The lower end of the premium smartphone segment is always packed to the brim with plenty of variety. Design and build quality do get a priority here and most phones offer an IP rating as well. While some smartphone manufacturers focus on raw performance, others go big on charging speeds, and some such as the Google Pixel 6a offer some unique software features.
Yes, the newest entrant in our sub Rs. 40,000 smartphone buying guide is the Google Pixel 6a which recently received a major price cut and is now Rs. 34,999. Also new to this segment is the Motorola Edge 30 Pro, which already offered excellent value for a smartphone featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, but is now priced at Rs 39,999 making it even more competitive. The Vivo V25 Pro also gets added to our list as it managed to deliver enough improvements over its colour-changing predecessor, the Vivo V23 Pro.
Here are the best smartphones priced under Rs. 40,000 in India, reviewed and rated by Gadgets 360 in no particular order.
|Phones under Rs. 40,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|Motorola Edge 30 Pro||9||Rs. 39,999|
|Vivo V25 Pro 5G||8||Rs. 35,999|
|Motorola Edge 30 Fusion||9||Rs. 39,999|
|Google Pixel 6a||8||Rs. 34,999|
|Nothing Phone 1||8||Rs. 32,999|
|OnePlus 10R 5G Endurance Edition||8||Rs. 39,999|
|Xiaomi 11T Pro 5G||9||Rs. 34,999|
|iQoo 9 SE||8||Rs. 33,990|
|Oppo Reno 7 Pro 5G||8||Rs. 34,999|
|Realme GT Neo 2||8||Rs. 31,999|
Motorola Edge 30 Pro
The Motorola Edge 30 Pro is incredible value for money and offered good performance at launch, and it continues to do so after a recent price cut. The phone is available in a single 8GB RAM and 128GB storage configuration but at a very competitive price. It’s no longer the flagship for Motorola, but the phone has an AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, two 50-megapixel cameras on the back, and a 60-megapixel selfie camera.
There’s a large 4,800mAh battery to alleviate your battery anxiety. An IP52 rating for basic dust and water resistance is the bare minimum, but it’s something. The cherry on top is indeed Motorola’s MyUX software which is near-stock, with only a few Moto customisations thrown in.
Vivo V25 Pro
The Vivo V25 Pro is the successor to the more fashion-forward Vivo V23 Pro 5G. The Vivo V25 Pro gets a slightly chubbier design (along with a bigger battery) which is more practical for gaming, and it retains the colour-changing rear panel in a more subtle form. In terms of specifications, there are plenty of upgrades and Vivo has managed to retain the curved-edge design of the pOLED display while bumping up its refresh rate to 120Hz.
Its MediaTek Dimensity 1300 SoC is quite mid-range, but gets the job done when it comes to software performance and gaming. The bigger battery also offers a whole day’s worth of backup despite heavy use which is an improvement over its predecessor. Camera performance is not the best in this segment as it produces image quality that’s comparable to mid-range devices. This one’s mainly for those looking for a stylish smartphone with a curved-edge display at the lowest possible price tag.
Motorola Edge 30 Fusion
The Motorola Edge 30 Fusion is quite a good offering that looks stylish and has good features. The phone packs premium hardware including a curved-edge pOLED display and offers a great user experience. The camera offers good performance but it needs a little bit of software tweaking in order to do proper justice to the hardware. Also, while the phone can record up to 8K resolution videos, the internal storage is limited to only 128GB. While there are other phones in this list that offer similar hardware for the price, the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion one-ups them with its feature-rich and clean MyUX software, and stylish design.
Google Pixel 6a
Given its current price, Google’s Pixel 6a sure gets the job done for casual users and mobile photography enthusiasts. The phone basically offers the Pixel experience which comes with several smart software features like the recorder app that can transcribe speech to text on the go accurately, and the eraser camera feature which can camouflage or erase objects in photos. Google’s gamble of going with its high-end Tensor processor but cutting corners in some areas such as design, display, and system memory seems to have paid off. The Pixel 6a is by no means an all-rounder, but it is still a very unique offering that should appeal to buyers who are willing to put good camera performance and timely software updates above everything else.
Nothing Phone 1
If you crave a phone that breaks the mould or looks very different from everything that’s currently available, the Nothing Phone 1 should be high up on your list. Its transparent design, complete with a set of intricately laid out LED light strips, will ensure that your phone stands out no matter where you go. The lights don’t change colour, but will dance in sync to a ringtone, showcase the current charging status when plugged in, and even blink for notifications. This mid-ranger certainly packs a punch, mainly because its unique design is also IP53-rated for dust and water resistance. It also offers wireless charging at an unbelievably cut-throat starting price. Charging speeds aren’t the fastest in its segment and Nothing does not bundle a charger in the box.
OnePlus 10R 5G (150W)
The OnePlus 10R 5G’s design with its sharp edges and straight lines is quite subjective. Some may find it attractive, while others may find it very odd-looking and very different from OnePlus’ usual rounded and curved designs. Regardless of which side you are on, its new discounted price makes the OnePlus 10R 5G Endurance Edition very attractive because it’s one of the few phones in this segment to offer 150W wired charging and a 160W charger is bundled in the box. Camera performance is good in both daylight and low light but it isn’t best in class. Battery life is quite good and the MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Max SoC combined with 120Hz refresh rate display works well for games. If you are a OnePlus fan, we must warn you that it lacks the iconic Alert slider.
Xiaomi 11T Pro
The Xiaomi 11T Pro doesn’t stand out in terms of design, with a polycarbonate mid-frame sandwiched between two sheets of glass. However, it delivers raw performance thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and is a good all-rounder. Its attractive price and features make it a good deal. Its AMOLED display showcases accurate colours and is also Dolby Vision certified. You get stereo sound with Dolby Atmos support, which makes for immersive video streaming. Battery life is top notch and this phone offers up to two days of casual use on a single charge. You also get a 120W fast charger in the box. Camera performance is quite good, except for the quality of selfies in low light.
iQoo 9 SE
The iQoo 9 SE looks quite premium. There’s no official IP rating, but you get high-quality stereo speakers that sound great when streaming videos and playing games. The 6.62-inch 120Hz Super AMOLED display produces punchy colours and is HDR10+ certified. The software experience is smooth and fluid, but this phone does come with many preinstalled third-party apps. Gaming performance with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC is top-notch, and the 4,500mAh battery lasts a day and a half on a single charge. Camera performance in daylight is impressive, but we expected better from the ultra-wide-angle camera. The iQoo 9 SE also captures good macros and selfies.
Oppo Reno 7 Pro 5G
Design has always been a big talking point for the Oppo Reno series, and the Reno 7 Pro 5G has a glass back with a laser micro-etched finish. The notification LED strip around the camera module of the Oppo Reno 7 Pro is also a nice touch. The 6.5-inch full-HD+ 90Hz AMOLED panel delivers very good colours and contrast, and there’s Corning Gorilla 5 for scratch protection. The Dimensity 1200-Max SoC from MediaTek has custom optimisations for a smoother gaming experience. You get ColorOS 12 which is now based on Android 12. Battery life is solid, and charging is super-fast.
Realme GT Neo 2
This is a solid mid-range gaming smartphone. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor offers plenty of raw performance and the cooling system does a good job of sustaining that performance. The Realme GT Neo 2 is available in a bright Neo Green as well as two other subtle colours. The 5,000mAh battery easily lasts a day and half even with some gaming sessions. The dual speakers are quite loud and make for an immersive experience while gaming and watching movies. Camera performance is a mixed bag at best. While daylight performance is good, low-light shots and video weren’t as impressive, which means that the GT Neo 2 is not an all-rounder.
Realme also has the GT Neo 3 under Rs. 40,000, which we have not reviewed, but it is nearly identical to the Realme GT Neo 3 (150W), which in itself is very similar to the OnePlus 10R 5G (150W).