Smartphones today are becoming more and more important in our lives and manufacturers definitely understand this and launch newer devices at mouth-watering prices, making it difficult today to buy a new phone.

To help you with just that we did a ton of research by going through reviews from many reputed websites so you all the information you need in one place.

So sit back and read through all the work that we have done to help you find the best phone under 30000. 

Best smartphone under Rs. 30000

Asus Zenfone 5z

Bringing a flagship smartphone experience at true flagship killer budget, the Asus Zenfone 5z has taken OnePlus' tried and tested formula to hit back at them. The result is a device that has a great display, superb performance, good cameras, great battery and charging, and superb design. On paper, it's really hard to fault the Zenfone 5z as its not immediately evident where Asus managed to cut costs.

You can get it here, here or here.


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Why Trust us?

To find the best smartphone under 30000 we read through all the suggestions from some of the most reputed technology websites like Android Authority, Digit, and NDTV Gadgets.

We then analyzed verified reviews on Amazon and Flipkart from people who actually have bought and used the product.


How we selected?

We started by looking at suggestions from reputed websites to see what they had suggested. We collected a few picks from them and moved to our next step.

We then listed all the best phones under 30000 from Amazon and Flipkart and then went through their specifications and features while analyzing the reviews from verified customers.


Best smartphone under Rs.30000 - in detail

Asus Zenfone 5z

Best phone under 30000 Asus

Specifications

Pros

  • Superb pricing

  • Snapdragon 845 processor under 30k!!

  • Gorgeous design and build

  • Superb 6.2inch display

  • Gorilla Glass 3 protection for the display

  • 64GB storage with microSD support

  • Optically stabilized camera with wide angle option

  • 4K 60fps option

  • Quick Charge 3.0 support

  • Fast Charger, Cover, and earphones provided inbox

  • Great stereo speakers
     

Cons

  • Has the love it-hate it notch

  • Notch hide option looks like an afterthought

  • No waterproofing or water resistance

  • Uses the older Quick Charge 3.0 standard

  • Stock Android would have been better

  • No details of software support after Android P

  • Camera lags behind the OnePlus 6

  • Wide angle camera produce low-resolution photos

Design & Build: Glass back, Notch and premium build

Asus smartphones over the year have had a family design to them with the concentric circular pattern on the back being a signature. Their Zenfone 5z doesn't deviate from this norm but merely add glass to the mix and two really premium colors- Midnight Blue and Meteor Silver. The premium feel is further enhanced by the metal frame, the chamfered edges and minimal bezels. Also while it is premium to look you cannot mistake the stark resemblance to the Fruit iPhone X (people who saw the live stream will understand this joke)

Asus best phone design

Given that the bezels are minuscule you need to put the camera, earpiece, and sensors somewhere, so you end up with a notch on the top of the display. Ever since the notch appeared on the Essential phone and was popularised by the iPhone X, it has been a thing of controversy, some love it and many hate it. But apparently, it is a symbol of premium design and that's why Asus has given it here.

The volume rocker and power buttons are at the side and are easy to use and ergonomically placed. The fingerprint sensor is found at the back flanked by the Asus logo. You still get the headphone jack (thank you Asus!) and a USB-C port at the bottom. You also have a hybrid dual sim slot with support for microSD cards up to  2TB.

Despite having glass on both the front and the back you get Gorilla Glass protection to prevent your phone from getting scratches but as we know the downside of using glass is your phone becomes a fingerprint magnet and very slippery. Thankfully Asus does provide a silicon case in the box.

While you have scratch protection what it lacks is any sort of IP rating to protect it from light splashes of water or even true waterproofing. Having this would have completely sealed the deal in Asus' favor.
 

Software: Skinned but smooth

With many manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, and Honor, prefer to skin their phone's software. Asus too is no different. With their ZenUI and Zen apps, Asus hasn't really been known for their software. ZenUI has previously been slow, heavy and often gimmicky in design. But since Asus' last two phones - the Zenfone Max Pro and Zenfone 5z, ZenUI has been toned down quite a bit and while it still looks gimmicky it is fast and smooth to use.

While you do get the Google suite of applications like  Photos, Sheets, Docs, Chrome, Calendar, Drive, and Maps pre-installed, you also have a ton of  Asus branded apps like File Manager, Contacts, Clock, Calculator, WebStorage, Selfie Master, ZenMotion, Game Genie, Mobile Manager and ZeniMoji. Off all these, some are un-installable thankfully.

If you compare the Zenfone 5z with its main rival the OnePlus 6, the Zenfone cannot hold a candle next to the OnePlus' Oxygen OS which looks more modern, thoughtful and refined. ZenUI looks like a mismatch of colors, poorly designed icons and menus but atleast Asus has managed to make it fast. There is even a software called OptiFlex which learns your usage patterns and then keeps the most used apps in memory to speed up app launches.  

Given the phone is launched in 2018 and almost everyone is talking about AI, Asus surely doesn't want to be left behind. Their launch event talked a lot about AI camera, AI app suggestions, AI charging, AI ringtone and more. One cool AI feature is where the phone changes the color temperature of the display based on the light temperature of your surroundings, this is a feature found on the True tone displays of the Apple iPad.

Asus zenfone closeup

Improper Hied notch option (Image taken from tech2 / firstpost)

Also present in the software is a feature to hide a notch. That's common, isn't it? Almost all the phones with notches have that so people who detest the notch can hide it. But that's not why we mention it, but because of the rather shoddy implementation as reported by Firstpost. If you have been following modern smartphones you know along with the 18:9/ 19:9 aspect ratio and notches, rounded corners for the display is a common thing. Now when you do turn off the notch you get a black bar but if you look carefully it doesn't have rounded corners but right angle corners which look odd and certainly an afterthought.

While Asus has promised an update to Android P when it is released and also two years of security updates. They are rather quiet about further software updates.


Hardware: Amazing hardware for the price

Armed with a 6.2-inch full HD+ panel with an aspect ratio of 19:9 and a whopping 90% screen to body ratio, Asus surely hasn't skimped on the display. Being an LCD panel you get truer colors and great brightness (550 nits). But for people who really want to see the most accurate colors, you will be happy to know that the display supports 100% of the DCI-P3 Wide Color Space. For regular folks what that means is it can show more colors and much truer colors. BGR found the display to be top notch with great color reproduction, good contrast, and deep blacks. But do note that while it is as good as the Oneplus 6 if not better, the blacks are not going to be as deep as the Super AMOLED of the OnePlus 6. That's why you do not have an always-on display and even the hide notch feature will not be as convincing as the OnePlus. But for an LCD it is a superb panel.

best phone under 30000 benchmark comparison

Powering the phone is the top of the line Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB or 8GB RAM, you also have 64GB/ 128GB/ 256GB of UFS 2.1 storage. The Zenfone 5z is nothing short of a beast when it comes to performance, matching and even beating the OnePlus 6 in benchmarks. With Geekbench scores of 2451 and 9111 for single core and multicore respectively, the 5z is one of the most powerful Android smartphones. Antutu scores too were really high at 271861 surpassing the OnePlus 6. In short, what this means is all apps and games run flawlessly and you can play high-end games for long hours without any lag or dropped frames. The phone also doesn't heat more than normal even during intensive gaming which is a great thing.

Audio quality too is great with a Qualcomm 24-bit DAC, Hi-Res certification, DTS-X support and stereo speakers. BGR loved the audio quality through the earphones which they felt makes this a great phone for listening to music especially from streaming sources like Spotify, Tidal etc. They also liked the bundled earphones (Hi-Res certified) but felt it wasn't as good as the AKG earphones bundled with the Samsung S8 series phones.

BGR and almost everyone who reviewed the Zenphoen 5Z found the stereo speaker to be a great addition due to it loud and clear sound reproduction. There is also an outdoor mode which increases the Treble to give you a much louder sound. This is one area where most reviewers felt the Asus Zenfone 5z simply outshone the OnePlus 6 by a huge margin.


Note: For audiophiles out there do note that the built-in DAC is a Qualcomm one and not as good as the Quad DAC found on the LG V30, LG G6 series of phones in case you were thinking of getting this.

Camera: Good Cameras, just not as good as the OnePlus

The Zenfone 5z comes with a dual sensor camera for the rear and a single front-facing camera. The rear cameras consist of a 12MP Sony IMX 363  f/1.8 sensor and an 8MP 120 Degree Wide Angle camera. Together they can do background blur effects, and the 8 Mpx can take some really cool wide angles shots. Secondary wide angle cameras are something that is more common on LG phones with most other manufacturers using a depth sensor (Xiaomi, Motorola), zoom sensor (Samsung, Apple) or a monochrome sensor (Honor, Motorola). What's really great is that you have Optical Image Stabilisation (up to 4-stops) and Gyroscope based Electronic Image Stabilisation on both the sensors. Digit found the camera to be quick to focus and produce good, vibrant photos. They also noted that the dynamic range improved tremendously when using the HDR mode. They, however, did note that the performance is decent at best in low light, where although the images do not exhibit a lot of noise there is aggressive noise reduction. Firstpost found the OIS really did help frame the shots betters in daylight as well as low light conditions where they felt the Zenfone 5z performance better than the OnePlus 6.

Although you get a pro-mode for the camera they is no RAW capture which Asus says will be added with a software update shortly.

BGR found the AI scene detection to work as promised, detecting pets, greenery, flowers, sky and changing and applying tweaks to improve the image quality. This feature is particularly helpful for beginners who do not know how to quickly fiddle with the white balance and other settings.

Coming to the secondary wide angle sensor Digit too found it to be a cool addition, but they found the image compression to be higher than usual. This is because while the sensor is an 8MPx one, it is 8MPx in 4:3 and will scale down to 6MPx if you got to a wider 16:9 ratio. Do note that since it is a wide angle you will see some curving along the sides, this is due to barrel distortion of the lens which makes all horizontal and vertical lines curved.

Digit found the Portrait mode to work well, giving you a clean edge detection and applying a quality blur effect.

For selfies, you have an 8MPx front facing camera with EIS and Asus' Selfie Master software. Digit found the selfie camera to produce vibrant results but a little down in terms of detail. Which they said is something common with most front-facing cameras.

The Asus Zenfone 5z video recording maxes out at 4K 60 fps and 1080p at 240fps. The video recording impressed Digit with its quality. Initially, some Zenfone 5z's had focus hunting issues in the video but Asus has been releasing updates to fix such issues.

Battery & Charging: Good battery life with super fast charging

With a 3300mAH and support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, the Asus Zenfone 5z doesn't deviate a lot from the norm. While a 4000mAh battery would have made things better, the battery it ships with is not bad. With a PCMark battery score of 7-8 hours, it is very good. BGR reported you can easily get through a day with two sims, three email accounts, smartwatch connectivity and heavy use. In terms of screen on time, you can easily expect around 7 hours screen on time which is very good for a phone with a flagship-grade processor and a IPS LCD screen. While the phone doesn't support Quick Charge 4.0, you do get support for Quick Charge 3.0 with the charger bundled in the box. BGR India reported that using the bundled 18W charger they were able to go from naught to a full charge in 1 hours 12 minutes, which is superb.


In Short

The Asus Zenfone 5z undercuts the OnePlus 6 by Rs.5000 and that is a massive saving for a phone that has the same processor, the same amount of RAM and storage and optically stabilized cameras. So at least on paper, you have a better deal.

The Asus Zenfone 5z aces in terms of the screen quality, performance, audio quality, battery life, and charging. Where it does well but not ace is in terms of the camera which although good lags behind the OnePlus except in low light. Where it truly lags behind the competition is software, as ZenUI is certainly not the most mature of skins and while it offers you a lot of features they are not the most polished. But when you put the price back into the loop, without a doubt, the Asus Zenfone 5z is the best smartphone under 30000.


After sales service

Asus offers a 1-year warranty with the Zenfone 5z. In case of any issues, you can take it to the Asus service center. But being a flagship device Asus offers a premium service which includes free pickup and drop service to the service center. You also get a flagship phone (previous version) as a swap in device during your phones repair and an invoice free walk-in service. Asus being established in the Indian market since a long time has a lot of service centers across India.

Being a Flipkart exclusive phone, you can buy a Flipkart Protect plan which will protect you against liquid spills, broken screens, and other repairs. They also promise to repair your phone within 10 days or replace it altogether. You're also offered doorstep pickup and drop service for the device (first time is free, Rs.150 henceforth). The cost of the Flipkart Protect Plan is Rs.499 and does give you better protection than what the standard warranty covers.


Who is our best pick for?

The Asus Zenfone 5z is not much different than its competitors as you have a lot of horsepower for gaming and everyday tasks, a good camera for uploading pictures to Instagram, creating videos for Youtube and the usual stuff. Where it does differ is the audio as you get a much better stereo sound than most other phones, making it a great smartphone to carry on your trips when you would prefer the company of some great tunes. The audio experience through the earphones is also good and you even get a bundled earphone.


Phones that didn't make it

Honor View 10

The View 10 is a great smartphone with a good processor, good display in the modern 18:9 aspect ratio, no notch, and good cameras. The reason why we didn't select it is although it is a good phone by itself it does fall short when you compare it to the Asus. Its Kirin 970 is inferior to the Snapdragon 845, the display has no protection, the version sold in India doesn't come with Huawei Supercharge (which is actually one of the fastest charging standards in the world as we found out) and the final nail in its coffin is the price, despite being launched nearly 5-6 months ago it costs 30000, same as the Asus.


Samsung Galaxy A8+

The Samsung A8+ was launched around the same time as the Honor View 10 and if you go comparing specifications to specifications it was an overpriced smartphone then and it still is. But it does have some rather cool features like full IP68 protection, which is perfectly premium and something not found on any device in this segment, other than that you get a Super AMOLED display, a large battery and dedicated sd card slot with dual 4G sim slots. But the processor is more mid-range than flagship and remains the Achilles heel of the A8+.


Mi Mix 2

The Mi Mix 2 is actually one of our favorite phones in terms of design, this phone was one of the first few phones to have a truly bezel-less screen, but unlike others, Xiaomi did not slap a notch on the screen rather they pushed the camera sensor at the bottom into the chin of the phone. But design is not everything and the Mi Mix 2 comes with last years hardware comprising of a Snapdragon 835 processor and a single camera sensor at the back. All that with the price of Rs.30000 it is not as value for money as other Xiaomi products.


Nokia 7 Plus

The Nokia 7 Plus is one of the better phones in the Nokia lineup with a stock Android experience and regular updates it is often called as the budget Pixel phone. In terms of specifications, you have 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a Snapdragon 660 processor. But with it being priced at Rs.26000, it's too close to the Asus Zenfone 5z and not as fast.


Final thoughts

Asus for quite some time has been known to make great devices but then price them way beyond the reach of most. But with the Zenfone Max Pro and Zenfone 5z, Asus truly seem to have got back its sense. Their latest flagship the Zenfone 5z is priced very well, in fact, they just went and pulled a OnePlus on OnePlus undercutting their OnePlus 6 by Rs.5000!! that's no easy task considering they have given the same processor, similar battery, good cameras and a great looking glass back build. The way we see it if you need a smartphone at around Rs.30,000 and you are hesitating to add in another Rs.5000 for the OnePlus, well you now have an option that fits your budget perfectly.


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