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Remember the first Samsung Fold phone? You could unfold it to get a much larger display. What a dud. Now they've announced their third foldable phone: the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G.

The reviewers of the first Fold went ballistic over cracking screens, blackouts and an unsightly bulge that appeared below the display. They also hated the bulky hinge. (This follows Bob's general rule: Never buy anything with a low serial number.)

The new Z Fold 2, Samsung's third foldable phone, is getting good reviews, even before it's out. There's less of a gap between the screens. The hinge is better. Though some reviewers suspected the screen is plastic, it's actually ultra-thin glass. Samsung poured dirt and gravel all over it to show how tough it is.

People like a foldable phone because it's easy to prop up for reading or watching movies. It also gives users more screen real estate. The screen is 7.6 inches (diagonal) when unfolded compared with 7.2 inches on the original phone. But as of Thursday afternoon, Samsung hadn't announced the price. The previous Fold phone cost $1,980. The new one is available for pre-order Sept. 1.

Some people will be tempted to get a new phone just for the 5G connection. But 5G is mostly hype for now. In trying to broaden coverage, AT&T and T-Mobile use "low-band" networks, which provide almost no advantage over 4G. Another approach, "millimeter wave" technology, covers only a city block. That means that users will be using 4G.

INTERNUT

We find it highly annoying when we give $25 to a charity only to be bombarded with solicitations afterward. Here's a better way.

CharityChecks.us allows you to give anonymously and still get a tax receipt. The charities won't have your name, so they can't waste paper on you. The checks can be made out to any of 1.5 million organizations. They're partially blank; just the amount is written in. You fill in the rest. Unlike other organizations, CharityChecks doesn't charge user fees.

The organization began as a way to provide learning tools for school children, as well as rewards for employees, and gifts for anyone who has too much stuff. (These days, that's most of us.) Joy put one in a gift basket for her sister's birthday. We recently bought two $25 checks for $50, just to try out their new online system. Worked like a dream. No tax or extras. The checks are in the mail.

HOLD THE PHONE!

These days, people keep their cell phones for about three years, according to Techlicious.com. They used to switch every two years. But a phone can last much longer with these tips.

First, take a look at the battery. Apple started offering cheaper ones in 2018 after admitting they throttled, or slowed down, older phones to protect the batteries. They did it in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. Almost any old phone may benefit from a new battery.

Another good way to improve your phone's performance is to clean its charging port with a toothpick. Lint and dust get in there and block the charging connection. Next, try removing the phone from its case. Then dust it.

Finally, to keep a phone speedy, don't take up more than 75% of the storage space with files and apps. To see how much space you're using on an iPhone, tap "Settings," then look under the "General" tab for "Device" or "iPhone Storage." On Android, "Storage" is under "Settings."

If your phone is still slow, consider a factory reset. Find out how in a Google search.

SLOW CHROME

If you use Google Chrome, you may have noticed that it's a resource hog, slowing down your computer. Firefox is no better. But we found good advice from Marketwatch.

First consider a different browser. The latest version of Microsoft Edge uses 5% fewer resources than Chrome, works in Windows or Mac and is now based on the Chromium operating system. In Marketwatch tests, Safari used 10% fewer resources on a Mac, which translated into two extra hours of battery life.

If you prefer Chrome anyway, as we do, the main thing is to get rid of extensions you aren't using. Click the three vertical dots, go to "Settings" then "Extensions." You can disable them. No need to remove them. You may want to turn them on again.

BOB SCHWABACH

This is the last column by Bob and Joy Schwabach, following Bob's death from a stroke on Sunday. The Schwabachs were a beloved team, and now Joy will continue the column in Bob's honor starting next week. She welcomes your email. Your letters are what make this column go.

Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at joy.schwabach@gmail.com.

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