The Verizon OnePlus 8 is here, finally, but it's not compatible with all cases – and Verizon's own 5G is to blame. Verizon's 5G for the handset mandates a slightly different volume button placement than all other OnePlus variants.
The Verizon variant must include Big Red's mmWave 5G. It's Verizon's latest wireless technology and the carrier's major bragging right, and no smartphone passes Big Red's certification process without it. Additionally, the unlocked model will not provide 5G support, so Big Red users have an incentive to buy the carrier variant. The unlocked OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro will work on Verizon's 4G LTE network, however, since their IMEI numbers have now been certified.
Unfortunately, OnePlus has to make room for the 5G mmWave radio in the Verizon variant. Whereas all other phones show the volume buttons across from the slider and slightly above the power button, the Verizon variant places the volume buttons slightly downward from their usual placement. In their old location stands the 5G radio.
What this means is that most cases won't fit the Verizon model because the power buttons are in a different location. Those wanting to use the Verizon variant will have to order a case directly from Verizon. And, sadly, there are only a few Verizon cases available at the moment for the new phone, such as the new Speck case, Otterbox, and a OnePlus bumper case. Buyers will need to order these cases from Verizon directly to ensure they work with the new variant.
Verizon's mmWave 5G radio technology
The new Verizon variant poses problems for users. It won't allow them to buy cases anywhere, but rather, directly from Big Red. Is it necessary? Well, yes. Not only will non-Verizon cases not work with the new phone but rather, 5G is a must-have for Verizon users. Big Red's next-generation wireless technology is faster than its competition. It works well for city customers. It will prove faster in the city, though mmWave's shortcoming is that it performs well over short distances. A recent Rootmetrics study shows Verizon's 5G has top speed but lacks availability.
And yet, the new mmWave 5G radio placement in the OnePlus 8 5G UW does pose problems. Most buyers will find the new design to be an eyesore when purchasing the Big Red variant. A number of customers will question why they have to settle for such a design change when all other variants are the same and work with standard cases. And then, there's the question of whether or not Verizon will produce a large number of cases for it. Many buyers will pick up a few cases and be happy with them, but some users will want more than the few current cases Verizon has. Some customers will settle for an Otterbox or Speck case and call it a day.
Verizon users want OnePlus on their carrier. And, after having to tolerate unlocked models, they now have a carrier model. However, they don't get everything they want: that is, a model that works on Verizon yet works with all cases. Perhaps their wish may be fully granted come next year.