The most obvious difference is of course the price. Home Center 2 is around 4x more expensive than VeraPlus so if keeping costs down is your primary objective, the choice may be simple.
Vera has always maintained a very affordable pricing structure, but this is in no way an indication of inferiority. The high relative cost of Home Center 2 is partially because Fibaro design and manufacture their own innovative and high-quality components, which are built specifically for the Home Center system. This comes at a price, but it can also provide some distinct advantages (more on this in a moment).
It should be noted at this point that Fibaro also offer the Home Center "Lite" - a scaled down, cheaper version of the Home Center 2. In our opinion though, if you’re already considering Home Center and your budget permits it, the increased flexibility and automation possibilities offered in Home Center 2 over Home Center Lite are well worth the extra cost. You can learn more about the differences between these two devices here.
Home Center 2 is essentially a small form-factor computer running a dual core Intel Atom processor with 1GB of on-board RAM. This translates to a very powerful Z-Wave controller suitable for even the most demanding home automation tasks. The high processing capabilities of Home Center 2 means you will be able to interact with many smart devices around your home.
The VeraPlus is based on a low-powered SoC (system on chip) architecture and offers substantially less RAM than the Home Center 2. This means the number of devices Vera can reliably support may be limited by its hardware so it's important to be mindful of this, especially in large-scale environments (100+ devices). For typical real-world applications though, this is less of an issue compared to what it used to be with earlier models (VeraLite/3/Edge).
Fibaro Home Center is essentially a proprietary platform. The company manufactures an entire line of smart products which are guaranteed to work with the Fibaro System. So, if you're looking for something which "just works", an all-Fibaro solution is probably for you. The only down-side of this is you may not be able to connect the latest (non-Fibaro) device until there is official support for it in Home Center, which can sometimes take a while.
By comparison, Vera is a very open system and aims to support lots of Z-Wave devices from many different manufacturers. This, in turn, gives you the freedom to connect just about anything. Even devices not officially supported will usually work and in addition to supporting Z-Wave, VeraPlus also supports Zigbee HA 1.2 and Bluetooth 4.0/BLE devices, and includes built-in WiFi for even more connectivity options.
Both Vera and Fibaro Home Center 2 will integrate with a host of 3rd party vendor systems, from security panels to A/V equipment.
Vera achieves a wide range of integration possibilities through its own app store. In fact, Vera is somewhat reliant on this to enhance its capabilities overall. The apps available here (known as plugins) are mostly free and provided by numerous external contributors which makes for a very powerful and feature-rich environment. With so many plugins available, you can pretty much accomplish anything, which is great, but running a lot of them may compromise system reliability and performance so you need to be selective.
Home Center 2 tends to provide most things you need right out-of-the-box and is far less reliant on external contributions. However, it may be more difficult to achieve the same degree of system integration as offered by Vera.
Perhaps the most talked about difference between these two systems is the user interface.
Fibaro Home Center is renowned for its fast, attractive and functional UI. One of the best in-built features is its graphical scene-builder which allows you to create your scenes simply and quickly with GUI "blocks". Of course, it also caters to more complex tasks by allowing you to write your own LUA code (a simple-to-use programming language commonly used with home automation systems). For a lot of people though, writing LUA will only be necessary for very special scenarios and you will never need to rely on it.
In contrast, Vera’s UI is, shall we say, less sexy. Its scene-builder is mostly wizard based (which is functional enough) but unlike Home Center, Vera is far more reliant on LUA to achieve anything but the most basic automation. As you'd expect, there are plugins available to help shield you from Vera's dependency on LUA (such as PLEG) but none of them come close to the simplicity of Fibaro's all GUI-based system. With that said, the sky's the limit with LUA but the initial learning curve may put some people off.
Like its main UI, Home Center's mobile interface is equally impressive and Fibaro offer separate free apps for both phone and tablet displays; the later provides some additional user configurable widgets which is especially useful if you're using your tablet as a wall-mounted controller.
Vera’s mobile app essentially mimics its main UI and as a result, inherits some of the same shortfalls. The good news is, thanks to the openness of Vera, there are numerous excellent 3rd party alternatives which are available for all mobile platforms.
Both Fibaro and Vera Control’s official customer support channels are generally quite helpful, and both can provide free remote assistance when required.
Official support aside, Vera’s enormous user forum is one of its key strengths which means if you happen to run into a problem, chances are someone from Vera's vast online community has encountered your issue before and will usually be more than happy to lend a hand.
The Fibaro user forum is substantially smaller than Vera's so you may not get the same level of community-based feedback and assistance.
Fibaro HC2 Pros
Fibaro HC2 Cons