In the world of smartphones, the 35000 segment is where all the true flagship killer smartphones are found. Once dominated by OnePlus it is now filled with competitors from Asus, Honor, Motorola, and Xiaomi.

To find the very best of the flagship killer we looked for suggestions from reputed websites from around the world. Finally analyzing the picks from Amazon and Flipkart as well.

Best phone under Rs.35000

OnePlus 6

One of the best smartphones to come out of OnePlus' stable, the OnePlus 6 brings forth the best hardware in the market which includes the Snapdragon 845 processor, ample RAM, a ton of storage and one of the best software experiences.All that is backed by great battery life and amazing fast charging. That is quite a recipe and one that makes it the best smartphone under Rs.35000.

Best phone under Rs.35000 (Budget)

Asus Zenfone 5z

The Zenfone 5z undercuts the OnePlus 6 by a big Rs.5000 margin but it's not immediately obvious as it has the same processor, similar amount of RAM, storage and a similar glass back and notch design. To add to that Asus offers stereo speakers and a dedicated microSD card storage on it. But where it lags behind the OnePlus 6 is the software and camera department, two things that are very important today to most users. Read more about how the Asus Zenfone 5z performs in our Best smartphone under 30000 article.


This is a really long post! Use these links to jump around


Why trust us?

To find the best smartphones under 35000 we read through all the suggestions from some of the most reputed technology websites like Anandtech, GSMarena, Fonearena and DxOMark.

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 technology websites to see what they had suggested. We then listed all the best phones under 35000 from Amazon and Flipkart and then went through their specifications and features while analyzing the reviews from verified customers.

Finally we read through reviews from various review websites like Anandtech, DxOMark, Fonearena, Xda-developers etc. to look at the merits and downfalls the winners.

Best smartphone under Rs.35000 in detail

Close look at the red varient

Specifications

Pros

  • Amazing Optic AMOLED display

  • Top of the line performance

  • One of the smoothest software experiences

  • Superfast charging

  • Good battery life

  • Glass back design

  • Headphone jack still present

  • Superb cameras

  • Good software support

  • Fast Charger and Cover provided inbox

  • Useful alert slider switch

  • Supports HD Playback for Netflix and Amazon Prime (Supports Widevine L1 certification)

Cons

  • Speaker audio quality could have been better

  • Proprietary charging solution

  • The display is dimmer than its LCD competitors

  • Price is increasing with every version

  • There may be an upgraded version within 6 months

  • Glass makes it slippery in the hand

  • Has the love it-hate it notch

  • Gesture control needs some work


What's it missing?

  • True waterproofing (No IP rating)

  • Useful Secondary camera (No optical zoom, wide angle)

  • Super slow motion video (Limited to 720p @ 480fps)

  • MicroSD card slot

  • Stereo speakers

  • Dedicated DAC

  • Wireless charging

  • 2K resolution display

  • IR Blaster


Design & Build: Glass, Metal, and many colors

OnePlus as a manufacturer has always taken an evolutionary approach to their smartphones design. The OnePlus 5T was updated to the more modern 18:9 display over the OnePlus 5 and similar the OnePlus 6 brings a current 19:9 notched display and glass back to the mix. This blend of glass on both the sides of the frame and the really cool color schemes does help the OnePlus 6 to exude a premium feel. The colors for the OnePlus 6 are mirror black (gloss back), pearl white (gloss white), midnight black (matte black and red (gloss red). They even made a carbon fiber back version for the Avengers edition OnePlus 6. But if you ask us the red is truly a gorgeous color, red being associated with many great Italian cars and motorcycles especially the red Ferraris, Ducatis and Fiats.

The variable color options

The front of the phone is taken up by the gorgeous display with pretty slim bezels on the top and sides. There is, however, a small chin at the bottom and the oh so hateful notch on the top. Moving to the back we see the dual camera sensors which are now oriented in a vertical fashion and quite close to the oval-shaped fingerprint sensor.

We preferred the layout of the OnePlus 5T as there was some distance between the fingerprints sensor and the cameras, the current position will lead to smudging of the lenses in daily use. On the right of the phone is the power button and the super useful alert slider switch, the left houses the volume control.

The top has only the secondary microphone with the bottom of the phone being cramped with the primary microphone, single speaker, USB-c port and the 3.5mm jack. The OnePlus does support dual sim 4G but no micro SD card support.

This is also the first OnePlus with resistance to water but there is no true waterproofing. What this means is, while you can use the phone in light rains or spill water over the phone by mistake, it won't be able to survive in heavy rains or a drop in a large container of water.

Given that glass back phones have a tendency to be slippery, OnePlus has very thoughtfully provided a high-quality case in the box that helps prevent the phone from slipping.


Software: One of the best custom Android experience

The OnePlus 6 ships with a custom Android experience called as Oxygen OS. Oxygen OS for long has earned a reputation for giving you a stock Android like experience with all the features for a custom skin. The OnePlus 6 runs the OxygenOS 5.1 which is one of their best versions yet. Everything from the icon design to menu layout is perfect, it looks pleasing and is very easy to use.

Given that this is a 2018 smartphone, it has to have a notch and the OnePlus 6 is not (ch!) very different. But you can hide it via the hide notch option. That's nothing great as even the Asus Zenfone 5z had it, and we weren't great fans of that. But it's different here, the AMOLED screen combined with the rounded corners make the hidden notch effect more convincing.

Inside features
Wallpaper themes
The screen and the UI

One highly requested feature for Android by its fans has always been a system-wide dark theme mode, and while Google has added in this feature in beta versions of the operating systems it has always been removed in the final version. But OnePlus does offer a really cool dark mode on their phone which even skins their apps to a dark shade. 

A rather useful feature OnePlus has borrowed from Samsung and Motorola is the always on display. This again feels logical given that the feature needs an AMOLED display to work perfectly. It enables your screen to light up the moment the phone is lifted. This allows you to glance through your notifications without having to press the power key or fingerprint sensor.

Another new addition is the gesture navigation control which takes away the navigation bar to make way for gestures to control the home, back, and multitasking options. The reason this exists is it helps you use more space from your screen which is otherwise used up by the navigation bar. The gestures are as follows:

  • Home: Swipe up from the bottom of the phone

  • Back: Swipe up on the bottom left or bottom right

  • Multitasking: Swipe up and hold for a second

Many reviewers from Anandtech to Droid-life who used it complained about the hold time needed to open the multitasking menu and simply the intuitiveness of the gesture control. Most of them found the much easy to use and simpler pill based gesture controls of the Moto phones. Gestures remain one of the only slight niggle with the software and something that OnePlus can easily fix with an update.  

But where OnePlus really takes the cake now is updates. OnePlus has promised to provide regular updates to the OnePlus 6 for 2 years and also security update support for up to 3 years (pushed once every two months).


Hardware: The original flagship killer...it still is

When you talk about the OnePlus 6, or any OnePlus phones, the biggest draw towards it is the display. OnePlus has earned a reputation of using a high-quality display that has managed to be the best of the lot falling short only when compared to smartphones twice or thrice its price. But a weird quirk with the OnePlus display is that the original OnePlus One came with a FullHD display and in nearly 5 years till the OnePlus 6 they are still using a Full HD (FHD+) display. That goes to show that even though cameras and processors have taken bigger jumps in specifications, the display does not have to be updated at the same pace and can hold their own with the passage of time. Also while there are smartphones with 4K resolutions, you don't need anything more than 1080p or 2K.

OnePlus 6 is water resistant

Being an AMOLED display you get vivid colors and inky blacks. Anandtech found the display to be excellent exhibiting great saturation, accurate greyscale, and accurate colors. They also loved the dedicated Wide color gamut mode (DCI-P3), sRGB mode and the adaptive mode which gave allows you to choose the color rendering as you prefer. The only issues they found was that the maximum brightness peaked at 420 nits only, which is in the ballpark of most AMOLED displays but the competition now reaches 700+ nits.

Different benchmark performance test

Powering the phone is the top of the line Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB or 8GB RAM, you also have 64GB/ 128GB/ 256GB of storage. Given the specifications, there is no doubt that the OnePlus 6 is one the smoothest phones around giving you silky smooth app animation and lag-free gaming experience. The OnePlus 6 scores 268385 on Antutu, 2389 on GeekBench single core, 9013 on Geekbench Multi Core and 4642 in 3DMark. Yes, the Asus Zenfone 5z edges ahead slightly in terms of benchmarks but the OnePlus is far smoother in daily use. Anandtech too attributed the smoothness to proper optimization on OnePlus' part. In terms of UI Fluidity, Anandtech found the OnePlus 6 to be the very best in terms of smoothness, which they say surpasses the Samsung Galaxy S9 and matches the Pixel 2.

Unlike the Asus Zenfone 5z which we praised for its stereo speakers, audio effects and bundled earphones, audio on the OnePlus 6 isn't its strongest suit. Yes, it is decently loud as Gsmarena found, but it falls in their "Good" category and not "Excellent". Anandtech too wasn't happy with the speaker position as the downward firing speaker makes it easy to muffle sound if held in a particular way. They also found the speaker to lack in depth and quality calling it average when compared to the flagships.
 

To unlock the phone you have a fingerprint sensor and also face unlocking. The fingerprint can save up to five fingerprints and Fonearena found it can unlock your device in a fraction of a second. One little fact is that the fingerprint is made of ceramic which prevents it from getting scratched. There's also a Face Unlock feature now, as it the trend nowadays. The Face Unlock feature takes around 0.4 seconds to unlock your phone and uses assistive lighting by turning on your display to work in dark conditions

In terms of connectivity, there is a lot of kit on the OnePlus., you have Dual 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11ac dual-band (2×2 MU-MIMO ), Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD, GPS/ GLONASS/ Beidou, USB 2.0 Type-C with support for USB OTG, USB Type-C audio, and NFC. The only missing thing is an IR Blaster.  

Camera: Best in class cameras

The camera hardware on the OnePlus 6 consists of a 16-megapixel f/1.7 sensor as the main sensor. It also supports OIS and EIS on this sensor. But the secondary sensor is a little weird as it is a similar 20-megapixel f/1.7 sensor with no stabilization. We say weird because OnePlus uses it for just depth sensing which is something that can be done with software as the Pixel 2 does so well. A secondary zoom sensor or a wide angle shooter would have spiced things up nicely.

DxOMark, an independent benchmarking agency for scientifically testing cameras gave the OnePlus 6 an overall score of 96. Which makes it the highest rated OnePlus till date and just one point behind the iPhone X and just two points behind the Pixel 2.

DxOMark found the OnePlus camera to have accurate exposure in bright light and found it could maintain that even in low light and artificial lighting conditions. They also commented that the dynamic range is good but the camera does get tricked in some high contrast conditions leading to a slight loss in detail. In terms of colors they found the OnePlus to give bright and vivid colors but with a pink cast in some outdoor shots. What really blew the teams mind the autofocus speed they found was not only one of the fastest but also the most consistent in the current scenario. Moving to low light the flash is said to produce neutral tones and lights up the subject uniformly.

Where the OnePlus 6 lost points from DxoMark was in the Zoom and Bokeh department. Given the lack of a longer focal length sensor, the phone resorts to software zoom which isn't as great as optical zoom. DxOMark found the camera to capture good details at up to 2x zoom but anything over that reduced details and texture. Bokeh score is better than zoom but DxOMark found some inaccuracies in masking and no foreground blurring, but they did find the bokeh effect to be realistic and convincing. Where the OnePlus 6 lost points from DxoMark was in the Zoom and Bokeh department. Given the lack of a longer focal length sensor, the phone resorts to software zoom which isn't as great as optical zoom. DxOMark found the camera to capture good details at up to 2x zoom but anything over that reduced details and texture. Bokeh score is better than zoom but DxOMark found some inaccuracies in masking and no foreground blurring, but they did find the bokeh effect to be realistic and convincing.


Fonearena found the front 16 megapixel came to be great for selfies and video chats, finding the beautify option to be really pleasing.

Coming to video, it's said to be not as good as OnePlus' photo capturing ability but is still close to the iPhone X. The videos captured on the OnePlus 6 have good dynamic range, capture great details, focus on the subjects efficiently and are very well stabilized. Video recording maxes out at 4K 60fps. There is slow motion video recording at 480 fps at 1080p resolution, this is less than the 960fps recording in some flagships.


Battery & Charging: The fastest charging standard in India, gives good battery life too

The OnePlus 6 is armed with a 3300mAh battery which doesn't sound much as phones priced at around Rs.10000- Rs.15000 come with nearly 4000mAh batteries. But the efficient processor and display help you churn out good battery life from it. With a PCMark Work score of 7.14 hours, there is no doubt that the OnePlus 6 is great in battery life as well. You can easily get through a days use on a single charge of the OnePlus 6.

Powerful dashing charger

For charging you have OnePlus' Dash Charger which uses a 20W charger and can juice up the phone to 50% from naught in under 30 minutes. Full charging takes around 80 minutes which makes it one of the fastest charging phones in India. While the phone has a glass back, it doesn't support wireless charging. Also note that the phone cannot fast charge with Quick Charge or other fast chargers as it uses a proprietary charging mechanism.


In Short

With probably one of the best combination of price, performance, design and build quality the OnePlus 6 stays true to OnePlus' strategy of giving more for less. It comes with the best display and cameras in its class, along with the smoothest software experience and a great build quality that's unmatched at prices even higher than it.


After sales service

OnePlus offers a 1-year warranty on the phones and the inbox accessories. For any issues, you can take the product to a service center or ask them to pick up your device from your home. OnePlus has around 40 service centers across India. Here are some of the prices for important components (prices after warranty):

  • Screen: ₹7,680

  • Mainboard: 64G ₹16,553

  • Mainboard: 128G ₹19,808

  • Mainboard: 256G ₹23,581

  • Front Camera: ₹1,150

  • Rear Camera: ₹3,600

  • Battery: ₹1,231

  • Battery Cover: ₹1,595

  • Service charges are from Rs. 250-472


Who are our best pick for?

The OnePlus 6 emerges on top as the final device is more than the sum of its parts. It's not just about giving good specifications and good camera hardware Et al.  The OnePlus 6 truly gives you a great experience be it the highly customizable software experience or the gorgeous design on the phone or the quick software updates. The company is now even more focused on the Indian markets conducting forums for fans to voice their opinions and ideas to help improve the software and devices.

The Asus Zenfone 5z is not much different than its competitors but it takes a slightly different approach from the OnePlus 6. It's all about the specifications here and Asus doesn't skimp on any, giving you basically more value for money than the OnePlus 6. Given the power you can do just about everything from gaming to photography, work to watching movies, the Zenfone 5z can do anything you throw at it.


The ones that didn't make it

Honor 10

Launched around the same time as the OnePlus 6, the Honor 10 brings forth a gorgeous design wrapped in a game-changing color scheme. The Honor 10 also boasts class-leading AI support courtesy of a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) which truly works in improving your image capture and image editing. Sadly the Honor 10 still uses the Kirin 970 processor a processor that's getting a little too old in the tooth. Weirdly Honor's love affair with the Kirin 970 doesn't seem to end as they have launched/ are launching even more phones with this very processor in India soon.


Motorola Z2 Force

The Moto Z2 Force is one of those rare moments in smartphones where a smartphone tries something really different but doesn't quite make a mark on the customer. The Z2 with its modular attachments - Moto Mods is one of the most unique points in smartphone design. While the idea hasn't got many sales for the cellphone pioneer, critics love the implementation. Another little trick up its sleeve is the shatterproof display something even the iPhone doesn't have. The Z2 uses layers to make up the plastic display that doesn't crack even after being dropped multiple times. But being able to survive drops is not everything and when it comes to everyday use, the smaller than the usual battery, pricey Moto Mods, last years processor, average camera and older style 16:9 display spoil its chances of being a OnePlus beater.


Honor View 10

The View 10 is a great smartphone with a good  processor (for last year), 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.


Final thoughts

There was a time when the cream of the crop smartphones would be priced at around Rs.25000 to Rs.30000, but with innovation and, development, the flagship phones of today are reaching the Rs.1 lakh mark and that means all flagship killers now reside in the 30K spot.


When we set out researching for the very best smartphones in this range we found almost all manufacturers had something to offer at this price. But with some through reading and researching we finally found two phone that deserve to be chosen.


The OnePlus 6 is the first phone we selected as it is truly the best smartphone under 35000. With top of the notch features like a Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, FHD+ AMOLED display, a glass body and super fast charging there's no defeating the OnePlus 6 that easily. Instead, the original flagship killer just got even better.


The Asus Zenfone 5z comes to a close and well deserving second. After being away from the value for money market for a long time, Asus finally has a winner in its hand. Matching the OnePlus 6 in terms of specifications, but beating it in price the Zenfone 5z is one of the best smartphone under 30000 . A price point the OnePlus no longer sells smartphones in, this makes it the lone wolf with almost no challenger.


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