While the budget smartphone segment today offers phones with a decent mix of good software and hardware features, those seeking better camera performance or want added features will often find themselves looking for smartphones in the mid-range segment. The phones in our sub-Rs. 25,000 price bracket are roughly where the mid-range segment begins and some of them offer impressive performance, in the camera department for instance, considering their price.
Features such as optical image stabilisation (OIS) and high refresh rate OLED displays are getting common, with some manufacturers even offering curved-edge displays in this segment. The latest entrant is the Realme 10 Pro+ 5G which is priced from Rs. 24,999 and offers really good value in terms of hardware. Another new entrant to our list is the Samsung Galaxy M53 5G which recently received a price cut and is now available from Rs. 23,990 in India. There’s also the Xiaomi 11i 5G which we’ve added as a special mention as its virtually identical to the 11i HyperCharge (Review), except for the charging bit.
Here’s our list, in no particular order.
|Phones under Rs. 25,000||Gadgets 360 rating (out of 10)||Price in India (as recommended)|
|Realme 10 Pro+ 5G||8||Rs. 24,999|
|Samsung Galaxy M53 5G||8||Rs. 23,990|
|Motorola Edge 30||8||Rs. 24,999|
|iQoo Z5||8||Rs. 23,990|
|Xiaomi 11i 5G||–||Rs. 24,999|
Realme 10 Pro+ 5G
The Realme 10 Pro+ 5G replaces the Realme 9 Pro+ 5G, a phone which also offered excellent value for money in the sub Rs. 25,000 price bracket and has now dropped in price to below Rs. 20,000. The new Realme 10 Pro+ 5G goes bigger on style and performance. Realme showcases its new ‘Hyperspace’ design language which makes the phone both light and thin, while looking leagues better than its predecessor.
Inside, there’s a MediaTek Dimensity 1080 SoC, which offers enough performance for day to day tasks and is good for gaming as well. It’s one of the few smartphones in this price bracket to offer a 120Hz curved-edge AMOLED display. It gets a 108-megapixel primary camera which sadly, does not offer OIS, but delivers good overall performance. The 5,000mAh battery combined with 67W charging offers good battery backup as well. While the software experience is smooth and you do get Android 13, the phone is loaded with bloatware which we hope gets fixed with updates.
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G recently received a price cut for the 6GB RAM variant, which is now Rs. 23,990 in India. At this price, you get Samsung’s punchy Super AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and a MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC, which should be good for some mid-level gaming and entertainment. The phone is made out of polycarbonate but sure looks premium with its matte-finished back panel. Samsung is also promising two years of Android OS updates and four years of security updates which should is helpful for those who don’t upgrade their smartphones frequently.
The Galaxy M53 5G also sports a 108-megapixel primary camera which offers good daylight performance along with decent low-light performance. There’s a 5,000mAh battery which offers good battery life, but is limited to just 25W fast charging and takes a while to charge fully. Samsung does not include a charger in the box either.
Motorola Edge 30
The Motorola Edge 30 offers an interesting balance of design and performance. It features a slim yet subtle design which uses a frame made out of polycarbonate and a rear panel made of acrylic instead of glass. This makes it possible to keep the phone quite light at just 155g and also quite thin at 6.79mm. Performance is taken care of by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ SoC, which is good enough for routine tasks and gaming. The Motorola Edge 30 is also the only smartphone in this segment to offer a 144Hz refresh rate pOLED panel, making it more than ideal for gaming.
Motorola’s speciality has always been its software experience which remains free of bloatware and third-party apps. You get two years of Android OS updates and three years of security updates. The camera setup includes a 50-megapixel primary camera with OIS, a 50-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, and even a 3X telephoto camera, making it well-equipped in terms of photography. Battery life isn’t its headlining feature but the 4,020mAh battery should give most users a full-day’s worth of charge.
Despite being replaced by the newer Z6 series, the iQoo Z5 still comes out on top in terms of value. It’s not as flashy as the other smartphones in this segment and takes a more practical approach to design with a matte-finished polycarbonate rear panel. The iQoo Z5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G SoC which is good for daily tasks and gaming.
The base storage variant is offered with 8GB of RAM and there’s a 5,000mAh battery which can be charged quickly using the 44W bundled charger. There’s an LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate which is good for regular use and gaming, but it doesn’t look very modern due to the really thick chin. While the rest of its specifications are on point, its 64-megapixel camera is not the best one around and struggles quite a bit in low light.
Xiaomi 11i 5G
The Xiaomi 11i 5G gets a special mention because even though we haven’t reviewed it, we did review its nearly identical sibling, the 11i HyperCharge (Review). For all intents and purposes, both phones should be identical when it comes to software, general performance, gaming, and camera quality.
Unlike the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge which supports 120W wired charging, the 11i 5G is limited to 67W. Battery capacity differs too, but the company promises an all-day battery life. If you’re okay with slightly ‘slower’ charging, the 11i 5G packs in a lot of features for the price. It offers a 108-megapixel primary camera, 120Hz AMOLED display, dual symmetrical stereo speakers, and even has a 3.5mm headphone port. It also looks and feels premium with its smooth, anti-glare glass back.