Ledger Nano S Review – Is this Bitcoin Wallet Better than TREZOR?

Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 12:00 am

Recently I attended the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami. Ledger, one of the leading hardware wallets manufacturers were selling their merchandise at the event and I decided to finally do my Ledger Nano S review which I have postponed for too long.

So I bought myself a specially engraved Ledger Nano S created just for the conference and today I’m testing it out for the first time. If you’ve been an avid reader of 99Bitcoins you probably know I’m a long time fan of TREZOR, Ledger’s main competitor. But I’ve been hearing so many good things about the Ledger Nano that I decided to do a TREZOR vs Ledger type of comparison.

my Ledger Nano S

Before I begin my review a quick word about Bitcoin hardware wallets. Hardware wallets are probably the most robust form of security you can have for your Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency. They allow you to send and receive Bitcoins on any computer, even one that is compromised with malware, with the knowledge that your transaction will still go through as intended. For more information about Bitcoin wallets in general watch out latest Bitcoin Whiteboard Tuesday episode.

The way the hardware wallets achieve maximum security is by storing your private key and signing your Bitcoin transactions offline so someone trying to “hack” your wallet remotely won’t be able to do so. Most hardware wallets also use a second screen/device to verify actions on your wallet such as signing transaction. This way, if a hacker gains control over your computer, he still can’t do any harm since he requires access to the physical device connected to your computer as well.

I’ve reviewed the former Ledger model, the Ledger Nano in the past. Back then I concluded that the added protection that a TREZOR wallet gives you with its second screen protection is superior to the Ledger Nano. However, the Ledger Nano S now features a second screen feature as well. So this comparison is going to be interesting.

Design and user interface

Design-wise the products are pretty much the same. Both are small and compact, however, the Ledger Nano S does have a slight advantage in the sense that its metal casing makes it more durable in my opinion (and also a bit sexier). Both wallets will both fit pretty easily into your pocket or hand as can be seen below.

Ledger Nano S vs TREZOR

The way the Ledger Nano S works is pretty similar to any hardware wallet. When you first set it up you will choose a PIN to protect the device from unwanted access. Later, you will receive a 24-word seed that will be used to create your private keys (this is what’s known as an HD wallet, more on that here). This seed should be written down in a safe place and NOT on your computer, as whoever knows this seed has control over your Bitcoins. A good suggestion would be to write this seed down using a Cryptosteel device.

The Ledger Nano S has two buttons that allow you to control it. The initial set up of the device is pretty simple and takes about 3 minutes. Most of the time is spent on writing down your seed.

This seed creation is one of the places where the second screen comes into play. If your computer is compromised a hacker will be able to see the seed if it’s displayed on your screen. This is exactly why the seed words are shown on the small device screen that is tamperproof, so you know that only you see your seed.

Once the device is set up, all that’s left is to install an app that allows you to interface with the device (i.e. send and receive Bitcoins).

Ledger Nano S buttons

The app I used is a Chrome extension that gives you the following functionalities:

  • General account details
  • Sending Bitcoins from your hardware wallet
  • Generating your Bitcoin address to receive Bitcoins
  • Settings for your app (e.g. exchange rate, language, etc.)

The app is pretty similar to the one TREZOR uses although it has a sleeker design.

Ledger chrome app

The interface (as shown above) is pretty intuitive and doesn’t require any manual to get the hang of it. Also, you can rename accounts and don’t have to call them in general names like “account #1”. TREZOR allows this as well but requires you to connect a Dropbox account.

The Ledger Nano S can also use existing Bitcoin wallets instead of the current chrome extension interface. Such wallets include MyCellium, Electrum, Bitgo, GreenBits, Copay and MyEtherWallet.

Here’s a complete review of how the device works done by BTC Sessions on YouTube:

Support of altcoins

The Ledger Nano S includes Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic companion apps, and other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. Here are the current altcoins supported:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum / Ethereum Classic
  • Litecoin
  • Dogecoin
  • Zcash (z-addresses are not supported)
  • Dash
  • Stratis

You can send and receive payments, check your accounts and manage multiple addresses for each currency from the same device.

TREZOR on the other hand recently announced that they have partnered with MyEtherWallet to support Ethereum on their device as well. Other currencies supported through TREZOR are Dash, Zcash and Litecoin (via Electrum LTC).

Company reputation

Ledger was founded in 2015 in France. The company has since gained substantial traction in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency sphere and has grown to be a worthy competitor to SatoshiLabs (the creators of TREZOR). TREZOR, on the other hand, has been on the market since 2014.

Both Ledger and TREZOR use open source code for their apps, and both have demonstrated excellent customer support and stability in the past few years. Even though TREZOR is the more mature and respected company, it’s hard to say the Ledger falls behind.

Ledger’s Price tag

The Ledger Nano S sells for €58 (about $65) while the TREZOR sells for $99. This makes the Nano S a more attractive bargain since their features are almost identical. One can argue that the TREZOR can also act as a password manager but I’m not sure how useful this feature is at the moment.

So who’s the winner?

In all honesty, I think the Ledger Nano S wins due to the lower price. But both companies created a great product. The Ledger Nano S seems to have the upper hand in design and usability, while TREZOR’s reputation has more impact in the community (although not by much). Since most of us are price sensitive in this case the price tag tips the scale towards Ledger.

Personally, I use a TREZOR, mainly because when I first started using hardware wallets Ledger wasn’t around yet. Today I think I may start using both, storing some of my funds on a TREZOR and some on a Ledger. I have to say that the progress Ledger has made in the past year is truly impressive, and their product shows it.

Ledger Nano S

€58
Ledger Nano S
9.1

Design

8.8/10

Ease of use

9.2/10

Support

9.0/10

Price tag

9.5/10

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Multi-currency support
  • Second screen capability
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • None at the moment :)

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202 Comments on "Ledger Nano S Review – Is this Bitcoin Wallet Better than TREZOR?"

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nobody
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nobody

The fact that you can only store 4 coins at any one time and must swap apps to access other coins for trading is quite an inconvenience. Why in the world would I want to spend about a $100 for this when Trezor can store all CR20 coins, etc as well as the common ones such as bitcoin, litecoin, ether, etc? Obvious choice. They could add some more memory but I guess Ledger just want to maximize profits and provide as little as possible.

teo
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teo

ik heep en ledger nano s en geweldig product maar niet voor de hygenaar maakt winst met het maniputie van hun sofwaare hieder dag 1tot 5 euro aftenemen van mijn portefeuilleis is diet eerlijkheid nee ik koop en nano s en maag mijn portefeuille leeg

Dutchie
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Dutchie

WTF? English!!!

Guest
Guest
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Guest

Can the Ledger Nano S be used on a tablet instead of a computer?

noone
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noone

yes with the mycellinum app (not sure i spelled the app correct
)

Steven Hay
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Member
Steven Hay

Hey Guest,

Well, tablet support is mentioned here on Ledger’s page about the OTG cable to connect to non-USB ports:

https://support.ledgerwallet.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005463729-OTG-Kit-adapters-for-your-Ledger-devices

I’m not sure about your particular tablet though and I don’t want to steer you wrong. I think it’s quite likely but to be certain I suggest that you reach out to Ledger and get a definitive answer from them:

https://support.ledgerwallet.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

Clueless
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Clueless

Having to remove wallets and then reinstall them is lousy for quick online trading never mind storing. What is the main obstacle for developing a wallet that can hold a lot of coins?

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay

Hey Clueless,

Well, see my answer to Joyful below as you guys asked very similar questions! Basically, in the Ledger’s case it is memory limitations requiring the swapping of wallets. As for supporting lots of coins, the problem is that developers don’t have enough time to support the 1000s of coins out there in any kind of safe way.

Joyful
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Joyful

Steven: What is preventing the development of a hard wallet that will actually store many alt coins and more than 4 or 5 of them at a time?

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay
Hey Joyful, Well, the Trezor stores about 15 coins (plus ERC-20 tokens if used with MyEtherWallet) at a time and will probably be able to store more in future. See this page for details: https://doc.satoshilabs.com/trezor-faq/overview.html#which-coins-are-currently-supported I believe in the Nano’s case, the limitation is memory. You have to unload some wallets from the memory so you can use others – your privkeys remain safely stored at all times however. The major limiting factor in coin support is developer time. It takes time to implement support for a coin, especially for hardware wallets – if they make a mistake which leads… Read more »
MollyClule
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MollyClule

How does the wallet software in the PC know it’s talking to a real ledger and not cloned version that will steal the bitcoins?

Steven Hay
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Member
Steven Hay
Hey Molly, OK, so in the first place, the private key which controls the bitcoins in your address is stored in the hardware wallet, not the software wallet. So the Ledger already has control over the bitcoins, if you’ve setup your software wallet to use the HW for key management. There are a whole lot of cryptographic features which go into securing the HW and how it interfaces with your PC. I’ve never heard of a cloned HW being used in an attack so far – possible attack vectors include buying a HW from a redistributor (eg. eBay rather than… Read more »
Tim
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Tim

Yes, I think I agree too. I will go a Ledger nano s because it’s more affordable. However I read over here http://cryptosamurais.com/ledger-nano-s-review/ that ledger no longer comes with an anti-tampering seal..please can you confirm this??? especially seeing what’s happened in the news recently that 670,000 stellar lumens were stolen from someone’s wallet

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay

Hey Tim,

They’re both great products so it’s hard to go wrong.

As for the anti-tamper seal, yeah, I believe that Ledger have stopped using them. Read their blog post on why:

How to protect hardware wallets against tampering

Personally I think that the anti-tamper seal can’t hurt and that they’re just cutting costs.

rolpac
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rolpac

Just read and listened to this and went to ledger site. Price way up! 99€ for Nano S, they offer Nano S and cryptosteel for 199€! And backordered until March. Ouch!

Does it relly matter
Guest
Member
Does it relly matter

Ledger Manager is not working. Try to contact custamer service , not responding. Rubish. Check your info and facts before you give them 9.1.

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay
Hi there, Well, sorry to hear about your problem. Their customer service is probably swamped so you’ll have to give them some time… Of course, you have a right to complain if they’re taking more than a day or two to reply to you. What I would suggest is raising your issue in the Ledger subreddit. There are many people and Ledger employees there who may be able to help you out faster than their support staff. The link is here (you will need to register a Reddit account if you don’t have one): https://www.reddit.com/r/ledger/ You can also search that… Read more »
Guest
Guest
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Guest

What’s the thought now about nano s vs trezor when Nano sold out and is double the price?

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay
Hi Guest, Personally I believe that the Trezor is slightly better than the Nano in terms of security. This is because all the hardware in the Trezor is open source, whereas the Nano has one or two proprietary chips onboard. The Trezor supports fewer altcoins than the Nano but then again, one has to juggle the wallets in the Nano’s memory if using more than 4 (or so) coins, so this balances out. So I’d say that these devices are priced right. The Trezor is a bit more trustable but it’s also a bit more expensive. Therefore, if the Nano… Read more »
Dutchie
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Dutchie

these prices and stock availability are insane.
I’m not going spent hundreds of euros on a stick and wait months to get it.

Are there software (I only use android, ios, linux or macos) that offer acceptable security but don’t cost an arm?
I have $1000 worth of altcoins and the risk of losing them is insignificant compared to my other investments.

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay
Hi Dutchie, Well, the low stock even at a high price is a sign that the product is in very high demand, which suggests it’s a good and useful product – which I believe is true of these devices. I would say that you can achieve an acceptable level of security for that amount of crypto if you’re careful and knowledgeable in the basics of computer security, especially if running a good personal wallet in Linux. While your security won’t be nearly as good against malware as if using a hardware wallet, if you’re running malware scans, not downloading risky… Read more »