Although you can’t get your food delivered by drone yet, you can buy a variety of cheap drones to use as toys for capturing unique video footage. In this review, we’ll be looking at one of those cheap drones, the Ascend Aeronautics ASC-2400 which we stumbled across at our local Costco warehouse. There appears to be two versions of this drone on the market currently, the ASC-2400 we have here and a slightly more expensive ASC-2450 with Optical Technology which claims to offers better tracking. The ASC-2400 is marketed as a beginner friendly drone that can be flown by anyone 14 or over. At only $54.85, or even cheaper at some retailers, is a tempting drone that features a front mounted 720p camera and stable four propeller design. The drone even has an auto launch / land feature and up to 15 minute runtime from a rechargeable battery pack.
The Ascend Aeronautics ASC-2400 is a budget friendly drone that’s fun to fly but has a low quality camera.
|Rating||7.2 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in g)||184 (drone), 184 (controller)|
|Likes||+ Budget price|
+ Beginner friendly and fun to fly,
+ Plastic construction holds up well to crashes
|Dislikes||– Low-quality camera|
– Drifts away in any type of breeze
– Limited runtime especially at higher speed settings
|Where to Buy (US)||Walmart|
The Ascend Aeronautics ASC-2400 is packed in a large plastic container with the drone and controller promptly placed in the center of the window. While the packaging catches your eye, it’s far from the environmentally friendly packaging we’ve seen most brands move toward. Opening the box itself takes quite a bit of patience as there is a liberal amount of tape and bolts holding everything in place. Once you’re able to get it open you’ll find:
- ASC-2400 drone
- 4x AAA controller batteries
- Phone mount for controller
- Micro USB charging cable
- Instruction manual
Unlike more expensive drones, Ascend Aeronautics does not include a carrying pouch to travel or store the drone.
Out of the box, the drone comes fully assembled and ready to fly. The only initial setup that is required is putting the AAA batteries into the controller and charging the drone’s rechargeable battery. Before each flight the controller and drone need to be synced before flying which is quick but a bit cumbersome. Per the instructions, you should power up the drone first and then quickly turn on the controller. The syncing process requires pushing both joysticks forward until you hear a beep and then pull both joysticks back in unison until it beeps. Done correctly, the drone and controller LEDs will go from flashing to solid. Note, there also is no battery status indicator for the drone or the app which means you’ll need to be careful to track your flight time. As the battery status goes down the drone will struggle to hold an altitude and tends to self land.
FIT & FINISH
The Ascend Aeronautics ASC-2400 drone has a compact folding frame design with the tried-and-tested quadcopter four propeller design. There are two blades on each propeller and have lightweight plastic constructions that hold up well to impact. Each of the propellers are attached to pivoting arms that can easily be folded in which makes it easy to travel or transport the drone. The propeller blades can also easily be removed using the included screwdriver and replaced using the spare blades. The drone body has a simple rectangular profile with a perforated top plastic cover that protects the electronics and battery. Branding is limited to the Ascend Aeronautics logo on the front and on each of the propeller blades.
To make the drone easier to fly, there are white forward facing lights and lights on the underside of the front two propeller arms. Similar red lights can be found on the rear propeller arms and a red rearward facing light above the battery slot. The rear light also flashes when altitude adjustments are active. The lights are helpful especially when flying at further distances away as they can help you see the orientation of the drone. There is a single power button on the top of the drone body that has to be held to turn the drone on or off and sits flush with the body. Although the drone feels cheap, it’s surprisingly durable and has held up well to multiple crash landings. The only occasional issue we’ve observed is that the Li-Po battery can become dislodged on harder crashes and needs to be pushed back in before flying again.
Included with the drone is a simple plastic XBox like controller to operate the drone. There are two joysticks on each side of the controller as well as adjacent rocker buttons. The left joystick controls altitude and rotation while the right joystick is used for banking. One of the rocker buttons is not used while the other three are used for trimming and prevent the drone from drifting. This is a feature typically found on cheaper drones which lack the necessary sensors to make automatic adjustments. On the front of the controller there is also an auto land/launch button indicated by up and down arrows and a power button above that. On the rear of the controller there are also two buttons, one labeled “stunt” and the other “speed”. Both actions match the labels, with speed allowing you to toggle between 3 speed settings (slow to fast) while stunt can be used to perform side flips. Pressing both buttons together triggers the emergency stop and kills the power immediately.
Even though the Ascend Aeronautics ASC-2400 was one of the first drones we’ve flown, it’s easy to approach and fly. Before each flight you need to do the drone to controller syncing before you can launch the drone. The auto launch feature brings the drone up about 4 feet from the landing position while the auto land descends until it reaches the ground. As with any drone, you’ll need to get used to using the rotation and banking controls in unison to achieve tight turns and more complex maneuvers. The ASC-2400 isn’t particularly powerful which means grass or tall weeds can prevent the drone from launching. However, at full speed the propeller blades can slice through thinner vegetation but will crash if they contact more solid objects.
The default slow speed setting is great for beginners as there is a delayed response to inputs and provides more reaction time. As you become more comfortable with the drone, level 2 or 3 make it much more nimble and responsive. The downside of the higher speed modes is that the already short 15 minute runtime is reduced. Once the drone battery becomes low you’ll notice the drone will lose altitude and will tend to land instead of banking or rotating. There is no battery status indicator on the drone or the associated app so you’ll need to carefully monitor the time and avoid risky maneuvers when the battery is low. We found the emergency stop feature to be useful to quickly bring the drone down if you lose control of the drone.
While the drone is fun to fly and relatively easy to get the hang of, it’s difficult to control in any sort of wind. The small size of the drone means it can struggle to fly against the wind which is why we’d recommend only flying it in well sheltered locations. Our drone also had a prominent drift when hovering as there are no built in sensors or advanced controls to keep the drone hovering in place. Although the trim functions can be used to correct for the drift, the instructions aren’t particularly clear on the proper procedure. The ASC-2400 also has a built in stunt mode which does a side flip, note it’s only available in level 2 or 3 speed settings, and is a fun way to show off. You simply press the button and after the controller beeps you pull the banking joystick completely to the right or left to automatically do a right or left flip.
One of the selling points of the ASC-2400 is the 720p HD camera which is mounted on the front. The angle of the camera can manually be adjusted from horizontal to downward to customize the photos and video angle. Despite the 720p resolution, we were pretty disappointed with the quality of the videos and snapshots. The images are blurry with poor definition even in optimal lighting conditions and even worse in low-lighting. Due to the direct mounting of the camera onto the drone and the lack of image stabilization, the video is jittery and a bit disorientating to watch. It’s difficult to fly the drone using only the camera but it can be used to help determine the orientation of the drone from further distances. If you’re looking to use the ASC-2400 to capture and share video or photos, we’d recommend finding a drone with a higher quality camera.
Overall, we found the Ascend Aeronautics ASC-2400 to be fun to fly and affordable. At only ~$50 it’s cheap enough to justify as a toy or even a gift to others. The ASC-2400 has a stable four-propeller design and durable plastic construction that holds up well to crashes. With 15 minutes of runtime, or even less at higher speed settings, the ASC-2400 is beginner friendly but is prone to drifting and difficult to fly in wind. We were disappointed by the 720p camera which is blurry and lacks any physical or software stabilization making the photos and video nearly unusable. That said, if you’re able to purchase the drone on sale or at a discount it’s fun to fly and a great entry point into drones for adults or kids.
Disclaimer: The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.