Best overall

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

See at Flipkart

The Redmi Note 4 is the phone to beat in the budget segment. It features a 5.5-inch Full HD display with 2.5D curved glass, a premium design with an all-metal chassis and contoured edges, and class-leading battery life.

And with Xiaomi issuing a permanent price cut, the Redmi Note 4 is much more pocket-friendly. The variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage is now selling for ₹9,999, making it the best deal in the budget segment. If you need more memory and storage, Xiaomi is offering the model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for ₹11,999.

The phone is now receiving the stable build of MIUI 9, which is based on Android 7.0 Nougat. If you're new to the MIUI ecosystem, there's plenty to look forward to: the custom ROM comes with a slew of useful features, and you can alter the look of the interface through a varied selection of themes from the store.

The camera has received a sizeable upgrade as well, and it now takes great images in daylight conditions. Overall, you're getting a phone that offers an incredible amount of features for not a whole lot of money.

Bottom line: A premium aluminum design, great battery life, decent camera, and attractive pricing make the Redmi Note 4 the standout device in this category. For its price, there really isn't another device that gives you more.

One more thing: The Redmi Note 4 is available online and from thousands of retail stores across the country.

Why the Redmi Note 4 is the best

Xiaomi has figured out the formula to succeed in India's competitive budget segment: offer devices packed to the gills with features, and price them lower than the rest of the market. It's no wonder, then, that the Chinese manufacturer currently fields three of the best-selling phones in India in the Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4, and the Redmi 4A.

The Redmi Note 4 is at the pinnacle of budget phones. You get a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display, Snapdragon 625 with eight Cortex A53 cores, a 13MP rear camera with PDAF and dual-tone LED flash, 5MP front camera, and a massive 4100mAh battery. The design is much more premium than its predecessor, and the camera is of a higher quality. You even get an IR blaster that lets you control appliances in your house.

The Redmi Note 4 has a premium design and outstanding battery life.

The phone has recently picked up the MIUI 9 update, which introduces a bevy of new features. You get a brand-new image editor that lets you remove elements from the background, a notification pane with bundled notifications, system-wide optimizations to make the UI feel smoother, native split screen mode, a new video player, and so much more.

Another area where the Redmi Note 4 excels at is battery life. With a 4100mAh battery under the hood, you routinely get screen-on-time of over eight hours on a full charge. While there's no fast charging available, you're guaranteed to get two days' worth of usage from a single charge.

There's no dearth of features on the Redmi Note 4, and all things considered, you're getting a lot for your money.

Best small phone

Xiaomi Redmi 4

Xiaomi Redmi 4

See at Amazon

If you're looking for a device with a 5.0-inch form factor, then the Redmi 4 is right up your alley. The device is a bargain for ₹8,999, offering a 720p display with a built-in blue light filter, Snapdragon 435, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a massive 4100mAh battery.

The compact size and the huge battery make the Redmi 4 a great option if you're in the market for a device that can last two days between charges.

The Redmi 4 also has a 13MP camera with an f/2.0 lens and PDAF, and you get the usual bells and whistles in the Mi Camera app: Panorama, burst mode, HDR, real-time filters with previews, and face recognition. You can also use Xiaomi's Beautify effects in conjunction with the 5MP front shooter.

Bottom line: The Redmi 4 gets the basics right at an unbeatable price tag.

One more thing: The phone is available in gold and black color options, and should pick up the update to MIUI 9 shortly.

Best selfie phone

Xiaomi Redmi Y1

Xiaomi Redmi Y1

See at Amazon

The Redmi Y1 shares a lot of similarities with the Redmi 4, including its ₹8,999 price tag. The phone also comes with the Snapdragon 435, and has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory.

Where the Y1 differs is the front camera, which is a 16MP offering with a dedicated selfie flash. The flash kicks in automatically in low-light conditions, and Xiaomi's Bestufy 3.0 feature automatically "enhances your natural beauty" to get that perfect selfie.

The Y1 isn't just about the front camera; the phone also features a 5.5-inch 720p display, a design aesthetic that's similar to that of the Redmi Note 4, and a 3080mAh battery that gives you all-day battery life. The MIUI 9 stable build is also making its way to the device.

Bottom line: The Redmi Y1 is your best option if you're looking for a device with a great selfie camera.

One more thing: The Y1 comes with a dedicated microSD card slot along with a dual-SIM card tray, so you don't have to choose between using a secondary SIM card or an SD card.

Conclusion

Right now, it feels like Xiaomi is the only manufacturer that's serious about the budget segment. Lenovo has released several devices in this category this year, including the likes of the K8, K8 Plus, and the K8 Note. Although the company made the switch to stock Android, the devices won't be receiving the Oreo update until June 2018 at the earliest.

Then there's Motorola, which rolled out the Moto E and Moto C in this segment. The Moto E4 Plus is particularly interesting thanks to its 5000mAh battery, but the phone isn't confirmed to receive the Oreo update. For a device that's just three months old, that's inexcusable.

Simply put, if you're looking for a phone that offers the most value for your money, then the Redmi Note 4 should be at the top of that list. The recent price cut makes it a much more enticing option, with the 3GB variant now available for just ₹9,999. For that price, you get a great design, incredible hardware, amazing battery life, and a camera that holds its own in this category.

Best overall

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

See at Flipkart

The Redmi Note 4 is the phone to beat in the budget segment. It features a 5.5-inch Full HD display with 2.5D curved glass, a premium design with an all-metal chassis and contoured edges, and class-leading battery life.

And with Xiaomi issuing a permanent price cut, the Redmi Note 4 is much more pocket-friendly. The variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage is now selling for ₹9,999, making it the best deal in the budget segment. If you need more memory and storage, Xiaomi is offering the model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for ₹11,999.

The phone is now receiving the stable build of MIUI 9, which is based on Android 7.0 Nougat. If you're new to the MIUI ecosystem, there's plenty to look forward to: the custom ROM comes with a slew of useful features, and you can alter the look of the interface through a varied selection of themes from the store.

The camera has received a sizeable upgrade as well, and it now takes great images in daylight conditions. Overall, you're getting a phone that offers an incredible amount of features for not a whole lot of money.

Bottom line: A premium aluminum design, great battery life, decent camera, and attractive pricing make the Redmi Note 4 the standout device in this category. For its price, there really isn't another device that gives you more.

One more thing: The Redmi Note 4 is available online and from thousands of retail stores across the country.

Update, November 2017: The Redmi Note 4 continues to be our top budget pick in India.