Apple iPhone SE, OnePlus 9R to iQOO 7 5G: Best phones under Rs 40,000 (June 2021)

Most of the flagship killers in our list of phones under Rs 40,000 this month are well and truly loaded.

Smartphones available for under Rs 40,000 in India tend to improve with every passing quarter. While a couple of handsets have retained their spots on this list, some of the new entrants come loaded to their teeth. If you thought Snapdragon 865 was par for the course in this budget, we have a couple of handsets with the Snapdragon 888 this time. Beyond that, one can expect high refresh rate AMOLED screens, 108MP cameras, 5G compliance and more. Let’s see what you can get your hands on for under Rs 40,000 in June 2021.

Best phones to buy under Rs 40,000 in India

OnePlus 9R / 8T

Call it 8T or 9R; both OnePlus handsets are almost identical, barring a couple of minor differences. The OnePlus 9R was launched in India at Rs 39,999, when the 8T was selling for a few thousand rupees more. Sensibly, the price of the OnePlus 8T (review) has now been lowered to a little below that of the 9R. You get their 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage variants in this budget. Both phones have a 6.55-inch Full HD+ Fluid AMOLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. There’s a 16MP selfie camera located in a tiny punch-hole at the top. The design is quite elegant, with a metal frame and a glass body protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 at the front and back.

OnePlus 9R

OnePlus 9R

You get quad cameras at the rear – a combination of a 48 MP primary camera with OIS, 16 MP ultra-wide camera, 5 MP macro camera and a 2 MP mono camera. The cameras manage to shoot some impressive images in different lighting conditions and modes. The main camera can be smartly used to capture zoomed shots, too. Both phones are 5G-compliant, and while the OnePlus 8T is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 chip, the 9R has a slightly faster Snapdragon 870 SoC. Their 4,500 mAh batteries comfortably last over a day of moderate use, and the bundled 65 W Warp charger juices them up in just about 40 minutes! Both phones run OxygenOS 11 (based on Android 11) out of the box.

OnePlus 9R price in India: Rs 39,999 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage
OnePlus 8T price in India: Rs 38,999 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung’s budget flagship, the Galaxy S20 FE (review), is another excellent option available in this budget. This phone has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ compliance. This stylish phone is IP68 dust- and water-resistant, and is powered by Samsung's high-end Exynos 990 chip that also powers other phones in the Galaxy S20 series. You get 8 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage, which can be expanded further up to 1 TB using a microSD card; a feature fast becoming rare in phones from this category and above.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Image: Tech2/ Sheldon Pinto

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Image: Tech2/ Sheldon Pinto

The camera department consists of a 12 MP primary shooter with dual-pixel PDAF and OIS, a 12 MP ultra-wide camera and an 8 MP telephoto camera with autofocus and OIS for up to 3X optical zoom. Samsung's S series phones are known for their camera quality, and the S20 FE is no different. The 32 MP front camera is impressive, too, and is bound to please selfie enthusiasts. Its 4,500 mAh battery means the phone can last close to a day-and-a-half of moderate use. The phone launched with Android 10 with Samsung’s One UI on top, and an Android 11 update is being rolled out.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE price in India: Rs 36,549 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

Xiaomi’s Mi 11X Pro 5G boasts of some top-of-the-line features all rolled into one competitively priced device. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s current flagship Snapdragon 888 SoC – not something you’ll see often in this budget. You get 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage with it. If that isn’t good enough, you also get a 108 MP camera at the back, along with an 8 MP ultra-wide shooter and a 5 MP macro camera; not to forget the 20 MP front camera for selfies and video calls.

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro

Lastly, the display here is quite impressive, too. You get a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED Full HD+ display with a 120 Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ compliance and it can go as high as 1,300 nits bright. The display (as well as the phone’s glass back) is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The bundled 33 W fast charger promises to charge the phone from 0 to 100 percent in under an hour. The Mi 11X Pro runs Android 11 with MIUI 12 on top.

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G price in India: Rs 39,999 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage

iQOO 7 5G/ iQOO 7 Legend 5G

The latest from Vivo’s sub-brand seems to have improved on most fronts compared to its predecessor. Just like the OnePlus 9R, the iQOO 7 5G is also powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chip, and you get an option of either 8 GB RAM with 128 GB storage or 12 GB RAM with 256 GB storage. The 6.62-inch HDR10+ compliant Full HD+ AMOLED display now gets the 120 Hz refresh rate feature missing in the iQOO 3.

iQoo 7 Legend

iQoo 7 Legend

The 48 MP primary camera now gets OIS and is accompanied by a 13 MP ultra-wide camera and a 2 MP depth sensor. The 13 MP telephoto camera present in the iQOO 3 has been given a miss, but the new features added here easily outweigh those that have been dropped. Also, its aggressive price tag makes the iQOO 7 5G a compelling choice in this price bracket. The phone runs Android 11 with FunTouch OS 11.

You can also get the 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage variant of the iQOO 7 Legend in this budget. It has a more powerful Snapdragon 888 SoC and also comes with a 13 MP telephoto camera for 2X optical zoom. However, you will need to shell out a good Rs 8,000 more over a similar storage variant of the iQOO 7.

iQOO 7 5G price in India: Rs 31,990 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage; Rs 35,990 for 12 GB RAM / 256 GB storage
iQOO 7 Legend 5G price in India: Rs 39,990 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

The mid variant of the Apple iPhone SE (2020) [review] with 128 GB storage is still available in this budget. The 2020 Apple iPhone SE inherits its looks and a bulk of its features from the iPhone 8, but has a much more powerful processor at its core. It is powered by Apple's previous flagship A13 Bionic chip that you get on all iPhone 11 series phones. This is also a good option for those who like the older iPhone design but want more powerful hardware.

Apple iPhone SE. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Apple iPhone SE. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

It has a 4.7-inch Retina LCD display with the typical 326 PPI pixel density that you get on most iPhones. You get Apple’s reliable 12 MP camera at the back with OIS and a 7 MP selfie camera at the front. This IP67 rated dust- and water-resistant phone runs iOS 13, and is upgradeable to the new iOS 14. If you wish to switch over to the iOS platform at a reasonable price point, the Apple iPhone SE is a good option.

Apple iPhone SE (2020) 128 GB storage variant is available on Flipkart India at Rs 37,999 

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