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Ledger Nano X vs. S: Which Crypto Wallet Is Right for You?

18 mins
Updated by Ananda Banerjee
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Using hardware-based, pocket-friendly wallets that remain mostly offline is the best way to own your keys securely. This article will compare the Ledger Nano X and Ledger Nano S, helping users decide which hardware wallet best fits their needs.

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Ledger Nano S overview: where S stands for “sleek”

Ledger Nano S overview:

The Ledger Nano S is a Hierarchical-Deterministic (HD) crypto hardware wallet that supports over 1800 crypto assets. HD wallets are based on the BIP-32 (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal) standard introduced in 2012. In 2022, Ledger decided to retire its incredibly popular Ledger Nano S. A final set of 10,000 units was released as the Ledger Nano S Final Edition. Each of these final edition devices included a Proof-of-Attendance-Protocol (PoAP) NFT.

Although Ledger has replaced the Nano S with the more advanced Nano S Plus, it’s important first to discuss the original and influential crypto hardware wallet, the Nano S. The Ledger Nano S was a cold storage crypto wallet with a final purchase price of $59. Even though it is now retired, many online stores still sell the Nano S.

Features of Nano S

Here are the traits that make the Nano S worth your time:

Display panel

The Ledger Nano S’s OLED screen is of exceptional quality. While the screen size is limited to 7mm x 25mm, its visibility is more than adequate for setting up and using the wallet, even outdoors. Additionally, you can rotate the screen for a dual-screen effect, and the black background enhances the blue text’s visibility. The screen brightness is adjustable, and you can invert colors as needed for better visibility.

Durability

The Nano S is plastic, with a brushed metal outer layer. It is sleek and light, measuring 60mm x 17mm x 8mm and weighing 18g, respectively. It feels nice to hold and is relatively durable.

Highly secure

The proprietary BOLOS OS and the secure chip system make the Nano S a highly secure cold storage wallet. And its Hierarchical Deterministic nature makes it a reliable multi-sig wallet. 

Support for multiple cryptos

While the actual number varies across sources, this Ledger device is known to support over 1,800 tokens. And by support, we mean compatibility. It would help to understand that you cannot fit all the wallet-supported coins in truckloads. At a time, you can hold a maximum of five cryptos at once. 

Support for multiple apps

What’s with apps, you ask? Isn’t the Ledger Live app good enough for this? Well, not all of the Ledger-supported crypto assets are compatible with Ledger Live. To do so, you will need to use this wallet with other third-party apps and online wallets like Electrum, MyCellium, or MyEtherWallet. And the Nano S supports a lot of them. 


Ledger Live and options galore: Ledger
Ledger Live and options galore: Ledger

Pros

  1. It is one of the smallest hardware wallets to exist.
  2. As an HD crypto wallet, Nano S generates a new private-public key pair for each transaction. This makes it safe and even restorable, using a seed phrase.
  3. The 2-button operating console is seamless. 
  4. It works really well with the desktop app — Ledger Live
  5. It is one of the easiest wallets to set up.
  6. The built-in software is open source. 
  7. Nano S is compatible with over 50 crypto wallets. 
  8. Nano S is CC EAL5+ rated — a security thumbs up from ANSSI.

Cons

  1. It doesn’t offer Bluetooth connectivity.
  2. It comes with a small storage space of 160 kb.
  3. It doesn’t have a backup battery console.
  4. This wallet doesn’t offer iOS support.
  5. Android support is available, but you must connect the wallet via the in-house OTG Kit.

Whether it’s the Nano S or X, get the most popular hardware wallet today. Shop Ledger now!

Ledger Nano X overview

If you want to upgrade your existing hardware wallet over the Trezor or even the Nano S, the Ledger Nano X seems like a better bet. While it is as easy to set up as the predecessor, you can add another layer of security in the form of an 8-digit PIN code. 

Released as part of the firmware update v2.2.1, the users opting for the “Recover” feature will also need to jump through KYC registration hoops. But there is more to the Ledger Nano X than just this newly released, highly controversial feature. Now, we’ll take a detailed look at the other associated features to further the Ledger Nano X vs. S debate. Let us see if the Nano X can “Recover” some lost ground. No pun intended!

As of May 16, 2023, the Nano X is criticized due to its new cloud-based seed phrase recovery feature called “Recover.” According to the crypto community, “Recover” contradicts the fundamental principles of a hardware wallet by allowing the company access to customer seed phrases. This development has sparked significant concern among users.

Features of Nano X

Not your run-of-the-mill design

This Ledger Nano X vs. S debate has so far shown that the latter was a durable innovation. Even though the Nano X adds to the bulk at 34g, it still feels great in hand. The buttons are naturally placed, and the casing looks premium. The device itself measures 72mm x 18.6mm x 11.75mm but still feels minimal.

The memory bump

The Nano X comes with 2MB of storage space, which lets you store close to 100 applications. In other words, this cold storage hardware wallet can store an entire library of apps.

Power backup and more

Did you know that the Nano X is the first crypto hardware wallet to include a 100mAh battery, allowing it to run even when not connected to a machine? This feature, along with Bluetooth connectivity, lets you connect this wallet to mobile devices. 

A screen beyond screens

The Nano X’s OLED screen isn’t massive, but it’s effective, thanks to a 128 x 64 px resolution.

Do more with your crypto

Even though Nano S offers these services as well, Nano X’s compatibility with over 5,500 tokens and digital assets across different apps makes it easier to buy, hold, and even exchange or swap crypto assets in no time. And with the Ledger Live app, you can even store and take control of your NFTs. 

And just so you know, the connected services even support crypto staking

Ledger and staking support: Ledger
Ledger and staking support: Ledger

Note: All the supported coins need to be installed as an app on the Ledger as an app. Once done, you need to create an account relevant to the app to start using the address to hold crypto assets. 

Enhanced security

The Nano X comes equipped with several enhanced security features, with the security chip ST31 being one of them. And much like the Nano S, it is also ANSSI-rated. The Nano X comes loaded with the Cortex-M0 (M4) breed of the chipset that can handle digital signatures and private keys, courtesy of the cryptographic security layer. 

We will cover more about the features when we start formally comparing the Ledger Nano X vs. S. 

Pros

  1. An easy wallet to set up
  2. The Bluetooth connectivity stands out
  3. It boasts NFT support
  4. Best-in-class secure element chip
  5. It is capable of supporting almost 5,500 digital assets, including 1800+ crypto assets.
  6. It comes in three color variations
  7. It also includes the hidden wallet functionality
  8. It includes almost every feature associated with the Nano S and more. 
  9. It comes with staking support

Cons

  1. It is priced at $134, which is almost six times SOL’s current price. Thus, it might seem a bit expensive.

Ledger Nano S Plus: the new kid on the block

As mentioned, the Nano S currently stands retired, paving the way for a Nano S on some serious steroids: the Ledger Nano S Plus. Therefore, it is appropriate to discuss this Ledger wallet as well so we can conduct an effective Nano S Plus vs. Nano X comparison later on.

Leger Nano S Plus
Ledger Nano S Plus: Ledger

Coming to the features, here is a quick rundown:

  • The comparison between the Nano S Plus and the Nano X tilts towards the former regarding affordability: the S Plus is almost $40 cheaper.
  • The USB-Type C port improves the functionality of the Nano S.
  • Nano S Plus still supports 5,000+ digital assets via the Ledger Live app and even other third-party apps.
  • Even this Ledger wallet is CC EAL5+ rated.
  • The Secure Element chip ensures that your private keys and even the pin code aren’t exposed even if you connect the Nano S Plus to an infected computer.
  • You can store NFTs using the Nano S Plus. 
  • The screen resolution is the same as the Nano X.
  • And finally, the storage space is close to 1.8 MB, ensuring almost 100 simultaneous apps exist.
  • It supports direct coin staking, like the Nano X.

Now that we have discussed the Ledger Nano S Plus, let us move back to the head-to-head comparisons.

Ledger Nano X vs. S: The ultimate showdown

So, which Ledger should you choose? We shall now conduct a Ledger Nano X vs. S roundup across categories to help you make an informed decision.

Security

Using a cold storage hardware wallet is usually about keeping your crypto secure. And both Ledger hardware wallets do the job perfectly. All you need to do is open the exchange from where you would want to buy the crypto. Open the companion app (Ledger Live or any other third-party app, if needed), get the specific crypto address from the app, and feed the same into the exchange dashboard to send your digital assets to an offline wallet. 

While your private keys remain safe inside the ledger, let us now see which ledger device does the job more efficiently. The Nano X features the ST33 secure element chip compared to the ST31 inside the Nano S. However, the security boost courtesy of a slightly enhanced chip isn’t all that significant. 

“Hardware wallets like Trezor or Ledger are very safe because they don’t connect to the internet, keeping your crypto more secure. Hackers can’t access your private keys if the wallet isn’t online. Hardware wallets also make it tough for thieves too since they need your password or pin to sell your crypto, even if they steal the physical device.”




Steven Kibbel, Financial Advisor at Prop Firm App: BeInCrypto Interview

Plus, both offer initial device-specific pin code support. And both work really well with recovery check apps and resources supporting two-factor authentication, like the FIDO U2F app.

On deeper research, here are a few more security-specific elements related to these hardware wallet giants:

  • Security certifications: Both Ledger Nano X and Nano S have achieved the Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level (CC EAL5+) certification, which is a high-level security standard used for banking cards and government data. This certification ensures that the devices provide strong protection against penetration tests and various types of cyber attacks.
  • Secure Element chips: The Ledger Nano X uses the ST33 secure element chip, while the Ledger Nano S uses the ST31 chip. Both chips are designed to protect private keys from physical and logical attacks, ensuring that sensitive information remains secure even if the device is tampered with.
  • Tamper-Resistant design: Both devices feature tamper-resistant designs that include measures to prevent unauthorized physical access and manipulation.
  • Pin codes and recovery phrases: Users are required to set up a pin code for device access and are provided with a 24-word recovery phrase. This phrase is crucial for restoring access to the wallet in case the device is lost or damaged.

Independent audits

  • French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI): The security of the Ledger devices has been independently audited by ANSSI, ensuring compliance with high security standards. This audit confirms that the Ledger Nano X and Nano S are equipped with top-of-the-line security measures to protect user assets.
  • Recent Updates (June 2024): As of June 2024, both Ledger devices have undergone additional independent security audits to reinforce their reliability. These audits reaffirmed the devices’ compliance with the latest security protocols and standards, maintaining their status as secure options for cryptocurrency storage.

Verdict: Ledger Nano X comes with a slightly better security chip.

Price-to-value

For the given features, not many hardware wallets are as affordable as the Nano S. Yet; it can be extremely frustrating if you have a pretty diversified portfolio. Then, the Nano S might not be all that useful as you can only store four to five crypto assets at once. 

This is what tilts the Ledger Nano X vs. S debate towards the former, as, despite the $134 price tag, Nano X allows you to store almost 100 digital assets at once. 

Verdict: Nano X costs twice as much but can store 20 times as many assets, making it a winner. 

Ease of use

There is not much to choose between the two in this department. The UI is essentially the same on both devices. However, the Nano X feels a tad easier to use, courtesy of the bigger screen. Only the 24-word seed phrase setup process feels a bit tedious as scrolling through and confirming all the 24 words, one by one, isn’t exactly new gen. The Nano X offers some nifty UI enhancements, including the long-press-to-home and double-click functionality. 

Verdict: Nano X pips Nano S to the post, only for the slightly bigger screen.

Design

Nano S and Nano X look like standard USB sticks. Both feature hinges that allow you to move the steel casing and expose the ports.

Yet, there are a few cosmetic dissimilarities as well. In the case of Nano X, the buttons feel like integral parts of the device itself, as they are front-facing. In the case of Nano S, they stand out and sit right on edge. Nano S offers an additional hold to attach the ledger device with a keychain. Plus, the Nano S is much lighter than the Nano X — 16 g vs. 34 g, to be exact. 

The Nano X makes up for those extra grams by offering a bigger and brighter (128 x 64 px) display. We are certain that users will choose a bigger display anytime over some additional, inconsequential heft.

Verdict: The Nano X wins again due to slightly better aesthetics, a premium feel, and a clearly improved screen. 

Mobile app support

The in-house Ledger Live app works like a charm on both. However, Nano S can only be used with Android, and that too if you have an OTG cable handy. Nano X clearly tweaks this functionality and works seamlessly on both iOS and Android devices. You need to install the Ledger Live app on your phone, and you are good to go.

Verdict: The Nano X wins this round, hands down. 

Trust factor

Ledger leads the market when it comes to hardware wallets. However, for customers, the lack of phone support seems like a dealbreaker at times. And if you are using a Nano S, which is a retired device, as per the book, the response time can be awfully long. Yet, regarding the quality and security-based trust factor, we believe that the new and improved Nano X looks slightly better. 

Also, Nano X features a hidden wallet mechanism, allowing you to misdirect attackers. 

Verdict: Nano X wins this round despite the Nano S being a trustworthy device. However, issues concerning the Nano X might be resolved quicker, so the newer model again edges the win.

Hardware

The hardware spread for both these Ledger wallets is relatively similar. The chipset houses the CC EAL5+ security chip and the proprietary BOLOS OS. While the ST33 and ST31 secure element chipsets associated with the Nano X and Nano S help with device-level encryption, the BOLOS OS actually runs on the STM32 chip, decoupling the software from the hardware.

Verdict: Tie! Both these wallets boast similar hardware configurations.

Ports and connectivity

This is where the Ledger Nano X vs. S debate intensifies. The Nano S features the dated mico-USB port, whereas the Nano X brings in the USB-C. As for the cables, the Nano S package contains the quintessential Type-B to Type-A connector, making it good enough only for Windows laptops. If you own a Mac, a Type-C adapter will be necessary.

The Nano X includes the USB-C to USB-A cable but also brings in Bluetooth connectivity to support mobile applications. Some purists believe that Bluetooth support defeats the essence of cold wallets. Yet, Ledger emphasizes that the Bluetooth LE offered by Nano X is secure. 

Verdict: Nano X wins the round thanks to the new port and Bluetooth support. Yet, some wallet purists will still prefer the Nano S.

App compatibility and coin support

The storage space for the Nano X gets a massive bump as compared to the Nano S. Therefore, you can install almost 100 apps on this ledger wallet — including the individual coin apps supported by Ledger Live or even third-party apps like VeChain, TRON, and more. 

The Nano S can only store three to even five apps and the relevant cryptos, depending on the firmware version you are running. Regarding token-standard compatibility, both these wallets support ERC-20, BEP2, ERC721, TRC10, TRC20, NEP5, and SOL standards. 

While there are many confusing claims regarding the apps and supported wallets, both offer 1,800 coin support directly via the Ledger Live companion app. The third-party app (token) spread goes as high as 5,500 for the Nano X. Per the latest info, even the Nano S supports 5,500 tokens as of June 2024.

Also, here is a more in-depth analysis specific to the token support:

Ledger Nano X

  • Total Number of Supported Assets: Over 5,500 cryptocurrencies, tokens, and NFTs.
  • Token Standards:
    • ERC20: A standard used for Ethereum-based tokens.
    • ERC721: A standard for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain.
    • TRC20: A standard for tokens on the TRON blockchain.
    • TRC10: Another token standard on the TRON blockchain, often used for simpler tokens.
    • BEP2: A token standard on the Binance Chain.
    • SOL: Tokens on the Solana blockchain.
  • Key Cryptocurrencies Supported:
    • Bitcoin (BTC)
    • Ethereum (ETH)
    • Litecoin (LTC)
    • Cardano (ADA)
    • Stellar (XLM)
    • Dogecoin (DOGE)
    • VeChain (VET)
    • EOS (EOS)
    • Monero (XMR) (via third-party app)
  • NFT Support: Ledger Live provides native support to view and manage NFTs on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains. Users can also connect their Ledger device to Web3 wallets to manage NFTs on other blockchains.

Ledger Nano S

  • Total Number of Supported Assets: Over 5,500 cryptocurrencies, tokens, and NFTs.
  • Token Standards:
    • ERC20: A standard used for Ethereum-based tokens.
    • ERC721: A standard for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain.
    • TRC20: A standard for tokens on the TRON blockchain.
    • TRC10: Another token standard on the TRON blockchain, often used for simpler tokens.
    • BEP2: A token standard on the Binance Chain.
    • SOL: Tokens on the Solana blockchain.
  • Key Cryptocurrencies Supported:
    • Bitcoin (BTC)
    • Ethereum (ETH)
    • Litecoin (LTC)
    • Cardano (ADA)
    • Stellar (XLM)
    • Dogecoin (DOGE)
    • VeChain (VET)
    • EOS (EOS)
    • Monero (XMR) (via third-party app)
  • NFT Support: Similar to the Nano X, the Ledger Nano S can also manage NFTs on Ethereum and Polygon through Ledger Live, and other blockchains via connected Web3 wallets.

Verdict: While both Nano X and Nano S offer best-in-class compatibility solutions, Nano X wins this round due to its larger app storage space. 

Battery life

Sadly, the Nano S doesn’t have battery support, so it must be plugged into work. On the other hand, the Nano X’s 100mAh battery offers 8 hours’ worth of standby support.

Verdict: The Nano X is a clear winner. 

If you are pressed for time, here is a quick table to look at.

Parameters Ledger Nano S Ledger Nano X
SecurityST31 chipMore powerful ST33 chip
Price-to-value$71, but with almost 2MB of storage space $134 but with almost 2MB of storage space 
Ease of useDated UI with blue text and black background. BOLOS OS existsSharper text and better clarity. BOLOS OS exists
DesignPlastic and metal accents with a 128 x 32 px screenPlastic and metal accents, but with better buttons and 128 x 64 px larger screen
Mobile supportOnly Android with OTGAndroid and iOS
Trust$59, but with only 160kb of storage supportBrings the hidden wallet functionality to misdirect attackers
Ports and connectivitymicro-USB onlyUSB-C and Bluetooth
App and coin compatibility1800+ direct coins and apps1800+ direct coins and 5,500 assets, including third-party support
On-device coin support3 to 5 at one timeClose to 100 at once
Battery lifeN/A8 hours of standby backup

Ledger Nano S Plus vs. Nano X: a quick comparison

Still undecided about the right Ledger wallet for you? Here is a Nano S Plus vs. Nano X comparison table that gives you three Ledger hardware wallets to choose from:

Parameters Ledger Nano S Plus Ledger Nano X
SecurityST31 chip with Pin supportMore powerful ST33 chip with Pin support
Price-to-Value$71 with almost 2MB of storage space$134 with almost 2MB of storage space 
Ease of usageEasy to use courtesy of shaper text and a Nano X-like screenSharper text and better clarity. BOLOS OS exists
DesignPlastic and metal accents with an OLED 128 x 64 px screen. Plus, five color options. Matte finish and weighs 21gPlastic and metal accents but with better buttons and an OLED 128 x 64 px screen. Plus, three color options. Brushed metal finishes and weighs 34g.
Mobile supportAndroid via OTG cable Android and iOS
TrustUSB-C and BluetoothBrings the hidden wallet functionality to misdirect attackers. 
Ports and connectivityUSB-C supportUSB-C and bluetooth
App and coin compatibility1800+ direct coins, NFTs, and almost 5,000 digital assets, including third-party1800+ direct coins, NFTs, and 5,500 assets, including third-party support
On-device coin supportClose to 100 at onceClose to 100 at once
Battery lifeN/A8 hours of standby backup

And that sums up our Nano S Plus vs. Nano X comparison. The Nano S Plus from Ledger is a significant improvement over the older Nano S, making it a worthier opponent to the Nano X at a fraction of the price. 

Ledger Nano X vs. S: Which Ledger reigns supreme?

Be it the Ledger Nano X vs. S debate or the Nano S Plus vs. Nano X comparisons, the Ledger device you pick depends on your personal needs. The Nano S still seems most practical if you are a long-term BTC HODLer. However, the Nano S Plus makes sense if you own a diversified portfolio but are more interested in something other than the concept of Bluetooth on a hardware wallet. If you are looking for battery and mobile support over everything else, there is no better choice than the Nano X. Ultimately, it is all about what you want for your crypto.

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Ananda Banerjee
Ananda Banerjee is a technical copy/content writer specializing in web3, crypto, Blockchain, AI, and SaaS — in a career spanning over 12 years. After completing his M.Tech in Telecommunication engineering from RCCIIT, India, Ananda was quick to pair his technical acumen with content creation in a career that saw him contributing to Towardsdatascience, Hackernoon, Dzone, Elephant Journal, Business2Community, and more. At BIC, Ananda currently contributes long-form content discussing trading,...
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