Look, let’s be honest here. Most of us, myself included, aren’t as vigilant as we could be with our online identities and information. We’re perfectly content to use the same password we’ve used for nearly all of our online accounts for the last five years. I know I need to do a better job, but usually, I make up some excuse and move on.
If you’re like me, you’re the same way with your cryptocurrency. You’re probably using either a coin specific or multicurrency wallet that is regularly connected to the internet. Some people prefer desktop crypto wallets, while others like web-based options. Either way, your wallet and crypto assets are at risk of being hacked.
However, there is a legitimate alternative. Many people are starting to move their digital assets to a hardware wallet, precisely what it sounds like. We’ll get more into what a hardware wallet is in a bit. Now, know that two of the best hardware wallets on the market – the Nano S and the Nano X – are offered by Ledger.
Who is Ledger?
The company itself was founded by eight highly-qualified experts in 2014. These industry-leading talents are an authority in various fields, including cryptocurrencies, entrepreneurship, and security. They are united in their efforts to develop blockchain solutions that are safe and secure.
Ledger Wallet History
Just two short years after the company was founded, Ledger launched its Nano S hardware wallet. This physical wallet quickly becomes one of the most sought-after tools for users throughout the world of crypto, specifically because Ledger’s hardware wallet is designed to protect users’ private keys completely.
The rise of the Nano S gave way to popular alternatives like the Trezor Model T hardware wallet. Ledger held its own against the competition, as evidenced by the launch of a newer hardware wallet in 2019, the Nano X. I’ll cover the features and functionality of these wallets more in-depth momentarily, but rest assured when you use a Ledger hardware wallet, you’re using high-quality devices.
Ledger Nano X vs. Nano S Comparison
Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at the features these wallets have to offer and how they compare with one another.
Hardware wallet features
Size is a feature that’s open to interpretation for many people. What size are we talking about specifically? The battery size? The physical size of the hardware? How much it weighs? Lucky for you, I know the answers to all these.
We’ll start with the actual size and weight of the Nano X and the Nano S:
- Nano X – 72 x 18.6 x 11.75 mm | 34 g
- Nano S – 57 x 17.4 x 9.1 mm | 16.2 g
As you can see, the Nano X is bigger and weighs more than twice as much as its counterpart. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, but the features Ledger added to the Nano X necessitated a larger device.
Part of the bulkiness associated with the Nano X can be attributed to its battery. With a 100 mAh battery included with the device, you’ll get up to 8 hours of battery life out of your Nano X. Plus, you can charge it any time by plugging it into its USB cable. Just FYI, the Nano S uses a USB Micro-B, and the Nano X uses a USB Type-C cable. However, the Nano S does not have a battery, so it only turns on when you connect it to a power source like your computer.
One last thing I want to touch on in regards to size is the screen.
- Nano X – 128 x 64 pixels
- Nano S – 128 x 32 pixels
As you can see, the Nano X screen size is bigger than the Nano S. With a larger screen, your Ledger device allows you to see the details of your transactions. So whether you’re sending or receiving your favorite crypto, you’ll always know exactly what’s going on.
Materials and design
You’ll see a black background with blue contrast when you look at the screen on the Ledger Nano S. Comparatively, the Nano X is a black background with white in the forefront. Even though the contract is different on these devices, the design is still quite similar.
For example, both devices are made of plastic and brushless stainless steel. This type of design and these materials make the Ledger hardware wallets some of the best on the market. Not only do they have a sleek, stylish appearance, but they are also portable and durable, which is a nice feature if you need to take your crypto with you.
The Nano S has its navigation buttons on the top, while the buttons on the Nano X are front-facing and located on each side of the screen. It can take some time to get used to the controls on these devices, but it will become as simple and easy as using a smartphone before long.
There are over 1000 apps compatible with Ledger’s hardware wallets. Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be able to install them all since storage space is limited. The Nano S can handle between 3 and 20 applications, while you can put up to 100 apps on the Nano X. Of course, the number of apps each device will support will depend on the size of the apps.
Clearly, the Nano X offers more space for apps, which is a significant reason many users prefer the Nano X over the Nano S. However, if you want to go with the Nano S, you can uninstall apps once you set them up. Removing the apps won’t delete your private keys. They stay on the device. As a result, you can remove and install apps as you need them, allowing you to save space on the device.
Both the Nano X and the Nano S support Ledger’s next-gen wallet, desktop, and mobile app, Ledger Live. Through this app, you can maintain and manage multiple digital assets for your Ledger hardware device.
With a Nano S, you can use your Android smartphone to track your cryptocurrencies, while the Nano X supports both iOS and Android devices. The beauty of Ledger Live mobile is that you can manage a wide variety of your favorite digital currencies.
With Ledger Live, you can track your favorite ERC-20 tokens or digital assets all from one application. The app supports more than 1500 tokens and 26 coins, including:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Ripple (XRP)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Stellar (XLM)
- Cardano (ADA)
- ZCash (ZEC)
- Monero (XMR)
- EOS (EOS)
- DASH (DASH)
If you want the full list of all the digital assets and supported coins with Ledger Live, click here.
Something you can also do with the Ledger Live app is stake some of your digital assets. This is available for anyone with a Nano X or Nano S. If you’re not familiar with staking, you can learn more about it on the Ledger site. There isn’t a lot of cryptos to stake yet, but at the very least, you can use Tezos, Algorand, Cosmos, and Tron.
The last thing I want to talk about with Ledger Live is the option to create multiple wallets. You maintain all your wallets right in the app and designate a specific purpose for each of them if you so desire. So if you want to use one for bills and one for savings, you can do that. Or maybe you want to give some friends or family members crypto. You can do that with the Ledger Live app while creating a separate wallet for each of them.
Coin control may not be a feature that everyone cares about, but I wanted to include it here. This feature is essential to those who hold Bitcoin or one of its derivatives. Before coin control was available in Ledger Live, the app would use your oldest coins for a new transaction. Coin control follows the FIFO (First-In, First-Out) method.
Now that coin control is an option, you control which coins and addresses you want to use. This gives you more control over your digital assets while also reducing higher fees. Plus, it helps to prevent a security flaw known as Dusting Attacks. I’m not going to bore you with all the details, so if you want to know more about coin control, you can check it out on Ledger’s official website.
Including Bluetooth functionality with a hardware wallet can quickly become a controversial topic. The thinking here is that if a user wanted wireless connectivity, they would use a different wallet type. Using a Bluetooth connection can increase the chances of someone accessing digital assets without the user’s knowledge.
However, those in favor of Bluetooth compatibility suggest that with a required PIN code and the technology’s limited range, risks are mitigated. Additionally, the Ledger Nano X will only respond to other devices running the Ledger Live application. Unfortunately, the Nano S does not support Bluetooth connectivity, so if it’s a feature you want, you’ll have to go with the Nano X.
The last feature I want to address with the Nano X and the Nano S is security. Ledger devices are known for their protection, and it’s no wonder. For starters, the devices use CC EAL5+ secure chips. These chips exceed the minimum standard for security on hardware devices. That means your Nano X and Nano S are highly secure.
But hold on, there’s more. Ledger doesn’t stop there. These devices are also the first to become ANSSI certified. What does that mean? It means Ledger has enough faith in its products that it was willing to let a third-party test it. The ANSSI team put the Nano S and Nano X through a rigorous security evaluation, and the products passed with flying colors.
Additionally, the devices have a 24-word recovery phrase in place anytime you want to backup or recover your data.
I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty evident to me that Ledger takes its security very seriously.
Ease of use
Both the Ledger Nano X and Nano S are simple and easy to use, even if it’s the first time you’ve used a hardware wallet. The user interface is intuitive and straightforward, and the software design is elegant and stylish. Many users like that device applications can only run locally, instead of in a web browser. The downside, of course, is that you may have to uninstall and reinstall apps regularly. However, you’re less likely to experience loss of assets or unauthorized access with a completely local device.
Initial Setup and Configuration
The nice thing about setting up your Ledger Nano is that you can use a variety of devices to do so. The Nano X, specifically, can be set up using your Android or iOS mobile device or your PC. However, be sure you only download the app through the Ledger site. There have been reports of fake Ledger Live apps available on the Google Play Store, so ensure the one you’re getting is legit.
Once you’ve downloaded and opened the software, choose which device you’re setting up. If you’re setting up a new device, select “Initialize as a new device.” When you’re up and running, you’ll be asked to set up your pin code. Be sure you follow the security suggestions provided by the Ledger app.
Next, you’ll get your recovery seed phrase. Be sure to write down all 24 words in the order they appear. You won’t need this right now, but if there is ever a point in time when you do need them, you’ll deeply regret not writing them down. Here, you’ll get some more suggestions on what you can do to keep your favorite cryptocurrencies safe and secure.
At this point, if you’re using a Nano X, you’ll begin the process of pairing with your phone. Be sure the Bluetooth setting is on in your smartphone settings. Once the process starts, you’ll get a verification code that will correspond with your Nano X. When that works, you’ll get a message that your wallet and phone have successfully paired.
Next, you’ll need to set up your password lock. This feature prevents your information from being accessed in the event someone takes your phone. With a password lock, information about your coins is safe and secure and only accessible through authentication. When that’s done, Ledger will ask you what data you want to share with the device. Select the choices you want and move on to the next step.
Oh, that’s right. There is no next step! You’re done! All said, it only takes about five or ten minutes to go through the entire process. Now you’re ready to start storing your favorite digital assets, cryptocurrencies, or tokens!
I’ve mentioned it several times already, but it’s clear that Ledger makes a significant effort toward ensuring its devices are secure. Additionally, both the Nano X and Nano S are sleek devices that offer plenty of features. All of this and the Ledger Live application helps to create a powerful tool for managing your digital assets.
That doesn’t mean these devices are perfect. Bluetooth is a bit clunky, and the user interface does have areas for improvement. Overall, though, these are devices that do what you want them to do. They’re not perfect, but they still outshine the competition when it comes to crypto hardware wallets.
When deciding which one to buy, the choice will depend on what you want or need out of a hardware wallet. Some people want the connectivity that Bluetooth provides, while others don’t want to add potential risk. Additionally, the number of apps you plan to use will play a part in your decision-making as well.
Regardless of which cold storage hardware wallet you choose, it’s hard to go wrong when choosing to protect and store your digit