Ledger is perhaps the most well-known brand when it comes to cryptocurrency hardware wallets. The company has released a number of different hardware storage solutions for cryptocurrency private keys over the years, but two of their most popular offerings are the Ledger Nano S and the Ledger Nano X. Let’s take a closer look at these two particular models, so you can gain a better understanding of which one will be the best option for your specific needs.
By: Arthur Crowson | Jun 10, 2020 | Modified Sep 25, 2020
The Ledger Nano S is a staple when it comes to the cryptocurrency hardware wallet market. This is basically the Model T of hardware wallets in that it offers a high level of security and functionality to the masses at an affordable price. For an in-depth analysis of the hardware wallet, read our extensive review on the Nano S.
The Ledger Nano X is a newer hardware wallet that improves upon the foundation laid down by the Ledger Nano S. There are a variety of new features included in the Ledger Nano X, including everything from a higher resolution screen to bluetooth functionality. To learn more, check out our comprehensive Ledger Nano X review.
|Information||Ledger Nano S||Ledger Nano X|
|Headquarters||Paris, France||Paris, France|
|Security features||Certified secure element, ANSSI certification, passphrases, PIN codes||Certified secure element, ANSSI certification, passphrases, PIN codes|
|Available cryptocurrencies||Bitcoin, Ethereum (1,100+)||Bitcoin, Ethereum, (1,100+)|
The level of friendliness offered to cryptocurrency beginners by these two devices is mostly the same. This is due to the fact that the same company is behind both products, and the same software is used to control both of these devices. It’s possible that the particular wallet software chosen by the user will be more important than the hardware devices when it comes to newcomers.
That said, the fact that the Ledger Nano X supports bluetooth connectivity means that it gets a slight edge in terms of the experience for a beginner. This added functionality is especially useful for connecting the device to smartphones, as the user no longer has to carry around an extra cord with them everywhere to connect the smartphone to the hardware wallet.
Eventually, Ledger may want to release a device with a touchscreen to further improve the user experience, especially when it comes to entering PIN codes and passphrases.
There is much to look at in terms of the differences between the Ledger Nano S and the Ledger Nano X when it comes to trust and security. Both products require users to put faith in Ledger to create a secure hardware wallet.
Some cryptocurrency users will find that this lack of difference in security features between the two devices makes the Ledger Nano S the obvious choice, as security is much more important than anything else when it comes to comparing hardware wallets.
All of the additional features that come along with the Ledger Nano X have nothing to do with security. That said, the availability of bluetooth functionality on the Ledger Nano X does make it more likely that the average user will consider using their hardware wallet for cryptocurrency spends made via a smartphone.
The obvious difference between the Ledger Nano S and the Ledger Nano X is the availability of connecting to a device via bluetooth with the Ledger Nano X. Other than that, there isn’t some extra piece of security hardware or anything like that found on the Ledger Nano X.
However, there are some other cosmetic differences between these two devices. Perhaps most notably, the Ledger Nano is able to have many more applications stored on it than the Ledger Nano S. This additional storage capacity makes the Ledger Nano X a more useful device for people who hold and transact in a wide variety of different crypto assets on a regular basis.
Additionally, the Ledger Nano X can be used on battery-powered mode, which means it does not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, computer, or smartphone to function. This is especially useful when it comes to pairing the hardware wallet with a smartphone. One thing to note is that the Ledger Nano X is larger in size and weighs more than the Ledger Nano S.
The setup process for your Ledger device will depend on which wallet software you decide to pair with the hardware wallet. Here’s what it looks like when you opt for the default Ledger Live software.
First, you will need to generate a new wallet on the device. The device will generate unique private keys to store your crypto assets, and you’ll need to backup these keys via a 24-word recovery phrase that will be created by the device. You will not be able to complete the setup process unless you write these words down, and the hardware wallet will give you a pop quiz on your recovery words to make sure of this.
To set up a new device, plug your Ledger Nano S or Ledger Nano X into your computer via the USB cable that came with your hardware wallet. If the device asks for a PIN code when you plug it in for the first time, you should contact Ledger, as there could be a security issue with your device.
You will then find the “Set up as new device” option by navigating with the two buttons on the hardware device. Select this option by clicking both buttons on the hardware wallet at the same time.
Next, you will be asked to choose a PIN code. It will be a bit cumbersome, as you can only use the two hardware buttons on the device to select your PIN.
The final step is to write down the aforementioned recovery phrase, which will allow you to restore access to your funds in a situation where something goes wrong with your hardware wallet. Remember to be extremely careful with your recovery seed, as anyone with access to it will be able to access your cryptocurrency holdings. Additionally, you won’t be able to access your funds without your recovery words if you lose your hardware wallet or it stops functioning properly.
Both devices from Ledger have extensive support for various crypto assets. Everything from Bitcoin to Dogecoin can be stored on these devices, with more than 1,100 crypto assets supported in total.
It should be noted that users who like to hold a wide variety of cryptocurrencies will want to opt for the Ledger Nano X, as the Ledger Nano S can only support between 3 to 6 crypto applications at a time.
Both of these Ledger hardware wallets are supported by more than 50 different cryptocurrency wallets. If you’re using a Bitcoin or cryptocurrency wallet that supports hardware wallets, then you can basically guarantee that both the Ledger Nano S and the Ledger Nano X will work with that wallet.
Ledger also has their own wallet software that can be used on Android, iOS, and your desktop computer. You are able to access your crypto assets on the hardware device from your wallet software.
The stand out features are going to a bit of a one-sided affair, as the Ledger Nano X is basically an improved version of the Ledger Nano S.
While there are a few key differences between these two devices, two specific features stand out above the rest: Bluetooth connectivity and the number of different applications that can be installed at one time. Users who wish to use a hardware wallet to hold a large number of different crypto assets and want to transact with them on a regular basis from their mobile device will want to take a closer look at these two features.
If money is no object for you, then there’s no reason to dismiss the Ledger Nano X; however, the Ledger Nano S can get the job done for the vast majority of cryptocurrency users. Again, there aren’t really any security-focused advantages of the Ledger Nano X, so it all comes down to a bit of additional functionality in terms of connecting to a smartphone or storing a large number of different cryptocurrencies.
If you need the additional features found with the Ledger Nano X, then by all means, splurge on this newer release from Ledger. That said, most people who just want to store their Bitcoin securely will be fine with the Ledger Nano S.