Ascent Series, the first series of the much anticipated new Vitamix Smart System models have arrived. While the previous Next Generation release brought an improved blending container, blending control, and a great improvement in sound level, the Ascent Series brings greatly improved aesthetic design, new technology, new blending containers, and a bump up in warranty.
VITAMIX ASCENT SERIES BLENDING PERFORMANCE
Vitamix is known to be one of the best performing blenders on the market and this Ascent Series does not disappoint. Simply put, these blenders are Vitamix’s finest; there are no better performing models. How do they compare to other models?
Vitamix Smart System Blenders has taken a leap to the future of blending and has included SMARTRAC’s custom-built NFC tags. You will see their website refer to this as “wireless connectivity” and “Self Detect Technology”. Simply put, the containers have an electronic tag embedded in them to pass on information to the blender base. At this point it appears as though Vitamix is using this technology for the container to tell the base what it is. Smartrac NFC technology supports up to 140 operating parameters. What will the future of Vitamix Ascent and forthcoming Venturist models hold with the inclusion of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology?
Nothing really new to report here. The Ascent models have the same 12 amp, 2.2 breaking horsepower that their predecessors, the G-Series have. But again, there is no need for concern for power with any Vitamix as they have proven to be able to blend anything.
The one consistent feedback provided from user is that these blender are loud. When the G-Series was released we saw a 40% improvement in noise volume. We were hoping for some additional improvement with this release. Unfortunately, it didn’t really come. Of course noise can depend on what you are blending, but the sound level seems no better. When we asked Vitamix specifically for data on the improvements to sound volume with this Series, their response was “With every generation of Vitamix, our engineering team is working to make each machine quieter”. Tests show there is no discernible difference between the G-Series 7500/750 and the Ascent Series.
SMART SYSTEM WARRANTY & DURABILITY
Vitamix held the crown for the industry’s best blender warranty at 7 years for quite some time. Later, Blendtec upped the ante when they increased their warranty to 8 years (10 years for the Pro). KitchenAid later entered the market with a 10 years.
It was only a matter of time. Now, Vitamix provides a 10-year warranty on all their new Smart System models. With the warranty provided you seriously have nothing to worry about with a Vitamix purchase. They continue to keep their status as one of the best customer service providers when it comes to honoring their warranty.
VITAMIX ASCENT SERIES CONTROLS
Vitamix has done a fine job keeping everyone happy no matter their preference in features. The Series presents a nice blended offering of traditional dial and switch controls and an advancement in usability with flat touch sensor controls & digital readouts.
We love the new design of the Ascent Series. We feel this is the best design that Vitamix as come up with. The Vitamix A2300 covers the solid basics that defines Vitamix. The 1-10 variable speed dial is prominent in the center, a pulse switch on the left, and an on/off switch to its right. Added to the basics you can see a Digital timer above the speed dial. This timer simply counts up while blending indicating the blend duration. The Vitamix A2300 is a great choice for taking advantage of what the best of what these blenders offer without spending more of features you may not want or need.
The Ascent A2500 has the same controls and design as the A2300 with the addition of three program settings on the dial: Smoothies, Hot Soup, and Frozen Desserts. In addition to counting up when using the variable speed, the timer will count down when using a program cycle, displaying the remaining time left for the blend cycle. This is the only difference from the A2300. If blending programs are a feature high on your priority and worth the extra $40 then the Vitamix A2500 is a good choice.
For the same cost as the A2500, the Vitamix A3300 replaces the program cycles of the A2300 with a programmable timer. Instead of choosing between 3 set programs, you set how much time you want to blend; when the timer reaches zero it shuts off. We love this new feature as it offers the most flexibility in “programmed” blending as you are not limited to only the programs provided on other models. This Vitamix A3300 also replaces all switches with flat touch controls, another nice-to-have feature. The 1-10 variable speed dial remains in the center with a different look, because the speed of the dial is indicated on the digital readout rather than the dial itself, it always begins at zero when you begin to blend. We feel this model is the best value of the series because of its modern interface design and the timer feature. The extra cost compared to the A2300 is worthwhile.
Combining all the possible features is the Vitamix A3500. Add $100 to the cost of the A3300 and you get everything the Series offers. It includes all the touch controls and programmable timer of the A3300, and adds 2 more program settings, Dips & Spreads and Self-Cleaning for a total of 5 programs. We wish the digital display was larger, especially the timer numbers. Ultimately, that extra $100 over the 3300 is just giving you the 5 program settings and a few additional color choices.
VITAMIX ASCENT COMPARISON CHART
||Black / Red / Slate / White
||Black / Red / Slate / White
||Black / Gray
||Stainless Metal / Graphite Metal / White
VITAMIX ASCENT COMPARED TO G-SERIES
How does the Vitamix Ascent Series stack up against the G-Series?
As far as power and performance goes, the blenders in these two series are for all intent purposes the same across the board. What we see is an upgrade in design and technology, mostly in appearance and in the container changes (as detailed below). And of course the warranty is bumped up to 10 years, three more than the G-Series.
A2300 vs 7500
While the introduction of the Vitamix 7500 brought a major, almost revolutionary, change to Vitamix blenders, in comparing the 7500 vs A2300 there is not much difference. Aside from the aesthetic design changes most everything about the A2300 and 7500 is the same including the controls.
What is new in the A2300 is the digital timer display. Other than being a nice convenience showing how long the blender blends, it doesn’t offer a whole lot more. Perhaps for those who closely follow recipes that include blending times, it could be a welcomed benefit. Of course it is generally better to purchase the latest model but if budget is a major consideration, a 7500 or even a Reconditioned 7500, when available, could be a the wiser choice over a A2300.
A2500 vs 750
Like the comparison of the A2300 with 7500, the A2500 vs 750 follows much of the same with the obvious difference being the timer. All the same functions with a change in design. One difference to note is that while the A2500 has 3 blend cycles, the Pro 750 comes with 5 blend cycles (like the A3500). It also has the option for the brushed stainless color finish.
As with the previous comparison, if budget is a deciding factor then you have to look seriously at the Reconditioned 750 over the A2500. If more program cycles or stainless finish or lighted switches ranks high on priority then perhaps the Vitamix 750 is the better choice.
A3300 vs 780
Like the Vitamix 780, the A3300 model introduces the flat touch buttons interface to the series. To be honest, we are not big fans of the 780 because the layout isn’t ideal. The touch speed control just never felt right and the layout of the controls is odd and not as “pretty” as other models. So we were very happy to see the variable-speed knob return to the Ascent Series top-line models with flat touch controls. The main difference between the A3300 and the 780 is the the programs versus timer.
The 780 has the same five program cycles that the 750 possesses while the A3300 has the programmable timer in place of program cycles. As we mention above, we like the program timer of the Ascent A3300. For us, the A3300 is a better choice over the 780 especially considering that the 780 is as much as $200 more. Of course, when available, the Reconditioned 780 is worth a look at $399.
A3500 vs 780
The A3500 takes the A3300 to the next level so naturally it will be the better choice over the 780 which is more expensive. We really don’t see a reason to purchase a new 780 over a A3500. Again, if budget is a major concern, the Reconditioned 780 is definitely worth considering since it has the five program cycles like the A3500. But unless you love the design of the 780 vs A3500 enough to pay more by all means go for it.
VITAMIX ASCENT COMPARED TO VENTURIST SERIES
How do Ascent Series blenders compare with Vitamix Venturist Series?
With nearly every new major Vitamix release there is a new hybrid release for Costco. While difficult to find, the Smart System release stays true to form by introducing the Venturist Series following the Ascent Series. The blenders having some clearly defined “mixed model” design differences to differentiate them to be “exclusive” to Costco.
The V1200 most closely resembles the A2300 while the V1500 adds programs just like the A2500. While they have the new technology of the Smart System blenders, the Venturist Series blenders have the look and feel of the older Vitamix Classic blenders. The bases are bulkier with controls more like the Classic G-Series blenders. Costco fans will find delight in seeing them on the shelves when they shop but personally we prefer the refined design and cleaner controls of the Ascent blenders by far.
With the new Ascent Series comes a whole new set of blending containers.
SELF-DETECT Technology – what is that?
Probably the “biggest” technology advancement of the Ascent, and future Venturist Series, is the inclusion of their Self-Detect container system. Simply put, embedded into each container is a tag that communicates with the blender base to tell it what kind of container is on top. The idea is that the blender can automatically adjust its output based on the container you are using.
COMPACT 64 OUNCE
Likely the most noticeable thing when seeing the new Series models is that the container is completely clear, it appears as though there is no lid on the top of the container. While there is no more black top and no more black sure grip handle rest assured that the lid is included.
We really like that now you can see into your container while blending. We do miss the soft grip handles of the other containers and the lid just doesn’t feel as durable as the black one. Time will tell though.
Recently released is their 48-oz container for the Ascent Series. Historically this has been our favorite size container. The narrow bottom provides efficient blending while the sufficient size allows for good sized blends. The 48-oz is available in both the standard wet blade and with the dry grains blade. If you plan on making your own flour and grinding grains then the dry-grains container is recommended.
In addition to the larger blending containers, there are more containers available for the Ascent Series. The popular personal size 20-ounce blending cup is available for the Ascent Series. This is the same on-the-go smoothie blending cup that was introduced with the personal series models, and comes in a two-pack.
The newest container to the Vitamix family is the 8 ounce blending bowl. Designed for dips, baby food, dressings and other small-batch blending. Also good for storing your creation. In our experience the bowls are too small for our use. It’s just not enough volume for us so we prefer the 48-oz container.
Considering upgrading your current Vitamix to a new Ascent?
Ascent models ONLY accept the new Self Detect containers.
This Ascent Series blenders can not use any previous containers. If you have an older Vitamix with containers, those containers will not work with the new Ascent models.
The controls of the Ascent Series have improved over the previous Next Generation G-Series models. The variable speed control has gotten tighter allowing for improved control and they finally step into the 21st century with flat touch controls and digital readout which we’ve seen with Blendtec for many years.
If you are in the market to purchase your first Vitamix, then an Ascent Series is the perfect choice. If you are working with a tight budget and can’t afford a new Ascent then consider a reconditioned Classic Vitamix. We find the A3300 the best value, due to the programmable timer. It provides flexible “pre-programs” without paying top dollar for the A3500. If you are looking to upgrade to a new Vitamix and you have a set of containers you use, then you need to consider if the upgraded features are worth the extra cost of replacing your containers.
Truly, the only criticism we have is that the digital readout is smaller than we would like. Perhaps we will see larger displays on future Vitamix Smart System releases?
VITAMIX ASCENT SERIES BEST BUYS
Below are links to the best prices for Vitamix on the Internet. There are 3 top choices:
» Direct from Vitamix
» Sur La Tab
Starting at $449
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