Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, iPhone SE to Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro: Best phones under Rs 40,000 (March 2021)

We have a couple of surprises for you this time in our list of the best phones under Rs 40,000. Some phones that have previously never dropped below the Rs 40,000 mark are now available in this budget in India. Expect flagship-grade phones with Snapdragon 865 SoC, high refresh rate AMOLED screens, 108 MP camera, 5G compliance and more. Enough talk – let me walk you through the best options selling under Rs 40,000 in March 2021.

Best phones under Rs 40,000 in India

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Image: Tech2/ Sheldon Pinto

Samsung’s budget flagship, the Galaxy S20 FE (Review) is another excellent option for those with a Rs 40,000 budget. This phone has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ compliance. This stylish phone is IP68 dust- and water-resistant and is powered by Samsung's high-end Exynos 990 chip that also powers other phones in the S20 series. It is accompanied by 8 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage, which can be expanded to 1 TB using a microSD card – a feature often missing from phones in this category.

The photography department consists of a 12 MP primary camera with dual-pixel PDAF and OIS, a 12 MP ultra-wide camera and an 8 MP telephoto camera with autofocus and OIS for up to 3X optical zoom. Samsung's S series of phones are known for their camera quality, and the S20 FE is no different. Even the 32 MP front camera will please selfie enthusiasts. The battery life is impressive, too, thanks to a 4,500 mAh battery that can go on for close to a day and a half of moderate use. The phone launched with Android 10 with Samsung’s One UI on top, and one can expect an Android 11 update soon.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE price in India: Rs 38,790 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage

Mi 10T/ 10T Pro

Xiaomi’s budget flagship phones Mi 10T and 10T Pro (Review) have also seen a small price cut. They offer comparable features at a significantly lower price point than the Mi 10. A few corners have been cut to keep the price down, but you get a few enhancements, too. The only major downgrade is the use of an LCD screen in place of a Super AMOLED display. However, the screen size is the same at 6.67 inches; it is equally as bright with support for HDR10+ and flaunts a higher 144 Hz refresh rate as well. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection for the screen as well as for the back.

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro. Image: Tech2/Sheldon Pinto

The Mi 10T and 10T Pro are both powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 chip and you get 8 GB RAM and 128 GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage. The only difference between the two phones is with the primary camera at the back. While the 10T sports a 64 MP shooter, the Pro variant has a 108 MP camera with optical image stabilisation. The supporting cast of a 13 MP ultra-wide camera and a 5 MP macro camera can be found on both phones, along with a 20 MP selfie camera at the front. Both these 5G-ready phones are capable of recording 8K videos at up to 30 fps. They run Android 10 with MIUI 12 on top.

Mi 10T price in India: Rs 34,999 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage

Mi 10T Pro price in India: Rs 36,999 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage

Google Pixel 4a

We still like almost everything that the Google Pixel 4a (Review) has to offer. If you don’t need a flagship grade SoC or a multitude of cameras and look forward to getting your hands on arguably the best camera phone in this budget, the Google Pixel 4a is the one for you. It may not have a fancy design or the fastest processor around, but this handset offers the goodness of the renowned Pixel camera for a great price. This phone can still achieve – with a single 12.2 MP rear camera (with OIS) – what most phones cannot with two, three or even four cameras with a much higher megapixel count. The camera output is excellent in every lighting condition including low light and can click some brilliant portrait shots, too.

Google Pixel 4a. Image: Tech2/ Sheldon Pinto

Like all Pixel devices, the Google Pixel 4a is among the first to receive the latest version of Android and security updates, which is another big plus. This phone is powered by a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC and is accompanied by 6 GB RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. Thanks to a 5.81-inch Full HD+ OLED display, the phone is refreshingly compact. This phone is ideally suited for photography enthusiasts rather than hardcore gamers or those looking for flashy designs and large screens.

Google Pixel 4a price in India: Rs 31,999 for 6 GB RAM / 128 GB storage

Apple iPhone SE (2020) / Apple iPhone XR

You can now buy the mid-variant of the Apple iPhone SE (2020) (Review) with 128 GB storage in this budget. The new Apple iPhone SE inherits its looks and a bulk of its features from the iPhone 8, but has a much more powerful processor at its core. It is powered by Apple's previous flagship A13 Bionic chip that you get on all iPhone 11 series phones. This is also a good option for those who like the older iPhone design but with upgraded hardware.

Apple iPhone SE. Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

It has a 4.7-inch Retina LCD display with the typical 326 PPI pixel density that you get on most iPhones. You get Apple’s reliable 12 MP camera at the back with OIS, and a 7 MP selfie camera at the front. This IP67-rated dust- and the water-resistant phone runs iOS 13, and can be upgraded to the new iOS 14.

Interestingly, that’s not the only worthwhile iPhone selling for under Rs 40,000 this month – the base variant of the Apple iPhone XR (Review) with 64 GB storage is currently available in this budget too. If you prefer a bigger screen, more modern looks and are fine with a generation-old processor, you may want to consider the XR.

Apple iPhone SE (2020) price in India: Rs 34,999 for 128 GB storage

Apple iPhone XR price in India: Rs 38,999 for 64 GB storage

OnePlus 8T

Surprised to see the OnePlus 8T (Review) on this list? Don’t be. With the OnePlus 9 expected in a couple of weeks, Amazon is offering a flat Rs 3,000 discount on the base variant of the 8T, which brings its price down to a rupee under 40K. You now get the 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage variant in this budget, which is a great deal. The OnePlus 8T has a 6.55-inch Full HD+ Fluid AMOLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. There’s a 16MP selfie camera located in a tiny punch-hole at the top. Like most OnePlus phones, this one, too, has an elegant design with a metal frame and a glass body protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 at the front and back.

OnePlus 8T. Image: Tech2/ Ameya Dalvi

You get quad cameras at the back with a combination of 48 MP primary camera with OIS, 16 MP ultrawide camera, 5 MP macro camera and a 2 MP depth sensor. The cameras manage to shoot some impressive images in different lighting and modes. The main camera can be smartly used to capture zoomed shots, too. The 5G-enabled OnePlus 8T is powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 chip. Its 4,500 mAh battery comfortably lasts for over a day of moderate use, and the bundled 65 W Warp charger juices it up in just 39 minutes! It runs OxygenOS 11 (based on Android 11) out of the box. 

As of now, the smartphone is priced at Rs 42,999. The offer on Amazon was available at the time of writing and is known to play hide-and-seek. If it isn't available at a given time, try again a little later and your patience may be rewarded. If you cannot wait, move on to the next product.

OnePlus 8T price in India: Rs 39,999 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage

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