Best phones under Rs 40,000 (May 2022): OnePlus 9, iQOO 9 SE 5G to Realme GT Neo 3


It is time to look at the best phones available in India under Rs 40,000 this month. Most of the handsets from our previous list made a strong case for inclusion, but only two managed to retain their place. We have four new options for you; yes, we selected six phones instead of our usual five. As expected, we have handsets with flagship grade processors, 5G compliance, high refresh rate AMOLED displays and last but not least, excellent cameras. Time to meet the best under 40K this quarter.

Best phones to buy under Rs 40,000 in India

iQOO 9 SE 5G
The Vivo sub-brand has been a constant presence in several of our lists, and here’s another impressive device from iQOO. The iQOO 9 SE 5G is powered by Qualcomm’s flagship grade Snapdragon 888 chip, and you can get its top variant with 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage easily in this budget with a few bucks to spare. Its 6.62-inch HDR10+ compliant Full HD+ AMOLED display has a 120 Hz refresh rate for a flicker free experience in compatible apps, and it can get up to 1300 nits bright.


The rear camera department consists of a 48MP primary camera with OIS, accompanied by a 13MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP depth sensor. You get a handy 16MP front camera for selfies and video calls. The iQOO 9 SE 5G has a 4500 mAh battery that lasts over a day of moderate use, and the bundled 66W fast charger claims to charge it fully in under 40 minutes. The phone runs Android 12 with FunTouch OS 12.


iQOO 9 SE 5G price in India: Rs 36,990 for 12 GB RAM/ 256 GB storage

Realme GT 2/ Realme GT Neo 3
We have two Realme phones for you that have far too many similarities and just two key differences, which I will touch upon first. The Realme GT 2 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 SoC, while the newer Realme GT Neo 3 is powered by Mediatek’s flagship Dimensity 8100 chip. While the former has a 6.62-inch AMOLED display, the latter has a slightly larger 6.7-inch AMOLED screen that supports 10-bit colour. Both screens are HDR10+ compliant, have 120 Hz refresh rate and Gorilla Glass 5 protection.

Realme GT 2

You get 8 GB RAM  variants of both phones in this budget, and while the GT 2 has 128 GB storage, you get a choice between 128 GB and 256 GB internal storage variants with the GT Neo 3. The camera department is identical for both with a 50MP primary camera with OIS that captures some impressive shots in different modes and lighting. It is accompanied by an 8MP ultra-wide snapper and a 2MP macro camera. The 16MP front camera handles selfies and video calls quite well. 


Both phones have 5000 mAh batteries that keep them going for over a day and a half of moderate use, and the bundled fast chargers can juice them up fully in a little over half an hour. Realme GT 2 as well as Realme GT Neo 3 run Android 12 with Realme UI 3.0. Now, there is another phone in India with specifications identical to the GT Neo 3 but a few thousand Rupees pricier. It is commonly known as the OnePlus 10R. We thought long and hard about it and then decided against it. Read on to know why.

Realme GT 2 price in India: Rs 34,999 for 8 GB RAM/ 128 GB storage

Realme GT Neo 3 price in India: Rs 38,999 for 8 GB RAM/ 256 GB storage

OnePlus 9
The price of the OnePlus 9 has dropped further, and as a result it offers better value than the 10R along with a much better camera department. You now get its 8 GB RAM and 128 GB UFS 3.1 storage variant comfortably in this budget. This phone is powered by Qualcomm’s previous flagship Snapdragon 888 chip. It has a 6.55-inch Full HD+ Fluid AMOLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ compliance. The phone has an elegant design with a glass body protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 at the front and back. 


As I was saying, the rear camera department is more potent than the OnePlus 10R. Photography is handled by a 48MP primary camera, a 50MP ultrawide camera with auto-focus — one of the best ultrawide cameras around, and a 2MP mono camera. Let’s not forget the Hasselblad colour calibration that does make a difference. The cameras manage to shoot some impressive images in different lighting conditions with natural colours. 

OnePlus 9

A 16MP front camera located in a tiny punch-hole at the top of the screen does a good job with selfies and video calls. Its 4500 mAh battery lasts easily over a day of moderate use, and the bundled 65W charger juices it up in just about half an hour. The phone launched with OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11, and the Android 12 update with OxygenOS 12 is now available.

OnePlus 9 price in India: Rs 37,999 for 8 GB RAM/ 128 GB storage

Motorola Edge 20 Pro
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is another impressive option in this budget, and it holds on to its spot on this list courtesy of some unique features. This phone is powered by a Snapdragon 870 chip and comes with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage. Its large 6.7-inch Full HD+ OLED display flaunts a 144 Hz refresh rate along with HDR10+ compliance and the capability to display over a billion colour shades. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection against scratches at the front and back.


The photography department on the Motorola Edge 20 Pro is helmed by a 108MP primary camera and has an impressive support cast to back it up. You get a 16MP ultra-wide camera and an 8MP telephoto camera with OIS that gives you 5X optical zoom. The 32MP front camera is bound to impress the selfie enthusiasts. Its 4500 mAh battery lasts over a day of moderate use and supports 30W fast charging. This phone runs Android 11, and like most Motorola phones, you get a clean and near-stock user interface. The Android 12 update has started rolling out.

Motorola Edge 20 Pro price in India: Rs 32,999 for 8 GB RAM/ 128 GB storage

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is the second phone from our previous list to retain its spot this quarter too. It has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED HDR10+ compliant display with a 120 Hz refresh rate. This stylish handset has an IP68 rated ingress protection. It is powered by Qualcomm’s previous generation flagship chip, Snapdragon 865. You get 8 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage to go with it. The internal storage can be expanded further with a microSD card; a rare feature in premium phones. The phone debuted with Android 11 and Samsung’s One UI 3.1. The Android 12 update with One UI 4.0 is available for this device.


The photography department consists of a 12MP primary camera with dual-pixel PDAF and OIS, a 12MP ultra-wide camera and an 8MP telephoto camera with OIS for up to 3X optical zoom. The camera quality is excellent across different modes as one expects from a Samsung S series phone. You also have a 32MP camera at the front to please the selfie crowd. Its 4500 mAh battery lasts for well over a day of moderate use. It supports regular fast charging as well as fast wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE price in India: Rs 34,990 for 8 GB RAM/ 128 GB storage