These are the top LG smartphones you need to know

These are the top LG smartphones you need to know

Let's be completely honest here — LG's generally known as the other South Korean smartphone company. But if that's all you think about LG, you're sorely missing out, as it's been making really good smartphones that too often fly under the radar. That's not to say we haven't seen LG make inroads in the past few years. Google chose it for the Nexus 4 in 2012, and the LG G2 in 2013 marked the start of a new class of flagship device.

LG's also known for making more than a few forgettable low-end phones. But these, here, truly are the LG smartphones you need to be acquainted with.

1. LG G4

Released May 2014LG's latest top-shelf phone is a pretty good one. Quad-HD display. Specially designed Snapdragon 808 processor. And one of the best cameras you can get in a smartphone today. Plus it's got a removable 3,000 mAh battery, expandable storage, and the option for leather backs. What's not to love, right?

The only real hangup on this phone is the software. While it's running Android 5.1 Lollipop, LG's user interface still tries too hard to do too much, and at times it gets to be a bit laggy. That's not to say LG isn't improving in the UI department, it's just that it doesn't know when to say enough is enough.

Still, the sum of the parts makes the G4 one of the best phones you can buy in 2014.

2. LG G Flex 2

Released in March 2014The original LG G Flex was one of the first smartphones to sport a flexible display and battery, meaning the damned thing could bend . But other than that it wasn't all that impressive. And while the G Flex 2 had us initially excited, the reality is this phone was pretty much a dud, thanks to really aggressive throttling of the new Snapdragon 810 processor. The size has actually been scaled down to 5.5 inches, and the screen resolution increased to 1080p. It's still flexible, meaning you can sit on it without breaking it, and drop it with a little more confidence that you'll be able to pick it up again and it'll still work. Part of that durability is in display's glass as well, having been specially treated by LG. Its camera has gained some fun in the software, with the same excellent optics as the LG G3.

So while there are bits and pieces here that are worth talking about, overall the phone's a nonstarter.

3. LG G3

Released May 2014The LG G3 was one of our favorite phones for most of 2014. It was the first with a quad-HD display, ushering in a new era of more pixels than we'd ever really thought would be necessary on a smartphone. The 5.5-inch display is crammed into a body that belies its size thanks to its curves. The 13-megapixel camera sports optical image stabilization and laser autofocus, with excellent results. The 3,000 mAh battery an Qualcomm Quick Charge means it'll go all day, and juice up fast if it has to. LG's not as flashy are other manufacturers, but the G3 continued to show that the the South Korean company knows its stuff, and continues to innovate in one of the best all-around Android smartphones.

4. Nexus 5

Released November 2013You can't actually buy this one from Google right now (it's still listed, but currently showing as out of stock), and it's getting right up there in age. But the Nexus 5 isn't a horrible buy, if you can get it at a not-horrible price. It's from an age in which phones were big but not too big , is running Android 5.0 Lollipop and has wireless charging. Plus, it's a Nexus, for those who demand such food