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

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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Tuan
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Tuan

tk. trying to look at him very much. Seeing a great learning environment.

Tom
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Tom

I recently bought a nano ledger S. As soon as I plugged it in, it told me I had to update the software on it. When I tried to do this, the ledger wallet refused to accept the software from the Nano Ledger website. The company that makes them provided almost no customer service at all (their only advice was to uninstall the app on google chrome and reinstall it). Long story short, I was never able to get it working, so I asked for a refund and sent the thing back. I am of the opinion that it is… Read more »

Benni12
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Member
Benni12

How much is the Customs Fee shipped to Ohio U.S.A. ?

For the Trezor and the Ledger S? Or where can i find this info?

Julius
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Julius

Yeah, great wallet. I would mention 2 cons : it doesnt manage more than 5 app at a time. You have to desinstall one to free space. Come on, how can it be, as we live in a 2Tb usb flash drive world ? Second con : to update firmwire, you have to desinstall all your app, then update, then reinstall all your app.

Don
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Don

Hey 99Bitcoin! Donna here. Really enjoyed this article. Are you still a TREZOR user? Reading this post and seeing the ranking of the Ledger Nano S at 9.1 on your top products I thought I would share our May giveaway with you. One of your readers might have the chance to try this hardware wallet out for free!!

lili
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lili

the price for Ledger is now 100 usd, so which do I buy?

Tanya Doyon
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Tanya Doyon

Thanks Steve for that info, my question is would any USB encrypted key work as a hard wallet? As I already have one (Verbatim store and go Secure pro 32GB Go)

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

Guest
Guest
Guest

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