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Trezor Model T Review Jan 2021

Last Updated in Jan 2021
Trezor done
Table of Contents

Introduction

A hardware wallet stores a user’s private keys in a secure hardware device which greatly improves security. The private keys are also generated by the device and stored locally in the hardwallet. This considerably reduces the attack surface for potential hackers since the private keys are never exposed to the internet. Trezor is the name of hardware wallets manufactured by Satoshi Labs; the Czech Republic-based company behind the first mining pool Slush Pool. The company was established in 2013 and released the first hardware wallet, the Trezor one, in 2014. Trezor is a Czech word and in English means safe or vault.

We’ve taken a look at the new Trezor Model T hardware wallet and compared it to its main competitor the Ledger Nano S.

Trezor
Trezor

What is Trezor Model T?

The Trezor Model T is the latest cryptocurrency hardware wallet released under the Trezor brand. The Model T is similar to the Trezor One, with the most obvious difference being the addition of a colour touchscreen. The Model T also supports over 1064 coins and tokens, slightly more than the Trezor One.

The code is open source and can be reviewed in the GitHub repository.

In the box you’ll find the following:

  • Model T device

  • Magnetic dock (quite handy to stick it under a desk or someplace out of sight) 

  • USB-C cable

  • 2x recovery seed booklet

  • Stickers

Additional features

In addition to its main function as a hardware wallet for your crypto, it also includes additional features such as password manager and U2F authentication. Password manager, as the name suggests is an application used to store and manage the various online passwords you have for different sites.U2F, or Universal 2nd Factor, is a form of two-factor authentication that’s more secure than traditional 2FA services like Google Authenticator (more on U2here).

How does the Wallet work?

The Trezor T arrives with a seal on the USB port so you know whether the device has been tampered with. Make sure the hologram seal on your device is authentic.

The installation process is pretty simple and follows similar steps to the Ledger Nano S. Download and Install the bridge (this allows communication between the device and supported browsers). Then connect the device to your computer and update the device firmware and reboot. After this, you back up your wallet by writing down the recovery seed phrase generated by the device. In case your device is lost or stolen, it can easily be recovered using this seed phrase so make sure you keep it safe and somewhere out of sight.

Once this is finished you’ll be asked to name your device and to create a 4 to 9 digit pin code. The pin number layout on the device shuffles at for added security. You’re now ready to go and start using your wallet by selecting “Receive” to get your first receiving address.

Additional security

A nice additional security layer can be added in the form of a passphrase

Trezor uses a deterministic (HD) wallet structure which means it can hold an unlimited number of wallets. Passphrases are a standard feature of BIP 39 supported by the Trezor HD wallet. When passphrase feature is enabled, your device asks you to enter a secret phrase in addition to your numeric PIN when you connect.  When you enter a passphrase, your Trezor combines the already existing randomness of your recovery seed with your own chosen input and creates a new HD wallet.  By using a passphrase, you generate a completely new wallet. The passphrase which you can memorize protects your recovery seed and is not physically stored anywhere. This means that even if somebody compromised your recovery seed, they would not be able to access your accounts unless they knew the passphrase as well. More on passphrases here.

In terms of security protection, the Trezor T is superior to the first generation Model One because pin entry, passphrase entry and device recovery can all be done on the Trezor, so a connection to a computer or mobile device isn’t required.

How much is the Trezor T?

The price of the Model T is currently 149 EUR + VAT. Click below to get one today.

Trezor Model T vs Ledger Nano S

Price: At €59 including VAT, the Ledger wins on price.

Supported Coins: Both support a similar number of coins. At 1064, the Trezor is slightly pipped by the Ledger’s 1185 supported crypto assets.

Features: The touchscreen is a great additional feature on the Trezor T. The magnetic dock on the T is also very useful. Additional features like a password manager and U2F are nice inclusions in the Trezor. The Ledger nano S has the option to use as a password manager also, but it as to be configured. Ledger Live is a nice piece of software for managing your crypto on the Ledger Nano S. However, we’re leaning towards Trezor when it comes to features.

Security: Security is one of the big selling points of a hardware wallet and has been a point of contention between these two. The first point that is often mentioned about the security of Ledger is their use of Secure Element chips. The same chips that are used in Chip & PIN cards that banks issue. Satoshi labs see closed source Secure Elements (SE) as a security risk and outline why it instead opted for using standard micro-controllers and open-source architecture.

Ledger’s security team, Ledger Donjon, recently disclosed five reported vulnerabilities in Trezor hardware Wallets. They claim to show how an attacker could successfully backdoor the devices and then send them back to the manufacturer. They claim to have proved how the genuineness of a Trezor device can be imitated. Details on the claimed vulnerabilities can be found here. The response from Trezor can be found here. Weighing up the material, we’re leaning towards Ledger when it comes to security, but it’s clear that both take security very seriously so it’s still a thumbs up.

Usability: In terms of the look, our preference is for the slightly smaller pen drive look of the Ledger. However, Trezor wins on usability because of the touchscreen.

Support: Trezor and Ledger both offer similar levels of support so we’ll call this a draw.

Conclusion

Trezor T is a great way to store your crypto. The company behind Trezor has been in the game a long time and has a good reputation. If you’re looking for a low-risk way to store your crypto then the Trezor is worth considering  A few words of caution when buying a:

  1. Make sure to only buy a Trezor though the official Trezor store and never from Amazon or eBay

  2. Do not share your seed and passphrase with anyone.

  3. Be careful of fake Google Play apps

 

Check out our Ledger Nano S Review 

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Bryan

Bryan

Based in Ireland, Bryan is the founder and CEO of Boinnex. He has worked for almost a decade as an IT Project Manager contracting across finance, banking, insurance, tech, and healthcare industries. He found his way into the crypto space in 2017 when he started a contract role with IOHK — the dev company behind the Cardano blockchain. Since then, he has continued to be actively involved in different projects in the crypto and blockchain space. He enjoys learning, writing, and sharing knowledge about all things crypto.

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