specs in some areas. The phone has a crisp 120Hz display, and runs the latest Android version with little to no bloatware. It delivers excellent battery life plus decently quick charging, and good all-round performance for the price. If you have your heart set on owning a OnePlus smartphone or if long-term software updates rank high on your ‘must-have’ list, you should consider the Nord CE 2 Lite 5G.

 


Realme 9 5G Speed Edition

The Realme 9 5G Speed Edition is a more powerful and certainly a more appealing model than the Realme 9 5G. With prices starting just under Rs. 20,000, this phone packs a powerful SoC, a 144Hz refresh rate display, and a big 5,000mAh battery. It also supports 30W fast charging, which is convenient. The base variant, which is the one to get in our opinion, does not have many direct competitors and offers the maximum bang for your buck if you’re looking for good performance in this segment. One thing to keep in mind that this phone does not have an ultra-wide camera and video stabilisation isn’t the best. 

 


Vivo T1 5G

The first smartphone in Vivo’s T series, the T1 5G (Review), is a solid contender at an impressive price of Rs. 15,990 for the base variant. You get a 120Hz display and a 5G-ready Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, all packaged in a body that’s just 8.25mm slim. The dewdrop notch at the top of the display may feel a bit outdated, but this display packs a 240Hz touch sampling rate, which should be good for gamers. The Vivo T1 5G lacks an ultra-wide-angle camera and comes with a relatively slow 18W charger, but for those focussed purely on performance, it should be a good purchase.

 


Moto G71 5G

Priced at Rs. 18,999 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, the Moto G71 (Review) offers a near-stock Android 11 software experience, with an Android 12 update expected soon. Those who prefer stock Android will find this phone to be a better choice over the rest of the devices in this list. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 SoC, it also features 5G, making it more future-proof than the older Moto G60. With a decent camera and good battery life, the Moto G71 is one of our top picks for the 5G-conscious buyer who simply cannot do without stock Android.

 


Redmi Note 11T 5G

Powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 810 SoC, this 5G-enabled budget smartphone from Xiaomi packs in good performance for gamers along with good battery life. Shutterbugs may not be too happy with the Redmi Note 11T 5G‘s (Review) two rear cameras and their average performance. At the same time its 90Hz LCD panel with 240Hz touch sampling rate makes it a capable budget smartphone for gaming. There’s also a large 5,000mAh battery which can be charged quickly using the 33W charger provided in the box. The device is IP53 rated for dust and water resistance, so it can survive light splashes of water.

 


Realme 8s 5G

The Realme 8s 5G (Review) looks nearly identical to the Realme 8 5G, except for a slightly thicker display chin. It’s powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 810 5G SoC and comes with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, depending on the variant you choose. Battery life is one of this phone’s strong suits, and the 5,000mAh battery easily lasts for more than a day of typical use.

The 64-megapixel main camera managed good photos in daylight in our tests but the lack of an ultra-wide-angle camera makes the 8s 5G less versatile than some of the competition. Low-light camera performance was average, though Night mode helped improve the output. Overall, the Realme 8s 5G is only a mild improvement over the 8 5G, but an improvement nonetheless.

 


Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

With the new Motorola Edge 30 Fusion (Review) priced well above the Edge 20 Fusion, the latest model sits in a different price segment altogether, rather than being a successor. The Edge 20 Fusion was launched in India starting at Rs. 21,499, but recently received price cuts. Despite being a bit old, the Edge 20 Fusion strikes a good balance between performance and software. It sports a 6.7-inch OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. It has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, a dedicated Google Assistant button, and even an official IP52 rating. This smartphone packs in powerful hardware, plus a clean near-stock Android UI which will appeal to Android purists. There’s very little to complain about here, other than its relatively average low-light camera performance.

 


Buying an affordable 5G smartphone today usually means you will end up paying a “5G tax”. What does that mean for those looking to get access to 5G networks as soon as they launch? Find out on this week’s episode. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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