Ameya DalviFeb 07, 2019 11:20:09 IST
Those days are long gone when one needed to shell out in excess of Rs 50,000 to indulge in flagship features like the fastest processor, loads of RAM and storage, a brilliant camera or even a premium design. You can get one or more of those things at almost half that price if you know where to look. And today, I intend to point you exactly in that direction. So let’s see which are the best smartphones one can buy under Rs 30,000 this February and what they have to offer.
Best phones under Rs 30,000 in India
Let’s start with the latest handset of the lot, Nokia 8.1. Ideally, HMD Global should have named it Nokia 7.1 Plus, but we won’t make too much fuss about the nomenclature. The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s latest upper mid-range chipset Snapdragon 710 (see, another 7 and 1… ok, ignore) and is available in two variants — 4 GB RAM/64 GB storage and 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage. We will opt for the latter because it offers a lot more for a price difference of Rs 3,000. The storage can be expanded further by 400 GB. The phone has the trademark classy Nokia metal and glass design with dual-tone anodised metal frame that users loved in the Nokia 7 Plus.
The Nokia 8.1 has a sharp 6.18-inch Full HD+ display with a notch. A 12 MP+13 MP dual camera setup at the back boasts of Zeiss optics, dual pixel auto-focus and optical image stabilisation. The cameras produce some vibrant photographs with the right amount of sharpness and detail. One cool thing here is that the Live Bokeh (portrait) mode saves the depth data and lets you tweak the photos in Google Photos app after you shoot them. Like most Nokia phones these days, the 8.1 is also a part of the Android One bandwagon. So you get stock Android UI and regular OS and security updates. The phone runs Android Pie.
Nokia 8.1 price in India: Rs 29,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage
Asus Zenfone 5Z
Asus Zenfone 5Z was the first Snapdragon 845 phone to be priced under Rs 30,000 in India. And that was the price of the base variant then. Now, the top variant is also available under 30K. I am talking about the one with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. It lets you expand the storage further up to 2 TB with a microSD card. The glass and aluminium body makes the phone look elegant and sturdy and has a flagship feel about it. The 6.2-inch Full HD+ notched display is sharp and feels just the right size.
The 12 MP+8 MP dual rear cameras do an impressive job in most lighting conditions courtesy of f/1.8 bright 24 mm wide angle lens with a fairly large pixel size and 4-axis optical image stabilisation. It can also record 4K videos at 30FPS and slow-motion videos at 1080p and 720p resolution at 120 and 240 FPS respectively. The Asus Zenfone 5Z is a solid all-round phone with premium looks, very good cameras, the fastest SoC currently available and now at an even better price.
Asus Zenfone 5Z price in India: Rs 24,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage; Rs 28,999 for 8 GB RAM/256 GB storage
Xiaomi released their new sub-brand, Poco F1 last year and did the unthinkable by launching a phone with Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC under Rs 21,000, Yes, I am talking about the Poco F1. Well, that’s the only phone they have launched in India till date. Just like the Asus Zenfone 5Z, you can get the top end variant of the Poco F1 with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage in this budget. You can add another 256 GB to it using a microSD card. The design isn’t remotely as classy as the Asus Zenfone 5z, but the performance is very much at par. Also, you get a larger 4000 mAh battery that lasts longer.
In addition to that, you get a 6.18-inch Full HD+ notched display and a 12 MP+5 MP dual camera setup at the back that does a good job in average to good lighting. It doesn’t come with premium features like optical image stabilisation, but the image quality is pretty good. There’s also a more than decent 20MP selfie camera up front. The Poco launcher is a refreshing change over MIUI that you get in most Xiaomi phones. If you are looking to play PUBG in its full glory on a tight budget and don’t care much about aesthetics, Poco F1 is the phone for you.
Poco F1 price in India: Rs 22,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage; Rs 27,999 for 8 GB RAM/256 GB storage
LG G7 ThinQ
Looking for a handset from one of the premium brands? Here’s one for you. Just like the earlier two handsets, LG G7 ThinQ is also powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. It comes with modest 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of internal storage that can be expanded further to 2 TB. A striking feature here is its 6.1-inch Super Bright QHD+ display with 3120 x 1440 pixels resolution. And did I mention that the phone is IP68 rated dust and water resistant? In simpler terms, it can survive more than a splash or two.
Photography is taken care of by a pair of 16 MP cameras at the back with f/1.9 and f/1.6 apertures. The LG G7 ThinQ boasts of features like the ultrawide lens, optical image stabilisation along with shooting slow motion HD videos at 240 FPS. The quality of captured images and videos is quite impressive. The phone is expected to get an Android 9 Pie update soon.
LG G7 ThinQ price in India: Rs 29,999 for 4 GB RAM/64 GB storage
Huawei sub-brand Honor’s previous flagship, Honor 10, may be approaching its sunset but is still a good buy. The design is still one of the best around with the curved glass and aluminium frame. The phone feels great in hand and the dual-tone back adds to its charm (especially the Phantom Blue variant). Honor 10 is one of the rare higher-end phones that sports a compact body courtesy of its 5.84-inch Full HD+ notched display. It is powered by Huawei’s previous flagship Kirin 970 SoC with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB of internal storage.
Photography department is handled by a combination of 16 MP+24 MP dual rear cameras backed by AI. The cameras capture sharp images in average to well-lit conditions and the output is more than respectable in low light too. The phone recently received an Android 9 Pie update. The Honor 10 debuted at Rs 32,999 over three quarters ago and can be purchased in the Rs 24,999 to Rs 29,999 range presently. Buy one if you spot it closer to 25K and you won’t be disappointed.
Honor 10 price in India: Rs 24,999 to Rs 29,999