OnePlus would very much like to remind you that a new version of its own OxygenOS take on Android is arriving very soon, with new features and imagery teased on various social media platforms over the weekend.

As 9to5Google reports, OnePlus is trailing a "major UI change", an improved dark mode, and the arrival of an always on display feature, which has been one of the most eagerly awaited upgrades for OxygenOS.

While the teases that OnePlus has dropped don't give us much in the way of actual information, there are a few hints in the accompanying pictures about how these user interface tweaks are going to look on screen.

In a tweet, OnePlus founder and CEO Pete Lau suggests the new look is going to be a "fresh" one – and the animation that he's included in the tweet might point to an improved one-handed mode along the lines of the Samsung Android One UI look.

Some of these early previews are likely to relate to HydrogenOS, the version of Android that OnePlus makes for the Chinese market. However, OxygenOS will look very similar, even if it arrives a little bit later.

OnePlus is scheduled to unveil a brand new version of HydrogenOS, incorporating Android 11 tech, tomorrow (August 10). On the same day, the final developer version of OxygenOS 11 is also scheduled to be released.

With Android 11 expected to be pushed out to the masses very soon, it's possible that OnePlus will get its own version of the software out of the door first. OnePlus has been working closely with Google in supporting the beta releases of Android 11.

Much more should be revealed tomorrow, and with iOS 14 also due to roll out officially at some point in the next couple of months, it's going to be a busy time for software updates on both the Apple and Google mobile OSes.



Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti… NO. That’s what the best new feature on the otherwise-excellent Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphones seem to be implying every time I burst into song wearing them. 

Quite unexpectedly, and surely accidentally, Sony’s headphones don’t seem to enjoy my singing all that much.

They’re the best noise cancelling headphones in the world – that much is now certain, having just posted our Sony WH-1000XM4 review. Packed full of smart feature additions, with excellent audio performance and improved noise-cancelling techniques over their predecessors (the Sony WH-1000XM3) they’ve been awarded a very rare 5-star rating from TechRadar.

But the most useful feature that’s been added to the Sony WH-1000XM4s brings with it an unintentional side effect. ‘Speak-to-Chat’ is a new, optional, intelligent mode that can be activated on the headphones that uses the microphone to recognise and react when you’re having a conversation. Start having a chat and the headphones will pause your music, activating ambient audio pass through so that you can have a chinwag with someone nearby without having to take the headphones off your head, or manually adjusting the audio or pausing the track.

(Image credit: Sony)

It works phenomenally well. Get a few words in and the Sony headphones know what’s going on and enter into their conversation mode. I’ve even tried to trick them by sitting close to my flatmate and getting them to talk in an attempt to trigger Speak-to-Chat, but Sony is up to that game.

The problem is, it almost works too well, in that if I make any prolonged sound outside of a conversation, the headphones pause. And that includes singing along to my favourite tunes.

Hear, say

I can’t speak for everyone, but I believe the true joy of noise cancelling headphones  is in allowing me to belt out a lung-lacerating rendition of a solid-gold-absolute-banger, and not being able to hear the damage being wrought. With the WH-1000XM4s, I get a bar in and then am rudely interrupted by the sound of silence from the cans, and my own caterwauling. 

It may be a small mercy for my flatmate and neighbours, but it feels like a real tease from Sony to have made such a useful feature, only to have overlooked this likely very common potential interruption. 

Yes, the Speak-to-Chat feature is optional, but it’s one of the key upgrades over the previous model, and genuinely useful when working in its intended scenario. And so I’m left in limbo – to sing or not to sing? To be acoustically available, or supersonic-socially distanced?

There’s an interesting anthropological side effect here too. With most of our music living on personal devices, and being played through personal headphones, the actual act of listening to music is becoming increasingly insular. 

(Image credit: Sony)

It’s part of the appeal of noise cancelling headphones – keeping the outside world outside, and your personal auditorium personal. But with that comes the loss of collective, shared sonic euphoria – all the more keenly felt now that live music events are struggling through the pandemic like the rest of us. 

I think back to the last time I saw a busker in London’s Underground subway system – just seeing him, and not hearing him thanks to the noise-cancelling headphones I was wearing at the time, and how disheartening that must have been for him, let alone the reduced loose change likely coming his way these days as a result of these technological enhancements.

So back to the WH-1000XM4 catch-22 – a product that wants me to be both immersed and available at the same time, a somewhat contradictory position. If I can’t sing with my friends in public any more, and can’t sing with my headphones without being seen as switched-off and distant (as the apparent need for the Speak-to-Chat feature implies), all that’s left is to sing in my head. And that’s a very lonely sound indeed.



The original iPhone SE launched in 2016, the very same year as the flagship iPhone 7. Four years on, the iPhone SE (2020) takes elements of both and combines them with some punchy modern components.

All of which raises an interesting (and distinctly first world) dilemma for iPhone 7 owners looking to upgrade. When you bought your last phone, it was the top dog. But do you need to splash the cash on an iPhone 11 Pro or even an iPhone 11 when the iPhone SE (2020) exists?

There’s only one thing for it. It’s time to pitch the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone 7 against one another to see where the two phones intersect and where they differ. Is Apple’s newest phone a worthwhile upgrade?

Several months on from its release and our review, we’ve got a pretty good handle on the iPhone SE (2020) and what it has to offer. Here’s how it stacks up to its creaky antecedent.

iPhone SE (2020) vs iPhone 7 price and availability

The 64GB iPhone SE (2020) has been available for $399 / £419 / AU$749 from Apple and all good third-party retailers since April 24, 2020. That price edges up to $449 / £469 / AU$829 for 128GB and $549 / £569 / AU$999 for 256GB.

Apple no longer supplies the iPhone 7, which launched on September 16, 2016. However, plenty of third-party retailers continue to offer the iPhone 7 brand new. You just need to shop around online a little.

This means that you can pick up a new 32GB iPhone 7 for well south of its $649 / £599 / AU$1,079 launch price. For example, at the time of writing, Amazon UK is offering the 32GB iPhone 7 for £295 (around $376 / AU$531).

You can go much lower if you’re willing to accept one of the many refurbished iPhone 7 units in circulation. In the US, an Amazon Renewed iPhone 7 32GB costs just $193 (about £150 / AU$270) at the time of writing.

The iPhone SE (2020)

The iPhone SE (2020) (Image credit: Future)

Design

The iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone 7 share the same design DNA. Both phones, together with the iPhone 6S and iPhone 8, are subtle evolutions on the iPhone 6 blueprint launched back in 2014.

They have the same shape as one another, the same small 4.7-inch IPS LCD display flanked by the same chunky forehead and chin, and the same Touch ID sensor hidden in the home button.

For all that external sameness, though, they’re not identical. The iPhone SE (2020) is ever so slightly bigger by a couple of fractions of a millimeter in all directions. The newer phone is also 10g heavier at 148g.

The iPhone 7 is the lighter phone

The iPhone 7 is the lighter phone (Image credit: TechRadar)

That weight disparity can largely be put down to the fact that the iPhone SE (2020) has a glass back, whereas the iPhone 7 is all-metal. This actually makes the iPhone SE (2020) feel a lot more modern and high-end than the iPhone 7, not to mention a little easier to grip. Of course, it’s also more prone to cosmetic damage.

These changes are reflective of the fact that the iPhone SE (2020) is actually using the iPhone 8 as its starting point rather than the iPhone 7. So while they might look very similar, iPhone 7 users can be reassured that they would actually be getting a fresher, more refined design if they upgraded to an iPhone SE (2020).

Both phones are IP67 rated, and neither has a headphone jack. On this front, the iPhone 7 at least has the benefit of shipping with a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter. The iPhone SE (2020) omits this handy (though easy-to-lose) adapter, so keep hold of it if you’re upgrading.

iPhone SE 2020

The iPhone SE (2020) has a 4.7-inch screen (Image credit: Future)

Display

The launch of the iPhone X in 2017 introduced a new phase of front-filling OLED screen technology to the iPhone range. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at the iPhone SE (2020)'s display, which closely resembles that of the iPhone 7.

Both are 4.7-inch IPS LCDs, with the exact same 750 x 1334 resolution, 625 nits maximum brightness, and wide color gamut support. As LCD technology goes, both are crisp and vibrant, though we found that the iPhone SE (and by extension the iPhone 7) doesn’t get as bright as we’d like in outdoors conditions by modern flagship standards.

The iPhone 7 has a similar screen

The iPhone 7 has a similar screen (Image credit: Future)

There are a couple of minor differences between the two displays, though. One is that the iPhone SE (2020) comes with Apple’s True Tone technology, which adjusts the color tone of the picture according to the ambient light. You don’t get this optional eye-preserving feature with the iPhone 7.

Conversely, the iPhone 7 packs Apple’s 3D Touch technology, which means that its screen is sensitive to pressure. As with the iPhone 11 family, the iPhone SE (2020) ditches this feature.

This isn’t actually much of an advantage for the iPhone 7, though, as Apple has gradually rolled back its 3D Touch implementation within iOS. Only a few old apps and games really take proper advantage of it nowadays.

Camera

So far we’ve been playing spot the difference with the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone 7. But the camera is the first area where there’s a marked disparity between the two.

In terms of hardware, the two phones are at least a generation apart. Even though both use 12MP f/1.8 single sensors with optical image stabilization (OIS), the iPhone SE (2020) utilizes the iPhone 8’s newer hardware rather than the iPhone 7’s.

But the difference is even more pronounced when you factor in the iPhone SE (2020)’s use of the A13 Bionic chipset, and the vastly improved image processing capabilities that this chipset brings.

iPhone SE review

The iPhone SE (2020)'s camera is an upgrade (Image credit: TechRadar)

With these iPhone 11-level smarts on board, the iPhone SE (2020) takes quicker, sharper, more accurate shots in all conditions, including low light (although there’s no Night mode in either).

We even found the results to be comparable to the iPhone 11 Pro Max in general bright conditions. Or certainly far closer to Apple’s current flagship than to the iPhone 7, at any rate.

The iPhone SE (2020) can also take Portrait shots. Sure, they’re not as good as on iPhones with dedicated second lenses. But they’re still decent, and are certainly better than no Portrait mode at all, which is what the iPhone 7 provides.

Specs and performance

As we’ve already alluded to, the biggest hardware difference between the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone 7 is an internal one. The newer device might look a lot like its 2016 ancestor, but it’s powered by the same silicon as its 2019 brothers.

The A13 Bionic chipset that runs the iPhone SE (2020) is the same as that of the iPhone 11 family, which is still just about the fastest mobile chipset on the market almost a year on from release. By comparison, the iPhone 7’s A10 Fusion simply does not compete.

The iPhone SE (2020) has 3GB of RAM next to the iPhone 7’s 2GB, too. This makes everything tick along that little bit smoother on the newer phone, and enables more apps to remain suspended in the background.

You'll get better performance from the iPhone SE (2020)

You'll get better performance from the iPhone SE (2020) (Image credit: Future)

The results from the iPhone SE (2020)’s supercharged internals are remarkable. Opening and switching between apps is much quicker on the iPhone SE (2020) than on the iPhone 7, while advanced tasks like exporting an iMovie and compressing a 1080p four-and-a-half minute video are more comparable to the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Seriously, the iPhone 7 doesn’t even get close.

Needless to say, if you’re an avid gamer, the iPhone SE (2020) is a much better bet. It will run all of the latest 3D games without compromise, whereas the same games on the iPhone 7 will be less fluid and may run at a lower level of complexity.

The other hidden benefit of the iPhone SE (2020)’s superior hardware is that it’s much more future-proof than the iPhone 7. The older phone is near the bottom of the list for ongoing iOS and app support, which means you can expect it to drop off altogether over the next couple of years. The iPhone SE (2020), meanwhile, will receive ongoing software support for many years to come.

Battery

Here’s an interesting quirk of the iPhone SE (2020). It might be ever so slightly bigger and heavier than the iPhone 7, but its battery is actually smaller.

The newer phone has a 1,821mAh battery, while the iPhone 7 uses a 1,960mAh unit. So, that’s a win for the iPhone 7 when it comes to battery life, right?

Not so fast. The iPhone SE (2020) uses its smaller battery more smartly than the iPhone 7, courtesy of the more efficient A13 Bionic chipset. The result is a phone that, according to Apple, “Lasts about the same as iPhone 8”.

The iPhone 7 has a bigger battery

The iPhone 7 has a bigger battery (Image credit: TechRadar)

That equates to a quoted 40 hours of audio playback or 13 hours of video playback. Which, as it happens, is an identical estimate to the iPhone 7.

Still, neither phone has anything to boast about here, and we found battery life to be a key complaint in both of our reviews. They’ll each last through a full day of light to normal usage, but only just, and they fall several hours short of the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 family.

When it comes time to recharge, the iPhone SE (2020) gives you more options. Its glass back is more than a mere aesthetic choice, as it permits Qi wireless charging. With the iPhone 7, it’s a physical Lightning charger or nothing.

iPhone SE review

The iPhone SE (2020) (Image credit: TechRadar)

Takeaway

The iPhone SE (2020) might take a lot of its style from the iPhone 7, and both 4.7-inch displays hark back to a previous generation of Apple phones. But don’t let those external similarities fool you - the iPhone SE (2020) is a much more modern handset.

Its performance level is several generations ahead of the iPhone 7’s, courtesy of Apple’s latest processor. Meanwhile, the superficially similar camera hardware is nothing of the sort when you break it down. The iPhone SE (2020)'s camera takes much better and more varied snaps.

Add in the fact that the iPhone SE (2020)’s iPhone 11-level underpinnings ensure a much higher degree of future-proofing, and we’d suggest that purchasing a new iPhone 7 would be a somewhat shortsighted decision.

If your budget is strictly limited, and a new iPhone 7 falls within that price range, then it remains a solid phone. But the iPhone SE (2020) provides much better value in the long run, and a much more fluid experience in the here and now.



antitrust hearing amazon google facebook apple

  • The CEOs of four tech giants recently defended their market power in a historic antitrust hearing.
  • A week later, it feels like business as usual.
  • Blockbuster earnings, copycat apps, and near-$2-trillion market caps tell a different story to the one we heard from these companies a week ago.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Four of the world's most powerful tech CEOs appeared virtually before Congress late last month to defend against accusations they had grown too powerful.

Only 24 hours later, as all four companies announced Wall Street-beating earnings, these executives were singing a very different song to their investors.

Amazon blew past expectations for a record quarter, while Facebook proved neither a pandemic nor an ad boycott could hurt it.

And Apple is nearing a $2 trillion market cap at the time of writing.

But while stocks were soaring, some of the biggest revelations gleamed from the hundreds of emails and internal documents released by Congress were only just coming to light. Within those pages was a far more insightful look at how these giants often acquired smaller companies to consolidate power.

And in the days that followed, it's felt like business as usual.

Facebook rolled out its TikTok clone for Instagram, Reels, only a week after Mark Zuckerberg was questioned about the company's copycat strategies. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said during the House hearing that the company's tactics of cloning and acquiring made it "hard for new companies to flourish."

Unlike its less successful Lasso feature, Reels arrives as the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance, which could play to Facebook's favor.

Apple hasn't escaped the headlines either, after Tim Cook met Congress amid concerns that the App Store operated in a way that was anticompetitive.

This week, Facebook publicly attacked Apple's App Store policies after finally launching its Facebook Gaming app, but only after removing the ability for users to actually play games (they can still watch games via streaming).

Microsoft, meanwhile, slammed Apple for prohibiting its cloud gaming service on Apple's iOS platform.

Google finds itself facing the most immediate danger from antitrust action, with the Justice Department said to be preparing a case for later this summer, and this week its attempt to acquire Fitbit looked less certain as the EU launched a full-scale investigation

But that certainly didn't stop the company from staking a $450 million investment in security-monitoring provider ADT to boost its smart home business.

Antitrust regulators may have put some fear into big tech last week, but after the past few days, you'd be forgiven for not thinking so.

SEE ALSO: A top Wall Street tech analyst says Google is 'less relevant' in e-commerce since the pandemic — and it needs to develop or acquire to start gaining ground on rivals like Amazon

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths



Google open office

  • The coronavirus outbreak will have long-lasting effects on US workers, particularly when it comes to the open office made popular by Silicon Valley companies like Facebook and Google. 
  • Experts say that the open office was never very positive for employees, who reported feeling less productive and more distracted, got sick more easily, and felt pressured to work longer and harder because of their lack of privacy. 
  • When offices begin reopening, whether that's this year or next summer, we're likely to see a shift away from the open floor plan. 
  • "Open floor plans are most definitely going to disappear," Rhiannon Staples, chief marketing officer at human resources management company Hibob, told Business Insider. "I feel like it was already on its way out and this was the kick it needed to get it out the door."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As the coronavirus continues its spread, unabated, in many parts of the US, it's becoming increasingly apparent that a return to "normal" is still far in the future. That's true for American office workers, many of whom have been working from their homes since March.

But when workers are able to return to work en masse, whether that's this winter or a year from now, the office probably won't look as they left it. 

Corporations nationwide are considering how to reopen spaces, from new ventilation systems systems to socially distanced elevators and closed-off kitchens. But the biggest change might be to the space as a whole. 

Experts predict that the wide-open office, popularized by tech industry titans like Google and Facebook, will become a thing of the past. The fad, already becoming passé, has become almost dangerous in the face of the virus — employees often sit packed in large, open rooms, with desks placed close enough to reach out and touch your coworker. 

But don't mourn the death of that open-office floor plan just yet: though it was once heralded as the key to employee collaboration and productivity, it was never all that great for workers anyway. 

The rise of the open office

Facebook NYC employees

Beginning in the early aughts, American tech workers began leaving cubicles behind in favor of an open-floor-plan office space. 

It all started with Google, which revealed its new headquarters, the Googleplex, in 2005. Based in Mountain View, California, it was — and still is — unlike any office in America. It had a bowling alley! And sleep pods! And even sand volleyball courts! 

The Googleplex, with its open design and flexible spaces, was heralded as the future. 

"The attitude was: We're inventing a new world, why do we need the old world?" Clive Wilkinson, the architect who designed the Googleplex, told Fast Company last year.  

Soon, companies started coming to Wilkinson and saying they wanted to by like Google, he told Fast Company. Not long after, Facebook followed suit, opening what it says is the biggest open-floor-plan office in the world: approximately 2,800 employees working in "one giant room," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said when it opened in 2015. 

"We saw a big pendulum shift where everyone came out of private offices and big cubicles into the open office, and that was an epic fail, because one size does not fit all. The open office has gotten a really bad rap as a result of doing it really badly," Melissa Hanley, CEO of the design firm Blitz, which counts Microsoft and Instacart among its clients, told Business Insider.

At the time, the idea was that if you broke down physical barriers between workers, it would break down metaphorical ones as well. Employees would be able to easily collaborate on projects and would be enticed to engage in a free-flow of ideas with their next-door neighbor. The company's CEO, once ensconced in a glass corner office, would now sit right out on the floor next to their employees, a person of the people. 

But that's not exactly what happened. 

Instead, employees put on headphones to shut out the noise that came along with wide-open spaces. They reported feeling stressed, anxious, and less likely to collaborate with those around them. In fact, a Harvard Business Review study from last year found that when a company switched to an open office, face-to-face interactions actually decreased by 70% — employees just communicated electronically instead. 

And that wasn't the only problem. A prescient 2018 piece by Vice's Mark Hay argued that open offices are vectors for disease, with employees who work in them taking more sick days than those who work in enclosed offices. 

"In the workplace, it only follows that if you're working in close proximity and handling objects and interacting closely with each other, it's a very easy route of transmission for germs, viruses, bacteria," Melissa Perry, a public-health researcher at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, told Business Insider earlier this year.

Socializing productivity

Pinterest employees office headquarters

But beyond the prevalence of germs, there's another downside of the open office, at least for employees. 

"The open-plan office has always been in some ways in the interest of the company rather than the worker, because it socializes productivity," Melissa Gregg, Intel's chief technologist for user experience, recently told The New York Times. "It forces workers to watch each other's work, and it creates very few spaces of privacy for individual workers." 

Mentally, there's a pressure that comes with open offices. Workers don't want to look like they're not working hard, or like they're ducking out early. As Jeff Pochepan argued in Inc Magazine in 2018, this means that workers may work longer hours or feel undue pressure to be "on" and engaged 100% of the time, since everyone can see them. 

"I definitely think there's a concept within agile workplaces about accountability and thinking that you set something out that you're going to do and then you have to report back, did you do it," Hanley said. "I do think that the visual access to each other is probably feeding into that." 

Tracy Brower, a sociologist and principal in the Applied Research + Consulting Group at furniture manufacturer Steelcase, likened open offices to manufacturing, where workers generally kept an even, steady pace until a "rate-buster" came in — someone who worked harder and faster, thereby pushing the whole group too much.

"There's hustle culture where, I may not actually be more productive, but by goodness, I'm going to stay later than my boss, no matter what," Brower told Business Insider. "I think we can get caught up in working for the sake of working and being busy for the sake of being busy." 

'The kick it needed to get it out the door'

Google office Garage

In the short term, the office is already changing. Companies are considering density like never before, spacing out workstations, limiting large groups in conference rooms and elevators, and placing partitions in between desks, almost like the cubicles of yore. 

But these cosmetic alterations are likely to be the precursor to a bigger change. Even though a full return to the office still appears to be a long way off, experts agree that when we do return — perhaps in summer 2021, as Google and Facebook expect — we should expect some permanent changes. 

"Open floor plans are most definitely going to disappear," Rhiannon Staples, chief marketing officer at human resources management company Hibob, told Business Insider. "I feel like it was already on its way out and this was the kick it needed to get it out the door."

But Brower said she doesn't think the open office is 100% dead — it's just going to feel different than it did in early 2020. 

"The pendulum has really swung toward open, open, open, and lots of density," Brower said. "I think what has now happened is we're starting to swing that pendulum way to the other side — more barriers, more boundaries, less density."

While that mentality is critical for the safety of employees in the near future, Brower said she doesn't expect things to stay that way. 

"I think what we will end up seeing is that pendulum landing somewhere a little bit close to the middle," Brower said. "This is actually our opportunity to reimagine, reinvent, use the coronavirus almost as an accelerator to get to places that are maybe even better than it would have been." 

SEE ALSO: With no mandate to shut down even if employees get sick, one expert calls Silicon Valley's reopening 'a very easy route of transmission'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid



Audi Q7

  • I tested a $76,000 Audi Q7 55 TFSI from the 2020 model year — an updated version of the second-generation of this popular luxury SUV.
  • In the premium, three-row SUV realm, the Q7 has always been considered an excellent choice, and the 2020 model year is no exception.
  • The major change is a new engine: a supercharged V6 has been swapped for a turbocharged V6 that's more powerful.
  • The 2020 Audi Q7 continues the carmaker's tradition of serving the family luxury market.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In the mid-size luxury SUV market, the two-row contestants compete more fiercely than their three-row counterparts. But for families, all transportation tends toward three-row capabilities. Once you're hauling two or three kids — plus all their gear, plus their friends, plus their friends' gear — that extra row becomes necessary. 

So you can go minivan, move up to a full-size SUV, or continue with mid-size vehicles, but add a third row and two more seats. If you've been a luxury customer, your needs are currently well-served: Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and Volvo, among others, are selling utes that can accommodate seven passengers.

Audi's Q7 has been in the game for a good while. In my book, this ute sets the standard. And it needs to, as its relatively high price tag provides a boost to Audi's revenue and profits. The latter has slid below 10% annually, and Audi wants to get back above that as soon as possible.

Given all that, I was rather interested in seeing what the refreshed second-generation of the SUV was like. Had it kept pace? And could it get the job done for Audi moving forward?

Read on to find out:

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My 2020 Audi Q7 55 TFSI test SUV arrived wearing a suave "Orca Black Metallic" paint job. The as-tested price was $76,040, but the base price was $60,800. (The cheapest Q7 is $54,800.)



The Q7 has been in the Audi lineup since 2005, pioneering the luxury, three-row SUV market. The second generation of the vehicle landed in 2015 and was refreshed in 2019.



The Q7 is Audi's largest SUV. It actually resides above the sporty Q8 in the brand's lineup, as well as the compact Q3 and mid-size, two-row Q5.



I tested the Q7 in 2016 and called it "luxury SUV perfection."

Read the review.



The Q7 has long been regarded as a sharply-designed SUV, and for the refresh, Audi didn't mess with success.



The "matrix" design LED headlights were part of a $10,400 "Prestige" package. Audi can take credit for creating an innovative daytime running-light idea, and these headlamps can easily pierce through the darkness.



My tester came with a set of 21-inch, 10-spoke wheels, included with a $1,750 exterior kit.



The back end of SUVs tends to be a weak point — there's no way to make an up-swinging barn door look good.



But the Q7 at least offers a smooth and sculptural interpretation. The elegant arrangement of the tail lights certainly helps.



Three-row SUVs can carry an additional two passengers, but a third row cuts into cargo capacity. You have a mere 14 cubic feet to work with.



However, if you drop the third row, that increases to 36 cubic feet. And if you lower the second and third rows, you have a cavernous 70 cubic feet.



My Audi Q7 55 TFSI had a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V6 engine under the hood. It makes 335 horsepower, with 369 pound-feet of torque. It also adds a modest mild-hybrid system that has a negligible impact on performance.



The power is sent to Audi's legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system through a clean-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is fair: 17 mpg city/21 highway/18 combined.



The black interior on my Q7 was very, very Audi. The minimalism was palpable — a sharp contrast with Mercedes' blingy approach, and with BMW's driver-focused cabin layout.



A secondary touchscreen in the center stack enables climate control and also manages the heated and cooled front seats. Beautiful, but in practice, a bit tricky to use.



The second row is as restrained as the front seats, with pretty good legroom.



The second row has its own touchscreen-based set of dual-climate controls,



The seats are also easy to drop, to provide access to the third row. About the third row: the space is inadequate for anyone except smaller adults and pre-teen children.



The Q7 driver is a lucky human, perched at the center of a high-tech, digital nerve center.



The leather-wrapped, multifunction steering wheel is what one expects on an SUV of this caliber, but the Q7's layout is exceptionally user-friendly.



The Audi MMI infotainment system has an optional feature called "Virtual Cockpit" that allows the driver to customize the digital instrument cluster. I like to fill the screen with the navigation map.



The MMI system is superb — crisply rendered on a large touchscreen. It's responsive, but it does involve some sub-menus that you have to acquaint yourself with. It does everything well, from Bluetooth pairing to USB connectivity to GPS navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, if you prefer your smartphone's OS.



Wireless charging is also in the house. Like heated/cooled seats and heated steering wheels, this has become a must-have feature for me on luxury vehicles.



In the luxury market, the Audi Q7 truly sets a standard for how to do a three-row SUV. That's why the vehicle is so popular among families, selling 35,000 units in 2019.



By the way, the dual-pane moonroof is welcome in a black SUV with an all-black interior.



So what's the verdict?

When I last tested the Q7, I found it to be utterly and completely compelling.

"Audi has really done a fine job of pleasing everyone with its premium SUV lineup," I wrote. "The luxury is there, the comfort is there, the roominess and versatility are there, the power and handling are there, the infotainment and ergonomics are there, and then there's an intangible Audi thing, which has always made these SUVs winners in the suburbs of New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles."

Nothing has changed since 2016, except that Audi has sold tens of thousands more Q7s to happy customers. The 2020 iteration is in no way a letdown. The big difference between the pre-refreshed Q7 I tested four years ago and this newbie is the turbocharged V6, which replaces a supercharged six. All things being equal, I favor supers to turbos for larger displacement vehicles, so missed some of the old Q7's surging power. But the turbo six is punchier, and there's more torque. So, improvements.

As far as I could tell, the 0-60 mph time is about the same, a scooch under six seconds — pretty fast for a vehicle this large. The Q7's handling is also superb. I'd say it's nearly car-like, except that Audi's cars handled with dazzling verve. So I'll qualify and say that for a 5,000-pound ute, the Q7 manages some magic. In my testing, I alternated between the Comfort and Dynamic drive modes, and while Dynamic adds oomph to the throttle and tightens up the steering, Comfort is plenty sporty. This is a great benefit of all Audis — they feel spirited even when they aren't supposed to.

I didn't tow anything with the Q7, but the rating is fantastic at almost 8,000 pounds. Unfortunately, my week of testing didn't coincide with a family trip, so I couldn't sample the real-world capacity and comfort of this SUV. But it should be excellent for most owners, for both mundane weekday/weekend errand duty and shopping, as well as summer road trips.

The bottom line here is that Audi updated with Q7 without altering much beyond the drivetrain, which is arguably now better. That means this three-row, seven-passenger hauler remains among the top tier of luxury utes.