These are the Best Android Phones to buy in India in 2021
If you’re in the Indian market for a new Android smartphone and are wondering what the best Android phones are across different categories, we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of the best Android phones in India you can buy right from the affordable budget segment to the premium flagships with top-of-the-line features and specifications. We’ve categorized the smartphones based on specific user requirements like gaming, cameras, etc., so there’s something for everyone.
Our attempt has been to try and keep this list as mainstream as possible and to make sure all the phones we mention are easily accessible. If you want something unique, we suggest you check out the best foldable phones as they offer a completely new experience.
Navigate this article:
- Best Android Phone Overall: OnePlus 9 Pro
- Best Affordable Flagship: iQOO 7
- Best Android Phone for Most People: Mi 11X
- Best Phone under ₹20,000: Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
- Best Phone under ₹15,000: Redmi Note 10
- Best Phone under ₹12,500: Redmi 10 Prime
- Best Phone under ₹10,000: Realme Narzo 30A
- Best Phone under ₹7,500: Redmi 9A
- Specific use cases:
- Best Foldable Phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
- Best Gaming Phone: Asus ROG Phone 5
- Best Budget Gaming Phone: Poco F3 GT
- Best Camera Phone: Vivo X60 Pro+
- Best Stock Android Phone: Google Pixel 4a
- Best Affordable 5G Phone: Realme 8 5G
- Best Phone for Enthusiasts: OnePlus 8T
Best Android Phone Overall: OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus in its initial few years as a brand was known to produce flagship killers which were essentially phones with flagship specs but at a much lower price. In the last few years though, OnePlus has moved up several tiers and is now competing directly against other flagship smartphones not just in terms of specs but also the price. With the OnePlus 8 Pro last year, the brand included some vital features from other flagships like IP68 rating and wireless charging. This year with the OnePlus 9 Pro, they’ve gone all-in with the cameras.
Performance has never been an issue with OnePlus smartphones. In fact, they’re among the snappiest phones on the market. The OnePlus 9 Pro doesn’t disappoint in that regard either. The Snapdragon 888 is the best chip Qualcomm has to offer and when coupled with a smooth 120Hz QHD+ AMOLED display, the overall experience of using the phone is as premium as it can get.
Cameras have usually been the Achilles’ heel on OnePlus smartphones but by partnering with Hasselblad, they seem to have done a pretty good job this time around with the OnePlus 9 Pro. While the cameras weren’t extraordinary at launch, regular software updates have improved them considerably to a point where they’re now comparable with other flagship phones. The battery life is decent too and you get OnePlus’ 65W Warp charging which is super-fast, alongside compatibility with other fast charging standards too. Overall, the OnePlus 9 Pro offers a complete package and a no-frills experience for anyone who wants the best Android experience. This makes it our pick for one of the best Android phones in India.
If you’re an enthusiast and love flashing ROMs and kernels on your phone, this is a good option for you too since OnePlus phones generally have a bootloader that’s easy to unlock.
Also Great: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Galaxy S21 Ultra loses out on the top spot due to the fact that it comes with the Exynos 2100 SoC in India instead of the Snapdragon 888 used on the US variant. The Exynos 2100 has improved quite a lot compared to previous Exynos chips found on older generations of Samsung flagships, but it’s still not up there with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 in terms of performance, especially for sustained gaming. The efficiency has been improved considerably though as the battery life on the Exynos variant is quite good. Other than that, everything else on the Galaxy S21 Ultra is top-tier.
The 120Hz LTPO panel with QHD+ resolution is one of the best you can find on any smartphone. As mentioned earlier, the battery life is good, and there’s support for fast charging along with wireless charging. It runs on Samsung’s One UI and will get three years of software updates. If you don’t play a lot of high-end games, you’re not going to notice a lot of difference in performance compared to the Snapdragon variant of the S21 Ultra.
It has the most versatile camera system around — four strong cameras that cover focal lengths from 13mm to 240mm (not even factoring in digital zoom). The main 108MP sensor captures razor-sharp photos during the day, and at night can make do without night mode trickery due to its large sensor size. The ultra-wide is not the best ultra-wide around, but it’s still very good in terms of maintaining the sharpness and keeping consistent color science. The two zoom lenses are the best the industry has to offer right now, especially the Periscope lens that can capture 10x optical zoom photos. In fact, even up to 20x digital zoom photos remain very usable for social media.
It’s even got support for the S Pen so if you miss the Note series of phones from Samsung and don’t want to splurge on the new Galaxy Z Fold 3, you can still pick up the Galaxy S21 Ultra and you can doodle around or take notes during a meeting. It’s got the smaller things covered too like wireless charging, IP68 rating, Samsung DeX support, etc. It’s a complete flagship phone in all departments
Note: The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra was our initial pick for the Best Android Phone but Xiaomi has no plans to restock the product in India anymore.
Best Affordable Flagship Phone: iQOO 7
Just like its elder sibling, the iQOO 7 provides excellent value for money which is why it’s the best affordable flagship smartphone to buy in India. The iQOO 7 carries over all the goodness from the Legend to a more affordable price-point with some minor changes that don’t really affect the overall usability a lot. The Snapdragon 870 comes in place of the Snapdragon 888 on the Legend which by the way is no slouch. The iQOO 7 can also handle extended gaming sessions with ease.
In fact, the Snapdragon 870 is one of the best flagship-grade chips this year since its performance is excellent and it manages to maintain good thermals. The Snapdragon 888 is infamous to touch high temperatures with extensive use, especially gaming, so the Snapdragon 870 is a great alternative with not a lot of differences.
What makes the iQOO 7 stand out from the crowd is a dedicated chip that drives the 120Hz AMOLED display. The primary camera is also the same 48MP shooter, so you can expect some good shots. The battery is slightly higher than the Legend at 4,400mAh with support for the same 66W fast charging. If you’re looking to buy a flagship smartphone without spending a bomb, the iQOO 7 is among the best Android phones in India in the budget flagship category.
Also Great: OnePlus Nord 2 5G
The OG OnePlus Nord was one of the most hyped phones of last year, and it delivered. The Nord 2, launched just a few days back, tries to build on that solid foundation and does a pretty good job. For starters, the mid-range Snapdragon 765G has now been swapped out for a flagship-grade MediaTek Dimensity 1200 SoC. What this means is the performance of the Nord 2 is now stellar and can compete against phones priced much higher as well. If you’re looking for a capable gaming phone at this price point and don’t really care about the bells and whistles the Poco F3 GT brings with it, the OnePlus Nord 2 will perform equally well.
Moreover, you get the same 50MP primary camera from the OnePlus 9 making this one of the best camera phones in this price range. There’s a 90Hz AMOLED display with a hole-punch cutout and while we wish it was 120Hz to match the competition, the smooth animations on OxygenOS almost make up for the slight reduction in refresh rate. Speaking of OxygenOS, this is the first phone from OnePlus to come with a version of OxygenOS that has its codebase merged with ColorOS so you will see a few changes in the UI. There’s a 4500mAh battery with support for 65W Warp charging.
You can know more about the OnePlus Nord 2 in our dedicated review but if we have to give you a quick idea about the device, we would say it’s one of the best OnePlus devices in the recent past that too at an affordable price range. You’re getting a clean software experience with ample horsepower under the hood for most tasks. The cameras are good for the price and the 65W charging just makes the entire deal sweeter. Overall, a great package and a strong contender for the best affordable flagship of the year.
Best Android Phone for Most People: Mi 11X
The Mi 11X was recently launched in India alongside the Mi 11X Pro and Mi 11 Ultra. Out of the three, the Mi 11X is the most affordable smartphone and the one most of you should get. In terms of value for money and price to performance ratio, the Mi 11X offers a solid package that should suffice the needs of almost every smartphone user. The Snapdragon 870 is a flagship chip, there’s a 120Hz AMOLED display, 5G, and a 48MP primary camera.
For the price the Mi 11X sells for, it offers an experience most users will enjoy and most average users will not have anything to complain about. The glass back adds a premium touch and the powerful SoC means that mobile gamers will be happy too. MIUI on the Mi 11X offers a slightly cleaner experience compared to what you get on an affordable phone from Xiaomi, so that’s a plus. If you want a reliable phone that offers good performance, this is the one to consider.
The cameras aren’t the best on this phone but when you combine it with all the other goodness you’re getting in a package that’s quite affordable, it starts to look like a well-rounded device. You don’t have to worry about the performance of this device nor will you be disappointed with the display. The beautiful AMOLED display is a treat to the eyes
Also Great: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
If you’re looking for a reliable phone from a reputed brand that can handle most of your day-to-day activities with ease, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G does a great job. Note we’re specifically talking about the S20 FE 5G since the 4G variant, which was launched earlier in India, comes with the older Exynos 990 SoC which is underpowered and chews through battery like nobody’s business. The 5G variant, on the other hand, has the exact same specifications but swaps out the inferior chipset for the Snapdragon 865 which performs really well and even offers 5G which is good for future-proofing.
You get a nice AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a triple camera setup, stereo speakers, 4500mAh battery with 25W fast charging, wireless charging, and IP68 water resistance as well. There’s 128GB of fast UFS 3.1 storage on the base variant with 6GB of RAM. The selfie shooter is a 32MP unit and the phone also has an under-display fingerprint scanner. Be it for gaming, cameras, or just general day-to-day performance, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G ticks all the right boxes.
While there are similar phones to the S20 Fe 5G that either offer better specifications in some departments or are priced lower for the same or better package, this phone is primarily for those who want the brand value of Samsung along with all the software features of One UI. Needless to say, Samsung makes some of the best displays for smartphones which is another big reason to get the Galaxy S20 Fe 5G.
Best Phone under ₹20,000: Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
It’s no surprise that Xiaomi generally offers some of the most value-for-money smartphones, especially in the mid-range category. This time though, they took it to a whole other level with the Redmi Note 10 series. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max has everything you would need from a mid-range smartphone, plus more. The display is a gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED panel with a tiny hole punch. The primary camera on the rear is a 108MP sensor that shoots some of the best pictures in this price range.
In terms of performance, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max gets the Snapdragon 732G which should be good for most people. However, this phone skimps out on 5G which, to be honest, is not a big deal at least at this point of time in India. There’s a large 5,020mAh battery with 33W fast charging which will get you through a full day’s worth of use. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max offers a complete package for the price and you just can’t go wrong with this one.
Xiaomi has really nailed it with the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max this year. Not only is it one of the best mid-range of the year, but it’s one of the best mid-range phones that has even been launched in India under the price of ₹20,000. It offers such a good package under that price especially with the new upgraded display, a 108MP camera, and a solid battery all combined into a slim and light form factor. This phone is highly recommended.
Best Phone under ₹15,000: Redmi Note 10
As we mentioned earlier, Xiaomi hit it out of the park with the Redmi Note 10 series launch in India this year. Even the base Redmi Note 10 offers solid value for money especially in terms of display and cameras. You can get a Full HD+ AMOLED display which is quite rare in this segment along with a 48MP camera quad-camera setup that can shoot some good pictures. The build quality is also solid on the Redmi Note 10 thanks to a glass back.
One area where the Redmi Note 10 slightly falls short is in terms of performance. You get a Snapdragon 678 chip which is fine for day-to-day activities and social media apps but starts to struggle a bit when pushed with some heavy games. The 5000mAh battery ensures good all-day battery life and you get a 33W fast charger in the box which is a bonus. If you consume a lot of content, you are going to love the Redmi Note 10, especially for its display. This is easily one of the best Android phones in India in this price bracket.
The Redmi Note 10 remains to be the best pick in this segment despite other options in the Redmi Note family itself launching at similar price points. That’s mainly because the price to performance ratio offered by the Redmi Note 10 is the best among the lot, making it a great pick. The AMOLED display is one of the major USPs of this phone so if you want a phone to watch a lot of content on, you just cannot go wrong with this.
- The Redmi Note 10 is the best budget smartphone you can get thanks to a beautiful AMOLED display and a capable set of cameras. Good build quality and design are positives and if you watch a lot of videos and movies online, you are going to enjoy using this phone.
Best Phone under ₹12,500: Redmi 10 Prime
The Redmi 10 Prime is Xiaomi’s latest budget-oriented device for the Indian market. It comes with MediaTek’s Helio G88 chipset along with a 90Hz LCD display which is quite common at this price point. The phone also has a large 6000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging which means if endurance is high on your priority list, this phone will serve you very well.
There’s a new 50MP primary camera on the device along with three other sensors. The front has a punch-hole cutout for the selfie shooter. The Redmi Note 10 was initially launched at a price lower than that of the Redmi 10 Prime but due to the global chip shortage and reasons that are best known to the brand itself, the Note 10 is now selling for ₹14k which makes the Redmi 10 Prime a good choice for a phone around the ₹12k price bracket.
Also Great: Realme Narzo 50A
The Realme Narzo 50A is a decent alternative to the Redmi 10 Prime in case the phone isn’t in stock or you just don’t like MIUI and prefer Realme UI instead. The phone has the Helio G85 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage. Considering the price, the performance that you’re going to get with this phone is pretty good. You get a large 6.5-inch HD+ display and there’s also a fingerprint scanner on the rear for security.
The major highlight of this phone is the 6000mAh battery which will ensure that you can use the phone for an extended period no matter how heavily you use it. Even if you play a lot of games or watch a lot of videos online, you should be able to get through a day with ease. There are three cameras on the back — a 50MP primary shooter with two 2MP sensors. An 8MP camera is present for selfies.
Best Phone under ₹10,000: Realme Narzo 30A
As we go down the price ladder, there aren’t a lot of smartphones that offer compelling specifications at a competitive price. However, the Narzo 30A from Realme offers a fairly good package for the price and can be a nice option for someone looking to get their first smartphone, or a secondary phone to go along with another phone you already have. The processor under the hood is a strong point in favor of the Narzo 30A. The Helio G85 performs well and can even play some heavy games albeit at low graphics settings.
It has a 6.55-inch HD+ display and a 13MP + 2MP camera setup on the rear with a fingerprint scanner beneath it. A major highlight of the Narzo 30A is its 6,000mAh battery which, when coupled with a 720p display, means you can expect really good battery life from the smartphone. At this price, the Realme Narzo 30A is a good option that offers lag-free performance and great endurance.
Also Great: Infinix Hot 11
The Infinix Hot 11 is one of the only phones under ₹10,000 to offer a Full HD+ display making it an easy recommendation for anyone who watches a lot of content on their smartphone. Most other smartphones in this price range have HD+ displays that don’t look great especially on larger panels. Apart from the display, the Hot 11 is also pretty good in other departments. It’s got the Helio G70 chipset from MediaTek which should handle day-to-day tasks without a lot of issues.
The battery is also big at 5,200mAh and when you pair that with a processor that’s not very power-hungry, you’re going to get pretty good battery life. There’s 4GB of RAM along with 64GB of onboard storage. The rear has a 13MP camera with a depth sensor while the front gets an 8MP sensor. If you want a good quality display to watch a lot of videos and movies on your phone, you should consider this phone from Infinix.
Best Phone under ₹7,500: Redmi 9A
If you’re looking for an ultra-affordable entry-level option and don’t want to spend too much, the Redmi 9A is a decent option. It has the Helio G25 SoC with 2GB of RAM so expect to see some lags but that’s unfortunately what you get for this price. There’s a 6.53-inch HD+ display with a water-drop notch with a 5MP selfie shooter and a 13MP camera on the rear of the phone.
This phone is primarily for those who are switching from a feature phone to a smartphone, or if you want a phone just for basic tasks like calling, texting, watching videos, etc. Note that the Redmi 9A has been around for a while and its successor might be right around the corner. But until that comes out, this is a good option under ₹7k.
Best Foldable Phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
If you like being at the forefront of cutting-edge technology and want the ultimate phone to flaunt and a productivity powerhouse that’s great for multitasking, you cannot go wrong with the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Foldables are still relatively new and given the complex technology, they’re also more expensive than conventional candy bar phones. But of course, they come with a novelty factor that makes them stand out. Samsung was one of the pioneers of foldable phones and the new Galaxy Z Fold 3 is of the best foldables you can buy in India right now.
It has the Snapdragon 888, a large 120Hz internal display with an under-display camera along with a 120Hz cover display, a triple camera setup, and a 4400mAh battery to power it all. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 even gets support for the S Pen this time so if you miss the Note series, this is the phone to go for. If you want a tablet that folds and fits into your pocket and can double up as a productivity or entertainment companion, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a great pick. Provided you don’t mind spending that much money, of course.
Foldables are a really interesting category. They’re refreshing and futuristic, and can also improve your productivity and change the way you use your smartphone. In fact, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 does exactly that. Unlike clamshell phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a phone that folds out to become a tablet or a tablet that folds into a phone. No matter how you refer to it, it’s essentially a pocket PC that you can carry around with you to get some serious work done or enjoy consuming media like no other phone can.
With a Snapdragon 888, excellent speakers, and that large 7.6-inch screen, the Z Fold 3 is excellent for gaming or movie watching. While the cameras aren’t the best around, they’re still quite good and enough for most.
Also Great: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Do you think current slab smartphones have become too big to fit comfortably in your pocket? If so, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is for you. A clamshell foldable that, when folded up, can fit into the breast pocket of a jacket or a small women’s purse, the Z Flip 3 is a compact yet powerful device. It’s also one of the most affordable foldable phones that’s actually worth buying.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a major improvement over the original Z Flip. The outside cover display is much larger, allowing for easy access to notifications and other functionality without opening the phone. The main display now has a refresh rate of 120Hz and the phone has gained IPX8 water resistance. It’s also the cheapest foldable phone that you can buy currently in India.
The Snapdragon 888 is what we have inside the Galaxy Z Flip 3 which means it’s no slouch when it comes to performance. You can run all sorts of apps and games on this phone, including the most demanding titles and you won’t have any issues. This isn’t really a phone meant for gaming though. It’s more of a fashion accessory or a phone that you would want to flaunt, given it’s so unique compared to traditional candy bar phones.
The internal display on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is an OLED display that’s as big as any other recent normal phone. It’s a 120Hz panel so you’re not really missing out on anything that you would get on other phones in this price range. There’s a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. Speaking of cameras, there’s a dual-camera setup on the Flip 3 which you can also use to take selfies by using the small cover display on the outside as a viewfinder. The cover display is mainly used to check the time and any pending notifications.
The one inevitable problem that plagues the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is battery life. Given the unique form factor, it’s difficult to fit in a large battery, which means most people will have to charge the phone sometime by evening if you want it to get through to the end of the day. The charging speed isn’t very fast either so that’s something to keep in mind. Other than that, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the foldable phone for the masses and Samsung is surely headed in the right direction.
The Z Flip 3 features a 6.7 inch 120Hz OLED display on the inside and a 1.9-inch cover display that’s ideal for quick interactions with the phone when it’s closed. And because the phone can stay open mid-fold, it’s a great hands-free video watching or video call taking device too. With IPX8 water resistance and a durable hinge, the Z Flip 3 should ease fragility concerns.
Best Gaming Phone: Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus has been killing it with its ROG series of gaming phones that come fitted with one of the best hardware that you can find on any smartphone. Of course, there’s the Snapdragon 888 at the heart of it which means you can play the best of games without any issues. Given it’s a gaming phone, the display is large and doesn’t have any sort of notch or cutout. Instead, it has slightly chunky bezels at the top and bottom which also house dual front-facing stereo speakers.
The display itself refreshes at 144Hz which looks and feels ultra-smooth. The battery is massive at 6,000mAh which allows for extended gaming sessions. There are two USB-C ports for charging as well as attaching accessories like a cooling fan or a gamepad. Touch capacitive triggers flank the right edge of the phone and with gaming, and you even get an RGB logo matrix at the back contributing to the gamer look. The headphone jack on the ROG Phone 5 has a dedicated hi-fi DAC for better audio processing. The only downside with the ROG Phone 5 is that the cameras aren’t as good as other phones in this price range. If you’re serious about mobile gaming, this is the smartphone to get.
Asus literally went all-in with the ROG Phone 5 this time. It’s packed with specifications that make it a powerhouse. If you’re looking for the ultimate smartphone that’s got everything you need on paper and even in practical usage, look no further.
Best Budget Gaming Phone: Poco F3 GT 5G
The Poco F3 GT is the latest phone from the house of Poco in India and is aimed at mobile gaming enthusiasts. While the specifications that it offers may appeal to everyone including non-gamers, there are some unique elements that make this phone a compelling option for anyone looking to get a gaming phone under ₹30k. There’s a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 5G chip under the hood providing fast and reliable performance in games like BGMI and CoD Mobile. Gaming triggers have been around on phones for a while now but the Poco F3 GT takes it up a notch by introducing retractable maglev triggers instead of capacitive ones for better tactile feedback.
You get a 10-bit 120Hz AMOLED panel that provides a superior viewing experience while gaming or consuming media, and a triple camera setup at the back with a 64MP primary sensor. There’s a 5,065mAh battery powering all the internals along with support for 67W fast charging. The phone has a glass back giving it a premium feel in the hand. The Poco F3 GT is an ideal phone for most gamers and a good pick even for general consumers since it’s got most bases covered. Solid performance, a good display, long battery life, and decent cameras.
Best Camera Phone: Vivo X60 Pro+
Vivo introduced its gimbal camera technology with the Vivo X50 Pro last year which was one of the best camera phones of its time. This time around, Vivo has taken it up a notch by launching the Vivo X60 Pro+ which has even better optics and a partnership with Zeiss that brings back old Nokia memories. The Vivo X60 Pro+ has a 50MP primary camera accompanied by an array of 48MP+32MP+8MP sensors making it one of the most versatile camera setups on a smartphone.
Not just cameras, but the rest of the package Vivo has provided with the X60 Pro+ is also top-notch. The Snapdragon 888 resides under the hood so performance is right up there with the best smartphones. The curved AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate adds to the premium design which is complemented well by the leather panel on the back. There’s a 4,200mAh cell fueling everything with support for 55W fast charging. If cameras are your topmost priority, this is one of the best Android phones in India.
Best Stock Android Phone: Google Pixel 4a
A lot of consumers seem to prefer a clean, minimalistic UI experience over custom Android skins that most manufacturers use on their devices. For people looking for such phones, a UI that is either stock Android or close to vanilla Android/AOSP is high on the priority list. This is where the Pixel 4a comes in. Since the phone is made directly by Google, you get the best Android experience along with the latest software updates. The Pixel 4a isn’t the most impressive phone on paper especially for its asking price, but it scores high in terms of software as well as cameras.
The Pixel 4a comes with a modest Snapdragon 730G which may seem underwhelming but the clean UI ensures the performance is smooth for the most part. While there’s just a single camera on the rear at a time when quad cameras are the norm, the Pixel 4a has one of the best, if not the best camera performance in its segment. If you want a reliable point-and-shoot camera, the Pixel 4a is the way to go. The phone is compact and lightweight as well making it easy to handle and carry around.
Also Great: Moto Edge 20 Fusion
If you’re looking for a phone running stock Android but do not want to spend a lot on the Pixel 4a or if you have a limited budget, the Moto Edge 20 Fusion is a good mid-range option. It comes with the MediaTek Dimensity 800U 5G chipset along with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The display is a 6.67-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. The primary camera on the Moto Edge 20 Fusion is a major highlight of the phone. It’s a 108MP sensor coupled with an 8MP ultra-wide shooter.
Battery life is also excellent on the device as it has a huge 5000mAh cell. Of course, the phone runs on stock Android just like all devices from Moto. The UI is clean and simple and Moto has added a few custom features like Moto gestures and additional themes. If you want a phone with no ads, bloatware, and pre-installed apps, that’s exactly what you get with the Moto Edge 20 Fusion. We’re not really sure about software updates though since Moto’s track record hasn’t been the best lately.
Best Affordable 5G Phone: Realme 8 5G
Realme initially launched the Realme 8 and Realme 8 Pro that were compatible only with 4G networks. However, they followed it up with the Realme 8 5G. Since 5G is all the rage currently across the globe (if only for the marketing hype), brands are cashing in by launching 5G phones that are slightly pricier than 4G phones and pitching them as future-proof. In India, 5G is still a long way off so if you’re going to change your phone in the next two years, getting a 4G-enabled phone, for now, seems like a smarter option.
Even then, if you still want a 5G smartphone and are going to use your phone for more than three to four years, the Realme 8 5G is a good option. It has the Dimensity 700 chip from MediaTek that’s quite powerful, a 90Hz IPS LCD display, a 5,000mAh battery, and a 48MP triple camera setup. As you can probably tell, apart from the SoC, the rest of the specifications aren’t that impressive which is a compromise you make to get 5G at an affordable price. If you really want 5G and a chipset that performs the best at this price range, go for it.
Also Great: Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco has been launching great value-for-money smartphones in the Indian market, be it the Poco F1 from back in the day that came with a flagship SoC, or the Poco X3 Pro that was launched a few months back targeted towards mobile gamers looking for a powerful phone under Rs. 20k. The Poco M3 Pro is also one such smartphone that aims to democratize 5G connectivity (albeit the fact there are no 5G networks yet in India). The Dimensity 700 handles CPU duties and does a fairly good job at it. There’s a 90Hx IPS LCD display with a punch-hole cutout.
The back houses three cameras out of which you would probably use just the primary 48MP shooter. A 5,000mAh battery is what powers everything with support for 18W fast charging. On the software side of things, there’s MIUI 12 running on top of Android 11. Given this is a phone from Poco, MIUI is relatively cleaner with no ads. There are phones in this price range that offer better specs and value so we would recommend the Poco M3 Pro 5G strictly only to someone looking for a 5G phone that they plan to use for the next 2-3 years since that’s when 5G will actually be available to use on a large scale in India.
Best Phone for Enthusiasts: OnePlus 8T
If you’re an Android enthusiast and frequent the XDA forums in search of custom ROMs and kernels, or you simply want to root your phone to use some Magisk modules, you’ll want a phone that can be modded easily. OnePlus phones traditionally have been very easy to work in this regard. The OnePlus 8T, despite being almost a year old, offers solid specifications for day-to-day use as well as rigorous tasks like gaming.
As mentioned, OnePlus phones have been easy to mod since things like unlocking the bootloader are pretty straightforward. The developer community for OnePlus phones is also strong and the OnePlus 8T is one of the most popular devices on the XDA forums. There are a lot of custom ROMs available for the device including LineageOS, Pixel Experience, AICP, etc. which make it a great option for enthusiasts. Since the successor to the phone has already been launched, you can get the OnePlus 8T for a reduced price too which is a bonus.
These were our picks for the best Android phones in India across various categories and price brackets. The Galaxy S21 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro remain strong picks for the Indian market for a flagship, while the iQOO 7 is a good pick if you’re a bit cash-constrained but still want a flagship. If you have a mixed usage style and do a little bit of everything on your phone and are also looking for great value, the Xiaomi Mi 11X is what should go into your pocket. And of course, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is a no-brainer when it comes to mid-range smartphones and offers the best overall experience thanks to the 120Hz AMOLED display and the 108MP camera.