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

Last updated on October 1st, 2017 at 10:41 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.

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
9.1

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 :)

Leave a Reply

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

Notify of
avatar
 
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
yaniv
Guest
Member
yaniv

hey ofir, i read that there is a limit to how many coins you can store on the s ledger, in fact people say 5 coins and no space after, is that true? what does it mean if i want to buy a bigger amount of coins?
thnx

Gues
Guest
Member
Gues

Hi, I think the answer that was first given is not what you were asking.

You can only store 4 or 5 applications on a Ledger Nano S at one time. However, this does not mean you can only store the coins that those 4 or 5 applications support. You can install and uninstall applications as you need to access the funds that those applications support. Since your funds are all stored on the Blockchain (not the ledger itself) you can safely uninstall and install applications as needed. Ledger should make this more clear to users IMO.

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay

Hi Yaniv,

The technical maximum number of bitcoins you could store on the Ledger Nano S is 21 million, as this is the absolute maximum number of bitcoins which will exist.

Below that 21m, there’s no limit on how many coins you can store on your Ledger device… The fact is, the coins aren’t actually contained within the device. Instead, the coins exist as records on the Bitcoin blockchain. What the Nano does contain is the private key which enables you to move coins from your address to another address.

Dakke
Guest
Member
Dakke

Hello,
Maybe this is not the wright place to ask but ;
I have a problem with my ledger nano s: I accidently sended Ltc to my Btc wallet ,My Ltc’s
are gone of my balance but I didn’t recieve anything.It happend on the exchanger KRAKEN.
Does somebody know there is a coin-recover tool on the Ledger?
Thank you for helping to find a solution for my problem.

Onur
Guest
Member
Onur

dude I just hope it wasnt much…you lost your coins…

Sarah
Guest
Member
Sarah

Hi Onur,
can I ask you some question about BTC where to buy secure and best for biggeners?
Sarah,

Zsofia Elek
Admin
Member
Zsofia Elek

Hi Sarah, we have an article where we have gathered a lot of exchanges where you can buy Bitcoin. Lot of them has reviews, it worth checking out here: https://99bitcoins.com/best-bitcoin-exchanges-comparison-review/

Dennis
Guest
Member
Dennis

I wrote the following to Ledger Support on Nov 1, 2017. “my recovery phrase has the same word in positions 16 and 24. Is this ordinary or acceptable?”

I have yet to receive an answer from Ledger.

I might have said that two seed words in my generated list on the Nano S are the same.

I am about to buy my first btc, and wonder if this duplication would be a problem?

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay

Hi Dennis,

The Ledger master seed is a 256 bit random number sequence, as specified in BIP (Bitcoin Improvement Protocol) 39. This sequence is generated on your Ledger hardware and is never exposed to your device during regular operations (the exception is restoring a wallet from the seed). This random number sequence is represented as words from a list of 2048 specifically chosen English words. This makes it a lot easier for humans to record without errors and also to remember.

To answer your question, nope, it’s not a problem. Duplication is to be expected in any random sequence.

Tom
Guest
Member
Tom

this actually isn’t a bad review. It’s a shame you had to use a click bait title in your Google listing to get views though…

‘2017 Ledger Nano S Review – Read Before Buying…NOT What I Expected – 99Bitcoins’

Title literally has nothing to do with content… Shameless

Steven Schwartz
Guest
Member
Steven Schwartz
I have a Trezor and love it. I use the password management feature with it also in Chrome AND ON android (separate app) but have not tested it with other browsers and for my needs it works great – I use the passwords that it creates. Also, another feature that I like is the password. It acts like 25th word on your seed and makes it possible to create multiple wallets that can not be seen. I have an empty wallet with no password and other wallets with passwords. This way if I have to show its functionality (like at… Read more »
marc
Guest
Member
marc
Honestly!!!! I am very disappointed of the ledger nano s! and the one and only point is the app limit! if i would have known this, i would have never ever bought it. be aware people!!!!!! of all the supported coins you are only able to use max.5 (mostly 4) at a time. if you wanna store more than 5 different coins or maybe wanna use the fidoUFA functionality you ether have to buy a second nano s or you have to live with constantly deleting and reinstalling apps onto your nano s. for 100 bucks i call this a… Read more »
Gues
Guest
Member
Gues

This is a misunderstanding of the Ledger. You must have the applications installed in order to access the funds. However, the coins are stored on the blockchain so you need to uninstall/install the applications you need to access the funds. You can have any coins you want secured through the ledger simultaneously.

This is normal, but is a bit annoying and should be more clear to users.

Scott
Guest
Member
Scott

I completely agree. Thank you for pointing this out as I thought it was just my nano s had issues. I’m very surprised there was no thought put into determining if users would want ot hold more than 4 or 5 coins. Sheesh. I suspect it’s a ploy to induce folks to buy the Ledger Blue but I can’t find any info to clarify if the Blue will have limits as well. In an industry thick with scams I would think a company looking to be exemplary would make sure not to shortchange the buying public.

Kevin
Guest
Member
Kevin

What do you think of the Ledger Blue? Is it worth the extra cost compared to the Ledger Nano S?

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay
Hi Kevin, The Ledger Blue looks like a great product. I’d say it’s a luxury model, the Cadillac of hardware wallets. It serves the same core function as other wallets but does so with more style. The major advantages it has over the Nano S are the large, attractive touch screen and Bluetooth plus NFC tech. The features aren’t necessary to the core function of generating and storing your private keys securely, but you’ll probably find them convenient and pleasurable. If you plan to do a lot of travelling with the hardware wallet or operate it in an environment where… Read more »
Kevin
Guest
Member
Kevin
Many thanks for your reply Steven, it’s much appreciated! I’m looking for a hardware wallet more for secure, long-term storage than for something to be used for regular transactions, so the bluetooth/NFC won’t be much use to me. I therefore decided to purchase a Nano S but just discovered that it doesn’t ship until 15th Oct at present (and the Blue not until 30th Nov!). I was hoping to get my hands on a hardware wallet asap, so i’m now considering the Trezor instead as that’s available within 1-2 business days. My only concern is that I want to store… Read more »
Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay
Hey Kevin, The Trezor is a very solid product, I have one myself. I got mine promptly after ordering and I’ve had no problems with it over more than a year’s usage. The only hiccup which did occur was related to Bcash. I can’t really blame the Trezor team for this, as the announcement of Bcash was rushed and chaotic. I installed the beta update which gave me access to my Bcash. I believe that particular update is now out of beta, so Bcash is now supported as standard by the latest, release version of the Trezor firmware. This latest… Read more »
Kevin
Guest
Member
Kevin

Really appreciate the detailed and useful comments, thanks Steven.

John W
Guest
Member
John W

Just received my Nano S.

Can’t use because I don’t have Chrome. So just a waste of money. Even if I had Chrome the instructions are useless. It won’t link to the Apps on Chromium. I don’t know how to do anything on it except how to set pin.

Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay

Hi John,

I can understand not wanting to run Chrome; I try to avoid Google as far as possible myself. This was one of the major reasons I got a Trezor, which doesn’t require Chrome or Chromium, instead of a Ledger.

While I have seen workarounds which allow you to use the Nano S without Chrome / Chromium by using MyEtherWallet, this won’t help you if you wish to use it for holding bitcoins.

I suggest contacting Ledger and either requesting help to get the device working properly with Chromium or otherwise asking for a refund.

philip martinez
Guest
Member
philip martinez

Hi All,

Noob here.

If I bought my coins on Bittrex and they say BTC-XRP, BTC-SC, etc., Can I store them on on the Nano S? Basically, if they start with BTC-, can they be stored on it? Thanks

Samantha Ray
Guest
Member
Samantha Ray

What is the currency “BTC-XRP”?? becaus ethat sounds more like a trading pair to me…. i would just suggest referencing ledger’s website, to check…..

http://support.ledgerwallet.com/knowledge_base/topics/which-altcoins-are-supported-by-the-nano-s-and-the-blue

btw, ripple is supported

Simon
Guest
Member
Simon
I recently bought a Nano S Ledger and so far am not overly enthused with it. Granted some may be due to me still getting used to it. First thing I wanted to do was add Ripple. ‘No space, you have to remove something?’ I haven’t put anything on it and its already full?? I removed all the currencies I don’t have and then successfully added Ripple. My next gripe is that it seems each currency needs its own app that has to be installed. If you use the Bitcoin app and then want to transfer ETH you have to… Read more »
Steven Hay
Member
Member
Steven Hay
Hey Simon, Sorry to hear of your frustrations with the Nano S! It reminds me of the maxim which states you can either have security or convenience, but seldom both at once. While great design can provide both, this unfortunately takes time to achieve… It’s a pity that neither the Jaxx or Exodus multi-cryptocurrency wallets yet support hardware wallets. Those multi-wallets (both of which are reviewed on this site (https://99bitcoins.com/jaxx-wallet-review-bitcoin/ and make dealing with a portfolio of cryptocurrencies a whole lot easier. You might consider keeping the bulk of your funds on the Nano as a savings account / cold… Read more »
wpDiscuz