Best Smartphones Under Rs. 5000 in 2020 – Reviews and Buyers Guide

OUR TOP PICKS


1. LAVA ERA 4X


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2. NOKIA 1


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3. MICROMAX BHARAT5 IE


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Looking to buy a smartphone under the ₹5000 price tag? We understand that choosing the right mobile can be quite the struggle especially when on a tight budget. This is why we are here to help!

The smartphone is one of the easiest ways to access the internet. This makes it your key to the digital world but the price range can vary from cheap and affordable to very expensive. There are many high-end smartphones which provide cutting edge features like the best cameras but the price tag can be quite high. That being said, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a basic smartphone that can cover all your needs.

Today we will look at the best smartphones under ₹5000 which provides all the essential features. This can be a first smartphone for many people or even a backup device. It also makes a good choice of smartphone for your parents or kid if you’re on a tight budget.

Buying the Best Mobile Phone Under 5000 – What to look for.

Here at NIDM we will simplify the various aspects of a smartphone like the camera, the battery, the software, etc. We will help you gain a clear understanding of what to expect and what you must look out for when buying the best smartphone under 5000 in India.

1) Display

Ideal display specifications

Your smartphone’s display is one of the most important parts of the device. The screen plays a key role in the overall user experience which is why you should choose a smartphone with a good display. High end displays like AMOLED Panels offer deep blacks and vibrant colours. AMOLED provides the best quality but costs higher to produce. This is why it is only available on smartphones with a high price tag.

Luckily, display technology in smartphones has come a long way and one can now expect a good 5 – 5.5inch display for phones under ₹5000. The panel used can be LCD or TFT and both produce good colours and good viewing angles. LCD Panels with IPS technology provide superior viewing angles but are available only on some models in this price range.

Another important aspect is the screen’s resolution. The higher this is, the sharper things like images and text will appear on your device. You can expect a 720p display which will provide you with a clear viewing experience.

The latest devices on the market can also sport a taller screen with a 18:9 aspect ratio instead of the traditional 16:9. This gives you a larger screen while keeping the phone compact so it is easy to hold.

2) Protection

Ideal protection

The materials used on the construction of a smartphone play a key role in how well it can survive an accidental drop. Devices made with aluminium has a higher chance of surviving a drop than ones made with glass. Both materials however, are more expensive to manufacture and are only available on devices in a higher price range.

Plastic is not as sturdy as aluminium but more durable than glass. You will find that most phones under the 5000 price tag use plastic for most of their construction besides the screen which is glass because it helps keep the costs low. The screen on most models will also not have any special protection like Corning Gorilla Glass to keep costs low. This is why we recommend applying a screen protector and a case for devices under 5K.

While you can’t expect special protection features, most devices in this price range will be able to handle regular daily use without any issues.

3) Camera

Ideal camera setup

A smartphone helps you capture special moments in life so choosing one with a good camera is important. Some features like dual cameras, optical image stabilization etc. will not be available in the 5000 range. Most phones on the market offer a single rear camera that’s 8 – 13 Megapixels.

While these phones are not meant for photography, you can still get fairly clear shots as long as there is plenty of light. Basic features like Auto Focus, Digital Zoom and HDR will also be present. Low light photography should be avoided as photos taken in low light and dark areas would be much lower in quality. The flash at the back will be good for lighting up some objects but not a large area.

The front camera can range from 2 – 5 Megapixels. This can be used for taking very basic photos and video calling. If you are a selfie lover then you may want to increase your budget for devices with a better front camera.

4) Processor (System on a chip) SoC

Ideal processor setup

The processor (CPU) is the brain of any smartphone. This part is responsible for making everything you do on your smartphone possible. From something as simple as making a call to using an app or a game it’s the processor doing all the work behind the scene.

There are many processors in the market right now. Some phones have processors which are designed to handle most basic tasks. While others like the processors found in flagship grade phones aim to offer the best cutting-edge performance.

Some examples of processors include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon lineup, Samsung’s Exynos and MediaTek’s MT series. You can expect a basic processor from Qualcomm or MediaTek in smartphones under the 5000 range. This can be a quad core chip with a speed of 1 – 1.5ghz.

These devices are good for most daily tasks such as browsing the web, calling, WhatsApp, etc. The performance for basic things will be smooth and you will not face any heavy lag or stuttering. That said, if you try heavy apps and games then you fill face a lot of slowdowns as the processor struggles to keep up.

5) RAM & GPU

Ideal RAM and GPU setup

Apps, games and all other data is stored in your phone’s internal memory. While this is ideal for storing data, it is too slow when you need to access data quickly like going through many apps. This is why your phone uses RAM or Random-Access Memory which is much faster than the internal memory for all its operational tasks.

The RAM is responsible for how well you can multi task. It stores things like apps so you can open them quickly. The higher the RAM the lesser need there is for the phone to load the app again from the slow internal storage.

Most phones in this price range will offer 1GB or 2GB as the RAM amount. 1GB would be sufficient for using one app at once and basic tasks but not for multi-tasking. If you want to use more than one app at once then at least 2GB would be necessary.

When it comes to gaming you can play simple games like temple run or subway surfers. Although, games like Asphalt 8 or PUBG will either face massive slowdowns or will not run at all. This is because the GPU or Graphics Processing Unit in these phones is only meant for simple low graphic games.

6) Storage

Ideal storage capacity

You may think that you don’t need a lot of storage but we recommend going with at least 16GB of internal memory. It is important to consider that some of the storage will already be used by the phone’s operating system. This can be as high as 50% used out of the box. Apps are also getting increasingly larger with every new update.

You can expect 8GB or 16GB storage in this price range. 8GB is sufficient only if you don’t plan to install many apps on your phone. This is if you need the device mainly for just calls and messaging. If you wish to store more media like videos then you can opt for a phone with a MicroSD slot. This can be expandable up to 64GB or 128GB.

It is also important to note that some phones don’t support moving apps to the SD card. Some apps also work only in the internal storage. Even when an app is moved to the SD card there will still be some internal storage used by the app. This is why adding a SD card will not always mean that you can install too many more apps.

7) Battery

Ideal battery capacity

It doesn’t matter how good a smartphone is if the battery can’t last at least a day of normal use. The battery capacity is generally shown in mAh units. You should expect 2000-3000mAh capacity for most phones under 5K. Some devices do offer battery capacities as high as 4000+ mAh making them great for battery life.

The battery technology that is used in this price range is mainly Li-Ion which provides good performance. Some models may have a Li-Polymer battery which are thinner but these are more expensive to manufacture.

Most devices in the market right now come with a sealed non removable battery. However, there still are some models which may provide a removable battery.

8) Ports & Wireless communications

Ideal ports and wireless

Access to fast internet has been spreading rapidly throughout the country thanks to 4G LTE. All devices in this price range will support for 4G LTE. You can also expect dual sim support although not all phones will support 4G on both SIMs.

You can also expect all basic wireless features such as Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. Some features like NFC and Wireless charging are only available on high end devices so those will not be available.

For wired connections most devices in the mid to high range come with Type C ports. However, budget devices under 5000 still have the older MicroUSB 2.0 port. This is not a major drawback as it helps keep the costs low.

Since the manufacturers don’t need to make these devices too slim, they keep the 3.5mm jack. Most devices in this price range will come with the 3.5mm headphone jack.

9) Speakers & Sensors

Ideal speakers and sensors

Audio quality on your smartphone is not only important for listening to music but also making sure you hear calls clearly. If the speaker is not loud then you may miss calls when in a noisy environment. Some special features like dual speakers provide wider stereo sound but is only available on a few models.

Smartphones in this range are not designed for audio quality through speakers. That said, you can expect the devices to be loud enough to hear the device in most environments. The vibration motor is also present.

Sensors are another important aspect of your phone’s user experience. While you can’t expect to get all the sensors, the 2 basic sensors should be covered. The proximity sensor allows your phone’s screen to turn off when you place it to your ear. The accelerometer makes motion sensing possible for things like gaming and auto rotate.

10) Software

Ideal software setup

Hardware specs are very important but can be considered only half the deciding factor when it comes to user experience. The second half is – The Software. While all devices in this price range run Android, which version and custom UI it has can make a big difference. Even the fastest hardware will struggle to run smoothly if the software is poorly optimized.

The latest version of Android is 9.0 Pie and you should expect a device that runs on 9.0 Pie or at the very least 8.1 Oreo. Some devices may also have the “Go Edition” of Android which is designed to use less space for low end devices.

The cleanest version of Android is called “Stock Android”. This sometimes does not have many extra features but is the fastest and easiest to use.

A Custom UI is the manufacturers take on Android to make it more unique. Manufacturers add things like special apps and features that you will not find on Stock Android. But sometimes too many preinstalled apps and unnecessary features can also slow down the phone.

Now that we have covered all the important aspects of a smartphone let’s take a look our picks for the 10 best smartphones under 5k. This list is specially curated to help you pick the device that suits you best.

Top 10 Best Smartphones under 5000

1) XOLO ERA 4X (2GB+16GB)

XOLO ERA 4X

XOLO ERA 4X specifications

XOLO is an Indian mobile company which has been offering smartphones for many years now. While their devices lack behind the competition in the mid to high range, they have some compelling offers in the ultra-budget range.

One of their newest offerings – The XOLO ERA 4X sports a 5.45 IPS 18:9 HD+ Display with Corning® Gorilla® Glass protection. For the price tag this is one of the best screens in the budget market.

On the front we also see a 5MP selfie camera with a front LED flash. The quality is good only for the most basic selfies taken in a very well-lit environment. There is no fingerprint sensor but the device supports face unlock.

On the back there’s an 8MP camera with support for features like Beauty mode, HDR etc. This performs much better than its selfie counterpart. That said, low light photography is still one of the weakest aspects of this camera.

Powering up the phone is a MediaTek MT6739 1.5ghz Quad Core processor. This will run most basic apps with ease as long as you don’t try intensive games. There is support for 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.  Essential sensors like the accelerometer, proximity and light sensor are also present.

The device runs on Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition with the Star OS V5.0 interface. While the device doesn’t lag, we wish that XOLO would have opted for a completely stock interface. Star OS V5.0 has some useful features but there is also some unnecessary bloatware that could be removed.

Battery life is good for a day’s use with a 3000mAh unit. You also get the 3.5mm headphone jack and a MicroSD card. The USB port is MicroUSB 2.0 and not Type-C but that is normal for this price range.

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2) Nokia 1 (1GB+8GB)

Nokia 1

Nokia 1 specifications

The Nokia 1 is one of the cheapest android devices in India. While the hardware is underpowered when compared to the competition, the device excels on the software side. The device launched with Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition but has been updated to Android 9.0 Pie Go Edition. Nokia has also kept the device free from unnecessary apps and bloatware.

The screen is a small 4.5inch IPS LCD Display with a low 480p resolution. This is easily one of the biggest drawbacks of the device but the small size also helps make the device very compact. This can be a benefit if you want a phone that is easy for one handed use.

The device is made of plastic but is built fairly well and has a removable battery. The battery capacity is only 2150mAh but since the screen is small it also uses less power. This helps the device last at least a day of light to normal use. It also supports 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and even FM Radio. Nokia has also retained the headphone jack and the USB port is Micro USB 2.0.

The MediaTek MT6737M is 1.1ghz Quad Core processor that can handle basic apps but that’s about it. You can also do some basic gaming but nothing with high graphics.  The RAM is also only 1GB but it manages to stay smooth for most basic tasks.

The cameras are as basic as it gets with a 5MP rear unit and a 2MP selfie unit. The storage is also only 8GB but you do get MicroSD support. The Nokia 1 is not meant for heavy users. This device makes a great choice if you need an ultra affordable compact smartphone for basic tasks with up to date software.

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3) Micromax BHARAT5 Infinity Edition (1GB+16GB)

Micromax BHARAT5 Infinity Edition

Micromax BHARAT5 Infinity Edition specifications

The BHARAT5 Infinity Edition from Micromax is a battery champ. The device rocks a 5000mAh battery to make frequent low battery warnings a thing of the past. The device has a clean design but it a bit bulky due to the large battery. It also offers a fingerprint sensor on the back.

The display has a modern 18:9 ratio. It’s a 5.45inch IPS LCD panel and has a 720p resolution. The quality is on par with other devices in this range.

At its core lies the MediaTek MT6739 1.5ghz Quad core processor. The performance is fairly good for most basic apps. You can also expect to do some basic gaming. Although, since the RAM is only 1GB you can’t expect anything intensive. The internal memory is 16GB.

The camera offering is weak with just a 5MP sensor at the back and a 5MP sensor in front. You can expect only very basic photos but the device does offer a front facing LED flash for selfies.

The software side is kept simple with Android 8.1 Oreo but there is some bloatware. Most wireless essentials are covered with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and Radio. There is a MicroUSB 2.0 port and the accelerometer and proximity sensor.

While the specs are mediocre and the cameras are basic, this a good option if battery life is your priority.

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4) Panasonic P85 NXT (2GB+16GB)

Panasonic P85 NXT

Panasonic P85 NXT specifications

Panasonic isn’t exactly the name that comes to mind when you think of smartphones. They are more famous for other electronics like televisions and batteries. The P85 NXT however, makes a compelling offer with

The display is a traditional 720p 5inch 16:9 IPS LCD panel. There is no notch or slimmer bezels but the device is compact and easy to hold. The front camera is a basic 5MP shooter with an LED flash. The rear camera is an 8MP shooter on par with the competition. Expect clear photos only in well-lit shots.

We normally see MediaTek’s processors in this price range but Panasonic has gone with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon. While not very powerful, the Snapdragon 210 is a 1.3ghz Quad core processor that will handle most of the basic tasks. You can also do some light gaming well thanks to the Adreno 304 GPU.

The device launched with Android 7.0 Nougat which is fairly disappointing. The interface also has unnecessary clutter and bloatware. The device does retain the headphone jack and has a MicroUSB 2.0 port for charging and data transfer. There is support for 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM Radio. The fingerprint sensor is rear-mounted.

The battery life should be good thanks to the 4000mAh unit powering up the device.

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5) iVOOMi Z1 (2GB+16GB)

iVOOMi Z1

iVOOMi Z1 specifications

iVOOMi may not be well known company in the Indian market but the Z1 has some interesting features on offer. If you want a phone that has an iPhone style notch then this is the closest on offer in this price range.

The notch screen also allows the display to be larger giving us a 5.67inch 720p panel. This is slightly larger than the rest of the market.  The device runs on Android 8.1 with the SmartMe OS3.0 skin. There are unnecessary features and some bloatware as well which can slow down the device.

The screen is not the only thing that has an edge over the market. The rear camera is a 13MP unit with features like bokeh, time lapse etc. The front camera is also an impressive 8MP unit which is better than most competition.

While the cameras quality is not too different than other options in this range, the increased resolution means you can zoom better into photos.

The device is powered by a MediaTek MT6739 which is a quad core 1.3ghz unit. There is 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The battery life is average with a 2800mAh unit. There is support for Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and the essential sensors. iVOOMi has also offered a fingerprint sensor.

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6) Micromax Canvas 1 (2GB+16GB)

Micromax Canvas 1

Micromax Canvas 1 specifications

The Canvas 1 takes some design cues from OnePlus and Apple. While it is made with plastic the device looks modern.

The screen is a 5inch 720p IPS LCD panel and has a traditional 16:9 ratio. On the front you also see a 5MP selfie shooter with a LED flash. On the rear there’s an 8MP shooter which is common for this price range but the flash is a dual-LED dual-tone unit.

Powering up this device is a MediaTek MT6737 processor. This is a 1.3ghz Quad core unit and while slower than some of the competition it can perform most basic tasks without any issues.

The software side is disappointing since the device comes only with Android 7.0 Nougat. There is however, 2GB of RAM to keep things running smooth. The internal storage is 16GB and there is support for MicroSD as well.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Radio is present and so are the accelerometer and proximity sensors. The fingerprint reader though is not present on the Canvas 1.

The device supports 4G LTE. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a MicroUSB 2.0 port. The battery life isn’t that impressive with only a 2500mAh unit but the battery is removable.

7) Panasonic P95 (1GB+16GB)

Panasonic P95

Panasonic P95 specifications

The P95 comes with a simple sleek design and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210. There is no finger print sensor like the P85 NXT but there is support for face unlock. The display is a 5inch IPS LCD panel with 720p resolution.

There is an 8MP rear camera with features like HDR and a 5MP front camera but there is no front flash. The image quality is not as impressive as some of the competition and low light photography is not recommended.

While the Snapdragon 210 is not a power house by any means, it can handle most basic day to day tasks with ease. Basic gaming can also be done thanks to the Adreno 304. The battery capacity is on the smaller side since its only a 2300mAh unit.

The software is disappointing with only Android 7.0 Nougat on board. There is only 1GB RAM but the device can run most basic apps without problem. The internal storage is 16GB but Panasonic has provided a MicroSD slot for expansion.

Most wireless essentials are available such as 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. The device also supports FM Radio. Panasonic has also provided an ambient light sensor along side the accelerometer and proximity sensor. Sadly, the Panasonic P95 is missing the fingerprint sensor.

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8) Gionee F205 (2GB+16GB)

Gionee F205

Gionee F205 specifications

The F205 is one of the few phones in this price range that come with an aluminium body. This gives the device a more premium feel than the price tag would suggest. The screen is an IPS LCD display with a modern 18:9 ratio and 5.45inch size. The resolution is 720p.

The phone has an average camera offering with an 8MP lens at the back and a 5MP one on the front. The selfie camera supports features like bokeh and beauty mode but no front LED flash. The rear camera performs well for basic photos as long as you avoid dark environments.

Under the hood lies the MT6739 1.3ghz Quad core processor from MediaTek. The performance is good for basic applications but the device lags the moment you try anything intensive on it. The RAM amount is 2GB but the software is not well optimized so multitasking could have been better.

The F205 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat which is outdated in 2020, we expect at least Android 8.1 Oreo. Gionee also does not have a very good track record of software updates which makes this the phone’s biggest drawback.

Keeping everything powered is the 2670mAh battery. The device will last a day if you only use it for basic tasks. That said, you may need to grab the charger often if you wish to stream videos or play basic games.

Gionee has kept the headphone jack but there is no fingerprint reader. There is a MicroUSB 2.0 port for charging and data transfer. There is support for 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM Radio.

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9) Lava Z60s (1GB+16GB)

Lava Z60s

Lava Z60s specifications

The Z60s is a compact 5inch offering from Lava. The device is easy to hold with a 720p IPS LCD display.

While small the device has enough power for most basic tasks with its 1.5ghz MediaTek MT6739WW processor. The only thing that would be a bottleneck here is the 1GB RAM.  We do get sufficient storage with the 16GB internal memory.

The cameras are quite simple with just a 5MP rear shooter and a 5MP front one. We wish Lava had opted for at least an 8MP rear camera for this one.

The battery life will not be very impressive with only a 2500mAh unit. That said, since the display is smaller it uses less power.

The Z60s supports 4G LTE and has all the basic connectivity options like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth etc. The fingerprint sensor however, is not included,

Lava does have a more powerful offering the Z61 or XOLO ERA 4X but the Lava Z60s is more compact and is also cheaper.

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10) Lava Z50 (1GB+8GB)

Lava Z50

Lava Z50 specifications

One of the cheapest Android devices on offer from Lava, the Z50 is quite basic in every way. That said, it is one of the few devices on the market with a small 4.5inch screen. If a very compact device is your requirement then this makes a good offer.

The 4.5inch screen is only 480p in resolution but at this size it will not be an issue.

The device also has the power required to run most basic apps with a 1.1ghz MT6737M Quad core processor from MediaTek. There is only 1GB RAM but this is enough if basic apps are all you need to use. The internal memory is also only 8GB but you can use a MicroSD card.

On the software side the device runs on Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition. The user interface is close to stock and there isn’t a lot of bloatware.

The basic trend continues in the camera department as well as we see just a 5MP front camera and a 5MP rear camera. As a bonus though, Lava does offer a front flash if you want to take selfies in the dark.

Most basic wireless connectivity requirements are also taken care of with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 4G support.  There is no fingerprint reader but the accelerometer and proximity sensor are present. Powering the device is a small 2000mAh battery.

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Best Budget Smartphone under 5000 – What’s Your Pick?

Finding the best smartphone under ₹5000 can be very difficult. The tight budget can limit your options and the models available can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for. This is why we have covered the 10 most important aspects of a smartphone that you should consider when deciding which model to buy.

While budget devices may not have the latest features, a good smartphone in this range should cover all the basic essentials. This includes 4G LTE connectivity, a good screen and a reliable battery life.

Our curated list of top 10 phones under 5000 to help you decide which is the best pick for you!

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