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

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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 far 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 gain 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 it’s 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 tamper-proof, 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 in 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.

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 there product shows it.

Ofir Beigel

Owner at 99 Coins ltd.
Blogger and owner of 99Bitcoins. I've been dealing with Bitcoin since the beginning of 2013 and it taught me a lesson in finance that I couldn't get anywhere else on the planet. I'm not a techie, I don't understand "Hashes" and "Protocols", I designed this website with people like myself in mind. My expertise is online marketing and I've dedicated a large portion of 99Bitcoins to Bitcoin marketing.

Ledger Nano S

58
Ledger Nano S
9.125

Design

9/10

    Ease of use

    9/10

      Support

      9/10

        Price tag

        10/10

          Pros

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

          Cons

          • None at the moment :)

          53 Comments

          1. I want to keep my Bitcoins separate from my Alt coins. I was told the memory on the NanoS wallet is limited to a specific number of coins. Can I put bitcoins on one Nano S and my Alt coins on a second Nano S.
            How will my desk top computer Chrome Extension browser handle two different Nano S wallets? Will there be different keys or will the second Nano S mirror the first NanoS and have the same keys?
            Thank you,
            John

            • Ofir Beigel on

              Hey John, sure that’s totally possible.
              When you use the Ledger extension it waits for you to “start up” your Ledger by entering your PIN code. Once you enter the code it will ask you which wallet you want to fire up and will so the corresponding balance. Each Ledger wallet will have different private keys.

          2. Design

            8.6

            Ease of use

            9.2

            Support

            5.5

            Price tag

            6

            I am a newbie when it comes to crypto-currency. When I send coins to my Nano Ledger does the Ledger keep it’s value at it’s price when it was sent? Or is it up to date with the current price on the market? Also, how would I use an app to send and receive currency while the Ledger is not connected to a device via PC or Laptop? Thank you for your product, I am enjoying the learning curve of investing in this new Currency.

          3. Khaled Salah Said on

            Design

            9.2

            Ease of use

            0.9

            Support

            8

            Price tag

            5

            looks another shit if I lose it I will lose everything on the wallet.

            • Design

              10

              Ease of use

              8

              Support

              8

              Price tag

              7

              Only if you’re an idiot and don’t keep a copy of your seed… but that applies to literally any wallet where you control the keys: paper wallets, desktop wallets, mobile wallets are all the exact same.

              It takes about 2 minutes to write the seed down, then if you keep it in a safe place you will always have access to your wallet even if you lose the device

          4. Tenzing yeshi on

            I am looking to keep the coins in a hardware wallet like nano ledger. I just need to know as I am thinking long term investment. Is it safe to keep the nano ledger without using for like three or five years. When u see the price you want to sell and u take out ur nano ledger and it’s not working. Happens with my hard drives. So in conclusion, does it last long to hold my coins for long term. I don’t want it malfunctioning in the long run.

            • Zsofia - 99Bitcoins support on

              Hi Tenzing, these hardware wallets have been designed with a long lifetime. But in case your devices is stolen, lost or damaged, you can still retrieve your Bitcoins with the passphrase generated during the initialization process.

          5. Design

            7.5

            Ease of use

            6

            Support

            1.9

            Price tag

            6

            That is not said : in both case you rely on the company’s server to access the blcokchain.
            Always amused the pros did not mentionned this.

            But writers will never tell you this fact

          6. Mitch Mahoney on

            Design

            9

            Ease of use

            9

            Support

            9

            Price tag

            9

            Thanks for the comparison, I was planning on getting the Trezor because it’s the main one I’ve heard about. Now that I know the Ledger Nano S has similar benefits but it’s just a lower price. I’m going to go that that.

          7. Stefano Leone on

            Hi! There will be support for general Ethereum ERC 20 Tokens like BAT, Augur etc?

            If yes, do you think I will have to buy a new Ledger or just upgrade the firmware?

            • Zsofia - 99Bitcoins support on

              Probably it is best to ask the Ledger suppor team whether they will expand their services to further Ethereum tokens and if so how will they do that.

          8. Anastasios Selalmazidis on

            Design

            8

            Ease of use

            8

            Price tag

            8

            The ledger Nano S seems pretty good but their support is pretty weak and the price you mention is without VAT 20%

          9. Design

            7.9

            Ease of use

            0.3

            Support

            1.9

            Price tag

            0.3

            Well, using NANO S is very stressful and complicated compare to TREZOR. Even their support is replying within a effin week!!!!

            If you are holding serious amount of bitcoins, do not store them on Ledger!

          10. Thanks Ofir for ur review. Just wondering what happens if the company associated with ledger or Trezor shuts down??

            • Zsofia - 99Bitcoins support on

              Hi Raj, these wallets tried to be prepared for any situation – due to the open source code developpers around the world can maintain it and it is also compatible with other wallets. You can read more about possible threats and how they want to handle them for example on the Trezor website: https://doc.satoshilabs.com/trezor-faq/threats.html

            • Darn GOOD question…that NO ONE wants to address, or dare even think about…it’s just NOT sexy to actually THINK stuff through all the way to the end…is it?

          11. I want to buy 1 bitcoin. It’s my understanding that if I buy and the ledger nano s – I can buy a Bitcoin with this device? I plan on buying and holding for several years. Extreme Newbie to cryptocurrency

          12. This has been very helpful for a neophyte. So as I understand it the hard wallet does not actually store the bitcoins…they are still at a third party like Coinbase? The wallet just holds the key to get or use the bitcoins?

          13. What if such a hardware wallet gets broken (fire, …)? Is it possible to make a backup of needed information on a piece of paper or something like this?

            Best regards

            • Ofir Beigel on

              Yes, when you first set up the wallet you get a seed phrase which you need to keep in a safe place. If the wallet is destroyed you can recover the funds from that phrase.

              • Anastasios Selalmazidis on

                I want to ask if it is one seed for all the wallets ledger handles, ex. BTC, DASH, LTC, ZEC … Are all the wallets created with the same seed ? Isn’t it a security risk ? If this is the case then is not as secure as they claim

                • Ofir Beigel on

                  I’m actually not sure since I use it only for Bitcoins. Perhaps you can send an email to Ledger

                • I believe that yes, it is one seed to recover everything on your Trezor (I assume same for Ledger). The security risk is whether or not you can keep your seed safe, which is why they recommend NOT taking a picture or storing in any digital format. I wrote two copies and keep hidden in separate locations in case one were destroyed by fire or somehow lost.

                  I had several wallets of different types, and when I finally decided to buy a Trezor it really brought me peace of mind. Not only was it very simple to use, but I immediately felt that my investments were much more secure than they ever had been.

                  • You seed could be stored on a password manager like LastPass. Obviously any password manager you choose should be vetted as to how secure it is and set up and maintained in a secure manner. Physically writing it down and storing in physically separate and secure locations (ie not in the same building) is also good. Basically the same things you do for your data backups. You are doing data backups right?!!

          14. Please, Is there any promo code needed for getting the mentioned price of €58?
            When I am try to follow your link I am getting the price 69.60 € for Ledger Nano S (English) in the cart.
            Thanks for the answer.

              • Ofir Beigel on

                Very strange, I guess this is a question to be pointed to Ledger since I’m seeing 58 still

            • Ofir Beigel on

              Strange, I’m still seeing 58 Euros when I click the link, can you send me a screenshot of the price you’re seeing?

              • 58 euros if you’re not in the EU (for example, the US) and not shipping to EU countries. 69.60 euros otherwise if you’re in the EU or shipping to EU address.

                Reason? Because of EU tax!

          15. Design

            9

            Ease of use

            0.4

            I have had it for over a year, have never been able to use it, worthless trash

            • Ofir Beigel on

              Hey Nancy, thanks for your feedback. Can you perhaps elaborate on any specific issues that you had so we will know what to look for? Personally I found it very easy to use.

          16. Hi;
            on trezor you can set a fake password and give it in case of physical agression

            is it exist on ledger too

            thanks

              • I asked to the support, The CEO himself reply (a sunday) they have it :-)

                Yes it’s possible. This is called “plausible deniability”.

          17. You mention that Nano S supports Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic companion apps, and other blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. Does that mean any block-chain based cryptocurrency or only select currencies? Thanks.

            • Zsofia - 99Bitcoins support on

              Hi, the Nano S only supports the above mentioned cryptocurrencies, not any blockchain based one. I suggest check the Ledger website before using it as they may add further cryptocurrencies to it in the future.

            • Ofir Beigel on

              Hey, sure!
              It’s a Chrome extension (not an app) thanks for pointing that out. Regarding the other cryptos – you don’t need a separate extension for them. Just launch the ledger Nano S, select the crypto app on your device (by pressing both buttons) and the Chrome app will adapt to the currency you chose.

          18. Zinas Simon Abba on

            Design

            0.2

            I want to purchase 1Ledger Nano S and 1 Cryptosteel through your company (99Bitcoins.com). How do I pay for the devices and get them?

          19. Design

            9

            Ease of use

            9

            Support

            9

            Price tag

            9.5

            Very Interesting Post. Thank you for the update Ofir. Sounds like a Great Wallet to have!!

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