The Ledger Nano S is a great starter hardware wallet. It supports numerous cryptocurrencies whilst offering great security and being easy to use whilst being available at a very reasonable price for the budget conscious. More advanced users looking for more features may be better suited looking at their more expensive product, the Ledger Blue.
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
The Ledger Nano S has become one of the most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallets around these days. The device is often sold out on Amazon and unavailable even from the manufacturer – Ledger.
Not surprisingly, a lot of consumers will be wondering if the Ledger Nano S deserves all the hype it has gotten in the altcoin media. The answer is sort of, many reviewers like the Nano S, but it has some obvious and serious shortcomings.
More Expensive than Reviewers Claim?
Much of Ledger Nano S’s popularity is based on its reputation as the “cheapest hardware wallet with a screen.” The problem with that claim is the prices charged for the device online are often high. For example, on October 30, 2017; the price for it at Amazon Prime was $99.95.
Nor was the Nano S available on Amazon for the $70 price, sometimes quoted by reviewers on that day. The lowest price on Amazon was $74.81, while the cost from the manufacturer was $81.49.
This means that the Nano S’s reputation as a bargain is slightly exaggerated. It is slightly more expensive than some of the reviewers lead us to believe, this is because the price is usually quoted from their website which is excluding VAT and delivery.
What is the Ledger Nano S Anyway?
The Nano S is a small and very basic cryptocurrency wallet that contains a tiny OLED display screen. That allows users to see how much cryptocurrency they have in it by tapping the small buttons on the side.
The altcoins stored in the wallet are protected by what is described as “a state-of-the-art Secure Element.” A PIN (personal identification number) Code keeps the wallet locked.
The device’s manufacturer, Ledger, claims that transactions on the Nano S are tamper proof. Ledger also boasts that the Nano S is “malware proof.”
Altcoins are loaded onto and taken out of the Nano S via a USB connection to a computer or smartphone. The Ledger Nano S will work with Windows 7 and above; Mac OS 10.8 and above, Linux, Chromium, and Google Chrome, operating systems. It is not clear if it will work with the Linux-based Google Android operating system.
Ledger Nano S Capabilities
Software called the Ledger Manager allows users to load apps and altcoins onto the wallet. Some popular altcoin wallets including MyEtherWallet can be loaded onto the Ledger Nano S.
The Ledger Nano S is popular because it can hold a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, including some competitors like the TREZOR cannot. Altcoins that can be stored on current versions of Nano S include:
• Ethereum Classic
• ARK Vertcoin
• Bitcoin Cash
• FIDO U2F
Presumably, most ERC-20 initial cryptocurrency offering (ICO) tokens can be loaded onto the Ledger Nano S, because they are Ethereum-based.It is not clear if new cryptocurrencies; such as NEO and WAVES that use other operating systems, can be loaded into the Ledger Nano S.
Ledger Nano S Features
The Nano S is larger and heavier than the TREZOR Bitcoin Safe. It weighs 16.2grams (.57 ounces) and is 98 millimeters (3.9 inches) long, 18 millimeters (.71 inches) wide, and nine millimeters (.35 inches) in height.
Physically the Nano S looks a lot better than the TREZOR it has a stylish looking brushed steel case. The device itself is not as rugged as the TREZOR, it is not waterproof and it is less drop-resistant.
The screen and the actual wallet are made of plastic but protected by a folding stainless steel case. This can provide a lot of protection but it is a moving part that might be prone to breakage.
It is not clear how resistant to weather, or extremes of cold and heat, the Nano S is. That means it might not be a good wallet for people that spend a lot of time outdoors and travelers.
The OLED screen is very small and hard to read just like the screen on the TREZOR. People with vision problems might need a magnifying glass to see the numbers. The small buttons on the device can also be very hard to use.
A potential security flaw with the Nano S is that you will have to connect it to a computer with internet via USB to perform any transaction or task. That makes it vulnerable to both hacking and malware – particularly on public computers.
A Good Basic Wallet
At the end of the day, the Nano S is a good basic cryptocurrency wallet that will meet most people’s needs. It is not as rugged as the TREZOR, but it is protected by a steel cover.
The Nano S is a little pricey for the size and lacks some of the TREZOR’s features and capabilities. The extra security and good reputation will make up for some of those shortcomings.
Nano S would best serve a person who simply needs easy to access secure offline storage capabilities. It might not be rugged for travelers’ needs and may be hard to use on the go.
The best selling point for Nano S is that it is manufactured by Ledger a French company dedicated to making cryptocurrency hardware wallets. That distinguishes it from TREZOR; which appears to be something of a sideline for the manufacturer, Satoshi Labs.
Ledger has released two other wallets, and is planning to market a third – the Ledger Blue. The Blue is supposed to be the most elaborate and sophisticated cryptocurrency storage solution made available to the public.
Ledger has a strong reputation for design and manufacturing. All of its devices are built in France, which gives the company an added level of control and security. It also adds to the price.
Persons that want to store and work with large amounts of cryptocurrency might be better served by waiting for Ledger Blue. The Blue is supposed to be about the size of a smartphone and have a touchscreen large enough for a human being to see and read. The Ledger Blue will also have Bluetooth connectivity capability which will allow users to manage currency online through it. Ledger Blue is currently available for preorder but it is not scheduled to ship until November 30, 2017.
Until then the Ledger Nano S is one of the best choices on the market for a basic cryptocurrency wallet. Most altcoin owners will be served by this basic device.