With the crypto market slowly getting its mojo back and centralized exchanges like FTX falling like nine pins, non-custodial crypto wallets might be your shot to real financial independence. Utilizing hardware, pocket-friendly wallets that are mostly offline is the best way to own your own keys. And we all know the saying: “Not your keys, not your crypto.” This article will compare the Ledger Nano X vs. S. Which hardware wallet is right for you?
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- Ledger Nano S overview: where S stands for “sleek”
- Features of Nano S
- Ledger Nano X overview
- Ledger Nano S Plus: the new kid on the block
- Ledger Nano X vs. S: the ultimate showdown
- Ledger Nano S Plus vs. Nano X: a quick comparison
- Ledger Nano X vs. S: Which Ledger reigns supreme?
- Frequently asked questions
Ledger Nano S overview: where S stands for “sleek”
The Ledger Nano S is an HD or Hierarchial-Deterministic crypto hardware wallet which supports over 1800 crypto assets.
Note: HD wallets are built atop the BIP-32 or the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal standard — which came to be in 2012.
In 2022, Ledger decided to retire its incredibly popular Ledger Nano S 2022. A last set of 10,000 units went on sale as the Ledger Nano S Final Edition. Each final edition Ledger device came with a POAP (Proof-of-Attendence-Protocol) NFT.
And while the Ledger replaced the Nano S with the more beefed-up Nano S Plus, we wanted first to discuss this era-defining crypto hardware wallet, the OG Nano S.
The Ledger Nano S is (was) a cold storage wallet with a last purchase price of $59. And even though it is retired now, many online stores are still selling the Nano S.
Features of Nano S
Here are the traits that make the Nano S worth your time:
The quality of the OLED screen of the Ledger Nano S packs is next level. While the screen size is limited to 7mm x 25mm, the visibility is more than adequate to help you set up and use the wallet, even outdoors. What works best is that you can rotate the screen, bringing in the second-screen vibe. On top of that, the black background really makes the blue text pop. Plus, you can adjust the screen brightness and invert colors as needed.
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.
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. You should 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. For that, 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.
- It is one of the smallest hardware wallets to exist.
- 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
- The 2-button operating console is seamless.
- It works really well with the desktop app — Ledger Live
- It is one of the easiest wallets to set up.
- The built-in software is open source.
- Nano S is compatible with over 50 crypto wallets.
- Nano S is CC EAL5+ rated — a security thumbs up from ANSSI.
- It doesn’t offer Bluetooth connectivity.
- It comes with a small storage space of 160 kb.
- It doesn’t have a backup battery console.
- This wallet doesn’t offer iOS support.
- Android support is available, but you must connect the wallet via the in-house OTG Kit.
Ledger Nano X overview
If you want an upgrade to your existing hardware wallet over the existing 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.
Update: As of May 16, 2023, all is not well and good for the Nano X. The popular model is facing criticism due to its new cloud-based “seed phrase” recovery feature — “Recover.” Per the crypto community, “Recover” is everything that a hardware wallet shouldn’t be — facilitating company access to customer seed phrases.
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.
Intrigued? We 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!
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 piece of innovation. And 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
When it comes to storage space, the Nano X comes with 2MB of space. This lets you store close to 100 applications. In simple 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 throw in a 100mAh battery, allowing it to run even when not connected to a machine? And this feature, along with Bluetooth connectivity, lets you connect this wallet to mobile devices.
A screen beyond screens
The OLED screen on the Nano X isn’t massive. But it’s effective, courtesy of 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.
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.
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.
- An easy wallet to set up
- The Bluetooth connectivity stands out
- It boasts NFT support
- Best-in-class secure element chip
- It is capable of supporting almost 5,500 digital assets, including 1800+ crypto assets.
- It comes in three color variations
- It also includes the hidden wallet functionality.
- It includes almost every feature associated with the Nano S and more.
- It comes with staking support.
- It is priced at $119, which is almost six times SOL’s current price. It might feel a bit expensive to buy.
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.
Coming to the features, here is a quick rundown:
- The Nano S Plus vs. Nano X comparison tilts towards the former in terms of affordability: the S Plus is almost $40 cheaper.
- The USB-Type C port improves the functionality of the Nano S.
- Nano S Plus still offers support for 5000+ 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.
Using cold storage hardware wallet is usually about keeping your crypto secure. And both the 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.
And 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 in comparison to the ST31 inside the Nano S. However, the security boost courtesy of a slightly enhanced chip isn’t all that significant.
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.
Verdict: Ledger Nano X comes with a slightly better security chip.
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 $119 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 nothing 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.
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 does make up for those extra grams by offering a bigger and bright (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, for Nano S, you can only use it 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.
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. But issues concerning the Nano X might be resolved quicker, so the newer model again edges the win.
The hardware spread for both these Ledger wallets is relatively similar. It is the chipset that houses the CC EAL5+ security chip and the proprietary BOLOS OS. And while the ST33 and ST31 secure element chipsets associated with the Nano X and Nano S help with the 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 the point where the Ledger Nano X vs. S debate intensifies. 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. In case 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 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.
And 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.
Verdict: While both Nano X and Nano S offer best-in-class compatibility solutions, Nano X, courtesy of its larger app storing space, wins this round.
Sadly, the Nano S doesn’t come with battery support. This means it needs to be plugged into work. On the other hand, the Nano X offers 8 hours’ worth of standby support, courtesy of the 100mAh battery.
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|
|Security||ST31 chip||More powerful ST33 chip|
|Price-to-value||$59 but with only 160kb of storage support||$119 but with almost 2MB of storage space|
|Ease of use||Dated UI with blue text and black background. BOLOS OS exists||Sharper text and better clarity. BOLOS OS exists|
|Design||Plastic and metal accents with a 128 x 32 px screen||Plastic and metal accents, but with better buttons and 128 x 64 px larger screen|
|Mobile support||Only Android with OTG||Android and iOS|
|Trust||No Bluetooth support makes purists trust it more||Brings the hidden wallet functionality to misdirect attackers|
|Ports and connectivity||micro-USB only||USB-C and Bluetooth|
|App and coin compatibility||1800+ direct coins and apps||1800+ direct coins and 5,500 assets, including third-party support|
|On-device coin support||3 to 5 at one time||Close to 100 at once|
|Battery life||N/A||8 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|
|Security||ST31 chip with Pin support||More powerful ST33 chip with Pin support|
|Price-to-Value||$79 with almost 2MB of storage space||$119 but with almost 2MB of storage space|
|Ease of usage||Easy to use courtesy of shaper text and a Nano X-like screen||Sharper text and better clarity. BOLOS OS exists|
|Design||Plastic and metal accents with an OLED 128 x 64 px screen. Plus, five color options. Matte finish and weighs 21g||Plastic 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 support||Android via OTG cable||Android and iOS|
|Trust||Highly secure and no Bluetooth connectivity makes it a preferred option to some.||Brings the hidden wallet functionality to misdirect attackers.|
|Ports and connectivity||USB-C support||USB-C and Bluetooth|
|App and coin compatibility||1800+ direct coins, NFTs, and almost 5,000 digital assets, including third-party||1800+ direct coins, NFTs, and 5,500 assets, including third-party support|
|On-device coin support||Close to 100 at once||Close to 100 at once|
|Battery life||NA||8 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 purely a long-term BTC HODLer. However, the Nano S Plus makes sense if you own a diversified portfolio but aren’t keen on 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. In the end, it is all about what you want for your crypto.
Frequently asked questions
Is Nano X better than Nano S?
Is Ledger Nano X safer than S?
Which is better, Ledger Nano S Plus or X?
Is Ledger Nano X worth it?
Does Ledger Nano S support NFTs?
Do Ledger Nano X Support NFTs?
Can a Ledger be hacked?
What happens if your Ledger dies?
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