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As smartphone manufacturers compete for space in an increasingly saturated mid-range offering segment, consumers are at a loss for which phone to choose.

A price range of Rs25,000-35,000 is often enough for those looking to buy a phone that will last them around two years.

For phones to make it to the two-year mark, they must be durable and possess the kind of specs that allow them to age well.

What are the five best smartphones you can buy in less than Rs35,000? Let's take a look.

1. Lenovo Zuk Z1 – Rs25,000

The Zuk Z1 comes with a flagship worthy but old processor, the Snapdragon 801. It was Snapdragon’s most stable chip. This is coupled with a gigantic 4,100 mAh battery which should easily last you at least two days, if not more, on medium usage. There’s a fingerprint scanner on board too.

The Lenovo Zuk Z1 comes with Cyanogenmod by default which allows for a wide variety of customisation options. Cyanogenmod has been getting bloated with features but maintains the stock look and feel of Android. Though, you can rest assured you won’t find any lag and poor performance because of the OS, which is very much the case of Pakistani OEMs and Samsung.

The camera is limited to only 1080p (1920 x 1080) video recording at most which is weird considering that the camera sensor and the processor on the Zuk Z1 is capable of 4k (3840 x 2160) video recording. This can be fixed by flashing a newer version of Cyanogenmod so it won’t be a problem for most. The sharpness, noise and colour reproduction with the camera is average at best though, when compared with the current batch of flagships.

This phone is an all-rounder and can fulfill all of your needs in this price range as well. It is only the camera which might not make you extremely happy, but otherwise it is one of the best you can find in this price segment.

This phone costs Rs25,000 and comes with 64GB storage only.

Lenovo Zuk Z1 specifications

  • CPU: Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Supported Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G, Dual Sim
  • Design: Fingerprint scanner/Metal frame
  • Display: 5.5” with FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution
  • RAM: 3GB Internal: 64GB
  • Card slot: No
  • Primary Camera: 13MP, f/2.2, autofocus, LED flash, OIS, 1080p (1920 x 1080) 60fps & slow motion video recording
  • Secondary Camera: 8MP, f/2.2 1080p (1920 x 1080) video recording
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, dualband, hotspot, Bluetooth V4.1, GPS with AGPS/GLONASS
  • Battery: 4,100 mAh Li-Po non-removable battery, fast charging, USB type-C slot
  • Colours: White, Dark Grey
  • Price: Rs24,990

2. LG Nexus 5X – Rs27,000

One of the two Nexus phones released last year, the cheaper Nexus 5X came with slightly different specs than its bigger brother the Nexus 6P. It comes with a polycarbonate body and does not feel premium at all as compared with the Huawei P9 lite or the Xperia Z3 which make use premium materials.

It features stock Android so your experience would be very smooth and snappy. The good thing is that you can get software updates before any other phone does, including the Android 7.0 Nougat update. No other phone on this list has received this update yet. The bad thing is that stock Android is very plain and does not have the customisation features or themes that other companies add on their phones (HTC, Huawei etc.)

The battery life is satisfactory and you can see a day’s usage on medium use. This phone offers the best performance in terms of raw power compared to other phones in the list thanks to the Snapdragon 808 processor which powers the phone. The RAM might be too low at 2GB for some people though. Same goes for storage, it does not have a microSD card slot.

Camera is also one of its good features with low light performance and sharpness that rivals flagships of this year as well. As far as your photography experience goes, 5X is the best you can find in this price whether it’s 4K video recording or plain photos.

This phone costs Rs27,000 for the 16GB model.

LG Nexus 5X specifications

  • CPU: 2x Cortex-A57 @1.8GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @1.4GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 418
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Supported Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G
  • Design: Fingerprint scanner
  • Display: 5.2” with FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Internal: 16/32GB
  • Card slot: No
  • Primary Camera: 12.3MP, f/2.0, autofocus, dual LED flash, 4k (3840 x 2160)/1080p (1920 x 1080)/720p@120fps slow motion video recording
  • Secondary Camera: 5MP, f/2.0
  • Connectivity: NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, dualband, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth V4.2, GPS with AGPS/GLONASS
  • Battery: 2,700 mAh Li-Po non-removable battery, fast charging, USB type-C slot
  • Colours: Quartz (white), Carbon (black), Ice (blue)
  • Price: Rs27,000

3. Sony Xperia Z3 – Rs30,499

The two years old Sony flagship could very well be the star of the list. The phone dropped in price over the years and now falls within the Rs25,000 – Rs35,000 price category.

This phone also features the aforementioned Snapdragon 801 processor, the very same found in the Zuk Z1. Xperia Z3 was also updated over the years so you won’t be left behind, at least on the OS front. The difference in build quality will be immediately noticeable compared with the rest of the phones in the list. It has a shatter-resistant glass back with an aluminium frame on the sides.

Despite having a glass back the phone does not break as easily as other phones with glass back do. Shock-proof corners also help with the phone’s durability. Water and dust resistance further compliment the sturdiness of this device as it has an IP68 water resistance rating.

The camera is good but not great when compared with today’s flagships. The camera on the Nexus beats the one on Xperia Z3 but that doesn’t mean the camera sucks by any means and it can show a thing or two to all other phones which reside in this price range. Sony says that the Z3 is capable of taking pictures with an ISO of up to 12,800, which is nearly pitch black. Though don’t hold your breath as the picture despite being bright would have plenty of noise.

Another noteworthy thing about it is the battery which despite being smaller than that of the Zuk Z1 can offer a battery life comparable to it. It can easily get you through two days of usage thanks to Sony’s optimisations for the battery.

All of this comes with a price tag though, Sony Xperia Z3 costs Rs30,499 for the 32GB model.

Sony Xperia Z3 specification

  • CPU: Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Supported Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G
  • Design: Glass back, metal frame
  • Water and Dust resistance (IP 68)
  • Display: 5.2” with FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Internal: 16/32GB
  • Card slot: Yes, supports up to 256GB of expandable storage
  • Primary Camera: 20.7MP, f/2.0, autofocus, LED flash, 4K (3840 x 2160)/1080p (1920 x 1080)/720p@120fps slow motion video recording
  • Secondary Camera: 2.2MP, f/2.8 1080p (1920 x 1080) video recording
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dualband, Wi-Fi direct, DLNA, hotspot, Bluetooth V4.0, GPS with AGPS/GLONASS/BDS
  • Battery: 3,100 mAh Li-Po non-removable battery, fast charging (japanese models only)
  • Colours: Black, White, Copper, Silver Green, Purple
  • Price: Rs32,000

4. Huawei P9 Lite – Rs. 26,000

The only Huawei phone on the list is perhaps one of the best of Huawei’s midrange phones to date. The P9 lite goes a step forward with last year’s P8 lite and adds a fingerprint sensor to it.

The plastic body from the P8 lite was also replaced with a metal frame and a polycarbonate back. Overall it feels premium when you hold it in your hand. It also supports a lot of gestures and customizability in the custom skin that Huawei uses for the P9 lite. You can swipe on the fingerprint scanner or tap and hold for different gestures and commands.

In terms of battery life and performance this phone should hold up pretty well, don’t expect flagship level numbers though. The camera is unfortunately average at best.

This is one of the cheaper phones on the list and starts at Rs. 26,000

Huawei P9 Lite Specifications

  • CPU: 4x Cortex-A53 @2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @1.7GHz
  • GPU: Mali-T830MP2
  • Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 650
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow based EMUI
  • Supported Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G Dual Sim (hybrid slot)
  • Design:Metal Frame
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Display: 5.2” with FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Internal: 16 GB -Card slot: Yes, supports up to 256GB of expandable storage
  • Primary Camera: 13MP, autofocus, LED flash, 1080p (1920 x 1080) video recording
  • Secondary Camera: 8 MP, f/2.0
  • Connectivity: NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth V4.1, GPS with AGPS/GLONASS
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh Li-ion non-removable
  • Colours: Black, White, Gold
  • Price: Rs26,000

5. iPhone 5S – Rs. 35,000

The last phone on the list but by no means the least. It comes with one of Apple’s best designs to date, the iPhone 5 series.

Although old, it is still somehow useable today. This is because you can update the phone to iOS version 10.1 and get all the latest features from the update. The iPhone 5S came with a fingerprint sensor before it became a standard in the smartphone industry. It was by no means the first phone to get one, but it was the first flagship phone to get the feature.

Specs wise it doesn’t compare to the behemoths in the list but that doesn’t stop the phone from running smoothly. Its mostly because the animations hide the loading times which gives it the illusion of being buttery smooth. Storage is also going to be an issue as you will run out of space soon after updating to iOS 10.1.

The camera on this phone is also good, better than most midrangers in terms of color reproduction. The results look better on the iPhone mainly because it has a tiny 4 inch screen and low resolution. The Nexus still takes the cake at least in the camera department.

The battery might not be good though. iPhones are notorious for having meager battery life and iPhone 5S is no exception. With 3 years of its life in the shelf, who is to say whether it got even worse in that time.

Overall if you don’t have the cash to buy an iPhone 6 or 7, but still want to try an iPhone, the 5s is the way to go.

This phone costs Rs. 35,000 for the 16GB model.

iPhone 5S Specifications

  • CPU: Dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone
  • GPU: PowerVR G6430 (quad core)
  • Chipset: Apple A7
  • OS: iOS 7 upgradeable to iOS 10.1
  • Supported Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G
  • Glass and Aluminium Frame
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • Sapphire crystal Touch ID button with Stainless steel frame
  • Display: 4.0” with 640 x 1136 (slightly less than 720p) resolution
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Internal: 16/32/64 GB
  • Card slot: No
  • Primary Camera: 8 MP, f/2.2, autofocus, dual tone LED flash, 1080p (1920 x 1080)/720p@120fps slow motion video recording
  • Secondary Camera: 1.2 MP, f/2.4, 720p (1280 x 720) video recording with FaceTime over Wi-Fi or mobile data
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, hotspot, Bluetooth V4.0, GPS with AGPS/GLONASS
  • Battery: 1,560 mAh Li-Po non-removable battery, reversible connector
  • Colours: Space Gray, White/Silver, Gold
  • Price: Rs. 35,000

This article originally appeared on ProPakistani and has been reproduced with permission.