Best Smartphones under Rs. 10000 in 2020 – Reviews and Buyer’s guide

1. Redmi Note 82. Galaxy M303. Mi A2
redmi note 8galaxy m30mi a2

Smartphones under 10,000 in India are one of most popular devices on the market. This is no surprise since many of us Indians tend to look for the best possible deal without it being too expensive.

Phones in the 10K range serve this need quite well due to the quality of smartphones we can get now without breaking the bank.

While 10,000 is a great price range it is still a big investment that should be made carefully. With the number of smartphones available on the market right now it can be quite confusing to decide what’s the best pick for your money. This is where NIDM comes in.

Buying the Best Phone under 10000 – What to look for

Here at NIDM we will simplify the various aspects of a smartphone like the camera, the battery, the software, etc. We will help you gain a clear understanding of what to expect and what you must look out for when buying the best smartphone under 10,000 in India.

1. Display

ideal display

We all love to watch videos, play games and many more things on our smartphones. You need a smartphone with a good display to enjoy your favorite movie, photos on Instagram etc. Budget devices in the past had fairly basic displays with poor viewing angels but technology has improved quite a bit now. You can get a fairly decent screen in the 10K range.

Screen size: Smartphones in this range offer screens which are 5.8 inches to 6.3 inches in size. This is on par with most of the smartphones in the market right now, even devices at a much higher price point. Notches are common now with most manufacturers opting for a small V or teardrop shaped notch.

Screen type: The best screen types right now are IPS LCD displays which offer good viewing angles or the more premium AMOLED displays which offer deep blacks. While IPS LCDs are used in most of the smartphones at this price point, some, do manage to offer an AMOLED display.

Screen resolution: The screen resolution is important in deciding how sharp text appears on your smartphone. Devices under 10K either come with a 720p screen or a 1080p screen. If you want a smartphone with a sharp display then you should opt for the higher 1080p resolution.

2. Protection

ideal protection

Smartphones are a big and important investment that we make and we should make sure that our investments last long. There are many protection features you should look for such as Corning Gorilla Glass, metal as a construction material etc.

Scratch resistance: Most of us prefer to use a good quality tempered glass on our smartphones to keep the screen scratch free. While this is still recommended, choosing a device with Gorilla Glass adds an extra layer of protection for your smartphone. This is specially useful when the back of the device is also Gorilla Glass compared to normal glass.

Build Quality: Manufacturers use many premium materials nowadays in smartphones such as metal or glass. Plastic is still quite common though and it offers the advantage of being more durable than glass but not as premium. If you opt for a smartphone with a glass back then a case is recommended.

Waterproof: Water may be seen as one of the biggest danger to your smartphone and for good reason. Innovations in waterproofing technology though has made water proof smartphones much more common. However, only flagship high end devices offer waterproofing.

3. Camera

ideal camera setup

We all love taking photos especially to share on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook etc. Smartphones with a good camera also provides an easy way to capture precious moments in life so choosing a device with a good camera is important.

Rear Cameras: The cameras on the back of your smartphone are the main shooters. In this price range you can expect dual or triple camera setups. The main sensor ranging between 12-20MP is normally coupled with a depth sensor and a wide or ultra wide sensor. Some offer special low light features too. Some smartphones do have megapixel counts as high as 48MP!

Front Cameras: If you wish to do video calling or take a lot of selfies then this is the most important camera you should look at. Most smartphones in this range offer a 8MP to 25MP sensor with features like portrait mode. You should opt for a device with a strong front camera if you like to take selfies.

Extra features: Smartphones come with many extra camera features these days such as ultrawide shots, portrait mode, slow mo video etc.

4. Processor (System on a chip) SoC

ideal processor setup

The processor in your smartphone is responsible for how well it performs. A fast processor will allow your apps to open quicker, games will have lag less etc. If you want a smartphone that is fast then the processor should be your main priority.

Processor type:  There are many processor manufacturers in the market right now such as Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung and Huawei. The most reliable option right now is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon although Samsung’s Exynos lineup has performed very well too.

Cores:  The amount of cores in the processor decide how many things it can do at once. Most of the phones in this range offer an octa core processor so they are fairly efficient.

Speed frequency: The Ghz frequency shows the speed at which the cores in your processor operate at. Processors in this range offer a speed of 1.8ghz to 2ghz which can handle day to day tasks quickly.

Expected performance in 10K: While you cannot expect flagship grade performance in the 10k range you should be able to do most of the common tasks with ease. Even gaming performance is impressive in our top picks.

5. RAM & GPU

ideal ram gpu setup

The processor in your smartphone is responsible for how fast the apps can open. On the other hand, the RAM or Random Access Memory is responsible for how many apps you can leave open when you are multitasking.

RAM: Apps and games on your smartphone require a lot of memory to operate. If this memory is too slow then your apps will take too long to respond or freeze. This is why your smartphone has a special high speed memory known as RAM. This is also why not having enough RAM can cause slow downs in apps and games.

Smartphones in this range offer 3GB RAM mostly. This is a good amount to do basic multitasking without any issues. Most games will also operate fine. You can opt for devices with 4GB RAM if you wish to do more heavy multi tasking.

GPU: If you wish to do any gaming on your phone then this is one of the most important components in the device. The graphics processing unit is responsible to render the 3D graphics in games such as PUBG or Need for Speed. If you are buying a phone for games then you should make sure it has a great GPU.

6. Storage

ideal storage space

Apps are useful, games are fun and we tend to take many photos every day but all this data can very quickly result in a low memory warning. While you may think that you don’t need a lot of storage now it’s always good to opt for the highest amount you can buy.

Storage amount: The storage may not be a big concern when your smartphone is new but it can be a problem as month’s of data starts taking up a lot of space. This is why we recommend at least 32GB of storage for apps and some media. 64GB is recommended if you would like to install games and other large services.

Expandability:  If you want to store a lot of media on your phone such as images, movies etc. then a phone with microSD support is the best option. This helps keep your internal memory free for apps while being a cheap alternative to get more space.

7. Battery

ideal battery capacity

A smartphone can be very useful but only as long as it holds enough power to last you through the day. No one wants to see a low battery warning in middle of a meeting or while travelling. You should select a smartphone based on your use case.

Battery capacity: The battery capacity is calculated in mAh and you should go for a device with atleast 3000 mAh battery to last a day. In case you are away from a charging point for longer periods then you should try to get a device with 4000 mAh battery or higher.

Charging speed: A large battery is useful but larger batteries also take longer to charge. This is why many smartphones now have support for fast charging.

8. Ports & Wireless Communications

ideal ports wireless

Wireless features and the ports of a smartphone are often ignored but these are just as important as other features. You should make sure that the device has all the necessary wireless options such as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth etc.

Wireless comms: You can except all the essential wireless features from your smartphone in the 10k range. However, some features like NFC support or Bluetooth 5.0 is only available on devices at a higher price point.

Ports: Smartphones have two main ports – one for charging / data transfer and the other for earphones. Many smartphones nowadays don’t have the 3.5mm earphone jack but most devices in this range still offer it. This is great because not everyone wants wireless earphones and being able to use your wired earphones while charging can be handy.

For data transfer and charging we recommend picking a device with a Type C port. This is reversible and becoming more common every day. Some devices in this list do still have the older microUSB 2.0 port.

9. Speakers & Sensors

ideal speakers sensors

If you ever missed a call because you didn’t hear your smartphone due to a noisy environment then you understand the value of good speakers.

Speakers: Whether it is listening to music or watching a movie, good speakers can provide a much better experience when you can’t use earphones. Some smartphones even provide dual speakers although this is only common at much higher price points.

Sensors: Features such as face unlock, motion sense when gaming, fingerprint unlock etc are all dependent on the sensors your phone has. A compass sensor for ex. can help provide better directions when using GPS. Most of the latest devices in this range offer all essential sensors.

10. Software

ideal ports wireless

Now that we have looked at all the essential hardware points it is important to consider the 2nd half of what make’s a smartphone enjoyably to use. We are of course, talking about the software.

Operating System: All smartphones at this price point run on Google’s Android operating system. Android 10 is rolling out to a few top end devices right now but you can expect Android 9.0 Pie for a device in the 10,000 range.

That being said, the Android version is not the only thing that makes your smartphone’s user experience unique. Manufacturers add their own features, apps and other visual elements on top of Google’s Android to give the devices a unique feel. These are called Custom UIs.

Custom Interfaces: Most smartphone manufacturers have their own Custom UI. For ex. Samsung has One UI, Realme has ColorOS, Xiaomi has MIUI etc. They often provide useful features such as built in call recording support.

Sometimes though, there are features that you may never use or apps you don’t need but cannot uninstall. Xiaomi’s MIUI has also been known to show ads in their pre-installed apps.

In this case if you want a device that offers the simplest experience without any unnecessary features then you should go for ones on that have stock Android. Devices on the Android One program get updated more frequently but can have a limited set of features.

Now that you are aware of all the various aspects of a smartphone it’s time to pick one. We have curated a list of the best 10 smartphones under 10,000 in 2020. This will help you choose the device that suits you best.

Top 10 Best Smartphones under 10000

1. Redmi Note 8 (4GB+64GB)

Xiaomi Best Smartphones under 10000 in India

note 8 specs

For years now Xiaomi has provided us with smartphones that offer a great bang for buck value and their latest offering is no exception. The Redmi Note 8 is one of the best budget devices available in the market right now. It’s powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 and 4GB of RAM with 64GB of Storage.

Apart from this, the device packs in many quality features such as Corning Gorilla Glass 5, 18W fast charging, 48MP camera etc. The build quality is also impressive with glass in front and back.

The front sports a 6.3inch IPS LCD display with a 1080×2340 full HD resolution. The notch is small like previous Redmi Note devices but Xiaomi has made the bezels even smaller. The device comes with Android 9.0 Pie with Xiaomi’s MIUI skin on top.

Performance is one of the best in this range with the Snapdragon 665 and 4GB RAM. Most apps like Instagram, Facebook etc run flawlessly on this device. Gaming is also enjoyable and you can run titles like PUBG without any issues. There’s also support for microSD.

The Note 8 may have some of the best cameras we have seen to date in this range with a 48MP main sensor, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP dedicated macro and a 2MP depth sensor. The front has a 13MP selfie camera.

Keeping things running is a large 4000 mAh battery with 18W fast charging support via the Type C port. The device has a fingerprint sensor at the back and offers all essential sensors. Without a doubt this is one of the best smartphones under 10000 in India to buy right now.

What we loved: Very slim bezels, 4GB RAM, Premium design, Powerful hardware.

What we disliked: Ads in MIUI.


2. Samsung Galaxy M30 (3GB+32GB)

galaxy m30

m30 specs

The Galaxy M30 makes a compelling choice if you are looking for a smartphone with the best display quality under 10,000. Not many budget devices under 10K offer an AMOLED display that’s also Full HD but Samsung has a great offering for us with its M30.

Samsung offers a 6.4inch Super AMOLED display with a full HD resolution of 1080×2340. This is a great device for watching movies especially with its 5000 mAh battery. The device launched with Android Oreo 8.0 but Samsung has updated it to One UI Android 9.0 Pie.

The build quality is plastic but the device feels sturdy albeit a bit on the heavier side. However, we’d prefer if Samsung would offer more premium materials in their devices considering the competition has premium metal or glass devices.

Powering up the device is an Exynos 7904 with a Mali G71 MP2 GPU. While it is not the fastest, we’ve seen in this range it is still a good combo for day to day tasks. The RAM and storage are also on the lower side with its 3+32GB combo but the device does have support for microSD.

While not a photography champ Samsung does offer a triple camera combination with a 13MP main camera, 5MP ultrawide and a 5MP depth sensor. The front has a 16MP selfie camera.

Essential wireless features are taken care of with fast battery charging using the 15W Type C charging. Battery life is one of the strongest points of this device and if you love watching videos on your smartphone then this is for you. The M30 easily gets its spot high on our list for the best smartphones under 10000 in India.

What we loved: Super AMOLED display, Long battery life.

What we disliked: Only 3GB of RAM.


3. Xiaomi Mi A2 (4GB+64GB)

mi a2

mi a2 specs

The Xiaomi Mi A2 isn’t the newest device in this list but with recent price cuts it has become one of the best options under 10,000. This is also one of the few devices in the range which offer stock Android One experience.

This means the device receives monthly security updates and there is no bloatware or unnecessary features giving the user a clean smooth experience.

The display shows its age with bezels on top and bottom however, there are no compromises in quality. The size is 5.99inches with a 1080×2160 full HD resolution. The build quality is also great with an aluminium body and light weight.

Performance is up to the mark thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660. Multitasking is also great thanks to 4GB RAM and 64GB Storage. You can easily run all apps and games such as PUBG, Real Racing, Asphalt 9 etc.

Photography is also a strong point thanks to the 12MP+20MP SONY dual camera setup. The front camera has a 20MP sensor which also has an LED flash for selfies.

While this is a great device especially if you love a clean Android experience there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind. The device does not have a 3.5mm earphone jack and the 3000 mAh battery is on the smaller side but lasts a day on normal use. If there aren’t major deal breakers for you then this device is a great choice.

This smartphone is the best pick under 10,000 in India if you need a stock android device.

What we loved: Stock Android, Premium aluminium body.

What we disliked: No 3.5mm earphone jack, Battery on the smaller side.


4. Realme U1 (3GB+32GB)

realme u1

realme u1 specs

Oppo created the Realme brand as a direct competitor to other budget smartphone manufacturers. The U1 makes a very strong offering in this price range.

The U1 sports a full HD 1080×2340 6.3inch display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. We are happy to see a 1080p full HD screen on this device considering some of the latest Realme offerings in the 10K segment have opted for a 720p screen instead.

While we prefer Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, the MediaTek Helio P70 in the U1 is no slouch either. The device can handle all the apps you might want to use on it. Gaming performance is not the most impressive but it can handle the occasional PUBG match just fine.

The device launched with Android 8.1 Oreo but has been upgraded to Android 9.0 Pie. This is based on Realme’s ColorOS 6. While feature rich there are a lot of improvements Oppo can do on their ColorOS.

There is 3GB RAM for normal multitasking with 32GB storage. The storage is on the lower side but the device supports microSD expansion. The rear cameras are mediocre at best with just a 13MP main sensor and a 2MP depth sensor. The front is impressive by comparison thanks to the 25MP selfie shooter.

Battery life is average with its 3500mAh unit. There is no Type C as Realme has opted for the older microUSB 2.0 port instead. This is disappointing in a device that’s a complete package otherwise.

That said, this device easily deserves it’s spot in the best smartphones under 10,000 in India right now.

What we loved: 25MP selfie front camera, Good performance.

What we disliked: ColorOS requires some improvements.


5. Vivo U10 (3GB+64GB)

vivo u10

vivo u10 specs

Vivo has been a very popular smartphone brand specially in the offline market. However, we have always found their devices lagging behind the competition in the same price range. The U10 is the latest budget offering from Vivo and while not perfect it is a step in the right direction.

The main selling point of the U10 is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 under the hood with 3GB RAM and 64GB storage. This is one if the very few devices on the market right now to feature this processor under 10,000. This ensures that the device can handle most of the apps you’d want to use and also gaming.

The device comes with Android 9.0 Pie with Vivo’s Funtouch 9.1 custom UI. While we aren’t a fan of this UI it gets the job done with some extra features you may find useful.

The cameras aren’t the strongest point but there’s a triple camera setup with a 13MP main camera, 2MP depth sensor and we were happy to see the 8MP ultrawide sensor.

The front is as basic as it gets with an 8MP selfie shooter and a 6.35inch 720×1544 IPS display. It’s clear where Vivo has done its cost cutting to be able to offer the Snapdragon 665. There is also a microUSB 2.0 port instead of Type C.

The fingerprint sensor is rear mounted there’s fast charging support. The device sports an impressive 5000 mAh battery which when coupled with the lower resolution 720p screen and the highly efficient processor results in a great battery life.

What we loved: Snapdragon 665 processor, 5000 mAh battery.

What we disliked: 720p Display, Mediocre cameras.


6. Honor 9N (4GB+64GB)

honor 9n

honor 9n specs

The Honor 9N has been on the market for a while now but it makes it a great choice if you are looking for a compact device.

The 9N is smaller than most other devices in this range thanks to the slim body and the 5.84inch 1080×2280 IPS LCD display. While the screen is smaller than the competition it makes this device easier to hold especially with one hand.

The Honor 9N is powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 659 which, while old, is still a great performer for most apps you may want to use. Gaming is also possible although it is not a strong point of this device. There’s plenty of RAM and Storage thanks to the 4GB+64GB combo with microSD support.

The build quality is in line with what we have seen from other Honor devices in this range. The build quality is sturdy and the device is comfortable to use. On the software side it is based on Honor’s EMUI.

Cameras are disappointing with just a 13MP+2MP dual setup at the back and a 16MP selfie shooter in the front. The battery is also on the smaller side with a 3000 mAh unit and honor has opted for a microUSB port instead of Type C.

The fingerprint sensor is rear mounted and the device offers all the essential wireless features for this price point.

If you want a compact device that still provides all the essential features you need then the Honor 9N is a great option to consider.

What we loved: Compact design, 4GB RAM.

What we disliked: Basic cameras, Small battery.


7. Samsung Galaxy M10s (3GB+32GB)

galaxy m10s

galaxy m10s specs

The Galaxy M series has been a great value for money lineup from Samsung and the M10S is their latest most affordable offering. This is also one of the cheapest devices to offer a 6.4inch Super AMOLED display although it is a lower resolution at 720p unlike the M30’s 1080p.

The M10s is powered by the Exynos 7884B and the Mali G71 MP2 GPU. There’s 3GB ram for multitasking and the 32GB internal storage can be expanded with a microSD card. This is not a device we would recommend for gaming but it can handle all day to day tasks just fine.

The cameras are also basic with a 13+5MP setup at the back and an 8MP selfie shooter on the front. This device is clearly not meant for any serious photography.

The device launched with Android 9.0 Pie based on Samsung’s own Custom UI. There isn’t much bloatware so the device stays smooth for basic use.

We are happy to see a Type C connector instead of the older microUSB 2.0 port and the device also has all essential wireless features. The battery life is also good thanks to the 4000 mAh unit with 15W fast charge support.

Looking at these specs we can say that this device makes a good choice only if you want to a Super AMOLED display at the lowest price possible.

What we loved: Super AMOLED display, Good battery life.

What we disliked: Only 720p resolution.


8. LG W30 (3GB+32GB)

lg w30

lg w30 specs

LG may not be the most popular smartphone brand right now but their recent W series have some options worth considering. The W30 doesn’t have any special points to make it stand out but this is a fairly balanced device specially when it’s on discount.

The front offers a 6.26inch 720×1520 IPS LCD display with a small notch similar to other devices in this range. Powering it up is a MediaTek MT6762 Helio P22 processor and PowerVR GE8320 GPU. This comes coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. There is also support for microSD cards. The device is based on Android 9.0 pie.

This isn’t a particularly strong performer but the smartphone can handle most of the day to day tasks easily. The cameras are one of the more interesting parts of the device thanks to a triple camera setup.

This includes a 12MP main camera, 13MP wide camera and a 2MP depth sensor. The front has an average 16MP selfie camera.

The fingerprint sensor is rear mounted and there is a microUSB 2.0 port instead of Type C. LG will have to make their devices much more competitive if they want to target the budget segment.

That said, the device does offer a 4000 mAh battery which the device a fairly good amount of endurance.

What we loved: Triple cameras.

What we disliked: Only 720p resolution.


9. Vivo Y12 (3GB+64GB)

vivo y12

vivo y12 specs

The Y12 is another triple camera shooter from Vivo under the 10K price range. The device is quite similar to other offerings from Vivo and comes with a 6.35inch 720×1544 IPS LCD display.

The materials used are glass on front and plastic on back. This device doesn’t feel as premium as its competition but the design is in line with what we have seen from other manufacturers. This does mean that the Vivo Y12 does not have anything unique to offer in terms of looks.

Powering the device is a MediaTek MT6762 Helio P22 processor with a PowerVR GPU. This device performs day to day tasks without any issues but this is not for the serious gamers out there. The device has 3GB RAM and 64GB internal storage with a microSD slot.

The device is running on Android 9.0 Pie with Vivo’s Funtouch 9 custom UI. While the device manages to perform smoothly, Vivo’s Funtouch OS still requires a fair bit of polishing. We would also prefer to see a cleaner feature set rather than filling up the device with unnecessary bloatware.

The triple rear camera setup offers a 13MP primary shooter, 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP depth sensor. While we are impressed with the inclusion of the ultrawide sensor the same cannot be said about the 8MP selfie shooter which is mediocre at best.

There is a large 5000mAh battery and a microUSB 2.0 port instead of Type C. The fingerprint sensor is rear mounted and the device has all the necessary wireless features.

What we loved: Impressive battery life, Ultra wide camera.

What we disliked: 720p screen resolution, Funtouch OS needs improvements.


10. Vivo Y91i (2GB+32GB)

vivo y91i

vivo y91i specs

The Vivo Y91i is the cheapest device on this list with a fairly basic feature set. This option should be considered only if you are on a very tight budget and need a device that has all the basic features. The Y91i also has a 4030mAh battery if you need a device that can last long on basic use.

The screen offers a 6.22inch 720×1520 IPS LCD display and the device is constructed with plastic. Powering the device is the MediaTek MT6762 Helio P22 which we have seen in other Vivo devices as well. This processor is quite good for the price tag of this device. It can handle all the basic tasks without issues.

The RAM, however, is limited to 2GB so while you can go switch through a few apps don’t expect to be doing any heavy multitasking on this device.

The cameras are fairly basic with just a 13MP rear shooter and a 5MP front-facing selfie camera. There is a micro-USB 2.0 port at the bottom and there’s no support for fast charging. Especially, due to the large battery, the device does have a good battery life.

Overall this is a good device for making calls and the large screen is good to enjoy the occasional YouTube or movies.

What we loved: Good battery life, Cheap price.

What we disliked: Only 2GB RAM.


What’s Your Pick?

A smartphone is an important investment that will become your daily companion for a long time. This is why you should pick a device that covers all your needs so that your investment is done in the right place. Smartphones are complex devices with factors that you should consider such as its screen, battery life, performance, etc.

We have gone over all the factors that you should look at before deciding on which smartphone is the best pick for you. Due to the vast amount of devices on sale picking one can be quite confusing. Hence, we have refined this list down to the best 10 picks in India so you can pick the best device for you.

We have done the research so you can get the best because you don’t have to settle for good enough!

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