As the monsoon arrives in India, it is also raining phones in the country, particularly in what many like to refer to as the slightly higher end of the mid-segment. The past few weeks have seen a deluge of phones in the sub-Rs 25,000 category, and as a result, anyone wanting a good phone for under Rs 25,000 is quite spoiled for choice. There is a wide variety of phones out there at and below this price point, from a number of brands, each offering its own plus and minus points. So, if you are in the market for a device and have a budget that cannot go beyond Rs 25,000, then we would recommend choosing from these five phones.
iQOO Z3 5G
Rs 19,990 onwards
iQOO Z3 5G is the first phone in India to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G processor. The recently launched smartphone is also one of the best-crafted phones, being surprisingly slim (8.5 mm) and lightweight for its size (185.5 grams) in an era of bulky, heavy phones. The processor, in combination with up to 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, makes the iQOO Z3 a powerhouse, capable of handling everything from gaming to multitasking with near ease. And thanks to its five-layer liquid cooling system, the phone literally never loses its cool. It is not just about the processor, though - the iQOO Z3 comes with a triple camera system comprising a 64-MP Samsung GW3 sensor, an 8-MP ultrawide camera and a 2-MP macro sensor. The main sensor is the best in the segment and captures an astonishing amount of detail and fantastic colours, while the ultrawide and macro sensors give you different perspectives. There is a very good 16-MPselfie camera as well, capable of delivering brilliant selfies.
There are dozens of shooting and editing options (the phone runs on the feature-rich FunTouch OS) which, combined with a brilliant 6.58-inch full HD+ display with a 120 Hz refresh rate, make this a powerhouse for creating as well as viewing content. The display comes with Smart Switch, which adjusts the refresh rate as per the content being displayed to optimise battery consumption. And to make sure all this keeps running without a hitch for a long time is the task of a large 4400 mAh battery, which will not only see off a day of hectic usage, but also charges in less than an hour, thanks to a 55W charger in the box. And yes, it supports 5G so it is future-ready.
OnePlus Nord CE 5G
Rs 22,999 onwards
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G is the latest OnePlus in the Indian market, and the second phone in the bestselling Nord series. However, while the first Nord was all about offering premium features at an affordable price, the Nord CE 5G (CE stands for 'Core Edition') is a more mid-segment device. It runs on the slightly older Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 processor, which is a very decent mid-segment chip, but is not really meant for gaming, and comes with up to 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. The phone comes with a fluid AMOLED display with a 90 Hz refresh rate, but its cameras have proved to be a bit of a mixed bag, although the 64-megapixel main sensor turns in a very good performance. The 4500 mAh battery can just about get it through a day, and it takes about an hour to charge using the 30W Dash Charge 30T Plus charger in the box. The biggest attraction of the phone is likely to be the Oxygen UI running on top of Android, which is limited in features but has a clean and uncluttered look. A notable absentee is the alert slider on the side of the phone - a OnePlus feature that is missing, although the device comes with a 3.5 mm audio jack and support for 5G.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
The Redmi Note 10 series has been a bestseller in the Rs 10,000 - Rs15,000 price segment, and with the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, the brand has attempted to move up the price ladder. The biggest attractions of the phone are its large 6,67-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate (although without any option to switch rates as per content), and 108-MPmain sensor, which heads a quad-camera arrangement on the back. The phone also comes with a large 5000 mAh battery with a 33W charger in the box with support for fast charging. In best Note tradition, this is a phone that does the basics very well indeed, and will keep going for a while as well. Where it loses a bit of ground is in terms of its processor. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 732 processor which handles most routine tasks very easily but is not really meant for heavy-duty gaming. It is also a slightly older processor, which means there is no support for 5G on this phone.
Samsung Galaxy F62
Part of its new F series, the Samsung Galaxy F62 is a power-packed phone. And a large one too. It comes with a brilliant 6.7-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED display (with a routine 60 Hz refresh rate, though) and a big 7000 mAh battery. The phone packs in a lot of power, thanks to an Exynos 9825 processor, and comes with a quad-camera array on the back, spearheaded by a 64-MPmain sensor, and there is a 32-MPcamera in front as well. There is enough firepower here to play a number of high-end games and do some multi-tasking, although the phone does lose out on 5G and the processor, while powerful is an old one. There is also the fact that the One UI running on the phone, while feature-rich, is a little cluttered and can install a number of unwanted apps on the phone. The battery is the longest lasting in this group but the 25W charger is the smallest, which means that charging the phone can take some time.
Xiaomi Mi 10i 5G
It might be the veteran in this group, but almost half a year after its release, the Mi 10i remains a good option for anyone who wants a good phone under Rs 25,000. Yes, it is not slim at almost 9 mm and is one of the heaviest phones of this group at around 214 grams. But it does fit in a lot inside that bulky frame - you get a 6.67 inch full HD+ LCD display, which is not the brightest around but comes with a 120 Hz refresh rate. The processor powering it is the same as the OnePlus Nord CE, the Snapdragon 750G, which again makes this a good device for routine tasks but limits its gaming activity to an extent. There is 5G on board and a large 4820 mAh battery with a 33W charger in the box. The star of the show is a 108-MPmain camera which takes great photographs, but the secondary cameras (8-MPultrawide, 2-MP depth and 2-MPmacro) are not in the same class and the front-facing 16-MP camera is also a mild disappointment. A very good option for those who love megapixels and mega-sized devices, we would say.
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