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Review: LG G2 Is Android's New Top Dog

1. Unmolested Android Nexus software. No crapware from LG or the carriers that sell it.

2. The fastest updates. The Nexus 5 will launch with Android 4.4 KitKat, and it will get updates to 4.5, 5.0, etc. -- long before the LG G2 gets them, if it gets them at all.

3. A lower price, most likely. The 16-gig version of the Nexus 4 sold for $349 until it was discounted to clear out the inventories in August. That is approximately $250 less than an unlocked LG G2.

4. No SIM-lock, no contract. Use the Nexus 5 on the cheapest plans, switch SIM cards as often as you like, and travel around the world using low local rates as much as you can.

Conclusion: Sometimes you shouldn't want the best

The LG G2 is "top dog" in terms of Android smartphone hardware today, although the competition -- from Samsung, Sony and others -- will surely catch up fast. However, I still can't recommend it.

Why not recommend it?

In the end, the incremental hardware improvements for smartphones are now indeed very incremental -- read "small." Whereas the LG G2 is a better hardware experience than my other favorite Android smartphones -- the Nexus 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition -- the difference pales in comparison to the software differences.

The thing that will make your Android purchase happy or not over the long period of time is the ability to have crapware-free software and to be getting the latest updates as soon as possible, for as long into the future as possible. As a result, it's almost impossible to recommend an Android device that's not a Nexus.

Another way of saying this is what I always think about when people ask me what Android smartphone to buy. I tell them they should get the one that Google's (GOOG - Get Report) own employees use. Today, that means the Nexus 4, or the Google Play Editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One.

More importantly, in a few weeks that means the Nexus 5. If you can hold out another few weeks, you should not consider any other high-end Android than the Nexus 5. The good news for LG here is that it's based on this excellent LG G2 flagship smartphone.

At the time of publication the author was long GOOG, AAPL and QCOM.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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