The contribution of premium segment smartphones to the Indian smartphone market share is gaining momentum with each quarter, as brands are bringing their flagship smartphones to the under Rs 40,000 segment.
If you buy a smartphone that costs Rs 40,000 in India today, you get a real flagship smartphone in terms of the chipset, premium design, a high refresh rate display, fast charging speeds, and more. In this segment, you are most likely to miss out of features like IP rating and wireless charging. Apart from these two features, you get everything that a premium flagship offers.
Our current list of the best smartphones under Rs 40,000 includes flagships from competitive brands as well as last-gen flagships which are now subject to price drops. We’ve tried to include phones that are specialists at gaming and photography, as well as all-rounders that can be recommended to everyone.
Previously, the list of dominated by OnePlus starting from OnePlus 5 to onePlus 7T. But, now, OnePlus has moved more further in the premium segment, which gives opportunities to players like Realme, iQoo, and more. In the coming days, we can expect Realme’ SuperZoom edition and Poco’s much-awaited flagship smartphones to join the list.
Display: 6.44″ Super AMOLED, 90Hz | Processor: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR5 | Storage: 128GB UFS 3.0 | Camera: 64MP + 8MP ultrawide + 12MP telephoto + 2MP depth sensor | Front camera: 32MP + 8MP ultrawide | Battery: 4,200mAh | Charging: 65W SuperDart | Operating system: Realme UI, ColorOS 7, Android 10
Latest Snapdragon 865 SoC
Versatile camera setup
Fastest charging on a phone
Software not yet ready
Realme surprised everyone by bringing the X50 Pro to India so quickly. But at a starting price of just Rs 37,999, it quickly became one of the best new flagships to get, especially if you’re looking for the latest specifications.
Along with the Snapdragon 865, it also has UFS 3.0 storage and LPDDR5 RAM for speedy performance and operations. The Realme X50 Pro has a total of six cameras, bringing versatility to the back as well as front, in terms of focal length.
Not just that, the 65W fast charging is the fastest on a smartphone and can take the phone from 0 to full in just about 35 minutes. The 90Hz display is a big plus too.
Display: 6.55-inch Optic AMOLED, 90Hz | Processor: Snapdragon 855+ | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB UFS 3.0 | Camera: 48MP + 16MP ultrawide + 12MP telephoto | Front camera: 16MP | Battery: 3,800mAh | Charging: 30W Warp charge | Operating system: OxygenOS, Android 10
Inconsistent camera performance
Average battery life
With OnePlus moving to two product lines, the 7T offers the best bang for your buck from the lot. It brings the smoothness and fast performance from its expensive sibling to the sub Rs 40K segment.
The 90Hz Optic AMOLED display is probably the best one in the segment, and the software skin has been fine-tuned to make the best of the competent hardware inside. The OnePlus 7T is often regarded as one of the best all-rounders and gaming phones around.
Read OnePlus 7T review
Display: 6.44-inch Super AMOLED | Processor: Snapdragon 865 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR5 | Storage: 256GB UFS 3.1 | Camera: 48MP + 13MP ultrawide + 13MP telephoto + 2MP depth sensor | Front camera: 16MP | Battery: 4,440mAh | Charging: 55W Super FlashCharge | Operating system: iQoo UI, FunTouch OS, Android 10
Latest Snapdragon 865 SoC
Shoulder buttons for gaming
Very fast charging
iQoo, Vivo’s gaming sub-brand, aimed to be the first to bring a 5G smartphone to India with the iQoo 3 series. While that didn’t happen, the 4G variants are still extremely competitive and worth considering.
The Snapdragon 865 inside means this device has the most powerful chipset available. Paired with equally fast storage and RAM, and the iQoo 3 becomes every gamer’s dream. It also has capacitive shoulder buttons for gaming.
Along with decent battery life, it also supports 55W fast charging which can take the phone from 0 to full in 40 minutes. The cameras are also admirable and reliable.
With the recent price drop, the iQoo 3 starts at Rs 34,990 and with ICICI Bank credit card, you can get starting at just Rs 31,990. This is an incredible deal considering it comes with the latest Snapdragon 865 chipset.
Read iQoo 3 review
Display: 6.59-inch AMOLED 120Hz | Processor: Snapdragon 855+ (Binned) | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB UFS 3.0 | Camera: 48MP + 13MP ultrawide | Front camera: 24MP | Battery: 6,000mAh | Charging: 30W Quick Charge 4.0 | Operating system: ROG UI, Android 9 Pie
Dual front-firing stereo speakers
Insane battery life
Host of accessories
Not the latest version of Android
No water resistance
Asus was one of the first manufacturers to chase the concept of a gaming smartphone. With the ROG Phone II, it fixes upon all the issues that plagued the first version, while retaining what it did best. It was our best gaming smartphone in 2019.
It builds upon a higher-clocked Snapdragon 855+ chipset for very reliable performance for gaming. It has a literal fan inside to keep the internals from thermal throttling.
The prominent front-firing speakers are godsent for gamers. The Asus ROG Phone II also has shoulder buttons that can be customized for gaming. It also houses a big 6,000mAh battery for unparalleled longevity.
Read our Asus ROG Phone II review
Display: 6.6-inch AMOLED | Processor: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Camera: 48MP + 8MP ultrawide + 13MP periscopic telephoto | Front camera: 16MP pop-up | Battery: 4,065mAh | Charging: 20W VOOC | Operating system: ColorOS 7, Android 10
Innovative and versatile cameras
UI is slow
Let’s end the list with one for the shutterbugs: the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom. It was Oppo’s flagship for early 2019, and the start of the new Reno series. It recently got a significant price drop, bringing it to this price segment.
As the name suggests, it has a periscopic telephoto lens with a 5x telephoto lens that can go up to 60x. On the other end, it also has an ultrawide shooter. Even selfie camera is unlike others, with a pop-up “sharkfin” module.
The other specifications are standard, with a Snapdragon 855 chipset, a reasonably-sized battery, and 20W fast charging.
Read our Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review