Ledger Nano X Review: Finally a Usable Hardware Wallet
🔒 Ledger Nano X Review: Finally a usable hardware wallet
The Ledger Nano X is Ledger’s newest addition to their family of cryptocurrency hardware wallets, alongside the Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue. In short, it includes significant improvements over previous models and provides the best combination of security and user experience of any hardware wallet to date. Being able to use your Ledger on the go by connecting to the Ledger Live mobile app on Android or iOS devices via Bluetooth is a serious game changer, but there is certainly still room for improvement.
In comparison to the Ledger Nano S
Hardware memory improvements
If you’ve ever used a Ledger Nano S you’ll know that it’s a great idea that falls short on its execution. Hardware memory limitations meant that you could only have three or four different coins on the device at a time (for example BTC, ETH and XRP), it supported a large number of coins but if you wanted to use any more you’d be constantly juggling with installing/uninstalling apps to make room for other coins. Memory limitations also meant that when you wanted to update the firmware, you had to uninstall all of the wallet apps on the device to make room for the download.
This is where the Ledger Nano X makes its biggest improvement. It has much more memory and claims to be able to hold up to 100 different coins. I haven’t tested 100, but I was able to install and use apps for BTC, LTC, ETH, XRP, XLM, NEO, VTC, LSK, ARK and DASH all simultaneously without ever running into any memory issues.
Better product design
The product itself just feels better than the Ledger Nano S. It’s heavier and has a larger screen, now able to display two rows of four apps at a time when searching all of your supported wallets on the device. The buttons are also larger and feel nicer to the touch. The Ledger Nano X’s screen also includes a screensaver when it’s not in use, a small but appreciated touch now that it has its own battery and doesn’t need to be plugged into a computer at all times.
Ledger Nano X device
Using the Ledger Nano X on the go with the Ledger Live mobile app
This is really where the Nano X shines the most. Being able to use your Ledger on the go by connecting to the Ledger Live mobile app provides the single best experience for a hardware wallet to date. I’ve personally always had issues with the Ledger desktop apps since I primarily use Linux as my operating system and it was always a bit finicky, but even on Windows when it worked smoothly it meant I could only really use my Ledger device for long-term storage since I wasn’t always at home or with my laptop. Now that you can use the Ledger with your mobile phone, it can be used as a regular wallet for day-to-day use since it’s always available to you.
The Ledger Live mobile app
The Ledger Live mobile app itself has a nice and clean design and makes using most wallets as easy as any other app. Sending and receiving supports QR codes and copy pasting addresses, a must-have since nobody wants to manually enter wallet addresses on their phone keyboard. It also has a nice dashboard overview of the total net worth in USD of your wallets, which can act as a simple portfolio tracker if you keep most of your assets on your Ledger.
Shortcomings on the Ledger Nano X
The newest Ledger device certainly isn’t without its flaws. Many of the user experience issues that existed with previous devices have been carried over to the newest device as well.
Initial setup is tedious
The initial setup of creating your pin and storing your recovery phase is tedious, though necessary. Since it can connect to your phone or computer, it would be nice if you could do these sorts of interactions with a real keyboard instead of just the two small buttons on the Ledger device. Navigating around these screens with two tiny buttons can be headache-inducing.
Recovering wallets is even more annoying
Recovering your wallets from a previously created seed (for example if you had an older Ledger device and you want to access the same accounts on your new device) is difficult and requires a lot of fumbling with the two small buttons on the device to type out each word of your recovery phrase letter-by-letter. Again, it would be nice if we could use our phone or laptop’s keyboard for these interactions via the Ledger Live app.
Not all coins are supported in Ledger Live
If you view the list of coins supported by the Ledger it may look impressive, but you won’t be getting the nice experience of using Ledger Live for all of them. Not all coins and tokens that work with the Ledger Nano X are supported by the Ledger Live app. For example you can use the Ledger for your Stellar Lumens (XLM) wallet but you have to use the Stellar Account Viewer website and log in using the Ledger, it would be nice if you could do it all within the Ledger Live app. Lisk and Neo are two other examples of cryptocurrencies which have wallets that work with the Ledger, but that aren’t supported within the Ledger Live app itself.
If you want a hardware wallet that can store a large number of cryptocurrencies or tokens and want to be able to use it on the go with your phone, the Ledger Nano X is currently your best option on the market. You’ll still need to understand a bit about how hardware wallets and cryptocurrency wallets work, I wouldn’t quite call any hardware wallets today “beginner-friendly”, but the user experience is surprisingly nice and straightforward. The Ledger Nano X is a massive step in the right direction for all hardware wallets, and I hope to see other competitors follow suit.
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