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Ledger Nano S Plus Review: Is It the Top Hardware Wallet For 2023?

13d ago
bullish:

4

bearish:

10

In the dizzying world of cryptocurrencies, where Bitcoin and Ethereum have gone from obscurity to headline regulars, one device has proven to be a steady rock amidst the ebb and flow of the digital asset tide. The Ledger Nano S, launched in 2016, has become an unsung hero for countless investors who have entrusted their burgeoning digital fortunes to this humble piece of hardware. This wallet’s trustworthiness is embodied in its miniature screen, where millions of users squint to manage their crypto transactions meticulously.

From Bitcoin’s meteoric rise from a modest $700 to a staggering $70,000 high to Ethereum’s indomitable ascendancy, the Ledger Nano S has been an unwavering constant. It’s been a silent witness to the whirlwind of ICOs, NFTs, DAOs, and all the other buzzword-laden trends shaping the cryptocurrency landscape today.

But as we stand on the cusp of a new era in 2023, the once revolutionary device seems almost antiquated in its original form, raising the question: How can Ledger hardware wallets continue to compete in an industry that never stands still?

Well, the wait is over. Ledger has decided it’s time for a metamorphosis. A long-overdue update is on the horizon for their best-selling crypto hardware wallets. The question that now holds the crypto world in suspense is: What novel features will this much-anticipated Ledger Nano S Plus bring to the table? The impending release has the potential to either underscore Ledger’s continued dominance or highlight the challenges of staying relevant in an ever-evolving digital era. The stakes are high, and the anticipation is palpable. One thing is for sure – the crypto world is watching with bated breath.

Ledger Nano S Plus: Overview 

 In the realm of cryptocurrency hardware wallets, Ledger stands as an undisputed titan. Over the years, this brand has built an unassailable reputation as a market leader, routinely delivering top-tier cryptocurrency products for its global clientele. Today, we turn our keen gaze to Ledger’s latest offering in this detailed review of the Ledger Nano S Plus.

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The Ledger Nano S Plus, a state-of-the-art hardware wallet, comes to market bearing the mission of providing robust offline security for your crypto assets, inclusive of the ever-trending non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

This highly anticipated upgrade from Ledger’s foundational crypto wallet has been specifically tailored to meet the needs of beginners wanting to take control of their digital asset security. The stage is set for the Ledger Nano S Plus to prove whether it can uphold the company’s strong lineage while charting new territories in the ever-evolving crypto world.

The Ledger Nano S Plus steps onto the stage under the formidable legacy of its forerunner, the Nano S. When the latter burst onto the scene in 2016, it quickly scaled the heights to become a best-selling titan in the hardware wallet arena, with sales reportedly surpassing 4.5 million units. However, at the time of its inception, many of the cryptocurrencies that command popularity today were mere specks on the horizon, and NFTs had barely made a blip on the public radar.

In today’s context, the freshly minted Nano S Plus demonstrates an adept evolution, aligning with the rapidly maturing crypto landscape. As digital currencies continue their march into the mainstream consciousness, the market has expanded, offering a range of new wallets that cater to an increasingly diverse audience, spanning crypto neophytes to institutional behemoths. The Ledger Nano S Plus is poised to demonstrate its aptitude in bridging the needs of this vast spectrum of users.

Ledger Nano S Plus Review: In-Depth 

The Ledger Nano S Plus comes forth as an enhanced iteration of the initial Ledger Nano S hardware wallet, a brainchild of the French tech powerhouse. This revamp features a modernized design, a more generously proportioned screen, and an internal makeover. As the curtain closes on the basic Nano S later this year, the S Plus is set to ascend the throne as the beginner’s choice within Ledger hardware wallet product line-up.

With a price tag of $79, the Nano S Plus fits snugly into Ledger’s wallet portfolio, straddling the gap between the more economical $59 Nano S and the premium, top-tier Ledger Nano X, priced at $119.

Design And Build 

If you’re acquainted with the Ledger Nano family, you’ll instantly recognize the familiar form of the Nano S Plus. In design, it harks back to a hefty USB stick, complete with a swiveling aluminum shield that uncovers the device’s main body. Currently, it’s sporting an all-black aesthetic, but Ledger plans to introduce a spectrum of colors for the Nano S Plus later this year, with choices spanning white, red, blue, and even a see-through casing.

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While it may not steal the limelight with a Jony Ive-esque design prowess, the Nano S Plus exudes an understated elegance that subtly outshines many competitors. As a nod to Ledger’s rebranding in late 2021, the company’s refreshed logo, more contemporary and crypto-flavored, is etched into the aluminum shield.

The design overhaul of the Nano S Plus presents a sleeker silhouette with curvier outlines and smooth, rounded buttons. Swapping out the old micro-USB, it now houses a USB-C port, mirroring the Nano X.

Yet, the real game-changer lies in the enlarged screen size – a significant upgrade from the Nano S model. The Nano S Plus now boasts the same 128 x 64-pixel screen as the Nano X, literally doubling the display height of its predecessor’s 128 x 32 pixels. This means scrolling through wallet addresses across multiple screens will be a thing of the past when executing crypto transactions.

For those familiar with the Nano X, you’ll appreciate the enhanced clarity and sharpness of the new display. In addition, compared to the compact, somewhat finicky Nano S, the Nano S Plus renders graphics and text in a clean black-and-white duo, unlike the former’s blue-and-white palette.

Ledger Nano S Plus: What’s in the box?

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 Unveiling the newly minted Ledger reveals a striking matte black box enveloped by a dual silver sleeve. The contents include:

  • The Ledger Nano S Plus hardware
  • A USB cable for tethering the Ledger to a computer featuring USB and Type-C ends.
  • An eye-catching orange container holding three notepads for the Secret Recovery Phrase, more commonly known as the seed phrase.
  • A soothing pastel purple box containing the instructional manual
  • A key-holder chain embellished with the Ledger logo

This hardware wallet exudes an air of sophistication, resembling an upscale thumb drive encased by a signature polished metal wing. The matte, rounded shell houses a compact, monochrome screen of 128 x 64 pixels, proving to be the perfect size for its purpose.

Two side buttons adorn the device, facilitating navigation. Although easy to use and precise, they exhibit a wobbly and clunky feel, somewhat detracting from the premium aura. At the top, one can find the Type-C plug for connecting the wallet to a computer.

The included USB cable securely affixes to the device, and its textile, reminiscent of a shoelace, ensures the cord remains untangled.

Overall, the Ledger Nano S Plus wins appreciation for its minimalistic design. It’s clear that the simplicity is intentional and geared towards helping newcomers and first-time owners navigate the wallet and its buttons without confusion.

How To Get Started With Ledger Nano S Plus?

A common concern about venturing into the world of cold storage is the perceived complexity and intimidation of the initial setup. However, this apprehension proved to be baseless when it came to setting up the Ledger Nano S Plus.

The setup of this hardware wallet was found to be surprisingly straightforward and could be completed in less than half an hour. The steps in the process were well-defined and offered an overall seamless experience.

The first step entails downloading and installing Ledger’s proprietary app, Ledger Live, from the company’s website or a mobile app store. The app is available in both desktop versions (Windows, Mac) and mobile versions (Android, iOS).

Upon installation of the app, the thumb drive is then connected to the computer using the provided cable. The Ledger houses a Type-C socket, while the other end of the cable boasts a standard USB plug. A USB-to-Type-C converter would be beneficial for connectivity to a smartphone.

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At this juncture, users would be well-advised to have a pen at hand and a secure spot to jot down some critical information.

Following this, a PIN code is to be set, which could range from four to eight digits in length, functioning much like a phone’s unlock code. This PIN will be necessary for every startup of the hardware wallet and for the validation of every transaction, marking it as the first item to be noted on paper. It’s crucial not to photograph it or create any digital copies, as these could serve as potential gateways for cybercriminals to pilfer crypto assets, given they have physical access to the Ledger device.

The subsequent step revolves around the Secret Recovery Phrase, composed of 24 randomly generated words, also known as a seed phrase. This phrase needs to be meticulously written down, ensuring all 24 words are recorded accurately. The app will then prompt users to verify the seed phrase by picking the correct word from a set of four choices, repeating the process for each of the 24 words.

The seed phrase plays a critical role in case of any mishaps with the device. Storing this phrase securely is vital as it can enable the recovery of funds in the event of loss or damage to the hardware ledger. By purchasing a new Ledger device and importing the account using the 24 seed phrases, users can regain their funds. However, losing the seed phrase would result in the irrevocable loss of these funds.

Once these steps are complete, the software conducts a security check on the hardware to detect any signs of compromise. This is more frequently an issue with second-hand hardware wallets, which is why they are generally not recommended.

Is Ledger Nano S Plus Easy To Use?

Your primary interaction with the Ledger Nano S Plus will take place through the Ledger Live software (desktop), which boasts a neatly designed, user-friendly interface. It is to be noted that both desktop ledger live app and ledger live mobile app are available.

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Much like the Nano S, the Nano S Plus lacks the Bluetooth connectivity and internal battery that the Nano X features, necessitating its connection to a computer via a USB-C cable. The cable provided in the package is considerably superior to the frail micro-USB cable that accompanied the Nano S, albeit it is slightly short— seemingly designed with laptop users in mind rather than desktop owners.

For connecting the device to an Android phone, you can purchase a Ledger OTG kit or use a suitable cable to pair with the Ledger Live app. Unfortunately, this feature is unavailable for iOS users.

To install apps onto your freshly set up Ledger, click on the “Manager” option in the left-hand sidebar of Ledger Live. You’ll be prompted to permit Ledger Manager on your hardware wallet. From here, you can verify if your device has the latest firmware and update it if needed or add or update apps.

Apps typically correspond to different cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. When an app is installed, it prompts the addition of an account, which then appears in the “portfolio” section of Ledger Live. Once your apps are ready, you can purchase crypto directly through the “buy/sell” option in the Ledger Live app using their recommended providers or transfer and receive crypto. This involves going to the “accounts” section of Ledger Live and selecting the relevant account or using the “send” and “receive” buttons in the sidebar.

You’ll also need to activate the app for the specific crypto on your Nano S Plus. Any sending or receiving of crypto requires you to confirm the respective address on your Nano S Plus device. Despite the larger screen, this could still prove to be a tad tricky. However, the relief is that you no longer need to click through multiple screens to view the entire address.

Ledger Nano S Plus: features and assets

In addition to Ledger Live, the Nano S Plus is compatible with over 50 web wallets, including MetaMask, MyEtherWallet, and MyCrypto.

The Nano S Plus backs the same 5,500+ coins and tokens as its sibling models, the Ledger Nano S and X, through Ledger Live. This encompasses a wide array of cryptocurrencies, such as:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Ethereum (ETH), along with ERC-20 tokens
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)
  • XRP
  • BNB Chain
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Polygon (MATIC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Tron (TRX)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Algorand (ALGO)
  • Stellar (XLM)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • Cosmos (ATOM)

Back in the day, the original Nano S was able to store only up to three apps at once, which was quite reasonable in 2016 when there weren’t that many cryptocurrencies available. However, in the current era of thousands of digital assets, such a limitation is no longer feasible. Thankfully, the Nano S Plus comes with a much-improved 1.5MB storage capacity, enabling multiple apps to be held on the device concurrently (approximately 1.28MB of which is actually available for apps).

Ledger Nano S Plus: Security

The Nano S Plus boasts identical security features to its counterparts in the Ledger family, including a secure element physically detached and certified to CC EAL 5+ standards. This independent certification by a third party is equivalent to the security measures used in credit cards, passports, and SIM cards. EAL 5+ represents the utmost level of security protection against penetration tests.

In addition, the Nano S Plus and its brethren are the only hardware wallets awarded with CSPN (First Level Security Certificate) certification from ANSSI – France’s National Cybersecurity Agency.

Ledger devices operate on a unique system, BOLOS, that demands users validate transactions on the hardware wallet itself while the transaction details are displayed on the device. This means that even if your computer were compromised, the Ledger would still present the correct transaction details. The company also holds bounty programs to detect potential vulnerabilities in its products and operates an internal “attack lab” known as the Ledger Donjon.

For users with heightened security concerns, the Nano S Plus mandates a physical link to a computer or mobile device, unlike the premium Nano X model. Although Ledger asserts that the Nano X’s Bluetooth support is only used for the transmission of public data and that the wallet’s private keys and seed phrase remain secure within the device, some users view Bluetooth connectivity as an unnecessary security risk. For such users, the Nano S Plus provides a suitable middle ground, coupling the hardware improvements of the Nano X with the physical-only connection of the Nano S.

Although Ledger’s device security is highly robust, the company has experienced some security breaches. A significant incident occurred in June 2020 when over a million customer records were exposed from an e-commerce database. Following this, Ledger pledged to amend its customer data handling practices, yet the event remains a regrettable blemish on the company’s history.

Is the Ledger Nano S Plus worth your money?

For individuals embarking on their cold storage journey, the new Ledger Nano S Plus is a great choice. Priced at $79, it offers an affordable opportunity for beginners to try their hand at it.

Of course, there are wallets on the market with more sophisticated features. The Ledger Nano X, for instance, possesses a larger screen, increased memory for coin storage, and allows for Bluetooth connectivity with your computer or standalone hardware wallet usage for $149. However, there doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason for the average investor to require more than what the Nano S Plus provides.

The Nano S Plus effectively simplifies and streamlines the process for those curious about crypto and interested in taking control of their own digital assets. Its user interface is easy to navigate, and it doesn’t overwhelm with too many options.

In summary, the Ledger Nano S Plus is an excellent choice for contemporary crypto owners at any experience level.

There is one caveat for those holding small amounts of crypto: they need to question whether the additional layer of security and the corresponding effort is essential and worthwhile given their current investment levels. If the answer remains yes, or at least not a definitive no, then the Ledger Nano S Plus certainly offers value for money.

One of the most thrilling aspects of self-custody is striving to make it as user-friendly and foolproof as possible without compromising security and ownership. The Ledger Nano S Plus seems to achieve this balance successfully.

Comparison of the 3 Ledger Hardware Wallet Models

Here’s a table of comparison for the three Ledger Models:

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Conclusion 

The base-model hardware wallet from Ledger was significantly in need of an update. The Nano S Plus has successfully modernized outdated components without succumbing to the arguably extraneous features of the high-end Nano X model.

Unless a user has a compelling need for Bluetooth connectivity or wants to use their Ledger with iOS devices, the Nano S Plus will be the only necessary device. With its expanded screen and augmented storage capacity, it far surpasses its predecessor, the Nano S.

For the majority of users, the Nano S Plus is an optimal storage solution for their digital asset portfolio, earning its place amongst the top-tier hardware wallets available on the market.

13d ago
bullish:

4

bearish:

10

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