It’s October 2021 and our sub-Rs. 15,000 phone guide hasn’t seen much action from the last time we updated it. Our latest additions continue to be the Samsung Galaxy F22, and Realme Narzo 30 5G, which is now available starting at just under Rs. 15,000. A few of the phones on the previous version of this list have had some price revisions. The Redmi Note 9 Power has been retired from our list, since it’s a bit old now and there are enough Redmi 10 series models to take its place.
The latest crop of smartphones under Rs. 15,000 promise very good performance. Many manufacturers are focusing on style, with eye-catching designs, bold colours, and interesting patterns or textures. You can also find smartphones selling for less than Rs. 15,000 with some very neat features that were previously restricted to high-end phones, such as a high screen refresh rate, an IP rating, or an embedded front camera. Some companies have also caught on to the fact that even budget-conscious buyers like guaranteed Android updates, and you won’t find outdated software anymore.
If you are looking for the best smartphone at this budget level, you are in the right place. We have compiled a list of the highest scoring phones in our exhaustive Gadgets 360 reviews, in which we check their performance, cameras, battery life, software, design, and more. Here are the best smartphones you can buy for less than Rs. 15,000 in India right now, in no particular order.
Best phones under 15,000
|Phones under Rs. 15,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|Redmi 10 Prime||8||Rs. 12,499|
|Samsung Galaxy F22||8||Rs. 12,499|
|Realme Narzo 30 5G||8||Rs. 14,999|
|Realme Narzo 30||8||Rs. 12,499|
|Redmi Note 10||8||Rs. 12,999|
|Moto G30||8||Rs. 10,999|
|Realme Narzo 20 Pro||8||Rs. 14,999|
|Realme 7||8||Rs. 14,999|
|Nokia 5.4||7||Rs. 12,999|
|Micromax In Note 1||7||Rs. 12,499|
|Poco M3||8||Rs. 11,499|
|Redmi Note 10S||8||Rs. 14,999|
Redmi 10 Prime
The Redmi 10 Prime carries the family look and sports a big 6.5-inch full-HD+ display with 90Hz refresh rate. It has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the plastic frame, and a quad-camera system at the back.
The smartphone is powered by the MediaTek Helio G88 SoC, along with a 6,000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging. Daylight camera performance was average, despite having a 50-megapixel primary camera. Low-light image quality was underwhelming too, which is one of the main downsides of this phone. While it doesn’t have the same impact that its predecessor did, it does deliver better performance so if that’s more important to you then the Redmi 10 Prime will suit your needs.
Samsung Galaxy F22
Samsung’s Galaxy F22 is a rather basic budget smartphone that goes big on battery life. It also has a vibrant 6.4-inch 90Hz HD+ Super AMOLED display, but cuts down on everything else. The big battery easily lasts two days, but takes a long time to charge. The camera performance is quite average for its segment, but daylight video quality was good, despite being limited to 1080p. The Galaxy F22’s design can be best described as practical, with a display that is made of Gorilla Glass 5 and a plastic unibody. If a vivid display and strong battery life are priorities, then the Galaxy F22 fits the bill.
Realme Narzo 30 5G
The Realme Narzo 30 5G is a slim 5G smartphone with a good 90Hz refresh rate display, great battery life, and mid-level gaming performance. The cameras are a bit disappointing for both stills and video, and to make matters worse, there’s no ultra-wide camera. You get Realme UI plus plenty of preinstalled apps which can spam you with unwanted notifications. Charging is a bit on the slower side. However, if you want 5G support and you have a tight budget, the Narzo 30 5G is something to consider.
Realme Narzo 30
The Realme Narzo 30 is a good budget smartphone that offers a great everyday usage experience, mid-level gaming performance, and good battery life. The design is quite attractive and should appeal to younger buyers. To top it off, there’s a powerful SoC and fast charging. Realme UI can be notorious for generating spam from the vast number of apps that come preinstalled, and camera performance is strictly average too, especially for video. The Narzo 30 is not too bad in terms of value for money at its starting price of Rs. 12,499.
Redmi Note 10
One of the highest-profile launches of 2020 in this segment, the Redmi Note 10 has a slick new design and plenty of features to boast about considering its starting price of Rs. 12,499. To keep costs down, Xiaomi has gone with a 48-megapixel primary rear camera, joined by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2-megapixel macro camera, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. You get the slightly updated Qualcomm Snapdragon 678 SoC plus up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage within our budget. The 6.43-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED screen is a big draw, and the 5000mAh battery doesn’t make this phone too heavy.
The Redmi Note 10 is a good workhorse, and will improve when Xiaomi releases its MIUI 12.5 software update which promises to eliminate spam and bloatware. The Redmi Note 9 is still a viable option at a lower starting price, and the more recently launched Redmi 10S is now also on our list.
Although not the most powerful in terms of processing power, the Moto G30 does surprise us with its capabilities and it’s priced reasonably well at Rs. 10,999. The 6.5-inch display has a 90Hz refresh rate, but on the other hand the resolution is only HD+. This phone is also IP52 rated for splash resistance, and Motorola promises hardware and software security enhancements. You get near-stock Android with a few added gestures and tweaks. The SoC is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 662 and there’s only one configuration with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There’s a 5000mAh battery and 20W charging is supported.
You get a 64-megapixel primary camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2-megapixel macro camera and 2-megapixel depth sensor. This is a good all-rounder phone, and the main downside is that you might find it bulky.
Realme Narzo 20 Pro
The Realme Narzo 20 Pro is an impressive smartphone for a starting price of just Rs. 14,999 and can sometimes be found on sale for less. It has a lot in common with the Realme 7, its close cousin, but also supports the company’s impressive 65W fast charging tech, which makes it a very appealing option. Overall performance is very good, thanks to the beefy MediaTek Helio G95 SoC. The Narzo 20 Pro looks slick, and offers a vivid display, feature-rich software, and excellent battery life. Camera performance is also good, although low-light performance could have been better. The 6GB RAM, 64GB storage variant is available within our budget.
The Realme 7 has already been supplanted by the Realme 8, but it still on sale and still performs well, making it good value for money. The base variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is within our budget. The Realme 7 is snappy, thanks to its speedy Helio G95 SoC and the 90Hz refresh rate of the display. Gaming performance is very good, the display has good brightness, and battery life is excellent. 30W fast charging is convenient. However, one side effect of the big battery is that the Realme 7 is relatively heavy and bulky, and can get a little fatiguing to use. The 64-megapixel main rear camera works well in the daytime and at night.
The Nokia 5.4 is an affordable phone but is still targeted at those who want pro-level video recording tools. It supports H-Log format video recording but the hardware and software aren’t flexible enough to make very good use of that. The primary camera takes good but not particularly impressive shots. The 6.39-inch screen has an HD+ resolution, and the Snapdragon 662 SoC isn’t the most powerful in this segment. However, its physical design is quite attractive. Another plus point is stock Android with no bloatware and the promise of regular updates. The Nokia 5.4 costs Rs. 13,999 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and there’s a variant with 6GB of RAM but the same amount of storage for Rs. 15,499 which is only slightly over budget.
Micromax In Note 1
The return of once-mighty Micromax to the Indian smartphone market was one of the biggest stories of 2020. After much anticipation, the company unveiled its “made in India” In series, with the In Note 1 leading the charge. This phone also offers stock Android with no bloatware or heavy custom UI, and is priced at Rs. 10,999 for 64GB of storage or Rs. 12,499 for 128GB of storage. Both options have 4GB of RAM. Micromax has gone with the MediaTek Helio G85 SoC and there’s a 5000mAh battery which delivers good battery life. There’s enough power here for casual use and even some gaming. The cameras, however, could use some improvement.
The recently launched Poco M3 has a distinctive design and is available in bright yellow in addition to the usual sober options. It’s priced starting at Rs. 10,999 with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while the variant with 128GB of storage costs Rs. 11,999 – and there’s also a difference in the standard of flash memory used for storage, with the 128GB version being slightly faster as well. You get a 6.53-inch full-HD+ screen which is good for this price level, plus the popular Snapdragon 662 SoC and a large 6000mAh battery. Gaming is handled smoothly but camera performance is just okay. The Poco M3 has a 48-megapixel primary camera, 2-megapixel macro camera, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. This phone runs MIUI 12 on top of Android 10 but is supposed to be free of ads and spammy notifications. There’s still bloatware but you do also get lots of useful Android UI tweaks and features.
The Poco M2 Pro is also still an interesting option. Powered by the Snapdragon 720G SoC, it offers decent performance and cameras. It’s priced starting at Rs. 13,999 which is also within our budget.
Redmi Note 10S
The Redmi Note 10 series launched in India earlier this year, but Xiaomi more recently added the new Redmi Note 10S, which is priced higher than the Redmi Note 10 but still sits below,the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. This phone comes in a distinctive new blue gradient colour option and is available in two variants: 64GB of storage for Rs. 14,999, and 128GB of storage for Rs. 15,999.
Both have 6GB of RAM and use the MediaTek Helio G95 processor which is a little more powerful than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 678 used in the Redmi Note 10. The Redmi Note 10S has a quad-camera setup just like the Redmi Note 10, except that the primary camera sensor has a higher 64-megapixel resolution. All other specifications are the same between the two phones. If you want a slim, good-looking phone with a little extra oomph, this could be a good option.