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Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, iPhone SE among the best camera smartphones under Rs 20,000

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ameras have become an integral part of a smartphone and its performance has the ability to make or break it. Today, the competition in the camera department is not just present in the high-end premium smartphone between the Pixels and the iPhones, but it is also very much alive in the mid-range segment as well. Consumers in the market looking for a decent under Rs 20,000 smartphone expect an all-round device that not just delivers in performance but also in photography as well.

The budget and mid-range segment is highly competitive today as every company is bringing their A game, launching affordable smartphones the keep with industry trend. A majority of the phones in this list are those that come with dual cameras, while others impress despite offering only a single primary sensor. Knowing the importance people give to cameras today, these phones make sure that photography enthusiasts are covered and at the same time don’t compromise on other aspects as well. Be it portrait mode, low-light or selfies, there is something in this list that should help most consumers in the market for a sub-Rs 20,000 camera smartphone.

Xiaomi Mi A1: Rs 13,999

Dual cameras have become an industry trend and is becoming increasingly common not only in the premium segment but also among mid-range smartphones as well. Dual cameras have the ability to produce portrait shots, which is quite a popular thing these days. Most mid-range smartphones struggle to get bokehs right, but the Mi A1 is not one of them. Xiaomi’s Android One smartphone is many things – a stock Android handset, a premium-looking device and an excellent camera phone as well.

The Mi A1 is Xiaomi’s first dual rear camera smartphone in India, and is currently among the best camera smartphones under Rs 20,000 in the market. The Mi A1 sports dual 12-megapixel sensors, one with a 26mm wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture and one with a 50mm telephoto lens with an f/2.6 aperture. The dual camera setup offers 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom as well as PDAF and dual-LED flash. You also get a 5-megapixel sensor on the front with beautification mode.

In our review of the Mi A1, we found that the smartphone has the best dual camera implementation under Rs 20,000. The smartphone excels at portrait mode shots, offering crisp and detailed captures under ideal lighting. Normal photos under good light are also captured with a good amount of detail and colour. However, the Mi A1 struggles in low-light and photos will often come out noisy.

Moto G5S Plus: Rs 14,999

Speaking of dual camera smartphones, there’s also Motorola’s Moto G5S Plus, which has also been lauded for its cameras apart from providing a stock Android experience and good battery life. Price just under Rs 15,000, the Moto G5S Plus is a dependable smartphone for many consumers as it largely offers an all-round package. The handset sports two 13-megapixel sensors on the back with an f/2.0 aperture. The second sensor offers features like selective focus, background replacement and selective black and white colouring. All of this essentially means that the Moto G5S Plus can take depth-of-field shots (bokeh) and then use the editor to change the amount of blur and make part of the image black and white.

More than anything else, the Moto G5S Plus impressed us with its primary sensor which is able to capture images with natural colours, good dynamic range and impressive detail. In low-light conditions, images captured look good and have little noise. However, the smartphone has a slow shutter speed which can cause some blurry photos. Meanwhile, the 8-megapixel front camera comes with a wide-angle lens and images captured have good detail.

Redmi Note 5 Pro: Rs 13,999

Challenging the Mi A1’s dual camera setup is another Xiaomi smartphone that only recently entered the game. The Redmi Note 5 Pro, which was launched alongside the Redmi Note 5 and Mi TV 4 last week, also comes with dual rear cameras that promises good detail and clear photos even in low-light conditions.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro, which is available for Rs 1,000 less than the Mi A1, comes with a dual camera setup that comprises of one 12-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture and one 5-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture, both of which are RGB. The primary sensor has a 1.25-micron pixel to capture more light while the secondary camera helps in portrait shots. The rear cameras are backed by PDAF and dual-LED flash. Over on the front, you get a 20-megapixel camera with LED flash.

The cameras on the Redmi Note 5 Pro are exceptional and we feel that it edges the Mi A1 as the best camera smartphone for its price. Photos captured have a good amount of detail and colour under ideal lighting. Unlike the Mi A1, low-light captures are good as well despite some noise. Meanwhile, selfies captured via the front camera are also quite detailed and colours are almost true to life. The only area where the Mi A1 has an edge is with portrait shots, although only marginally.

iPhone SE: Rs 19,999

The iPhone SE is not a new phone, but it is a phone that has aged well. Apple’s cheapest iPhone in India has seen a number of price cuts over the past few years and is now available at under Rs 20,000 on e-commerce platforms like Amazon India. Not only is the iPhone SE one of Apple’s best designed iPhones, but it also comes with great cameras that continue to perform well even today.

The iPhone SE has a 12-megapixel sensor with 5-element lens and TrueTone flash. Reviews back in 2016 including our own hailed it as one of the best cameras in a smartphone. And while a lot has changed in the past two years, the camera has aged quite well. It is super fast at focusing and takes true-to-life images, which are well balanced in terms of contrast and colours even today.

Samsung Galaxy On Max: Rs 15,900

It’s not often that Samsung gets mentioned in the best camera smartphone in the low-end segment. Sure, its upper mid-range and high-end flagship smartphones have killed it with great cameras, but the lower mid-range have often been troubled. The Galaxy On Max, which was launched in India early last year, is still perhaps the only Samsung smartphone in the sub-Rs 20,000 price segment that really impresses in the camera department. The On Max comes with a 13-megapixel sensor on the front and back with f/1.7 which helps in low-light shots.

In our time with the smartphone we found that the rear camera is fast, even in indoor lighting with quick shutter speed. The camera app also allows you to add filters and stickers on the go, which is a neat little addition. Overall, the cameras on the Galaxy On Max are dependable and consumers looking for a Samsung smartphone with good cameras under Rs 20,000 pretty much should go for the On Max.

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