With the boom of mobile gaming, thanks to games such as PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9, and Call of Duty Mobile, the gaming smartphone niche took birth. Now, the craving for Chicken Dinners has pushed companies to build smartphones with a special focus on gaming. Chipmakers like Qualcomm and MediaTek are putting out gaming-centric SoCs and phone makers are rushing to provide you the best budget gaming smartphone.
Now, are you are someone who’s looking to invest in a good gaming smartphone to play FAU-G or PUBG Mobile when it relaunches in India? Well, we have compiled a list of 10 best budget smartphones in India under Rs. 20,000.
Features that Define a Good Gaming Smartphone
Before we dive in and take a look at the best budget gaming smartphones, you need to familiarize yourself with a few terms that define a good gaming smartphone in 2020. You might have seen terms such as refresh rate, touch sampling rate, thermals, and others pop up in reviews online. Let me define each of these terms to help you make a better buying decision:
- Refresh Rate: It is the number of times the image on a display refreshes in one second. A 120Hz refresh rate panel means the screen here refreshes 120 times in one second. It enables a smooth viewing and scrolling experience.
- Touch Response Rate: Also known as the touch sampling rate, this is the number of times a screen can sense a user’s touch in one second. In simpler terms, it is the number of times the screen will look for touch input. A higher value of touch response rate means your touch will be registered faster on the screen. You can read about how the refresh rate and touch response rate differ in our in-depth explanation right here.
- Powerful Chipset: With the boom of mobile gaming over the past couple of years, chipmakers have turned their attention to offering better performance. Both Qualcomm and MediaTek now offer gaming-centric chipsets with add-on gaming features. They are greatly optimized to offer you a superior gaming experience.
- Thermals: Gaming on a smartphone puts a great deal of pressure on the mobile chipset, which includes both the CPU and GPU. It causes the internal components to heat up and needs to be dispersed. This is where thermal components like a liquid cooling chamber, graphite sheets, or pads come into play.
- Big Battery: Last but not least, you also need to take into account the battery size and charging speeds. If you plan to game for long hours, you need a smartphone that boasts a big battery and fast charging. It will help minimize your downtime.
Now that we know what features you should be on the lookout for, let’s take a look at the 10 best budget gaming smartphones under Rs. 20,000:
Best Budget Gaming Smartphones Under Rs. 20,000
1. Poco X3
The Poco X3 will be my primary pick when looking for a budget smartphone under Rs. 20,000 in India. It is because of two key reasons. One, the smartphone boasts a 6.67-inch LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 240Hz touch sampling rate. The latter gives you an edge in FPS games, making it the best for PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty. The second reason is the gaming-centric Snapdragon 732G chipset under the hood. It’s probably the best Snapdragon processor to play PUBG under Rs. 20,000 in India.
Apart from this, the Poco X3 is a well-rounded budget smartphone with a 64MP quad rear-camera module and a 20MP punch-hole selfie camera. It comes equipped with a humongous 6,000mAh battery pack with 33W fast-charging, which is amazing. This is probably one of the best budget gaming phones in India right now.
Buy Poco X3 from Flipkart (starts at Rs. 16,999)
2. Realme Narzo 20 Pro
The Narzo 20 Pro by Realme is another great gaming phone, powered by the newest MediaTek Helio G95 chipset. It is a gaming-centric chipset with add-on features like MediaTek HyperEngine, low latency, and up to 8GB of RAM. You also have a 6.5-inch 90Hz Full-HD+ LCD display with a 120Hz touch sampling rate. This should give you an edge over standard 60Hz display gamers in one-on-one fights.
In addition, this smartphone includes a 48MP quad-camera module, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and a 4,500mAh battery pack with 65W super-fast charging support. This is yet another selling point for the Narzo 20 Pro. Even if you run out of juice while gaming all day, you can fully charge it up within just 30 minutes.
Buy Realme Narzo 20 Pro from Flipkart (start at Rs. 13,999)
3. Realme 6
An equally good budget gaming smartphone is Realme 6. It is not much different from the Narzo 20 Pro and is available for 1,000 bucks cheaper in India. The smartphone has a tall 6.5-inch Full-HD+ LCD display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 120Hz touch response rate. Realme 6 is powered by the gaming-centric MediaTek Helio G90T, coupled with up to 8GB RAM and 128GB built-in storage.
The Realme 6 also includes a 64MP quad rear-camera setup and a 16MP punch-hole selfie camera. You have a 4,300mAh battery with 30W fast-charging support onboard. And the necessary connectivity options, including a 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, and more, are in tow as well.
Buy Realme 6 from Flipkart (starts at Rs. 12,999)
4. Poco M2 Pro
While the Poco X3 is the best gaming phone above Rs. 15,000 in India, the Poco M2 Pro could be a great option for those looking to save a few bucks. The Poco M2 Pro boasts a 6.67-inch Full-HD+ LCD display with a 60Hz refresh rate. The panel here doesn’t have a higher refresh rate but the 120Hz touch sampling rate makes it a suitable pick for one of the worthy budget gaming smartphones.
The Poco M2 Pro features a premium design, a 48MP quad-camera setup, and a 16MP punch-hole selfie camera. It is powered by the gaming-centric Snapdragon 720G SoC that’s coupled with up to 6GB of RAM and a huge 5,000mAh battery in India. You can game for hours on this smartphone without worrying about lag and heating issues.
Buy Poco M2 Pro from Flipkart (starts at Rs. 13,999)
5. Infinix Zero 8i
The latest addition to Infinix’s portfolio, Infinix Zero 8i, arrives with all of the major ingredients that make a gaming phone. The smartphone features a massive 6.85-inch Full-HD+ LCD panel with a dual 16MP+8MP punch-hole selfie camera. The display boasts a 90Hz refresh rate and a 180Hz touch response rate, which means your taps will be registered quicker. Thus, you will have an edge in FPS games if your opponent doesn’t have similar hardware.
Also, the Infinix Zero 8i is powered by the MediaTek Helio G90T. This is a powerful gaming chipset and is backed by 8GB of RAM, 128GB of built-in storage, and a decent 4,500mAh battery. You also get 33W fast-charging onboard, which means topping up the battery won’t take many hours. The device includes a diamond-shaped 48MP quad rear-camera island as well.
Buy Infinix Zero 8i from Flipkart (Rs. 14,999)
6. Redmi Note 9 Pro Max
If the cameras are an equally big deal for you as gaming on your smartphone then I suggest you pick the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max over the Poco M2 Pro. Both phones have almost identical specifications. It’s just that the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max swaps out the 48MP primary camera for a 64MP sensor on the rear. A 32MP selfie sensor replaces the 16MP sensor on the front.
The 6.67-inch Full-HD+ display with a 120Hz touch response rate, Snapdragon 720G chipset, huge 5,000mAh battery, and 33W fast-charging support remain the same.
Buy Redmi Note 9 Pro Max from Amazon (starts at Rs. 16,999)
7. Motorola One Fusion+
This is one of the two stock Android gaming smartphones on this list. Motorola One Fusion+ is perfect for gamers looking for top-notch performance and a clean vanilla software experience. The smartphone features a 6.5-inch Full-HD+ LCD display with a standard 60Hz refresh and touch response rate. This may look disappointing to many, but the lack of a notch or punch-hole is a big plus for immersive gaming.
Motorola One Fusion+ is powered by the gaming-centric Snapdragon 730G chipset, coupled with up to 6GB of RAM, and a massive 5,000mAh battery with 15W fast-charging support. Also, you will find a 64MP quad-camera system on the rear and a 16MP pop-up camera on the front.
Buy Motorola One Fusion+ from Flipkart (starts at Rs. 17,499)
8. Micromax IN Note 1
Micromax made its return to the smartphone market with IN Note 1 and it has already garnered praise for its performance. It is decent but there’s room for improvement. The Micromax IN Note 1 will offer you good gaming performance at its price point. It comes equipped with a gamer-centric MediaTek Helio G85 chipset and a massive 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast-charging. The display, a 6.67-inch 60Hz Full-HD+ LCD panel, does not meet the highest standards but is a decent budget gaming smartphone for the Rs. 11,000 asking price.
The Micromax IN Note 1 will easily be able to handle your Call of Duty or FAU-G game sessions. A key highlight of this smartphone is also the stock Android 10 skin. It offers you a clean and simple UI with no bloatware. Also, you will find a 48MP quad-camera setup on the rear and a 16MP selfie camera on the front.
Buy Micromax IN Note 1 from Flipkart (starts at Rs. 10,999)
9. Samsung Galaxy F41
Again, if you want good gaming performance and an excellent set of cameras, then you should pick up the Samsung Galaxy F41. This is the only smartphone on the list to come equipped with an AMOLED display. You have a 6.4-inch full-HD+ AMOLED panel with a 60Hz refresh rate. The company did not disclose the touch sampling rate so we believe it is set at the standard 60Hz.
Galaxy F41 is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 9611 chipset, which is comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G and 720G gaming chipsets. It is coupled with 6GB RAM and a humongous 6,000mAh battery with 15W fast-charging. The smartphone has a 64MP triple rear-camera module and a 32MP selfie camera to round up the kitty.
Buy Galaxy F41 from Flipkart (starts at Rs. 15,499)
10. Poco M2
Now, if the aforementioned phones look steeply-priced to you, the Poco M2 is the best cheap gaming smartphone you can get right now. It starts at Rs. 10,999 in India and brings you a large screen, a powerful gaming chipset, and a large battery pack. Poco M2 features a 6.53-inch Full-HD+ display (as compared to a sea of HD+ displays in this price bracket) with a standard 60Hz refresh rate. It is powered by the MediaTek Helio G80 chipset, coupled with a 5,000mAh battery that should be able to handle your long gaming sessions.
Also, the Poco M2 includes a quad rear-camera setup led by a 13MP sensor, an 8MP selfie camera, and all the photography features one can expect in the Rs. 10,000 price bracket. It charges over USB Type-C (Thank God, it is not microUSB), supports 5GHz Wi-Fi, and has a 3.5mm headphone jack onboard.
Buy Poco M2 from Flipkart (starts at Rs. 10,999)
Best Budget Gaming Smartphone: Which Should You Buy?
We have compiled a list of 10 best budget gaming smartphones under the Rs. 20,000 price bracket in India. If you are a serious gamer, who wants to get good at the game or start streaming, then the Poco X3 should be your pick at Rs. 16,999 in India. Casual gamers should also blindly choose the Poco X3 for the best experience. But, you won’t be disappointed if you buy, say the Narzo 20 Pro or Poco M2 Pro, under Rs. 15,000 in India. So yeah, that’s my take on the top 10 budget gaming phones. Did I miss out on any impressive gaming phones under Rs. 20,000? Do let us know in the comments below.