The Indian smartphone customer has never been spoilt for choice as now, with newer companies taking on more established marques, the ultimate winner is the consumer. The Rs.10000 market is one such market where you see a ton of devices with each one battling the other in terms of value for money, features, and performance. The last time we thoroughly tested and reviewed smartphones to find the best phone under Rs.10,000, the Lenovo K8 Plus took the crown with its great build quality, stock android, long battery life and great price beating the budget king, the Redmi Note 4. But in just a few months we have a whole new set of smartphones competing with each other.

We have spent over 100 hours in the past year going through benchmarks, vetting recommendations, talking to experts and reading about the market trends and technologies  from other reputed tech sites to truly help find the best smartphone for you. To find the best smartphone under 10000 we carried the same amount of research by reading through all the important technology websites and understanding consumer feedback. So sit back and read through all the work that we have done to help you find the best phones under Rs.10000.

Best Phone under Rs.10000

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

The successor to the hugely popular Redmi Note 4, which in turn was a successor to the hugely popular Redmi Note 3 and you know the Redmi Note 5 has huge boots to fill.

While the Note 5 doesn't bring about a huge change in its spec sheet, there are a few new and interesting additions. The back of the phone pretty much carries the same design but turn to the front and you witness the new 18:9 screen with rounded corners, oh so modern. The innards are same as the previous phone, 3/4GB of RAM, Snapdragon 625 and 32/64GB of storage. But then again it's a case of why fix something when it's not broken. The cameras, however, have got an upgrade and perform much better now. The battery is again stellar as before but now charges much faster. Priced at under 10000 the Redmi Note 5 is without doubt one of the best phone under 10000.


Best smartphone under Rs.10000 (Best performance and battery)

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1

For a long time, the words budget and Xiaomi always went together like bread and butter but the Asus Zenfone Max Pro was amongst the first to rattle Xiaomi at its game. Armed with the same processor and similar display as the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Asus’ phone managed to undercut the Redmi 5 Pro by nearly Rs.1000 (Now Rs.2000). All this while providing a much larger 5000mAh battery, a louder speaker, stock android and even a dedicated sd card slot. Read more about how the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 performs in our best smartphone under 15000 article.


Best Budget smartphone under Rs.10000

10.or G

The 10.or.G matches the price of the Redmi Note 5 but carries more memory at 4GB, twice the storage at 64GB and a much faster processor, the Snapdragon 626.


But in smartphones it's not always about the processor or RAM, there are many other things that matter. The Redmi Note 5 comes with a much larger and higher quality screen, it has much better battery life and supports fast charging too. The Note 5 also gets more colors and looks visually appealing as compared to the more industrial looking 10.or G. But despite that, we feel the 10.or G makes for a good budget smartphone. If you would like to read more about the 10.or G performs have a look at our best smartphone under 8000 article.


Amazon Link (4GB/64GB)

Amazon Link (3GB/32GB)



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Why Trust us?


We at Hometop have been reviewing smartphones and other gadgets for nearly a year now. In the past our extensive week long smartphone tests have helped us truly understand smartphones better. Our experience also lets us really separate the hype from the necessity when it comes to the many smartphone features (especially in today's over hyped marketing era) and the sheer diversity in our experience truly enables us to select nothing but the very best of products for you.


In finding the best phone under 10000, we started our research by reading through reviews from a lot of websites - from Gsmarena to Fonearena - to see if there was a consensus on which phone was the best. We then further verified this by reading through verified reviews on Amazon and Flipkart from people who actually have bought and used the product. Mainly, to make sure the big sites didn’t miss anything.


We also assessed the performance of each phone using benchmark data. We checked all the big ones - Antutu, Geekbench 4 benchmark, and 3DMark. This helped give us an idea about the phone CPU, GPU, Gaming, Battery and everyday performance.

How we selected?

If you look at the smartphone market at any point of time you will easily find hundreds of different products from many known and unknown brands. By the time you sit to read about what is really unique in each one of the phones and its pros and cons, you will probably have another few dozen smartphone launches.

From the hundreds of smartphones available in the market, we shortlisted the bestsellers with the best reviews. We also ensured that the phones were recent ones, launched within the last few months.

From our shortlist of phones, we picked the top three, which had a reputation for having a good blend of features, had at least 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, and a screen size above 5 inches and a fingerprint sensor.

This gave us three best picks phones:

  • Redmi Note 5

  • Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1

  • 10 or G

To understand the merits and flaws in the picks we also went through website reviews and customer reviews before deciding on the best picks.
 

Best phone under 10000 in detail

best phone under 10000

Specifications

Pros:

  • Superb screen with good brightness and contrast

  • Gorilla Glass protection

  • Good performance from the Snapdragon 625

  • Stellar battery life

  • Good speaker audio quality

  • Good build quality

  • Fast charging support

  • Phone cover is provided in the box

Cons

  • Lacks the fancy dual cameras of its competitors

  • MIUI is not everyone's cup of tea

  • Hybrid SIM slot

  • Doesn't ship with the latest Android Oreo

  • Still using the ancient micro USB

  • Supports fast charging but fast charger not bundled in the kit

  • No USB-C port

What's it missing?

  • USB-C

  • True waterproofing (No IP rating)

  • Secondary camera (No optical zoom, wide angle)

  • Dedicated MicroSD card slot

  • NFC

  • Stereo speakers

  • Dedicated DAC

  • Doesn’t support HD Playback for Netflix and Amazon Prime (Lacks Widevine L1 certification)

Design: Fresh front design, Same ol’ rear design

Pick the Note 5 in your hand and you see a fresh new front fascia that is common to the newer Xiaomi phones. A large 18:9 screen with beautifully rounded corners greet you, but so do the thick bezels. Thankfully, a notch is not"ch" to be seen (see what we did there?). To improve the looks Xiaomi now gives you four color options varying from the standard Black and Gold to the recently popular Rose gold and a cool lake Blue.

The overall layout of buttons and sensors is similar. The fingerprint sensor is positioned at the rear below the camera. The top houses the IR Blaster, headphone jack, and microphone. While the bottom has a microphone, speaker, and the micro USB port. A USB-c port should have made things better but, no.

The phone is made with a mix of metal and plastic, the top and bottom antenna overlays are made of plastic while the centerpiece is made of metal. This mismatch doesn't look pleasing as noted by GSMarena.  

Although Gsmarena does say the screen has Gorilla Glass the version is not specified. however, Fonearena claims the Note 5 comes with Gorilla Glass 3.

The Redmi Note 5 packs a 4000mAh battery, 100mAh smaller than the older Note 4. But Xiaomi claims similar battery life. The phone tips the scale at 185 gms which is around 15 gms more than the Note 4, which was already a pretty hefty device. Fonearena found the build to be good and the supplied back case to be a welcome move.

Software: Back to MIUI

After an impressive debut with Stock Android on the Mi A1, many people expected Xiaomi to launch phones with pure android in India. But Xiaomi has decided to go back to its MIUI roots to offer more features to people.

Fonearena in their review noted the sheer number of features that the latest MIUI release carried. Although not everyone likes the software. TechRadar said the software was the biggest disappointment on the phone. This is especially because the Mi A1 was so good and moving back to custom UI isn't logical. Note 5’s competitors like the Honor 9 lite, Redmi 5 don't fare any better here although the 10.or G ships with a stock android which will be faster.
 

Hardware: New phone, almost similar hardware


Armed with a 5.99 inch 18:9 Full HD+ IPS LCD panel the Redmi Note 5 manages a pixel density of 403 ppi which is respectable. Gsmarena found the color reproduction to be close to natural but they found the panel to be slightly skewed to the cooler color scheme. While Xiaomi claims the panel to have 1000:1 contrast ratio and 450 nits of brightness, using the appropriate devices, GSMarena found the display to have much greater contrast ratio and brightness than claimed. This makes it one of the brighter displays in its price category. The only issue noted was the slightly lower sunlight legibility.


Moving on to the speakers, or speaker to be precise, the single bottom firing speaker was surprisingly loud with GSMarena tests giving it an excellent score, beating the likes of the Redmi Note 3, Moto X4 etc. The sound from the speakers was said to be crisp and loud with a good amount of bass.

The audio from the headphones was said to be decent with decent volume.

With a Snapdragon 625 doing duties under the hood, you can expect great performance with minimal heating. In fact, the processor has been around for quite a long time and is known for its great efficiency and performance. The processor doesn't break a sweat even with games like Asphalt 8 and manages smooth gameplay devoid of any lags or frame drops. Despite performing well the S625 on the Redmi Note 5 is beaten by the S626 chipset on the much cheaper 10.or.G and the much more powerful Snapdragon 636 processor of the Asus. But make no mistake, the S625 processor is still quite capable wand will give you lag free experience.

The Redmi Note 5 comes with 3GB RAM (a version of 4gb ram is also available). The improvements in the software mean the Redmi Note 5 handles apps much better although the 10.or.G has the edge with a whole extra gigabyte of memory.

Camera: Improves over the Redmi Note 4

With a 12Mpx rear camera and a 5Mpx front camera, the Redmi Note 5 brings about a visible difference over its predecessor the Redmi Note 4. When we last reviewed smartphones under 10000, we found the Redmi Note 4 to offer the best imaging experience.

best phone under 10000 in detail

The Redmi Note 5 does not carry any fancy dual-camera setup which is currently the trend now as seen in the 10.or G or the Honor 9 lite which has a total of four cameras.

Specifications aside the Rear camera on the Redmi Note 5 performs very well giving crisp and sharp images, with natural color reproduction as reported by Fonearena. Fonearena recommended using the HDR mode to get better colors, while they were very happy with the Flash performance also.


Gsmarena did complain about softness in the image and noise when shooting in low light, further, the lack of stabilization means the blurring of the image was also found.


Gsmarena also liked the panorama capability which they said was great; giving images with resolutions as high as 18 MPx.

The front camera quality was decent but with good colors and contrast as found by Gsmarena. However, when compared to the Honor 9 lite, the 9 lite fares much better with the presence a depth mode which gives you the shallow depth effect that you can even control.  

The camera app though still carries the same half-baked manual mode from the Redmi Note 4 which still lacks shutter speed control. Although Xiaomi has now added a slow-motion video capture which is an improvement. By comparison, the Honor 9 lite camera app has a proper manual mode, with a dedicated night shooting mode along with other modes to shoot light streaks and star trails etc.

The selfie camera carries forward the beauty mode which isn't very aggressive and gets the job done. Also present now is a front-facing flash which lets you illuminate the subject better.

With the absence of multiple camera sensors, you also miss out on depth effects which are getting more and more popular in phones.

The Redmi Note 5 can record videos up to 4K @ 30fps. The lack of stabilization means you get a lot of shakes but the quality of the video as reported by Fonearena was very good with decent audio also being captured. Slow motion capture up to 720p@ 120fps is present but there is no 60fps recording option.

So despite the lack of a dual sensor the Note 5 does perform very well and is one of the better if not the best camera phone under 10000.


Battery: Stellar battery life with fast charging support

Despite a smaller than before 4000mAh battery, the Redmi Note 5 manages a superb battery life and manages to last a day with heavy use and will easily last two days with light use. The phone takes around 2 hours to charge which is very good for the size of the battery. Geekyranjit did confirm in his video that the Note 5, in fact, does support fast charging (Quick Charge 2.0), however, the bundled charger is limited to 5V at 2A. But you can always pick up Xiaomi's QC 3.0 charger which works with the Redmi Note 5.

In Short

Coming out with a successor to a hugely popular phone is hard, but the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 does its very best by making meaningful improvements without increasing the costs. It does well across the board with a good quality modern display, good camera, powerful processor, long battery life and feature rich software.

Note on Camera Comparison

Opinions on the picture quality of a camera, like audio quality, is very subjective: some people prefer warm and saturated images, while others appreciate images with natural colours. Some prefer soft and bright skin tones in their selfies, while others may think that sharp and natural skin tones look better.

The cameras hardware isn't the only thing that makes a camera good—the software carries a fair share of the load. A camera that performs poorly today can perform miles better with a software update. Don't believe us? Look at the difference in the performance of Moto X, Razer Phone, Essential Phone, etc. before and after updates.


photo shot by redmi note5

                        Redmi Note 5 camera sample (Source: Fonearena)

asus zenfone camera shot

    Asus Zenfone Max M1 camera sample (Source: Fonearena)

10 0r G camera shot

                      10.or G camera sample (Source: Fonearena)

Looking at some of the camera samples from Fonearena, we seem all three perform well given the lighting conditions. Fonearena too was pleased with the picture quality on the devices but once you really factor in all the parameters the Note 5 does inch ahead with better video quality as well.


Performance in Benchmarks

We used Antutu, PC Mark and 3DMark to gauge the smartphone performance. These benchmarks to a certain extent can assess CPU, GPU, storage, and battery performance. After the test, they give out a number which can be used to compare with other devices to know how well your device performs.

benchmark performance

The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 with its Snapdragon 636 has a sizable lead in both CPU and GPU benchmarks due to the powerful A73 grade cores. What's interesting is while the Redmi Note 5 has the oldest chipset (S625), the Kirin 659 found in the Honor 9 Lite, despite being a new chipset is dead last in the 3DMark GPU test. Gaming has for a long time been an achilles heel with the Kirin processor, something we ourselves discovered on the Honor 7x and Honor 9i which lagged badly in Asphalt 8. While all other Snapdragon processors including the entry level S435 managed to give a smooth, lag free gaming experience.
 

After Sales service

Xiaomi, Asus and 10.or all offer a 1 year warranty on their product. You have to take the product to their service centre for any repairs.

10. or also allows you to book a service appointment through their app and then opt for the doorstep pickup option.


Who are our best picks for?

The Redmi Note 5 is the successor to the famed Note 3 and Note 4, while it isn't the biggest in terms of updates, it is still a very good phone that does a lot of thing very well. The processor although a little old in the tooth is quite capable and is highly regarded for its performance and power efficiency. The display and cameras too have improved over the previous generation making the Note 5 an ideal phone for most users.

The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is not from this price category but for just a little more money you get one of the most powerful processors in the mid range segment. This make the phone perfect for gamers and movie heads. The large 5000mAh battery also helps in this regards. Sadly the camera isn't the best and that remains one of the few reasons why one shouldn't pick this phone.

The 10.or G with price cuts is now available at less than Rs.8000 for the 3GB/32GB variant making it a bargain at the price, add in the Snapdragon 626 processor, the quality FHD display, great build quality stock android and good battery life and you have one of the best smartphone in India under 10000 in the budget segment.
 

Why others were not selected


Redmi Note 4


The Redmi Note 4 was once the King of the Budget Smartphone World, and it is one of the best selling phones in the market today. So give us a moment to explain why we think it lost out to the Lenovo K8 Plus (our previous best pick) and the others. The Redmi Note 4 is no doubt a good phone, but it also has some noticeable flaws. To begin, it has a hybrid SIM solution, which can be a deterrent in a phone that has just 32GB of internal storage. Next, the display, although quite clear, is a tad warm, which may look odd to some users (the colours have an orange/yellow tint). Coming to the camera, while the rear camera is slightly better than that of the Lenovo, it lacks a true manual mode and a front camera flash (have a look at the camera comparison to see why this makes a big difference). Next, the speaker audio is dull, distorted at high volume, and doesn't sound natural. Though we understand that smartphones may lack the internal space necessary to create great sound, the Lenovo K8 still performs better, though it is a similarly sized phone. Call quality was also not the best, with callers complaining of extremely sharp irritating sound. The phone also runs on an older Android version, 7.0, while the others, including the Lenovo, has least 7.1.1.



Where the Note 4 does perform is in battery life; it had the best screen on time of 4 hours in the test and a reasonably fast charging time of 2 hours 38 minutes. Our photographer partners were rather fond of the Note 4’s rear camera, because of the simple software and good picture quality. However, it lacks the fancy bokeh effects of the Lenovo K8 Plus.

Redmi Y1

The Redmi Y1 is touted as one of the best selfie camera phones, boasting a whopping 16 MP front camera with flash. And yes, the phone does take great selfies in good light, and it performed reasonably well in low light conditions. The rear camera, however, is above average but really shines in low light. Like its elder cousin, the Redmi Note 4, the Redmi Y1 lacks true manual controls and slow motion video recording.


The screen also had the lowest resolution in the test (720p), while others in the same price range offer full HD. And compared to the metal bodied Redmi Note 4 and Lenovo K8 Plus, the Redmi Y1 had a plastic body with a metallic finish. If camera output is your top priority, this may be a great choice with you. However, our top picks outperformed the Y1 in all other parameters like build, display, and performance.


Honor 9 lite

If there was a prize for the best-looking phone then the honor 9 lite would definitely get picked, adorned with a lustrous glass back the Honor 9 lite looks far more premium than it is. Another place where it excels is in the camera department with four cameras at your disposal the phone can capture some great images. And the camera app to complements the hardware beautifully with a plethora of settings and camera modes for you to really get the best out of it.

Other good things include the fact that it comes with Android Oreo, Face Unlock and a beautiful display that has punch colors and great viewing angles. But after that, it's pretty much downhill for the phone.

The processor which is the latest when compared to the S625 and S626 of the other phones scores high in most benchmarks but, can't even play Asphalt 8 without lagging. Then there's EMUI, Honor custom skin on the Android 8.0 which simply feels so poorly done, its place should have been in a phone from many years ago. Moving onto the battery, things don't get any rosy here with the phone lasting almost a day but with light use only. Oh and coming to the charging despite a 3000mAh battery the phone takes 2 & ½ hours to fully juice up.

This ends up making the Honor 9 lite suited for people only if they want a great camera and a great design but apart from that, it's safer to pick the Redmi Note 5 or even the 10.or G.

Redmi Y2

Priced at nearly Rs.12999 the Redmi Y2 uses the same Snapdragon 625 processor as the Note 5 but comes with an HD+ display, just 3080mAh of battery and nothing significantly better than we can think of. All the selfie talk aside, what we don't understand is why to buy the Y2 when the Redmi Note 5 and even Note 5 Pro offers a much better display, faster processor, larger battery and great cameras.

Realme 1

Oppo’s sub-brand designed to take on Xiaomi’s Redmi series did wow users with its price tag of around Rs.9000 especially considering the powerful Mediatek P60 processor and diamond cut design at the rear. But that's about it that’s nice about the Realme 1, everything else from the software to the camera is rather lackluster. Then there is the obvious lack of fingerprint sensor and slow charging. If you really want good performance we suggest you look at the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 which does offer much better software experience and battery life.

Realme 2

A phone that was supposed to be an upgrade to the Realme 1, turned out to be more of an affordable sidekick. Priced the same as the Realme 1, the Realme 2 comes with a lowered screen resolution (HD+ from FHD+) and a much less powerful processor (Snapdragon 450 from the Mediatek P60) this certainly hasn't gone down well with most users who were expecting a much better spec sheet. For that budget feel free to pick the 10.or G which gives you a gorgeous display, stock android and a powerful processor.

Moto E5

The latest in the line of budget phones from Motorola, the E5 feels a little weird in the price category its launched at. Priced at Rs.10000, the E5 has an entry level snapdragon 425 that's also found on phones half its price and then there is the HD display and plasticky built quality. All these don't necessarily inspire confidence to the person spending nearly 10 grand on the product. We suggest you give this a miss and pick anyone of our best picks.


Final Thoughts


Given the fierce competition in the market and the sheer number of competitors finding the best smartphone can be a hard task. The Redmi Note 5 take a no nonsense approach by giving you a great smartphone experience that's made of quality hardware and feature rich software. While it lacks some modern additions like dual camera and notched display, the overall experience it delivers for the price makes it the best phone under 10000 in India.


The Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 is all about the performance and with the Snapdragon 636 you are pretty capable of playing any game on the Play store. Asus also offers a stock android experience with a long battery life and good audio capability. The phone is perfect for a performance user, if you don't mind the phone being priced slightly above Rs.10000.


Despite the simple design, the 10 or G does offer great value with quality hardware and the smoothness of stock android. Starting at around Rs.7699 it's the best budget smartphone under 10000.



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