Ledger Nano S is the most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallet (more than 1.4 Million units sold). The Nano S is the most secure and affordable option to store cryptocurrencies. This review will help you decide if the Ledger Nano S is the right hardware wallet for you, looking into elements like security, design, mobility and supported coins. This year, Ledger released a new model called the Ledger Nano X. However, the Nano S is not obsolete – it’s now got a cheaper price tag of $59.
Who is the Ledger Nano S for:
- Cryptocurrency investors is a secure method to keep their coins safe and secure from hackers
- Beginners who want an affordable hardware wallet
One of the key reasons to buy Ledger hardware wallets is the firms reputation for security. Cryptocurrencies hardware wallets are like bank accounts – they contain full access to funds and need banking grade security. Ledger Nano S contains two hardware chips:
- Secure Element: ST31H320 (secure) is independently certified CC EAL5+ and stores the private key and signs transactions
Operating system: STM32F042 chip is responsible for Ledger’s BOLOS proprietary Operating System.
Secure elements are separate pieces of hardware (second layer of security) with their own storage and limited functionality that cannot be breached by hackers.
Even if your computer is hacked or compromised, the Ledger will still keep your cryptocurrencies secure. Devices like the Trezor One and Trezor Model T have chosen not have secure elements and only have a single layer of security.
Similar to the Nano X, users can also protect their funds using a PIN code and passphrase. The PIN code is to generally unlock your device to use it. Whilst you can also set up wallets protected by a passphrase in addition to your primary PIN code.
So say you are threatened to unlock your device, you can give them the PIN code to access wallets with fewer funds. Meanwhile, the bulk of your crypto assets are contained in passphrase protected wallets.
5/5 Security Rating
Multi Currency Support
Ledger has one of the most diverse support for different cryptocurrencies such as NEO, Vechain and Monero. With their open policy to development from project teams, the Ledger Nano S supports 1100+ different assets. Many of these assets like Vechain or NEO are not found on competitors like the Trezor Model T or KeepKey, making Ledger the only hardware wallet available for many coins.
One of the weakness of the Nano S is the lack of space for installed applications. In our tests we found it was only possible to fit 2-3 apps on the Nano S (Firmware 1.5.5 – Ledger has since stated they will fix this problem). This is a very small number of apps, especially considering the average portfolio of cryptocurrency holders to be 5-10 different coins.
One way around this limitation is to uninstall apps that are not being used and reinstall them in the future. Uninstalling apps will not delete coins – all account information will be retained. The newly released Ledger Nano X fixes this problem by increasing the internal memory to 2 MB.
4/5 Multi Currency Support
Ledger Nano S has two hardware buttons – located on the top of the device. These two buttons allows us to access menus (hold both buttons), make selections (press both buttons), and even input recovery phrases (use buttons to scroll). We found that entering PINs and recovery phrases to be tedious with only 2 buttons – perhaps a touchscreen or additional buttons could of helped.
The small screen on the Nano S has some limitations and needs to scroll to display destination cryptocurrency addresses. This causes some inconvenience (and minor frustration) when verifying information. The Nano S uses a USB micro-B interface for charging and connecting to the PC.
3.5/5 for Hardware Design
3/5 of Ease of Use
Why use a Hardware Wallet
With traditional currencies, you, the user, are the most important person. If you have ever lost your bank card, you can always go to the bank with some sort of identification and request for access back to your account.
Cryptocurrencies, however, don’t care about the physical person but rather the private key associated with the wallet. The private key is used to verify the account and transactions. Anyone who has access to this key can send funds and that is why you must keep it safe. Another thing is that cryptocurrency transactions cannot be reversed.
Hardware wallets can protect you against these things. They add an extra layer of security by storing the private key on the device itself. The only way to hack it would be to have physical access to the hardware wallet or with the backup phrase.
Ledger Nano S worth it in 2019?
|Ledger Nano X||Ledger Nano S||Trezor One|| |
Trezor Model T
|Price||$119||$59||$78||$170||$79||Free (iOS, Android)|
|Security Certification||CC EAL 5+||CC EAL 5+||X||X||X||ORU audit|
|Review Rating (out of 5)||4.4||3.9||3.75||4.25||3.5||4.5|
The Ledger Nano S is the most affordable hardware wallet at only $59. Even though it’s the least expensive device, it has top of the line security with a CC EAL5+ secure element (military grade security). This device is great for any cryptocurrency HODLer who doesn’t to hold many different assets.
Coming into 2019, the Ledger Nano S has its biggest change yet – a price drop to $59 USD. This 40% price discount keeps the Nano S much more accessible and competitive in the hardware wallet space. It is perfect for beginners coming into the cryptocurrency space, HODLers who are storing 1-2 coins or even as a backup device.
Security Rating: 5/5
Multi-currency Support: 4/5
Hardware design: 3.5/5
Ease of Use: 3/5
Final Score: 3.9/5
Reviewed on 16th May 2019 by Michael Gu
Learn how to properly setup your Ledger Nano S with our guide.
Product Specifications (Technical Specifications)
Ledger Nano S Product Specifications:
|Processors||ST31H320 (secure) + STM32F042.|
|Compatibility||64-bits desktop computer (Windows 8+, macOS 10.8+, Linux) excluding ARM Processors. Also compatible with smartphones (iOS 9+ or Android 7+) via OTG cable.|
|Security Certification||CC EAL5+|
|Size|| Size: 56.95mm x 17.4mm x 9.1mm|
|Supported Assets||1100+ Supported assets|