Selecting blender speed and time can be tricky. Vitamix just announced a new Ascent blender series of four models that automatically adjust settings based on the size of the container. You can still control the blenders yourself in all cases, but the two of the Ascent models also have a programmable mode that controls all settings. The neatest Ascent blender trick, however, is the Self-Detect Container system that knows which container is attached.
Vitamix uses NXP Semiconductor LPC MCU low-power consumption microcontrollers and NXP’s near-field communications (NFC) for wireless connectivity between the Ascent blenders and Self-Detect containers. Each of the four Ascent models comes with a 64-ounce container. Optional 20-ounce cups and 8-ounce bowls with lids will be available in the Spring. The 20-ounce cups are good for smoothies and the 8-ounce bowls are just right for sauces and dressings. The containers are dishwasher safe, but don’t fit other Vitamix blenders.
The Ascent Self-Detect blending containers have embedded NFC certificates. When any of them is screwed onto the container base, data is transmitted to the blender via NFC. Up to 140 different parameters are transmitted, depending on the attachment and blender settings. With that information, the blender transmits recipe amounts by Bluetooth to a mobile device app that adjusts recipes with the correct ingredient amounts for the attached container.
The four Ascent models range in list price from $470 to $620. All have the Self-Detect technology and are backed by Vitamix’s 10-year warranty. The $470 Ascent 2300 has 10 speeds, manual start, stop, and pulse switches, as well as a digital timer. The $520 A2500 adds program settings for smoothies, hot soups, and frozen desserts.
Switching to touchscreen control instead of switches, the $520 A3300 lacks program settings, but lets you start, stop, pulse and set the blending timer by touch. The flagship in the Ascent Series is the $620 A3500 with the same touchscreen controls as the A3300 but adding program settings for smoothies, hot soups, dips and spreads, frozen desserts, and self-cleaning.