There are some big hitters in the sub-Rs 35,000 smartphone market Image: OnePlus/ Honor/ Asus
Nowadays, consumers are spoilt for choices when it comes to smartphones. With a staggering number of options available for every price point, it may get very confusing to zero in on the perfect device for you. The Rs 35,000 range is particularly tricky in this context, considering it constitutes the so-called 'budget flagships', that is devices with features placing them close to premium flagship devices without quite paying the premium pricing for them.
If you don't want to compromise on performance but also want the best value for your money, the range is definitely something you should be looking at. And in case you find yourself lost in the sea of available choices, worry not. Help is at hand.
T2 Online compiles the best smartphones you should look at under the Rs 35,000 category, this month.
OnePlus 6 (6GB/64GB) - Rs 34,999
The OnePlus 6 gets a lot right Image: T2 Online
OnePlus pretty much embodies the concept of budget flagships. So unsurprisingly, the Chinese smartphone maker's latest offering makes the list. OnePlus pricings have gone up slightly over the past few years but it's still pretty much the go-to budget flagship for many users with a high loyalty rate among its customers. And there's a very good reason for that. Very few manufacturers can pack quality on a budget quite like OnePlus can.
After minor hiccups with last year's OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T, the company seems to be very much back on track with the OnePlus 6. The device is solidly built and the glass back body gives you the hefty premium feel you get from top-of-the-line flagships. The AMOLED screen is simply gorgeous and it pretty much trades blows with the best of them when it comes to performance. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor is the same chipset used in premium and pricier flagships.
The camera performance may be just a notch behind the big names out there, but its 16MP+20MP rear camera setup delivers excellent results nevertheless. Thankfully, the 6GB RAM and 64GB storage variant just make it into the list, priced at Rs 34,999. The higher variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage is priced at Rs 39,999 and is also worth looking into if you have a slightly higher budget. The only complaint: Lack of wireless charging.
Asus Zenfone 5Z - Rs 29,999
The Asus Zenfone 5Z is the newest kid on the block Image: Twitter
Asus hasn't ever been a big player in the smartphone market till now, but the company seems to have chosen 2018 to change that. The Taiwan-based company has had some solid releases this year and has been super-aggressive with the pricing in India. The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 was a perfect example in the budget smartphone market. The company recently introduced its flagship — Asus Zenfone 5Z in India and on paper, it does look quite a deal.
The 5Z has a similar configuration to the OnePlus 6 and is even priced lower. The 6GB/64GB variant is priced at Rs 29,999, the 6GB/128GB version at Rs 32,999 and the 8GB/256GB variant priced at Rs 36,999. But it does miss out on the AMOLED display on the OnePlus in favour of an LCD variant. Like the OnePlus 6, it also gives wireless charging a miss.
On a hardware level, the camera setup on the 5Z does look a level below the OnePlus 6. But Asus has promised considerable AI-based features to shore up the performance levels. And if implemented properly, we already know it can make up for the gap and then some. Just look at the Google Pixel-series for example. But we will have to wait till next week to find out for sure. The 5Z goes on sale in India on July 9.
Honor 10 - Rs 32,999
The Honor 10 ticks a lot of right boxes Image: Twitter
Huawei-owned brand Honor has always brought out some excellent VFM devices for the Indian market and the company's top-of-the-line Honor 10 is a very capable contender in this list. The device pretty much ticks all the boxes, including build-quality, camera performance and device speed. It packs Huawei's home-brewed Krin 970 SoC, which is a very capable chipset also used in the Huawei P20 Pro — arguably the best premium Android flagship out there right now.
The rear camera quality is excellent and the 24MP selfie camera on the Honor 10 is hard to beat. The AI-based features work as intended and the overall performance is very comparable to the competition. The dual-tone colour scheme may appeal to a lot of users and provides a unique design element. With the Honor 10 slated to receive Huawei's GPU Turbo support in August, the VFM factor of the device can only go up. Huawei claims the update optimises device performance while gaming by 60 per cent while cutting down battery consumption by 30 per cent. The only two perceivable downsides of the phone are the LCD display (maybe a non-issue based on preference) and Huawei's EMUI OS, which feels a little clunkier and harder to get used to compared to the competition.
Nokia 7 Plus - Rs 25,999
The Nokia 7 Plus doesn't quite keep the same company as the above three, considering its processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, falls short of the 'flagship' levels but priced at Rs 25,999, it is an excellent option if you are looking to save some money. The 7 Plus is a solid performer with the ever-reliable Nokia build quality.
Other notable mentions
The Moto Z2 Force, Huawei P20 Lite, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 and the Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus are other notable models you can consider in the price range.