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The Best Smartphones You Can Buy Under Rs. 15,000 [March 2021 Edition]

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Shreshtha Verma
Shreshtha Verma
Shreshtha Verma is a media professional with 6 years of experience in journalism, including 2 years as a freelance writer and 4 years in full-time roles. With degrees in mass communication and law, she specializes in business reporting and has 3000+ bylines to her credit. Passionate about journalism, she excels in storytelling, writing, researching, editing, reporting and team leading.


Thanks to price rises and increased taxes across the industry, action has shifted from the sub-Rs. 10,000 space to the sub-Rs. 15,000 level. You can get a lot of features and excellent specifications these days if you have a budget of at least Rs. 12,000, and stepping up to around Rs. 15,000 will almost guarantee you a fantastic device that will serve your needs for several years without feeling too old. You can now count on getting a processor that’s powerful enough for today’s top games, a large vibrant screen, multiple competent cameras, and a battery that’s big enough to last well over a day. 

Many manufacturers are focusing on style, with eye-catching designs, bold colours, and interesting patterns or textures. You can also find models 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caught on to the fact that even budget-conscious buyers like stock Android with guaranteed updates, and you won’t find outdated software anymore.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. Keep checking back for new entries, as we review more phones. 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 Note 10 8 Rs. 11,999
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. 13,999
Micromax In Note 1 7 Rs. 10,999
Infinix Zero 8i 8 Rs. 14,999
Poco M3 8 Rs. 10,999
Redmi 9 Power 7 Rs. 10,999
Redmi Note 9 Pro 8 Rs. 12,999


Redmi Note 10

One of the most recent launches 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. 11,999. 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. If you like, there’s also the Redmi Note 9, which is still a viable option at a lower starting price. 


Moto G30

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. 


Realme 7

The Realme 7 will soon be replaced by the newly announced Realme 8, but it still performs well and 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. 


Nokia 5.4

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 and 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.  


Infinix Zero 8i

Infinix usually caters to the entry-level market, but the Zero 8i is aimed at buyers who want to spend a little more for premium design and features. Although it was launched starting at Rs. 15,999, it currently sells for Rs. 14,999 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and there are no variants. The large 6.85-inch screen has a full-HD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate, plus dual embedded selfie cameras. It’s powered by the Helio G90T processor and feels snappy even when playing games. The 4500mAh battery is decent and allows this phone to be relatively slim and comfortable. There’s a 48-megapixel primary rear camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a low-light sensor which the company calls an “AI lens”. Photo quality is average, and you’ll also have to deal with some spam notifications and bloatware in the XOS custom UI.


Poco M3

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 9 Power

This offering from Xiaomi is available in three variants: 4GB of RAM + 64GB of storage for Rs. 10,499, 4GB + 128GB for Rs. 11,999, and 6GB + 128GB for Rs. 12,999. You have a choice of black of three bright colours with a large Redmi logo across the back to grab even more attention. It has a big 6000mAh battery which does allow for about a day and a half worth of battery life. You get a 6.53-inch full-HD+ screen and Snapdragon 662 SoC, but one downside is MIUI 12 with its spam and bloatware. The 48-megapixel primary camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2-megapixel macro camera and 2-megapixel depth sensor are a common setup in this segment. Photo quality is good in the daytime but suffers at night. One nice touch that sets this phone apart is its stereo speakers. 


Redmi Note 9 Pro

The Redmi Note 10 series has launched in India, but unfortunately the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max start above Rs. 15,000 and don’t qualify for our guide anymore. The Redmi Note 9 Pro however is still available and offers a big 6.67-inch display and Snapdragon 720G SoC. It comes  with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for Rs. 12,999, 4GB + 128GB for Rs. 13,999, or 6GB + 128GB for Rs. 16,999. If you like its style, you might find the features and specifications are still good value. There’s a 48-megapixel primary camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 5-megapixel macro camera, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. The 5020mAh battery also delivers good battery life, and the body has a P2i splash-proof coating.


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