TREZOR Model T Review and Comparison
Last updated: 10/20/2018
I love reviewing hardware wallets—it’s kind of a hobby of mine. Today I have the privilege of reviewing the latest addition, the TREZOR T model. This new device became available for preorder a few months ago, and its first batch recently shipped out. As an avid TREZOR fan, I jumped at the opportunity to take a detailed look at it.
TREZOR T is a hardware wallet equipped with a touchscreen that allows you to store your Bitcoins (and other altcoins) offline. Unlike most Bitcoin wallets that are connected to the Internet, TREZOR keeps your private key far from the hands of hackers.
Here’s what I’ll go over in this review:
- What’s in the box?
- The TREZOR T device
- TREZOR T supported coins
- How to install the TREZOR T
- Using the touchscreen
- TREZOR T vs. Ledger Nano S
- Conclusion – is it worth the price?
The box includes: The TREZOR T hardware wallet, a USB cable, a card on which to write your recovery seed (we’ll go over that later), and some TREZOR fanboy stickers.
One neat gadget that’s been added is a magnetic dock. You can place the dock on a wall or something similar and rest the TREZOR T in it .
Initially I thought this was a bit useless since a hardware wallet is used for the safe storage of coins, so why would you want to hang it in plain sight? However one of our readers later suggested that you can use it to stick your Trezor underneath your desk or at the top side of a drawer so it’s actually harder to find (see the image below).
The TREZOR T also comes with a seal on its USB port so you know whether the device has been compromised. If the sticker on the port doesn’t seem to be completely intact, it could mean that someone has tampered with your device.
The wallet is relatively light and fits easily in your pocket. You can get a feel of the overall size from the picture above. The TREZOR T also has a slot for a MicroSD card and it will allow you to have onboard encrypted storage in the future. Note that the card won’t store your recovery seed or any private keys derived from it.
The device can be connected to to any laptop/desktop through the use of a USB-C connection.
At the moment the TREZOR T supports a wide variety of coins, falling short only of Ripple (XRP) and Stellar (XLM). The main coins supported are:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Ethereum Classic (ETC)
There are over 600 coins supported in total and the full list can be seen here.
- Download and install the TREZOR bridge (a piece of software to help you manage the TREZOR).
- Install the latest firmware on your TREZOR.
- That’s it!
Some of you may be thinking that I’m missing a step, mainly the part where you receive your 12-word seed phrase. However, TREZOR decided to skip that part and allow you to instantly start using your TREZOR without the need to write down the seed phrase.
Don’t know what a seed phrase is? Watch our video episode about Bitcoin wallets.
Of course, you’ll be prompted by a warning to backup your seed phrase, but in the end it’s up to you. In my opinion, this is a great move by TREZOR that allows you to skip the long, cumbersome (although important) act of writing down your seed as part of the initial wallet setup.
Whenever you’re ready, you can go through the process of writing down your seed as I will demonstrate in a second (this is a one-time process only).
Interacting with the T model is pretty similar to the TREZOR One. The main difference is that you now have a touchscreen instead of two buttons. While the touchscreen is much prettier than the buttons, I had a bit of a hard time interacting with it because it’s just too small.
The main benefit is that you now don’t need to interact with your computer during certain processes, such as setting your PIN code or recovering your wallet.
TREZOR mixes the keypad from time to time so that hackers or someone who is following your keystrokes won’t be able to guess which numbers you’re pressing.
See how the keypad numbers change positions between screens?
Today I use a Ledger Nano S and a TREZOR One to manage my funds so I think I can give a good perspective.
TREZOR’s main competition is the Ledger Nano S. On the price tag level the Nano S costs $99 while the TREZOR T costs $170.
The main advantage the T model has over the Nano S is the touchscreen. However when it comes to coin support the Nano S supports Ripple and Stellar which TREZOR doesn’t offer support to. Also, in order to store and interact with Ether stored on your TREZOR you will need to use MyEtherWallet since the native TREZOR interface doesn’t support it.
From a usability perspective they are pretty similar although the Ledger Nano S is a bit smaller (an advantage in my opinion) and has a more intuitive interface. Ledger recently launched their Ledger Live software which does an excellent job at managing the different coins stored on your device.
To sum it up – I feel that there’s no real justification to migrate from the Nano S to the T model. If you’re on the fence on which model to buy I think the Nano S wins by a nose.
The TREZOR T is a great piece of hardware, with its main feature being of course the touchscreen. If you’re recovering your wallet from a seed this means you won’t be typing in your seed on your computer but on your device – and this is an extra security measure to help keep your seed safe.
Having said that, I’m pretty happy with my TREZOR One, and I didn’t think it requires any upgrading. The basic features and amount of coins supported are the same on both models.
If I had to choose between the two models today, I’d probably still choose the TREZOR one since it feels more battle tested. In my opinion the additional price tag (€149 for TREZOR T vs €69 for the TREZOR One) just doesn’t justify the added functionality. The device is also a bit larger than the TREZOR One, which is actually a downside for me.
If you aren’t price sensitive and don’t carry your TREZOR around, I guess it’s much cooler to own the T Model. Bottom line: it’s a great product—but I think its cheaper brother is still better.