Time to look at the smartphones at the top of the budget pyramid. While a budget of Rs 35,000 can get you the base variant of some of the current affordable flagship phones in India, an additional Rs 5,000 can not only make their top-end variants accessible but also opens up more premium options. So let's take a look at the top phones that you can get your hands on under Rs 40,000 this month.
The Asus Z6. Image: Tech2/Omkar P
Best phones under Rs 40,000 in India
The glossy back looks good but has been cleaned with a lot of effort for this photo. Image: Tech2/Omkar P
The top variant of the >OnePlus 7 (Review) with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage can be comfortably purchased within this budget. While this new OnePlus is identical to its predecessor, 6T, in more ways than one, it still offers some useful new features. Yes, its design is pretty much like the OnePlus 6T, and it has the same 6.4-inch Full HD Optic AMOLED display too with a tiny drop notch, and also the 3,700 mAh battery. But its processing and camera departments make this phone stand out.
The OnePlus 7 is powered by Qualcomm's latest flagship SoC, Snapdragon 855. Moving away from the 16 MP main shooter on the past few generations of OnePlus devices, the company has opted for a 48 MP primary sensor at the rear along with a secondary 5 MP depth sensor. The primary lens has Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and uses pixel binning to produce some crisp shots in different lighting conditions. There's a 16MP camera at the front for selfies. With most of the boxes ticked, the OnePlus 7 is a great all-round option in this budget.
OnePlus 7 price in India: Rs 37,999 for 8 GB RAM/256 GB storage
The Asus Z6. Image: Tech2/Omkar P
Just like the OnePlus, the top variant of the >Asus 6Z (Review) can be picked in this budget too. Asus released their latest flagship 6Z last month and did something interesting with it. This phone doesn't have a dedicated front camera, and the rear cameras can be flipped over to take selfies. The flipping mechanism is motorised and controllable, thus letting you capture photos at interesting angles. The rear cameras, which also double up as front cameras, have a 48 MP + 13 MP combination that captures excellent shots in decent lighting with natural colours and ample detail. They do a good job in low light too but not as good as some others in this list.
Thanks to the flip mechanism, you get arguably the best selfie cameras around with great portrait shots and even better videos. This phone too is powered by a Snapdragon 855 chip and comes with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB of internal storage, which unlike the OnePlus 7 is expandable up to 2 TB with a microSD card. It has a full-screen 6.4-inch Full HD+ display without any kind of a notch or hole for the front camera. The Asus 6Z has a mammoth 5,000 mAh battery that easily lasts a day and a half to two of moderate usage.
Asus 6Z price in India: Rs 39,999 for 8 GB RAM/256 GB storage
Google Pixel 3a
The body is made out of polycarbonate plastic and feels like it can survive drops unlike most glass backs. Image: Omkar G
If you are looking for the best camera phone under Rs 40,000, this is it. It offers the goodness of the renowned Pixel 3 camera at a significantly lower price point. This phone can achieve with a single 12MP rear camera what most phones cannot with two, three or even four cameras that boast of a significantly higher number of megapixels. The camera output is excellent in every lighting condition including low light. It fact, it has the best low light performance in this budget and can click some amazing portrait shots too.
The >Google Pixel 3a (Review) is not just about the camera. Like all Pixel devices, it is among the first to receive the latest version of Android and security patches. Unlike the top-end Pixel 3 devices, this isn't powered by a Qualcomm flagship chip but has a more than capable Snapdragon 670 SoC. It also trades the QHD+ display for a more practical 5.6-inch Full HD+ display which significantly reduces the load on the battery. It's 3,000 mAh battery capacity is a tad low for today's standards but can take you through a day of moderate usage. This is a phone for photography enthusiasts and not for those looking for tons of RAM and storage in this budget.
Google Pixel 3a price in India: Rs 39,999 for 4 GB RAM/64 GB storage
Honor View 20
The Honor View 20 is the second smartphone to be announced globally after the Samsung Galaxy A8s to feature a punch-hole camera. Image: tech2/Omkar Patne
The >Honor View 20 (Review) has received a massive price cut recently and its top variant can be netted under Rs 35,000 now. It has an eye-catching design with a 6.4-inch Full HD+ notch-less display and an in-display punch-hole 25 MP front camera. At the back, you get the Aurora Nanotexture finish that displays an optical illusion of multicoloured V-shaped lines running from the top to the bottom when you hold the phone at an angle. The Honor View 20 is powered by Huawei's current flagship Kirin 980 chip and comes bundled with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage.
The View 20 has half the number of cameras at the back as compared to the Honor 20 but its 48 MP rear camera does a good job in different lighting conditions and the output is at par with most phones in this list. This too uses pixel binning, which combines the data from four pixels into one to capture more details. A 4,000 mAh battery provides ample power for over a day of moderate usage. Overall, it offers great value for money.
Honor View 20 price in India: Rs 33,999 for 8 GB RAM/256 GB storage
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
This one's for those looking for reasonably high-end Samsung phone in this budget. Samsung >Galaxy Note 8 (Review) is a great all-round phone with a fairly powerful Exynos 8895 SoC, excellent 6.3-inch Super AMOLED QHD+ display and last but not the least, brilliant 12MP + 12MP dual rear cameras with optical image stabilisation and 2X optical zoom. The camera performance is still comparable to some of the top camera phones that you currently get. And let's not forget the S Pen that's more than useful beyond scribbling on the phone screen.
Despite being a year and a half old, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 can compete well with any of the newer budget flagship phones on all fronts. The launch price of the phone was in the higher Rs 60,000 range but its 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage variant can now be purchased well under Rs 40,000 which makes it a great buy even today. The storage can be expanded further by 512 GB using a microSD card.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 price in India: Rs 36,990 for 6 GB RAM/64 GB storage