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Asus ZenFone 2
Asus ZenFone 2

Budget-friendly flagship alternatives

Buying an affordable Android phone doesn't mean compromising with the user experience

Exhibit your interest in a “flagship" or “high-end" Android smartphone and there is a fair chance that your friends will assume you for a person with a big bank balance. The reason for this deduction: Most flagship smartphones (the ones the brands showcase as their best) come with a steep price tag. These phones are always the most expensive device in each company’s portfolio, and are supposed to offer the best user experience.

Be it Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5, the Sony Xperia Z5, the LG G4 or even the Nexus 6P, you will find yourself often having to invest anything upwards of 35,000. But things have improved considerably for the more affordable Android phones, and the recent ones pack in powerful specifications, smoothly run almost all apps and the user experience is much closer to the actual flagship phones, than it has ever been in the history of smartphones. If you don’t have a big budget, here are some capable phones below the 30,000 price point.

Asus ZenFone 2


This will match up to most expensive Android phones, because the 4 GB RAM allows for smooth multitasking

This was the first ever smartphone to pack in 4 GB RAM, and remains a good option, thanks to its combination of hardware and software. It comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display, 32 GB storage (64 GB and 128 GB variants are also available) and a 13-megapixel camera that is better than rivals in low light. It runs Intel’s Atom Z3580 processor.

Some might find its design a bit on the plain and predictable side, but in terms of performance, the device goes head to head with phones that cost twice as much.

Xiaomi Mi 4


A compact alternative to any flagship from 2014 (Nexus 6, Sony Xperia Z3, Samsung Galaxy S5)

There were some who thought the Mi 4 was a tad overpriced at 19,999 when it was launched in the country in January, given the absence of 4G network capability and expandable memory option. But a significant price cut has made it perhaps one of the most viable propositions for anyone wanting a high-specced device under 15,000. It has a compact 5-inch display, packs a Full HD display, runs Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 3 GB RAM and has a good 13-megapixel camera. Running on top of Android is MIUI 7, Xiaomi’s custom interface.

Google Nexus 5X


A good alternative to the HTC One E9+

Made by LG, this is the logical successor to the Nexus 5. It offers good value for money, serving up a 5.2-inch Full HD display, with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, a fingerprint scanner and a 12.3-megapixel camera similar to the one on the more expensive Nexus 6P. Being a Nexus, you will be assured of quick Android updates—the phone runs Android Marshmallow out of the box. The design is a bit underwhelming, but could be a good option for someone who doesn’t want a massive 5.5-inch phone.

Huawei Honor 7


Consider this as an alternative to the likes of the HTC One ME

The Honor 7 delivers a lot in terms of both hardware and design. It has a full metal body, a 5.2-inch Full HD display, is powered by a HiSilicon Kirin processor with 3 GB RAM and 16 GB storage (expandable through microSD card), and comes with a competent 20-megapixel camera. There is also a fingerprint scanner, an additional security feature. It runs Huawei’s EMUI interface (you can call out to the phone and it will answer you) and its sleek metallic looks could put many a pricey flagship to shame.

Moto X Style


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