Only just hitting the market, the VeraPlus is the latest in the growing line of Vera Z Wave controller devices for your . An upgrade to the VeraEdge, it provides wider compatibility with more smart devices and gets a performance upgrade to run faster under heavy load in larger homes.
Is it a straight upgrade choice for existing Vera sers, or are the improvements not enough to get them excited, and how will it cope in a world of HomeKit and other home rivals?
At about $149 ( For the latest prices and discounts, check here ) as of this writing, it is competitively priced with the Apple TV, but a little more than the previous generation of hubs.
If you have never used it so far, today we are going with a detailed VeraPlus review to show you all the features of this smart hub, so you can decide if this smart home hub is the right choice for you.
Key Features of the New VeraPlus
- Multi-Protocol Compatible: The or something like it has been a long time coming. Why not support all the radio protocol standards, Z-Wave device, Zigbee devices, WiFi, and , then let the user choose whatever they want to buy.
- Ho-hum Curb Appeal: Inside the unit, which looks a bit like a Wi Fi router with the terribly 90s flashing bank of LEDs, and indeed it can be used as one, although the company doesn’t really recommend it, the silicon has also had a bit of an upgrade.
- Improved: Internal Specs: The 7.71in x 5in x 1.33in box packs a faster CPU, an 800MHz MIPS SoC, plus more memory with 128MB of NAND flash and 256MB of DDR3 RAM.
- Compatible with Latest Standards: Its cluster of radios supports the latest standards, including Z-Wave Plus, ZigBee HA 1.2, Bluetooth 4.0 + BLE, and Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac to connect to pretty much any smart home products. There’s also a USB and WAN port for connectivity.
- User-Friendly Interface Options: Out front is the new UI7 user interface, which provides an overhauled way to create scenes, manage and to work with the latest generation of iOS and Android apps for a . Handily, if you are setting up a complex set of scenes, then you can always use a PC web interface to speed through any heavy menu work.
- Improved Apps: The apps have been updated and overhauled to work with the new UI, and offer improved login times, along with PIN-code and Touch ID support on iOS, plus tablet and watch support and compatibility with Philips Hue lighting.
Pros of the VeraPlus
1. Easy to Port Settings from Previous : Apart from all that flexibility in hardware and connectivity, the first major pro for the VeraPlus , is that VeraEdge ( review here ) and users of previous Vera devices can transfer their settings to the new in a few simple steps.
That will come as a huge relief to anyone who has an existing sizeable setup or just can’t remember how they set everything up in the first place.
- Helpful Community of Users: If you don’t have a Vera device, then things might be a little more complicated, but we’re sure the community will help you find a solution before you upgrade. That said, the more knowledge you have about your smart home, and the underlying technology in general, the more you will get from your VeraPlus.
- Increased Device Capability: The increased hardware power of the smart home hub means you should be able to control more devices, ideal for a larger, or tech-heavy, home. Although there are probably some signal boosters and range extender that is needed for really large properties besides the Vera hub.
- New Triggers: New features include custom automation for scenes with time or event-based triggers helping to set multiple devices into action.
- New Notifications: There are also a range of push notifications and the motion detector displays notifications for people arriving, all within the one app, rather than getting them from different services. There’s also Geofencing, but for now, that’s listed in the Cons section.
Cons of the VeraPlus
- Settings Transfer is a Bit Complicated: While we’ve highlighted the fact that Vera lets you upgrade from an old hub to the new VeraPlus model, plenty of users report having trouble getting their old settings running on the new UI7.
There’s a fair amount of digging required to get everything up and running, while some battery powered devices will have to be re-paired with the hub. Most of this will be familiar territory to Vera users, but may put off those who were hoping for a more novice-user friendly experience.
- Options can be Overwhelming: If something doesn’t work out the box, then there’s always the army of Vera Plus Plug-ins. This is both a pro and a con, as finding the right one and getting it working can be a hassle to achieve. For a generation increasingly used to things just working, these MiOS apps can add to the cost and may require some research to find.
- Geofencing is Unstable (as of this writing): The biggest complaints revolve around geofencing, which doesn’t currently seem to be stable, failing to change your in/out setting as you come or go. It fails to recognize when you’re coming home or leaving. While other issues have been fixed by early firmware and app updates, this still seems to be a major problem for some users. If that is essential to your needs, hold off buying one until the issue is proven to be fixed.
On the plus side, if you do have a problem, the Z-Wave team are always on their forums to try and help out, and the community continues to grow as one of the friendliest and most useful for smart homes, we can’t ever imagine Apple or Google being so courteous.
Question: What does a home hub do?
Answer: A smart home hub is a smart home device that controls all of the others in your home, including smart lights, TV, thermostats, smart speakers, basically, everything that is SMART. You can use an app to schedule their turning on or off really easily and save energy and time as well.
Question: What is the best Z Wave Hub?
Answer: Besides VeraPlus, the best Z Wave Hub according to many is the Samsung Smartthings Hub, which allows you to watch TV, switch through different apps and chat on many platforms while watching as well.
Question: Does Vera work with Alexa?
Answer: Yes, the VeraPlus hub works with Amazon Alexa, Amazon Echo, and Echo dot among others, so you can give the devices direct control with your voice.
Final Input – Enough New Features?
Smart home technology continues to evolve and mature pretty fast. The VeraPlus is the latest exhibit of this, supporting some 1,400 different devices thanks to its multiple radios. It also has the power to run hundreds of devices at once, which would make for a pretty impressive smart home.
However, it maintains links to Vera’s tweaker’s legacy and is still very much a tool for the knowledgeable smart home creator. Someone who just has a couple of smart lights and a smart thermostat will end up using barely 1% of the VeraPlus’s power, so there needs to be caution when making a buying decisions.
If you are heavily into your smarthomes, then the VeraPlus is exciting new territory, opening up a new world of devices and opportunities via the advanced settings and scene options.
Being able to link pretty much any device to any other and create simple rules is a good step forward for UI7, but it still might not be for everyone’s tastes.
Mark Ebersole says
When reviewing these smart hubs, could you please let us know if the settings are stored on the device or in the cloud? The Wink, for example, appears to store everything you setup on their servers so, nothing works without internet connectivity (even timed events).
Also, could you please include Lutron Caseta compatibility in your reviews. Staples has abandoned the users of what has probably been the most well build and versatile piece of hardware because it supports every type of communications devices for home automation (there are retailers in nearly every city in the U.S. that sells Lutron Caseta dimmers). I am looking for a device that will work without the internet (when not using my phone, obviously) and fully supports Caseta as well. Lutron’s Pico remote is the only home automation device of it’s type if you look at it closely, and, for people that don’t carry their phones around the house in their underwear. Lutron’s hub has local communication.
This is not discontinued. Vera was bought out by Ezlo and the Vera line is now the bastard child and getting little attention. Being that the Vera brand is being phased out Ezlo can drop support for it and piss off a lot of people who will never buy another Vera product again and Ezlo won’t care cause they no longer sell the Vera products.
This is the problem with home automation. In order to keep up with technology one has to keep replacing switches, locks, modules, thermostats to keep up. It is very costly and one of the main reasons to stay out of the game.
Does anyone think that 20 years down the road you will be using the same controller and modules? If so, you are pretty deceived. The whole system is based on selling you the latest and greatest so they will phase out current technology for the newer technology so you will keep buying. But with home automation is it not about just replacing a unit or two. It is about replacing some very expensive modules, some of which will required an electrician if you are not familiar with electricity.
It’s true that this type of technology is developing constantly along with their switches, locks, modules, and thermostats. And the fact that Vera was bought out by Elzo means that they’ll probably back down on support. However, there are still hundreds of people using the system so it’s useful to have such an article online to help them.
Thanks for your comment and have a great day!