Google Pixel 4a, Xiaomi Mi 10T to Apple iPhone SE: Best phones under Rs 40,000 (Dec 2020)

Time to consider a bunch of flagship handsets on a budget, along with a couple of affordable options from Google and Apple under Rs 40,000 this month.


As always, a budget of Rs 40,000 opens up new possibilities when buying smartphones in India. Not only can you buy phones with premium hardware such as a Snapdragon 865 SoC and high refresh rate AMOLED screens, but you also have phones with 108MP cameras and 5G compliance. There are also options from Google and Apple to choose from. So let’s take a look at the best options available under 40K this month.

Best phones to buy under Rs 40,000 in India

Mi 10T/ 10T Pro

Xiaomi’s new budget flagship phones – the Mi 10T and 10T Pro (Review) offer a wide variety of features at a significantly lower price point compared to the Mi 10 that was launched earlier this year. A few corners have been cut to keep the cost down, but there are a few enhancements too. The only major downgrade is the use of an LCD screen in place of a Super AMOLED display. However, the display here is equally big at 6.67 inches, as bright with support for HDR10+, and flaunts a higher refresh rate of 144 Hz. It is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5, and so is the phone’s glass back.

 Google Pixel 4a, Xiaomi Mi 10T to Apple iPhone SE: Best phones under Rs 40,000 (Dec 2020)

Mi 10T Pro. Image: Tech2/Sheldon Pinto

Mi 10T and 10T Pro are both powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 chip and come with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage. The only difference between the two phones is their primary cameras. While the 10T sports a 64 MP shooter, the Pro variant has a 108 MP camera with optical image stabilisation. A 13 MP ultra-wide camera and a 5 MP macro camera can be found on each of the phones, along with a 20 MP selfie camera up front. Both these 5G-ready phones are capable of recording 8K videos at up to 30 fps. They run Android 10 with MIUI 12 on top.

Mi 10T price in India: Rs 37,999 for 8 GB RAM/128 GB storage

Mi 10T Pro price in India: Rs 39,999 for 8 GB RAM/128 GB storage

iQOO 3

iQOO 3 (Review) from the Vivo sub-brand has been on this list before, but now offers even better value for money at a lower price tag. This phone too has an impressive set of specifications and features, along with the latest Qualcomm flagship Snapdragon 865 SoC. For this budget, you can get the 8 GB RAM variant of this phone with 256 GB of internal storage. Its 4,400 mAh battery supplies it sufficient juice to last for over a day of moderate usage. Even better, the company also bundles a 55W fast charger to recharge it in double-quick time.

iQOO 3

iQOO 3

The iQOO 3 comes with a 6.44-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on top, and HDR10+ support. There’s a versatile quad camera setup at the back with a combination of a 48 MP primary camera, 13 MP ultrawide camera, 13 MP telephoto camera for 2X optical zoom and a 2 MP depth sensor. You also get a 16 MP selfie camera located in a tiny punch-hole at the top right of the screen. This phone too runs Android 10, with the company’s custom UI on top.

iQOO 3 price in India: 34,990 for 8 GB RAM/ 256 GB storage

OnePlus 7T

Yes, the OnePlus 7T is still available in India, and we still prefer it over the OnePlus 8 at its asking price. It is a better option if you want more versatile cameras, and doesn’t miss out on any of the key features of its successor (barring 5G). The top variant of this phone with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage can be purchased in this budget. It has a stylish design with a metal frame and glass body protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 at the front and back. There’s a 6.55-inch Full HD+ Fluid AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate for a smooth, flicker-free visual experience. It runs Oxygen OS 10 based on Android 10, and given the company’s excellent track record, one can expect Android 11 on this phone soon.

OnePlus 7T

OnePlus 7T

The OnePlus 7T (Review) is powered by Qualcomm’s previous flagship Snapdragon 855+ chip and has a 3,800 mAh battery that keeps it running for a full day of moderate usage. The bundled Dart charger charges it pretty fast too. You have three cameras at the back starting with a 48 MP primary camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS) and pixel binning, a 16 MP ultrawide camera with autofocus and a 12 MP telephoto camera that provides 2X optical zoom. The cameras manage to shoot some impressive images in various modes and lighting conditions. A drop notch at the top of the screen hosts a 16 MP camera for selfies and video calls.

OnePlus 7T price in India: Rs 37,999 for 8 GB RAM/ 256 GB storage

Google Pixel 4a

If you don’t need a flagship-grade SoC or a barrage of cameras, and look forward to buying arguably the best camera phone in this budget, the Google Pixel 4a (Review) is the phone for you. It may not have a fancy design or the fastest processor around, but this handset offers the goodness of the renowned Pixel camera at a great price point. This phone can achieve with a single 12.2 MP rear camera (with OIS) what most phones cannot with two, three or even four cameras with a much higher megapixel count. The camera output is excellent in every lighting condition including low light, and can click some brilliant portrait shots too.

Image: Tech2/ Sheldon Pinto

Image: Tech2/ Sheldon Pinto

Like all Pixel devices, the Google Pixel 4a is among the first to receive the latest version of Android and security updates. This phone is powered by a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC, and is accompanied by 6 GB RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. Thanks to a 5.81-inch Full HD+ OLED display, the phone is refreshingly compact. This phone is ideally suited for photography enthusiasts rather than hardcore gamers or those looking for a flashy design and humongous screens.

Google Pixel 4a price in India: Rs 31,999 for 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

The Apple iPhone SE (Review) retains its place on our list of best phones under 40K. The 2020 edition of the phone borrows its looks and a bunch of features from the iPhone 8, but not the processor. It is powered by Apple's more recent A13 Bionic chip that you get on all iPhone 11 series phones. Think of it as an Apple iPhone 8 with a faster processor and a lower price tag. Here’s another compact phone to consider, if you like those like some of us old-school guys.

iPhone SE (2020). Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

iPhone SE (2020). Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

It has a 4.7-inch Retina LCD display with the typical 326 PPI pixel density. You get Apple’s ever-reliable 12 MP camera at the back with OIS and a 7 MP selfie camera up front. The phone is IP67 rated dust- and water-resistant and runs iOS 13; it is upgradable to the new iOS 14. You can buy the 64 GB storage variant in this budget. At its selling price, it won’t surprise me if a lot of potential Android buyers switch their loyalties to the iOS ecosystem to get a taste of the forbidden fruit.

Apple iPhone SE price in India: Rs 35,900 for 64 GB storage variant


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