We have already taken a look at best smartphones to buy in Rs. 8000 or Rs. 10000 budget, now it's time to check out the segment where most phones were launched in 2016. Here are the top smartphones to buy under Rs. 15000 in India with VoLTE support and high-performance, best cameras.
Again, just like the other lists, we have taken into account specifications, camera, general performance, gaming along with pros and cons.
Top 10 smartphones to buy under Rs. 15000 - December 2016
- Moto G4 Plus
- Vivo V3
- Lenovo K6 Note
- Lenovo Phab 2 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
- Xiaomi Mi Max
- Lenovo Vibe K5 Note
- Samsung Galaxy On8
- Coolpad Cool 1
- LeEco Le 2
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Moto G4 Plus
Motorola brought one of the best cameras on a smartphone under Rs. 15000, even today it remains unchallenged in its performance. With an ergonomic design, good battery life and now with Nougat update the Moto G4 Plus remains one of the top choices in the segment. But the phone did heat up with extended use or with heavy gaming, so if that's what you are planning to with your phone I would recommend looking at some of the other options.
After its price-cut, the Vivo V3 became a great choice for a compact smartphone in this segment. It performs well in day to day use, has a good rear camera and even battery life is was surprising good on the phone. Sadly, the phone still runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop which is a bummer given phones have now started receiving their Nougat updates. But I still liked the form factor here, the metal build was solid and the phone never felt hefty in-hand. It's a great respite from all the 5.5-inch smartphones available at this price.
Lenovo K6 Note
Although a recent launch, the K6 Note packs everything for a good smartphone experience especially a good camera which is still quite rare in this segment. If I just compare the camera and forget everything else, I would put the 16MP rear camera on the K6 Note over the Le 2, and Redmi Note 3. Even the front camera on the device is quite good when compared to the competition. But it runs on the Snapdragon 430 SoC which is pretty much an entry-level processor option from Qualcomm, so the pricing may keep some users from buying it. However, I do like the new near stock UI of Lenovo smartphones which does mean that we may get faster updates. The phone is built well too and carries a massive 4100 mAh battery which never hurts.
Lenovo Phab 2 Plus
Near the end of 2016, Lenovo went on a launch spree with its Phab 2 and K6 series smartphones. The Phab 2 Plus was launched alongside the Moto Z, packing a dual camera setup with a massive 6.4-inch 1080p display. At the time there was no competition to the large-screen, dual-camera Phab 2 Plus but after a few weeks, Coolpad came with the Cool 1 Dual in India running on the powerful Snapdragon 652 no less. But the Phab 2 Plus still fills the gap between a smartphone and a tablet quite like what the Mi Max did.
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
Samsung always has a way of sneaking in one good smartphone in every segment, for this, there's not one but 2. Starting with the Galaxy J7 2016, the company listened to some of the issues we had with the previous variant and made a better device. The build quality was hugely improved with a metal frame and performance received a significant boost too. The Super AMOLED display is still one of the killer features of Samsung smartphones with no rivals and the stable software experience is what most people can only wish for with Xiaomi, LeEco and Lenovo smartphones. The cameras on the phone were pretty average for the price, but once in a while - under good lighting - you could end with half-decent shots. The battery life on the phone was simply amazing, but the lack of a fingerprint sensor did bug - a little bit.
Xiaomi Mi Max
Call it what you will, the Xiaomi Mi Max is one huge smartphone with a huge screen, big battery, and solid performance. The cameras on the phone are strictly average but it's more a media consumption device than anything else. Personally, I would rather pick the Redmi Note 3 over the Mi Max. But if you were looking for a tablet, then you can't get a better option especially with VoLTE support for Jio services.
Lenovo Vibe K5 Note
The K4 Note was a huge hit with dual speakers, TheaterMax support, and the K5 Note wanted to fill the same shoes. Running on the MediaTek Helio P10 processor, the K5 Note wasn't the powerhouse that the Redmi Note 3 was but it still came with decent cameras and good battery life. Even gaming performance was better that other P10 running smartphones. But overall, apart from the build, the K5 Note seemed a step down from the K4 Note. It still finds a spot in the top smartphones list due to its excellent pricing, solid build quality, and good general performance.
Samsung Galaxy On8
Samsung doubled up on its offerings towards the second half of 2016. The best feature of the Galaxy On8 is that super sharp full-HD Super AMOLED display. Essentially the On8 was an upgrade over the Galaxy J7 (2016) for online buyers with 3GB RAM but same 16GB expandable storage. However, gaming performance did take a hit when compare to the J7 due to the weaker Exynos 7580 quad-core processor with its Mali-T720 GPU. But even then solid build quality, good battery life and stable software experience along with regular security updates get the Galaxy On8 in out top phones under Rs. 15000 list.
Coolpad Cool 1
Although a recent launch, I have been using the phone for over a week now. It has solid performance, a good sharp display, and excellent built quality. It runs on LeEco EUI which is one of its major weak points. I would have preferred Coolpad's own Cool UI rather than this monstrosity which eats up as much RAM as you can through at it. There are still some issues with notification control as you just don't appear at times but at least till now I haven't noticed any app crashes. The main feature here are the dual cameras, and that's where the Cool 1 excels. Images taken with the rear cameras have good color reproduction and refocusing an image after it has been captured is always appreciated. The second monochrome sensor allows the camera to get more details while the other 13MP RGB sensor captures all the color information. There are still some chinks in the camera software that need to be worked out, but it is a promising smartphone.
LeEco Le 2
Packing similar specs as the Cool 1, the LeEco Le 2 sought to become the Redmi Note 3 challenger we were all hoping for. But with display creaking issues with the first few shipments, sales of the smartphone slowly started taking a downward spiral. Even though build and camera on the Le 2 were better than the Redmi Note 3, the damage was done. LeEco's heavy EUI skin didn't help matters either. The LeEco Le 2 is now a good option to buy given that the display creaking issues have been resolved with new units and performance has improved with iterative EUI software updates. If you are looking for a good camera on a phone in this segment, apart from the Moto G4 Plus, the Le 2 would be worth looking at.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Again, overall the Redmi Note 3 is the best smartphone you can buy under Rs. 15000. It comes with a sharp display, good build quality, and excellent battery life. Even performance on the device with its heavy MIUI 8 skin is slick and with the recent Marshmallow update things have improved further. The camera was one sore point for the Redmi Note 3, which improved over time with MIUI updates but it's still one of its weaknesses. Given that throughout the year no company, not even Lenovo or Motorola was able to bring a semi-decent competitor to the Redmi Note 3 just goes to show why the company was able to sell more than a million of these in India.