A sub-30K price band is the zone of flagship challengers. We are talking smartphones that tick the key boxes without the stiff price tag of a flagship device. Whether it’s your need for speed or images that are good for the gram, these smartphones are up to the task.


Samsung Galaxy M52 5G: It’s probably the most elegantly designed M Series device we’ve checked out, with a premium glossy finish and the signature thin-striped pattern. Weighing 173g and 7.4mm thick, it is also one of the lightest M Series devices despite its robust 5000mAh battery. The 6.7-inch FHD+ sAMOLED+ display with a 120Hz refresh rate is probably our favourite feature on this device. The triple rear cam combines a 64MP primary lens, a 12MP ultra-wide lens and a 5MP macro lens. (Rs 29,999)

Samsung M52


OnePlus Nord 2 5G: The Nord 2 is kitted with a 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED display (2400 x 1080 pixels / 410 PPI) with a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s ultra-smooth, and videos (that get a boost from the stereo speakers) and gaming are immersive. OnePlus has worked closely with MediaTek on maxing out the AI capabilities of the new Dimensity 1200AI processor that’s backed by 12GB/256GB (or 8GB/128GB). Just under 190g, the Nord 2 feels really good in your hand. There’s a 65W charger in the box that powers the device (4500 mAh battery) in just over 30 minutes. (Starts from Rs 29,999) 

ONePlus Nord


Realme GT Master Edition 5G: The Realme GT Master Edition stands out with its unique award-winning design by world-renowned Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. This device replicates the horizontal grid of a suitcase on the back of the phone, making it both visible and touchable. At 174g, it’s one of the lighter 5G ready devices and also features a gorgeous 120Hz Super AMOLED display. At its heart is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G processor. (Rs 25,999)

RealMe GT Master


Google Pixel 4a: It might have been a while since this device debuted but it’s still relevant for folks seeking a PurePlay Android experience backed by a solid camera. We dig the form factor — it weighs just 143g and is designed for one-handed navigation. The 5.81-inch OLED boasts crisp colours, while the 3140 mAh battery won’t let you down. But the real showstopper here is the Pixel camera with a 12.2MP rear lens (f/1.7 aperture) that rides on Google’s brilliant software optimisation to deliver great results. (Rs 27,999)


Pixel 4a


Poco F3 GT: The F3 takes over the reins from the Poco F1. The metal frame and Maglev trigger buttons are the device’s distinctive design elements. There’s a large 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate that’s soon becoming a standard feature at this price point. You also get support for HDR10+; the device maxes out at a touch sampling rate of 480Hz when you switch to game turbo mode. Other hardware highlights include a Dimensity 1200 processor, two hardware variants and a 5065 mAh battery. (Rs 28,999)

Poco F3 GT