First impressions of the Vera Plus
It's been over a year since Vera launched their Edge controller while at the same time simultaneously withdrawing the Vera Lite & Vera 3. This move surprised us at Vesternet as the two previous models targeted different user requirements, so to replace them both with a single model was a strange decision.
Roll forwards to the end of 2015 and Vera finally announced the imminent release of a new model - the Vera Plus. Funnily enough though this model was first mentioned as far back as CES 2014, so it's certainly taken it's time to arrive!
This now means that the existing Vera Edge is classed as an entry level controller (and as a side note, what fantastic value for money at just £99 currently) with the new Vera Plus classed as the advanced model at £139.
Side by side you can certainly see that you get more for your hard-earned cash, the Vera Plus completely dwarfs the Vera Edge!
With faster CPU, more memory, larger flash storage and multiple radios - Z-Wave, ZigBee, Bluetooth & WiFi - the Vera Plus packs one hell of a punch :-)
We've played with the Vera Plus for the past few days and it does feel pretty nippy in use - obviously this is no match for real-world testing so you'll only find out how it performs once it's loaded up with devices, plugins and logic. We think that the increased core specifications will definitely make a difference though and should be enough to handle most Home Automation tasks with ease.
But what do all those additional radios mean to the average end-user? Historically manufacturers are always releasing products that look tantalising on the technical specification side but then fail to deliver with the software. It's all well and good having a boat load of radios but if you can't actually use them, what's the point? Anybody remember the "Revolv" controller that promised so much in that respect?
Fortunately it looks like the delayed launch date for the Vera Plus has allowed the Vera developers to make sure that the additional radios are usable straight out-of-the-box. We've yet to test this ourselves but it does seem that there's support for some ZigBee and Bluetooth devices already present in the "Add Device" Wizard.
It will be interesting to see what new ZigBee and Bluetooth devices get added to the firmware over the coming weeks and what devices will already work with the Vera Plus when added using the "Generic" options.
We'd love to see the introduction of wearable tech such as Fitbit for example which would open up all sorts of proximity based possibilities. Or maybe we'll be able to tempt SmartThings users to upgrade to a non-cloud based controller with the ability to retain all their existing ZigBee devices. Native support for products such as Philips Hue and Nest would also be a great leap forwards in integration.
So as first dates go, it's looking pretty sweet so far and we're really looking forward to seeing what new opportunities the Vera Plus opens up for us. Fibaro take note, your controllers are beginning to look decidedly lacking by today's standards :-)
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we continue our testing!
MartynVera Plus is Now In Stock and Shipping - Order Here